Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home Trends in 2015

I know, I know: 2012 hasn't even started, and real estate gurus are already talking about trends that are 3 or 4 years from now.  What?!?!  While real estate trends may not interest most people, some of the ideas shared in this Zillow Blog Post were pretty neat.

According to Zillow, homes built in 2015 will be:

  • Smaller
  • Greener
  • More efficient
  • More affordable
  • More creative and open in design
  • NOT have a formal living room or dining room (opting more often for Great Rooms)
  • 3 bedrooms instead of the 4+ we've been seeing as of late

Read more at the Zillow post, "What (New) Homes Will Look Like in 2015"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays...

And now...

A Christmas Ode to 80's David

Twas the night before Christmas And all through this movie
Not a creature was stirring Not even Bon Jovi
In a season of perms and lots of big hair
It’s the 80’s and we wait for St. Nicolas to be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
while visions of Care Bears danced in their heads
With I in my Menudo shirt and Mom in her hightops
We settled down to watch a riveting half hour of Cops.

When out in my driveway there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my waterbed to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like The Flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave light to the pogo sticks and objects below.
When what, to my wondering Walkmen should appear
But a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer

With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew this slick dude must be St. Nick
More rapid that the bullet that shot through JR
He called to the reindeer, letting us know who they are:

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen

On Comet On Cupid On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the Delorian, to the top of the wall!
Now dash away dash away dash away all!

He was dressed in red fur, as he looked ‘round the room.

With the coolness one might find from Max Headroom.
A bundle of toys all created by Mattel
were flung on his pack and ready to sell.

He spoke not a word but started dolling out loot
From Light Brites, VCR’s and even a Zoot Suit.
And laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod up the chimeny he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, and yelled “HAMMER TIME!”
And away they all flew on the turn of a dime.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove his sleigh out
“Santa, that’s my name...DON’T WEAR IT OUT!”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Home Decor Photo Contest!

Ok friends! Do you want to win some cute prizes? Then welcome to the first annual 

Holiday Home Decor Photo Contest!

Here are the details:

Send us the best picture of your Holiday Home Decorating (your home, please - preferably with YOU in the picture!).  It can be exterior (think Clark Griswold) or interior. It can be classy or gaudy. We want to see them all! 

We will accept submissions until next WEDNESDAY, 12/14, at noon.  We will post all the pictures in an album on the Matt Fetick Real Estate Facebook Page.  This is where you come in:  You need to get all your friends to "like" your photo in the album.  Whoever's photo has the most "likes" will win your choice of either $20 in Master Card gift cards ::or:: A Cutco Knife* (valued at $50).  Second place winner will get a $10 Mastercard gift card.  These make great stocking stuffers, or helps you grab those last minute holiday gifts!

Are you ready to compete?  

Take your picture and send (only one per person, please) to:

stephanie.marie.anderson {at} gmail {dot} com.

Make sure your submissions are in by Wednesday, 12/14 at 12:00pm.  Facebook album will go live by 5:00pm that night for you to begin getting likes!

We can't wait to see your pictures! 

Good Luck!

*To choose the Cutco knife option, you must be able to pick up the item in person at the MFRET office in Kennett Square, PA.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chronicles of a First Time Homebuyer: Know What You Want

Today's Tip:
(and make sure your realtor does too)

My husband and I had a general sense of what we wanted in our home:  3 bedrooms, a yard and nice neighborhood.  We had a financial range we could work within.  How hard could it be to find a bunch of houses that fit that criteria?

Well, not hard at all.

We found TONS of houses that fit the criteria.  And we went to every. single. one.  Over the course of 2 years, we saw a lot of houses.  It became frustrating, because houses would have the 3 bedrooms, a nice yard, but...something didn't fit the bill.

Enter in our realtor, David.  David did something the first night we met with him that totally changed our outlook on looking for homes.  He had Bill and I sit down and each write out the Top 5 Things We Wanted In A House.  Dream big, he had said.  So Bill and I scribbled away on our legal pads of paper, and when we were done, David went through each thing with us.  This exercise helped us realize which aspects we were NOT on the same page about.  And since David challenged us to think beyond how many bedrooms we wanted, we were able to realize some of our deeper desires for a house. 

