R5Realty News and Notes

Market Snapshots and Commentary on Value and Quality of life along the former Main Line of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, up until recently called the R5 Line, and now officially known as the Paoli /Thorndale line. R5Realty runs from Center City Philadelphia through the walkable, Westward outlying Towns & Townships.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Main Line Patch News Site Makes Cat Celebrity and Demostrates Socialized Media's Impact on "News"

Hymies New Drive-Thru Window & Hyper Local News Coverage
When I got a lunchtime call saying that a truck crashed into the front window of Hymie's Delicatessen last month, all I had to was call up Merion Patch to get both an account of the mishap and a same-day quality video. This is what I love about Patch. Where else can you get this on-the-spot hyper local coverage?

I wake up one morning to read a story about Zoe, the Merion feline that went missing when a home around the corner on Bowman Ave was burglarized. A lost cat story! Better yet, a day or two later I was greeted with the emailed headline" Missing Cat Found.

And this is, in a nutshell, what many love and hate about Patch news-sites. The hyper-local news creates a neighborhood pulse which can't be beat. But is it news? And are there any journalistic standards or ethics? For instance, it took careful reading between the lines to determine that the Missing Cat was Alive (yea!) and not dead. Also, no third party sources are cited to confirm the report's validity.

There is an intriguing and quite literally "eyewitness," homespun quality to Patch reporting/posting much of the time. At a national, corporate level, Patch encourages and is institutionalizing user-inspired and created content. To me, it seems a natural progression of Social media self-reportage.

And overall, I'm pretty impressed with the effort of my local Merion-Wynnewood-Ardmore Patch editors' effort to adopt journalistic norms, and I've yet to see anything patently libelous or ethically irresponsible. The blogging and posting forums, when not over-run by unoriginal content and spam offer vibrant forums for opinion and local event information.

But in some communities across the country, Patch editors, underpaid, overworked, and often under-trained, have drawn the ire of citizens thrust into the spotlight without the typical cautions and protections that Major League news entities afford suspects and victims of crime. 

Patch has a Mayberry RFD, Wild West, William Randolph Hearst quality that can be romantic and charming, as well as potentially harmful and unsettling. If the cat is found alive or dead, that's one thing, but if/when an Accused Party is eventually cleared and there is no journalistic standard to balance stories - as some have decried in other Patches across the country - the bloom can fall off the charm and romance pretty quickly.

But that's all a digression. At it's best, Patch is a juicy neighborhood grapevine of petty crime tidbits, human interest, and some pretty good local business coverage.  Patch's anyone can contribute quality combines the excitement, intimacy and danger of a citizens arrest and facebook over-share all into one.

Some Language and Images to Avoid in Your Philadelphia and Main Line-area Home Sale Listing

FAIL:  Wrong angle for listing that boast a view of waterfront.
The Main Line area is well-located and has a relatively sophististicated, well-coached and discerning population of buyer and buyers' agents. In some devastated inner-city areas, rundown rural regions or SlumBurbs, inane commentary, faint praise, and useless or unappetizing images may fly ok, but below are 5 things you don't want to see in your Main Line area (LM/Haverford/Radnor/Phila Twp) real estate sale listing.:

1- Description beginning with the words location, location, location!
Nice way of saying house is inferior, inferior, inferior. Yes, pointing out a home's excellent location is good and vital, but to some extent, if the location is that good, the address itself will stand out. But ok, don't assume everyone, especially out-of-towners will get this right away, but come up with some sort of less hackneyed, worn-out way of making the point that doesn't imply the locale is great but the house is so lame its attributes are introduced by a lazy, repetitive cliche.

2- Including the words Freshly Painted in the listing description.
Really? Freshly Painting a homes interior for sale is akin to flushing the toilets or doing the dishes before showing. No, you don't have to Freshly Paint your home's interior to sell it well, but it's nothing to brag about if you do... When I see Freshly Painted as a selling point, all I can think of is wow, they're really reaching for positives and the house must have some real lame attributes.

3- Lead Photograph in listing is a close-up image of the numbers on the house.
The lead picture in a listing is the listing's calling card. It is what invites consumers and Realtors to become engaged and want to see more and learn more about the house. It is the image that gets syndicated from the Realtors' MLS to Zillow, Trulia, etc.... It is the #1 advertising tool for the house, so make sure it speaking inspirationally to the widest audience. Ok, maybe satan would be inspired to click and view additional images of a close-up of 3-inch, numerals mounted to a brick wall if they say 666. I love the number 8 and might be intrigued to view a house whose calling card is a close-up of the digits 888, but you're casting a pretty small net.

4- Images of Bathroom with the Lid of the toilet raised.
 Is it really so much trouble for your agent to put the lid down? Given their purpose, toilets are actually fairly aesthetically pleasing in shape if you're not hit over the head with the invitation to use it.

