Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/28/2007 | Condo cooldown not severe in Phila.

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/28/2007 | Condo cooldown not severe in Phila.

The Philadelphia condo market has not suffered as much as those in other major cities. This article explores the reasons and explains that the runup in values was not as dramatic as in other cities in the U.S. What the article does not say, but what I have observed, is that there is still an increasing popularity of center city living among various demographic groups. Younger singles and marrieds in their twenties and thirties, even those with children, appear to be favoring the "downtown" lifestyle and culture as opposed to living in the burbs, which their predecessors have done. also, older empty nesters are in many cases, selling their larger suburban homes and moving to center city residences.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Road Congestion in Bucks County

I have been a Realtor for 23 years. During that time, I have noticed many new residential housing developments go up in Holland, Langhorne and Richboro, for example. The main roads in and out of that area are typically Buck Road (route 532), Bridgetown Pike(Route 213), Bustleton Pike, and 2nd Street Pike (route 232). During that time those roads have remained primarily two lane roads. The population and traffic have increased exponentially, yet the roads have not been expanded. For this reason, I rarely elect to show homes to people during rush hour in these areas.

It is just too difficult to get from property to property without a lot of hassle. It is also difficult for people to get anywhere in those areas starting from after school hours around 3:30 until almost 7PM. This pattern is repeated, I am sure, in many suburban areas throughout the region. It is one reason why people fear development and protest it. Usually, however, protests do not seem to occur around residential development, but more around civic and commercial projects. All develpment projects, in my opinion, need to take into account the traffic and congestion that will be created.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Termite Bait Stations May Not Work

Traditionally, subterranean termites (the kind we have in the Phildelphia area) have always been treated with chemicals injected into the ground around the entire perimeter of a home. The exterminators drill every 12-18 inches both inside and outside to create a chemical barrier. This method, usually is immediately effective at killing termites and stopping them in their tracks. Occasionally, there are gaps in the barrier and re-infestations need to be retreated, but this is not terribly common.
Then, someone came up with the idea of "bait stations" and they are being heavily marketed by the large franchise termite companies. The theory is that small bait stations with wood in them are placed in various locations outside the property. The companies come back at quarterly intervals to "monitor" them. If they find termites in one of the stations, they then replace the piece of wood with some chemically impregnated wood. This is supposed to be taken back to the termite home under ground and then kill them.
I may be oversimplifying, but here is what I have observed in several properties I have sold that have these bait stations. While the termites are eating the wood in the bait stations, nothing is stopping them from eating the wood in your house! They just don't work and the termites continue to dine on your home leaving extensive wood damage if they go unchecked. Moreover, these bait stations are almost three times the initial cost as a traditional treatment and the annual contract to maintain them is about $400 per year as compared with about $100 per year for the traditional, and, in my opinion, more effective method.
They are promoted by companies for one reason - they are cash cows and great profit centers. So, if you find out you have termites in your home (usually you will see a swarm of insects in either the spring or fall that looks like flying ants)make sure to get all the facts before you decide on treatment and don't fall for the glossy sales pitch. Obtain several opinions from both small and large companies.
There are some situtaions where the bait stations are the only alternative, for example, in homes with well water as opposed to public water. As always, get informed to make the best decision.