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 Eastern Panhandle WV Real Estate Blog 
Tuesday, 03 March 2015

You may have picked up that the spring marks the beginning of the busy "homebuying" season in the Eastern Panhandle real estate market. However, this year will be just as much about home sellers as it is about buyers. Our last blog post touched on how you can gain an edge when selling your home this spring and now we're here to share when you should start the process.

For years, homeowners in West Virginia have had to compete with distressed properties—foreclosures and short sales—but 2015 will be different. For the most  part, the inventory of these properties has fallen drastically in just about every market. These so-called bargain properties are no longer competition among home sellers and in turn, this has pushed up seller timelines for listing.

Now don't get ahead of yourself— that doesn't mean the spring real estate market is free and clear. The new competition for existing home sellers is new construction! The National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reported that 16% of all homes sold last year were newly-constructed properties. 

So why would a Jefferson or Berkeley County homebuyer choose new construction over an existing home? These four reasons may give you an idea of how to play to buyer interests when selling your home:

  • Avoiding renovations and existing home problems
  • Ability to choose and customize design
  • Amenities offered by the new construction home community
  • Lack of inventory among existing homes

Listing your home now can help address the tight inventory issue and our last blog post gives tips on addressing home improvement projects to catch homebuyer eyes. As always, Kable Team Realty can provide information on how to attract homebuyers to your home in Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Shepherdstown, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville this spring. 

Do not hesitate to contact us and get a jump on listing your property to beat the competition!

The Kable Team
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 11:14 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The busy homebuying season is almost here and with inventory down, home sellers will be in demand! But that doesn't mean the real estate market in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle will be without competition. Many home sellers could be waiting until the new season to list their homes in Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Shepherdstown, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville and you will need to have an edge.

How do you gain that edge this spring? A makeover! The home improvements listed below can be inexpensive and yet yield big returns, making your Eastern Panhandle home stand out and placing you ahead of the others in the area.

Start by spring cleaning
It's important to keep the 3 C's in mind when preparing your home to sell this spring— clutter, cleaning and color. Spring cleaning your home should begin with de-cluttering every space. Edit down the furniture if the room feels difficult to navigate or has large furniture pieces blocking focal points like windows or a fireplace. 

Clean the windows, the carpets, the furnace filter, the landscaping and even the tile in the kitchen. Every feature in the home should be spruced and cleaned in an effort to let the home really shine when buyers walk through the door.

Add fresh color
To round out this process, giving each room a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for bringing it out of the winter doldrums. Even if the paint is white, a fresh application will easily brighten the space and rule out any sign of wear and tear that happened over the past few chilly months. Home sellers should also remember that neutral color schemes are best for catering to the widest range of homebuyers in West Virginia, but don't be afraid to add pops of spring color around the house.

Price according to the market
Gaining an edge in the spring real estate market will have much to do with how your home is priced— that's where Kable Team Realty can help! We're happy to share statistics on comparable homes in the area and assist in finding the right price that will grab a homebuyer's attention. 

As we move closer to the start of spring, home sellers would do well to begin prepping their properties for the busy buying season. Getting the home improvement work out of the way now will put you in a much better position when the wave of other homes in Jefferson County and Berkeley County hit the market in the next few months. 

Have questions about selling your home this year? We're here to answer them! 

The Kable Team
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 17 February 2015

It may seem difficult to think spring with the cold weather here in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, but there are exciting events coming up to look forward to in Jefferson and Berkeley County. Our area is filled with opportunities to experience the local culture, visit art exhibits, take painting classes, take in a play and even attend a home show to find inspiration for your property in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville

The new year is always a great time to get out and explore your surroundings, so mark your calendar to attend the following events in the Eastern Panhandle yet this month:

Trifecta of Art Exhibits
When: Through February 28, 2015; Wed. 11-3, Thurs. 11-5, Fri. 11-5, Sat. 11-4; Closed Sun-Tue
Where: Berkeley Art Works, Martinsburg

Jefferson and Berkeley County residents have the opportunity to visit exhibits at the Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, WV now through the end of the month! Exhibits include "North Shenandoah Woods" featuring wood-crafted art and hand-crafted furniture curated by a designer in Bunker Hill, WV; wood turners, wood carvers, wood sculpture, and more. The "Trees" exhibit will display paintings, photographs and mixed media from local and regional artists. There will also be a selection of work from students of Art Works over the past year.