5- Listings that contain the phrase Priced to Sell or Won't Last Long
These are especially hilarious when the listing is on the market for 6 months and the description is not updated. Ultimately, if a listing has an attractive price, it will speak for itself. There are also better ways to describe and embellish the attractiveness of an asking price by describing the elemental value in the price. As a Realtor, when I see "priced to sell," it reads "think carefully about making an offer that is not list price."
Why would one want to insert language that discourages offers? It takes 2 minutes - if that - to review an lowball offer. Buyers and the Market will determine whether or not a home is Priced to Sell, not the seller or listing agent. As far as "Won't Last Long," again, the market will be the judge. Prognostication is irrelevant.

This list could go on to include endless photogaffes including: Dark or Tilted Photos, Cluttered Counter tops, Unmade Beds, Camera-Pointing Agents reflected in Mirrors.
Click here for a Gallery of Bad Real Estate Photos

To discuss buying or selling homes in the Main Line Area, contact:  Ted@R5realty.com or call 610.348.7972.

Prices Paid for Homes in Narberth and Lower Merion from Labor Day til Mid-October 2013 (Under 1 Million)

Narberth Trackside Home Sold for ask, $415,000, Sept. 13th
Have shown many Elmwood Avenue/. Narberth twins to buyers over the years, and the most common objection is that the trackside twins (like the one pictured) are just too close to the train. This one at 115 Elmwood featured 2200 sq ft, pretty hardwoods throughout and updated kitchen. It was smartly priced at $415,000 and sold in less than a week for full ask price.

New buyers might have got the same intel that another Elmwood resident shared with me on last week's Cub Scout camping trip. The train noise is not a factor to them, as the backyards are deep and the hourly evening trains inconsequential from a noise perspective. Also, having a backyard skirted by tree-buffer and the high-berm for the train line offers an increased sense of solitude and privacy.

Lower Merion School District Homes Sold from September to Mid-October (Under One Million)
Street AddressTownSold ForBedsBathsSq. Ft.Orig. Price
207 Edgemont AveArdmore$17500051.11744$180000
54 Wellington RdArdmore$285000311242$299900
212 Williamsburg RdArdmore$439000321220$439000
11 S Wyoming #6Ardmore$55999032.12189$559990
224 Kent RdArdmore$76500053.12739$799000
151 Springfield AveBalaCynwyd$13400011626$174995
27 Chestnut AveBalaCynwyd$214000311260$219000
20 Montgomery - KBalaCynwyd$29000032.11820$299900
155 Stoneway LnBalaCynwyd$29000032.11440$294900
153 Overhill RdBalaCynwyd$400000431985$419900
55 Academy RdBalaCynwyd$41900032.11908$450000
41 Oakland TerBalaCynwyd$50000053.13705$549000
21 Llanberris RdBalaCynwyd$52500042.12135$545000
1205 SandringhamBalaCynwyd$53490042.12588$534900
114 Summit LnBalaCynwyd$55600042.12750$549000
162 Gramercy RdBalaCynwyd$88000044.13200$874000
35 Prospect AveBrynMawr$29000032.11422$319900
733 Waverly RdBrynMawr$84900043.23205$899000
341 Consh. State -BGladwyne$40500022.21536$399000
801 Black Rock RdGladwyne$685000432042$699000
1000 Black Rock RdGladwyne$95950054.14569$999999
537 Old LancasterHaverford$360000321690$415000
202 Edgehill RdMerion$29600043.12047$309900
300 Valley RdMerion$42900042.11894$459000
613 Lafayette RdMerion $485000421627$495000
515 Mercer RdMerion $58600053.12927$625000
249 Iona AveNarberth$199400311168$199500
231 Woodbine AveNarberth$20500021984$224900
305 Conway AveNarberth$296000311302$309900
37 Sabine AveNarberth$300000311120$304990
406 N Essex AveNarberth$36850041.12190$375000
205 Wayne AveNarberth$41000042.11584$449000
115 Elmwood AveNarberth$41500051.12217$414900
309 N Narberth AveNarberth$65000042.12422$675000
1104 Greentree LnPennValley$530000432795$575000
408 Fairview RdPennValley$54000042.12583$600000
1317 Bobarn DrPennValley$81700042.23326$825000
1228 Lakemont RdVillanova$72500053.13351$799000
1833 Old Gulph RdVillanova$83750054.15480$845000
140 Trent RdWynnewood$30300042.11934$375000
129 Overbrook PkwyWynnewood$31500031.11564$325000
1427 Greywall LnWynnewood$33250032.11360$349999
1339 Morris RdWynnewood$45500032.12122$469900
1222 Remington RdWynnewood$45800022.12516$479900
1427 Sussex RdWynnewood$49500042.12088$519000
11 Wiltshire RdWynnewood$51000043.12473$549900
28 Wiltshire RdWynnewood$55500043.12497$579000
531 Sussex RdWynnewood$68400043.22834$695000
230 Brydon RdWynnewood$77500053.13380$775000
451 Moreno RdWynnewood$97860565.25211$1100000