David then proceeded to ask a lot of questions:  How long are you planning on living there?  Do you want a move-in ready house? You want to live in this town, but what is your radius that you'd be willing to look within?  Or are you willing (or want) to do some work?  He went over our financials so he completely understood what we had to work with.  David helped paint us a picture of the kind of house we wanted.  And after our first meeting, I felt confident that David knew exactly what we were looking for as well. 

This made the home search process more simple: if a house didn't fit inside the perimeters, we didn't look at it.  And since David had a good sense of what we wanted, he knew what kind of property listings to throw our way.

We still saw a lot of houses, but the houses we looked at all fit the bill (a future post will be about how to handle multiple offer declines. Ahem).  And it felt good knowing that we weren't compromising on anything:  Bill and I were finally on the same page, and David knew what we wanted.  Win - Win -Win.

Home Search Pointers

Spend time nailing down exactly what you want in a house
I highly encourage the exercise David had us go through: writing down your top 5 Non-Negotiable Desires for a Home.  Dream big, and let yourself think through what you really can't do without.  Is it a garage?  An updated kitchen?  A certain number of bedrooms? A particular town?  Renovations?

Be on the same page with your buying partner
Whether it is a spouse, a family member or business partner, if you are co-buying a property, make sure you understand what each other wants.  Being on the same page keeps you from seeing unnecessary properties, which saves you time in the long run.  And in the end, you can be confident that you get exactly what you want.

Make sure your Realtor knows exactly what you want
A lot of time can be wasted when there is a lack of communication between you and your realtor.  If your realtor only knows you want a 2 bedroom condo, she will spend a lot of time getting you 2 bedroom condo listings.  But maybe you deep down really want a bi-level, or a turn-key property.  Perhaps there is a particular neighborhood you'd prefer to buy in.  Maybe you want sliders to a patio, or can't imagine not having an end-unit.  If your realtor doesn't know your Non-Negotiables, you will become frustrated with one another and waste a lot of time looking at properties that don't fit your true criteria.

In the end, keep this in mind: Know what you want and open the lines of communication!

We'd love to hear from you:

How did you keep the lines of communication open between you and your realtor?
What are/were YOUR non-negotiables?
What other advice would you give first-time homebuyers?

Leave a comment below!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meet the Team: Linzee

Another Matt Fetick Real Estate Team Member who is an integral part of the machine!

Linzee Ciprani

Position at MFRET 
Business Manager. As Business Manager, Linzee focuses on the team delivering excellence in customer service. Linzee manages new marketing projects designed to help our customers win in any market and works with all listings taking them from contract to close.

How long have you worked for the MFRET? 
2 full years!

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Cookies and Cream or Ben and Jerry's Americone Dream

Favorite spot to grab dinner in Chester County
Half Moon in Kennett Square or Kooma in West Chester

Where was the best vacation you have ever taken? 
Honeymoon Aruba and back packing through Europe

Eagles or Phillies?

Why do you like working in real estate? 
Love looking at homes and love getting to know new people.  Real Estate is the perfect way to meet lots of new great people.

Favorite thing about Chester County? 
The landscape, it's just so pretty.  There's also so many options for travel from being close to the beaches to being close to mountains as well.

If you could have lunch with 1 famous person, who would it be and why? 
Oprah, I would love to pick her brain about business and just hear her life story.  She's an amazing woman and has done amazing things.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Meet the Team: Jill

Today's team member is special not only for the work she does, but WHO she is: Jill is Matt Fetick's mom!


Jill Schappel

Position at the Matt Fetick Real Estate Team
Short Sale Coordinator - I collect and distribute the paper work necessary to convince lending institutes to accept a short sale

How long have you worked for the team?  
6 months...

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Coconut.. no mint chocolate chip.. no.. coconut...hmm  maybe mint chocolate chip ... probably coconut

Where was the best vacation you have ever taken?  

Eagles or Phillies? 

Why do you like working in real estate? 
Real estate is like a box of chocolates... you never no what you are going to get!

Favorite thing about Chester County? 
The beautiful countryside

If you could have lunch with 1 famous person, who would it be and why? 
Ben Franklin or the Mayor of Kennett Square

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chronicles of a First Time Homebuyer: Expect the Unexpected

Today's Tip:

As a first time homebuyer, it's easy to get caught up in making it work: accepting the idea of an kitchen that doesn't quite meet your standards, embracing a longer a commute, learning a different town, and reconfiguring a budget so you can make a potential house your home.