Harvey at the Historic Apollo
When: March 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 & 15, 2015
Where: The Historic Apollo Theatre, Martinsburg

A comedic yet dramatic tale of Harvey, an imaginary six-and-a-half-foot rabbit, his companion Elwood and his sister, Veta. Take in this play at the Historic Apollo Theatre in Martinsburg the first week in March to experience the local theatrical scene right here in the Eastern Panhandle.

Landscape Drawing
When: March 7, 2015; 1 to 4 PM
Where: Berkeley Art Works, Martinsburg

An open workshop for anyone interested in painting landscapes! The workshop will address common techniques and methods such as composition, foreground, background and how to create water, rocks and foliage. Fee is $45 and pre-registration is encouraged.

Eastern Panhandle 2015 Home Show
When: March 13 through 15, 2015; 10 AM to 6 PM
Where: Martinsburg Mall

A great place to find inspiration for your West Virginia home and learn from hundreds of local exhibitors! 

Have more questions about life in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle? Contact Kable Team Realty today! We happily represent the areas of Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville.

The Kable Team
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 01:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, 11 February 2015

For residents in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, this year will come with one big question— to buy or to rent? Buying a home is a big decision, but could ultimately save you as the costs of renting continue to rise. Whether your motive for moving is to acquire more storage, more space, move into a great school district in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville, or simply better invest your money and build your wealth, Kable Team Realty is here to help!

Ask yourself the following questions if you're pondering buying a home in Jefferson or Berkeley County this year. These just may help you decide if you are truly ready to take the next step:

Do you have a healthy savings?
Buying a home takes preparation, including saving for a down payment. To qualify for a mortgage, homebuyers are often required to put down 3-5% of the home's price up front. Does your savings account have enough to support a down payment just yet? If not, focus on building up your savings account and refer back to our recent blog post on the importance of a healthy down payment.

How much can you afford?
With the rising costs of rent in the Eastern Panhandle, residents may see homeownership as the better financial investment— and it can be! Just make sure your move will not deplete your income entirely. Ask yourself how much you can afford to part with each month as a housing payment. Use a mortgage calculator to break down expenses and factor in all monthly costs.

Do you plan to stay put in West Virginia?
Buying a home allows West Virginia residents to put down roots, but it may not be the best idea if you're not planning to stick around. In fact, staying in a home for five to seven years is recommended to get the value out of your real estate purchase. It may not be wise to jump right into homeownership just because you could pay less than renting— but ask us! The Kable Team can help you make this home buying decision if you're struggling between the two options.

With new 3% down payment mortgages and rising home values, residents in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville have many incentives to break into the real estate market this year. As your local experts, we can walk you through the process and answer any questions along the way! Do not hestiate to contact us!

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:23 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 03 February 2015

Owning a home in West Virginia does not just offer the benefit of escaping rapidly rising rent costs— it also pays off immensely during tax season. If you've just purchased a home in Jefferson County or Berkeley County or even if you're a homeowner of many years, there are tax deductions available to you that can help in bringing your tax bill down.

Before you start filing your return this year, keep in mind the following three homeownership-related tax deductions that you may be able to claim this year in the Eastern Panhandle:

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Homeowners can take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction—claimed on Schedule A— as long as your mortgage is secured by your home. Any interest paid on a mortgage of up to $1 million, or half of that if married filing separately, is deductible if you're using the mortgage loan to buy, build or even improve your home. 

Even if you take out another mortgage—be it a second mortgage, home equity line of credit or home equity loan—to buy a second home or improve your current home, it does count toward that $1 million limit.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums - FHA and PMI

The cost of private mortgage insurance or PMI can be deducted as mortgage interest, also on Schedule A, if you itemize your tax return. In fact, the 2014 tax season is the last year homeowners can claim this deduction until Congress renews it for another year, so take advantage!