Friday, October 18, 2013

Radnor and Haverford Township Home Prices Paid from Labor Day thru Mid-October (Under 1 million)

Settled Sept 30th. 124 Whitemarsh, 2600sf, 4-bed, 2.5 bath, $425,000.
The good news is that it's going to be a long, long time before the US Open returns to your neighborhood golf course. More good news is that Merion Golf Manor remains one Haverford Twps. most pleasant neighborhoods, with attractive, affordably priced homes like 124 Whitemarsh (left)  in a suburban setting that has nicely matured with tall trees, quiet streets, and walkable destinations.

Home Sale Prices for Haverford and Radnor Township from Labor Day through Mid-October

Street AddressTownSold ForBedsBathsSq. Ft.Listed For
2217 Haverford RdArdmore$22800031.11368$235000
2614 Chestnut AveArdmore$23500031.11212$235000
2313 Belmont AveArdmore$23700031.11462$243500
2431 Chestnut AveArdmore$25000052.12760$299900
701 Loraine StArdmore$34700031.11672$349500
124 Whitemarsh RdArdmore$42500042.12606$425000
727 E Haverford RdBrynMawr$115000311431$135000
124 Garrett AveBrynMawr$17000031.11204$220000
913 Lewis LnBrynMawr$36030042.11848$350000
309 Rockingham RdBrynMawr$395000321764$389900
211 Lee CirBrynMawr$40800032.11700$415000
256 Lee CirBrynMawr$41500042.12200$415000
821 Colony RdBrynMawr$450000322364$499000
684 S Bryn Mawr BrynMawr$50000042.12567$499900
209 Glendale RdHaverford$28000042.12093$289000
5 Craig LnHaverford$87500054.14399$949000
516 Oakley RdHaverford$89500053.24121$965000
210 Stanley AveHavertown$16500031.11276$165000
415 N Manoa RdHavertown$175000311354$189000
1506 W Chester PkHavertown$19000042.22037$199900
25 W Langhorne AveHavertown$21000031.11252$225000
52 Woodbine RdHavertown$213000311256$224900
124 Sycamore RdHavertown$215000311260$215000
215 Oxford Hill LnHavertown$218500311268$222000
137 Washington AveHavertown$219000422526$219900
504 Sagamore RdHavertown$22000041.11792$239900
2417 Wynnefield DrHavertown$231958311704$235000
905 Old Manoa RdHavertown$23250021.11120$239000
1214 Edgewood RdHavertown$245000321400$265000
149 Hastings AveHavertown$259900311300$259000
1301 Fairview AveHavertown$265000322124$274900
200 Farnham RdHavertown$269900311292$269900
20 W Turnbull AveHavertown$270000622564$325000
1702 Mount Pleasant Havertown$27300042.22108$285000
1528 Brierwood RdHavertown$279000321528$279000
1847 Windsor Park Havertown$30000031.11632$305000
38 E Turnbull AveHavertown$30250031.11600$312500
101 N Belfield AveHavertown$31000042.11842$325000
1712 Marilyn DrHavertown$31200053.12996$339900
1425 Brierwood RdHavertown$315000431590$335000
19 Colfax RdHavertown$315000321680$309900
2507 W Darby RdHavertown$31600052.12120$329000
13 Glen TerHavertown$31700042.11620$315000
413 Campbell AveHavertown$32000032.11630$320000
102 Llandaff RdHavertown$33500061.12222$349900
223 Greenbrier LnHavertown$35300031.12296$369000
758 Beechwood RdHavertown$36500042.11852$373500
309 Kathmere RdHavertown$380000421985$380000
116 Kathmere RdHavertown$38200042.22002$409900
701 Homestead AveHavertown$39800042.12667$408000
113 W Clearfield RdHavertown$429000422349$439900
828 Beechwood DrHavertown$43000053.22293$439000
444 Upper Gulph RdRadnor$49700032.12192$510000
715 Woodcrest RdRadnor$87900053.13080$925000
168 Brooklea RdRosemont$33500031.11463$359000
541 Chandler LnVillanova$37500032.12024$399000
667 Sproul RdVillanova$49000042.12990$499900
146 Wooded LnVillanova$61500053.13084$615000
138 Wooded LnVillanova$70000043.13084$699000
474 Saint Davids Wayne$40000031.11798$465000
235 Willow AveWayne$41000052.11708$419900