When we were looking for houses, we did our fair share of changing our design expectations.  We forfeited big bathrooms, updated kitchens, level yards and varying commutes for the sake of potentially owning a home.  We'd walk through a house, wrapping our mind around things that fell outside of our expectations. And once we could mentally make it work, we'd put in our offer.  We knew that in many ways, beggars couldn't be choosers.  We knew that there would be some sacrifice along the road to our Dream Home.

There were also sacrifices in our household budget.  Every house we viewed would mean taking a knife to our budget: reconfiguring, estimating, verifying, and deciding what we could and could not live without.  When we finally got an agreement of sale on our current home, we finalized some budgetary matters, and felt prepared to go from first time homebuyers to first time homeowners.

But then came the Unexpected.

While there is an important learning curve associated with the leap from renting to buying, it's important to take note of the unexpected: the things you do not account for, the surprises, the wrenches thrown into an otherwise perfect plan.  They will happen.  

In our first year of owning a home, we were met with plenty of Unexpected: raise in utility prices, unforeseen house problems that required fixing, and the introduction of bills that we had in no way prepared for. 

One of the best things you can do as you are looking for a home is to PREPARE for the Unexpected.  Whether it's making sure you have a cushion of savings for unexpected costs or to leave room in your budget for unexpected bills, being ready for the Unexpected is half your battle.

Since most first time homebuyers are renters making the transition to owning, many do not know what possible Unexpected things to prepare for. Here are some to keep in mind as you consider homes:

Rise in utility prices

Having been renters, we had never really encountered the cost of oil. Oil is expensive, and we happened to move into our home right when oil prices tripled.  Literally.  We were surprised by how our bill jumped over the course of the year.  Oil is not the only culprit.  Electric and gas prices are going up as well. Keep in mind that it costs more to heat a split level than a ranch. If your heating system is older, it may be less efficient, resulting in higher-than-expected bills.  Energy bills are often higher in the Summer, due to Air Conditioning.  And even though it might be a short season, holiday lights and decorations can put a slight raise in your energy bills while they are up. Estimate higher for energy bills for your first few months until you get a good feel for your usage.  Budget for a slightly higher bills in the warmer months (and possibly around the holidays, if you go National Lampoons Christmas Vacation on your house). 

Pest Control

This is a bill that really threw us for a loop.  We never had to deal with pest control as renters. We moved into our home in the Summer, and all was well.  Winter proved to be no big deal.  March arrived, and with it came ants.  Lots of ants. More ants than cans of Raid could conquer.  We tried to manage it ourselves, but finally surrendered and took on a Pest Control contract.  I soon found that most homeowners have this in their budget.  It's inevitable that at some point in our homeownership, you will deal with pests, so consider leaving a cushion for pest control, just in case.

Change in Commute

Depending on how far you are moving from your current residence, you may have to account for an increase in transportation costs.  We moved about 30 minutes from our previous home (and my husband's job).  And it did not take long to realize that our driving gas costs would be going up.  Not only is my husband's job 30 minutes away, but so are many of our doctors, as well as our family.  So we had to build up the transportation expenses in our budget. Take any change in distance into account when you are reworking your new budget.

Home Repairs

Even with a home inspection that passes with flying colors, you will encounter various repairs throughout your homeownership.  Some are small: leaky faucets, loose lighting fixtures.  Some require more attention: a broken disposal, a clanking washer, a damaged gutter.  Many of those repairs can be addressed by you.  Then there are the Unexpected big repairs that come out of nowhere, but require special (contractor?) attention, and often a good bit of cash flow: a leaking roof, a dead HVAC, a dryer that no longer dries, a broken window.  These are issues that there are no way around except to fix it.  And they don't care whether you are ready or not!  Having a small savings set aside for these kind of issues can give you a peace of mind.  Investing in a Home Warrenty can also save you money in the long run and may be worth looking into.

Unexpected issues do not have to stand in your way of homeownership. Planning ahead and Expecting the Unexpected can help your Dream Home remain a dream and not a nightmare!

We'd love to hear from YOU: 
What "Unexpecteds" have you encountered as a homeowner?  
How did you handle them?