Energy Efficient Upgrades

With more homeowners in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle remodeling their homes, it is important to note that energy efficient upgrades can pay off! You could qualify for the residential energy tax credit which allows you to offset your total tax bill by up to 10% of what you spent on certain energy-efficient upgrades.

The credit does have a lifetime limit of $500, so remember if you have claimed this in the past, you will need to subtract your previous credits from the total $500 limit.

Being a homeowner in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville has many benefits, so be sure you know which are available to you! As always, if you're ready to make your dream of owning a home in Jefferson or Berkeley County a reality, Kable Team Realty is here to help!

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 27 January 2015

2015 is going to be a big year for first-time homebuyers and those who have been out of the real estate market for quite some time. In fact, as many West Virginia homeowners regain equity in their properties, they will soon be ready to sell and move on to a new home. But it's important to not get ahead of yourself when it comes to Eastern Panhandle real estate— Kable Team can help you simplify the home buying process and make successful decisions that you may not otherwise make.

If you're house hunting in Jefferson or Berkeley County this year, the following are three reasons to enlist the help of a West Virginia real estate pro. 

You've found your dream home— now what?
Buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you will ever make and nothing can compare to having the industry expertise and local knowledge of a real estate agent on your side. The beginning stages of house hunting will likely include viewing homes online, visiting a few open houses and maybe even asked the listing agent a few questions about the property. However, when you find the home you've been looking for, reaching out to a real estate agent can move you out of the dreaming phase and put you on the path to homeownership.

You found a home you love, but it's been on the market for months— what's wrong?
When you find a home that appears to be priced well and in a great area, but has been sitting on the market for weeks, maybe months, it's time to partner with your agent. Kable Team agents know  Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville and can give you more information including market history and even property details acquired from their network.

You've experienced a major financial or life event and you need information to make an important decision— who can help?
Kable Team Realty, as your local Eastern Panhandle real estate experts, is here to help you make those hard decisions concerning a move. Maybe you've just received a job offer, maybe you're buying a home for the first time and have a strict deadline. Rather than doing all of the research yourself, over an extended period of time, ask us! We can help you make a plan and fill you in on the market, pricing and how to time your home purchase (or sale!). 

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have this year! With years of experience in Jefferson and Berkeley County, we're here to make your life easier. 

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 09:17 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 20 January 2015

While 2015 has been called the Year of the First-time Homebuyer, affordability and access to homeownership are a concern among many West Virginia homebuyers. Slowly rising mortgage rates, home prices and mortgage insurance premiums may actually be holding buyers back from entering the real estate market

Enter new, lower Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums. This year, a plan was announced to reduce these annual insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points. 

These FHA mortgage premiums are paid every year, in 12 monthly installments, on top of a homeowners principal, interest and insurance. Whether you have 20 percent equity in your Eastern Panhandle home, these premiums last the entire life of new FHA loans.

These changes will bring current mortgage insurance premiums from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent for loans with less than a 5 percent down payment. For loans with more than a 5 percent down payment, the new premiums will be altered from 1.30 percent to 0.8 percent. 

So how much will these new premiums save the average Eastern Panhandle homebuyer? On a home loan of $175,000, with less than 5 percent down, the lowered premiums will save one about $818 per year and $3,932 over five years. These lowered costs will not only open up access to homeownership for more homebuyers in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville, but also help homeowners save on their monthly insurance expenses.

The Kable Team is here to help you find your dream home and ultimately land the best deal to keep homeowner expenses affordable. There are many programs now in place to help first-time buyers—and homebuyers who have been out of the real estate market for some time—purchase a new home, so do not be discouraged! 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you buy a home in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle this year.

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:08 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2015 is well underway and by now you may have already read what an opportune time the winter is for selling your home. With mortgage rates low and home prices on the rise, Eastern Panhandle sellers can benefit from choosing to list this season. And while you may be positive your home in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville will sell quickly, there are a few steps you can take to maximize the proeprty's selling potential.

