Getting Started in Real Estate – The Thirteen Dirty Little Secrets No One Will Tell You

People have a habit of making huge, life-changing decisions at the end of December because they reflect back on the year that was and realize, “I don’t want to do this anymore” or, “This job isn’t getting me where I want to be” or, “All the kids are gone, so it’s time for me to do something.”  Sound familiar.

This is usually the point where they investigate how to get a real estate license.  All you have to do is take a couple of classes, pass a test, and PRESTO!  You’re in the business.  How difficult could it be?  And just think of all the MONEY!

Over thirty years ago, I entered the real estate business with no idea that the path I had chosen would lead me to where I am today.  I have survived multiple recessions, high interest rates (16½%) and the introduction of the internet into the real estate business.  Through it all, there have been some guiding principles that have kept me focused on not only surviving in this business but thriving while others have faded away.

As you are contemplating whether to take that first step and enroll in classes or you already passed your licensing exam and are deciding which company to affiliate with, consider the following key points that most real estate recruiters will not cover in an interview:  Continue reading

Impact of the New Tax Bill on Homeowners – Does It Make Cents?

If you’re like most people, you’ve been hearing a lot about the new tax bill from both sides of the aisle.  Predictions are all over the board as far as what it means to the average American.  Viewpoints range from an Armageddon-like implosion of the entire financial system to the invention of the wheel which will transform society.  As with most predictions, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Here’s my take on what the new tax bill means to homeowners and the real estate they own.  It’s important to understand that this bill doesn’t affect your 2017 tax return.  It will go into effect starting next year and expire on December 31, 2025.

Tax Rates

Here are the new tax tables to compare what is in place now versus what we will be coming up next year:

(Click charts for larger view)

Single Taxpayer Comparison

Married Taxpayer Comparison

The new law provides generally lower tax rates for all individual tax filers.  While this does not mean that every American will pay lower taxes, under these changes, many will.

My take:

Virtually all homeowners will benefit by having lower tax rates contrary to what many political pundits would have you believe.  All you have to do is look at the charts.  Continue reading

Lancaster County’s November 2017 Real Estate Market – By the Numbers

The familiar sight of the sun rising over the horizon on a frigid morning and its beams reflecting off of the frosty blades of grass tells us that winter is just around the corner, and with it, another year will be in the books for Lancaster County real estate.  As we start preparing for the holidays, let’s take a look at the numbers.

(Click on each Infographic for larger size)

2017 11 November Market Stats - Average Sales Price

The average sales price shot up over ten percent from last year’s number.  This is a function of supply and demand as inventory levels are at some of the lowest levels in a long time which is causing the price of homes to increase.  Homeowners’ equity, which plummeted during the Great Recession, has risen and surpassed the 2006 peak which is a welcome development.  Continue reading

RE/MAX Associates of Lancaster Changes Name to RE/MAX Pinnacle

Lancaster, PA (December 4, 2017) – Earl Shirk, President and Broker of Record for RE/MAX Associates of Lancaster, announced today that the company has officially changed its name to RE/MAX Pinnacle.

Shirk explained that “the new name would more accurately reflect the evolving state of the company’s real estate brokerage business in South-Central Pennsylvania.”  He continued, “Over the past decade, our business has grown well beyond the geographic boundaries of Lancaster County.  In fact, this past year, we assisted clients with their real estate needs in six counties across the mid-state.”

The management and ownership of the company remain intact as well as the experienced agents which have built their reputation in the region as an industry leader.  The company has four, strategically located offices in the region: Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Willow Street and Hershey.  Last year, the average RE/MAX agent with the firm generated over twenty transaction sides which more than doubles the industry average for production.

RE/MAX LLC is a global real estate franchise network that was established over 40 years ago and has steadily grown into the global leader in residential home sales.  RE/MAX franchises can be found in over 100 countries around the world and employ 111,000 agents.  In 2016, MMR Strategy Group found that RE/MAX was number one in brand name awareness among buyers, sellers, and those planning to buy or sell real estate in the near future.