Leave a comment and share your story below!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet the Team: Rachel

Rachel Gosselin
Position at Matt Fetick Real Estate Team 
Listing & Marketing Coordinator.  Most importantly I make all listings go live and active and I create all marketing materials.
How long have you worked for the Matt Fetick Real Estate Team?
About 5 months
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor 
I love all ice cream except for vanilla!!!!
Favorite spot to grab dinner in Chester County 
To many to choose from!  The Half Moon, I am a big fan of exotic meats.
Where was the best vacation you have ever taken?
One of my best friends lives in St. Croix and I go every year.  Every year gets better than the last!
Eagles or Phillies?
Truthfully, neither.  Sports does nothing for me, but if I had to choose I would say Eagles.
Why do you like working in real estate?
I like interacting with all the different people, and I really enjoy looking at all the photos of homes.

Favorite thing about Chester County?
The location and all the beautiful surroundings. 
If you could have lunch with 1 famous person, who would it be and why?  
Chelsea Handler. I think she is hilarious and a lunch with her would be unforgettable to say the least.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Design Tips from David

Perfect Proportions

Resist the urge to keep your furniture against the walls, thus creating a dance floor in the center of the room (unless you have a spare disco ball!)  Try floating your furniture away from the walls.  Think about traffic and how you walk through the room.  Sofas can make great room dividers when placed properly - put a console table, sideboard or small desk behind it to make the look complete.

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Remember these three words:  Simple, Edited and Clear.  Simple - clean lines, opt for seating with legs or at least an open bottom (no skirts!).  Solid fabrics should be dominant, with patterns used as accents.  Edited - go light on the amount of pieces; opt for fewer pieces of furniture that are larger to accommodate your needs.  Clear - think glass; glass topped tables with thin legs, glass front cabinet doors too.  Windows count as glass too - try and keep the window treatments light and airy; layered looks work, but make sure the light comes through.

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Chronicles of a First Time Homebuyer: Potential

Today's Tip: 

When my husband and I were in the process of looking for homes, we walked through lots and lots of houses.  I mean TONS.  And there were quite a range of homes: nice homes, trashy homes, condemned homes, remodeled homes, dream homes, and nightmare homes.

Yes. We saw them all.

Not everyone has a lot of money to throw at a house, so some people go into the home-touring process knowing they cannot afford to gut a kitchen or redo a bathroom.  Other people are determined to get a "fixer-upper" because they have the money to invest in the renovations.

I absolutely love love love the show House Hunters on HGTV.  Since I enjoy real estate, I love seeing all the houses in different areas of the country.  It's fun to get inside the minds of the people looking for homes, and being a part of their victory when they get an agreement of sale.  One of the things that drives me crazy, though, is watching countless buyers writing off houses because they cannot see past the little things to the home's POTENTIAL. I get so tired of hearing, "This is a great house but, uggg, I hate the paint colors!"

I want to shake them (politely) ask, "Are you really going to give up your Dream Home over an easy-fix like paint?" Regardless of what end of the invest-in-a-house spectrum you fall on, every house needs a little bit of something.  Whether it's a coat of paint, a few whacks of a hammer, or even switching out light switch plates.  

Every house also has POTENTIAL.  Some houses need a lot of work to reach true potential.  Many houses need just a few tweaks to really shine.  When walking through a home, it's often difficult to look past what's right in front of you: different decorating style than the seller, furniture arrangement, paint color, wallpaper, dirty carpets, etc.

But here is my tip today: LOOK AT THE POTENTIAL.  You don't have to write off a house because the powder room has 70's striped wallpaper clinging to the walls.  You don't have to walk away from a potentially awesome future home because the family room carpet is berber instead of plush.  While you may not have the money to renovate the kitchen, many fixes can be made for minimal cash output. Think of the potential: There may be great hardwood floors under that dingy carpet; sellers WILL take their stuff, and you get to start with a clean slate; paint can be changed; wallpaper can be taken down. And in this economy, it may be worth a $100 for paint, some scrapers and a little elbow grease to get into your Dream Home.

My husband and I learned to clear our minds when walking through houses.  We knew we might not get a turn-key property.  So we had a lot of fun imaging how we would arrange things, how we could spruce up the kitchen cabinets, what color we would paint a room.  We knew a few hours of weeding could transform flower beds.  We knew with some ideas and willingness to work, we could make any house our home.

So if you are in the process of looking at houses, keep in mind that little things can be changed. As you open the door to the next house you tour, let your mind run free with ideas.  Be creative. Imagine. Think of how your living room furniture might be arranged.  What might the kitchen look like with a different color paint?  Curtains do wonders for a room!  Try to look past what the house currently is to what the house could be. With a little work, the next house could be your home


Steph is in no way a realtor, and all opinions are her own. She is only sharing her own experience with buying a house.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long-Listed Properties Advice

We've all been there: our eyes glance over a cute property with lots of potential.  After some research, we find it's been on the market for a long time.  The gears in our brains start turning, and we start devising an offer to a seller who is "clearly" desperate, and who will be willing to take all but $1 for the property that's been sitting on the real estate pages.

Well...not so fast.

Some advice found on says there is a lot to weigh when making an offer, however long the property has been listed for.  You can read the answers two realtors shared here...

What are your thoughts? Have you dealt with offers (as a seller, buyer or realtor) on houses listed for several months?  What is appropriate?

You weigh in!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet The Team: David

David Maio Williams

Position at MFRET
Lead Buyer Specialist, helping Buyer's get the best home at the best price.  Answering any questions about the home buying process, expert contract negotiator and creative problem solver.  Add to that an extensive creative background that can help offer a unique counterpoint to visually challenging aspects of the home.  :-)

How long have you worked for the MFRET? 
2.5 years

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?
Mint chocolate chip

Favorite spot to grab dinner in Chester County?
Harvest in Glen Mills

Where was the best vacation you have ever taken? 

Eagles or Phillies? 
Steelers (Blogger Steph note: BOOoooo)

Why do you like working in real estate? 
Because I love to help people fulfill a dream, be part of their lives and make sure that they have professional guidance along the way.

Favorite thing about Chester County?
It's beautiful to start, second is the proximity to so many locations.  I also think the people are very nice.

If you could have lunch with 1 famous person, who would it be and why?
Bob Lutz, he's responsible for so many innovative automotive products/designs.

Meet the Team Spotlights

We thought it'd be fun for you to see the people behind the Matt Fetick Real Estate team.  It's not just a business, but real people living real lives (surprise!).  So, over the next few weeks, you can meet all the team members: from the agents to the behind-the-scenes people whose hard work make your home dreams possible.

Stay tuned - we'll be posting the first Team Spotlight this afternoon!  

Do you have any fun questions for any our team members? What would you like to know? Leave a comment below and we'll try to get you an answer!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Introduction: Chronicles of a First Time Homebuyer

Hello!  My name is Steph, and almost a year and a half ago, I became a homeowner for the very first time.  Before becoming a homeowner, my husband, Bill, and I were first time homebuyers. Off and on for 2 years, we trudged around our county, looking at homes, putting down offers, and receiving a LOT of rejections. I can't begin to count how many houses we viewed in that time (I'm positive it was over 100 - and I am not exaggerating). And if you can believe it, we submitted over 10 offers on different houses. We redefined the term "rejection." We experienced finally entering into an agreement of sale, only to have the deal fall through after a bad inspection.  We saw a lot of...interesting...houses. And after a long journey, we finally settled on our current home.

All that to say, we became quite seasoned in what it takes to look for a house, bidding on a house, settling on a house, moving into house, and making that house a home.

I'll be posting weekly about what we learned on our home search adventures.  I'll be sharing tips, stories, and resources about buying a home, settling on a house and moving.  I'm not a realtor, and I am no expert, but like I said, we learned a lot on our journey!

It is my hope to encourage all of you who are looking for a home, commiserate and connect with those of you who currently own a home, and share ideas for all people on how to make a house a home!  If you have stories, tips or ideas to share, please leave a comment below - we'd love to feature you!

Check back for our first post!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Design Tips from David

Why not mix it up?  Gone are the days when materials need to exactly match one another.


Imagine this...your home has brass doorknobs, light fixtures and faucets - it's perfectly fine to work in some oil-rubbed bronze or even black metals.  Slowly but surely you can transition your whole home.  Stick with the family though, chrome with black or nickel, brass with antique brass or oil-rubbed bronze.

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    How boring would a room look that was all oak?  Blech!  Dark woods are now fashionable, so mix them in with your oak, cherry and maple.

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    Stick with one color family, but mix the materials - casual cotton with a rayon velvet, popped with a 2-color graphic pattern.  It's cheap and easy to do this with pillows first!!!

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