  • Keep the house in great condition. When an Eastern Panhandle homebuyer visits your property, their perception right from the start should be that the property is well-kept. Remember the keys of staging here— if you have to spend a bit of money to do some updating, it could help when you get ot the closing table.
     
  • High quality photos. With years of experience in real estate in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, the Kable Team understands the value of high-quality photos in a property listing. Those who see these photos online and then schedule a showing already have a favorable opinion of the property. Great photos can also help a home seller to gain the upper hand in negotiating.
     
  • Let your home look spacious. Many homebuyers today are moving due to storage and space lacking in their current home. When you allow your Jefferson and Berkeley County homes to look larger, homebuyers will pick that up. Do a furniture edit, remove excess clutter and even think about rearranging pieces to allow the room traffic to flow better.
     
  • Seek out the right buyers. When you choose the Kable Team, you can rest assured knowing that we will get your Eastern Panhandle home in front of the right homebuyers in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville. Kable Team Realty puts client happiness as our number one priority.

​Selling your home in early 2015 can help you get a jump on moving on to your next dream home in West Virginia. Do not hestiate to contact us with any questions about the home selling process!

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:50 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 06 January 2015

Mortgage rates have been hovering around historical lows for the majority of the last year, but Eastern Panhandle homebuyers should note this won't be the case for 2015. While the borrowing costs are low now for homebuyers in Jefferson and Berkeley County, mid-year will bring a change to the 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage.

According to Realtor.com, if the economy continues to move at a solid pace, the Federal Reserve will boost its interest rates around the middle of the year.

"Bond yields and mortgage rates will begin moving higher as the timetable for Fed interest rate hikes comes into focus, with rates on credit cards, auto loans, and home equity lines of credit responding after the fact," said Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst. "The bulk of next year's increases will come in the back half of the year."

Mortgage rates are projected to remain below 5 percent this year, but could fluctuate from the low 4 percent range to 4.9 given an economic turn or misstep on behalf of the Fed. Even the National Association of REALTORS chief economist predicts the Fed will act sooner with its boost in rates due to rising wages and the increasing cost of renting.

As an Eastern Panhandle homebuyer, you are always on the lookout for low mortgage rates to lower the cost of buying a home. Now is the time to act! Do not wait for these rates to trend upward as early as mid-year, acting now could save you much more over the life of your loan.

The Kable Team can help you navigate the real estate market this year, whether you're buying a new home or selling your current property in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville.

As your local Eastern Panhandle real estate experts, we can help you find the best deal and start the new year as a new homeowner. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the homebuying process!

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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See Homes for Sale in Eastern Panhandle
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 10:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, 31 December 2014

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, obtaining a mortgage will soon be easier for Eastern Panhandle homebuyers. New 3% down payments from Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers back into the market and expand the opportunity of homeownership to more residents in Jefferson and Berkeley County.

However, there are many benefits to making a larger down payment when purchasing a home in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Inwood, Falling Waters, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg and Hedgesville. If you can afford it, consider these reasons for putting more money down up front:

Faster, easier approval
A larger down payment is often a strong sign that a homebuyer knows how to save and is financially responsible. The down payment is also one of the biggest signals of creditworthiness and homebuyers are likely to get approved faster with a larger amount.

Better interest rate
When a homebuyer has a lower loan-to-value ratio, banks and lenders are more likely to offer you a better interest rate. Not only will your larger down payment lower your ratio, but it lowers the lender's initial risk. Your credit score is also a big indicator of the interest rate you will receive, so be sure to do your research on your own number before you begin the homebuying process

Lower monthly payments
Keep in mind that putting more money down on your Eastern Panhandle home does mean lower monthly payments. A lower mortage amount, and thus lower payment, means less money paid in interest over the life of your loan.

No mortgage insurance
A down payment of less than 20 percent typically requires homebuyers to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). With a larger down payment, you can avoid this additional expense altogether.

2015 is looking bright for both homebuyers and sellers in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. If you plan to buy a home in the new year, you may have questions about the process— The Kable Team is here to help! Contact us today!

The Kable Team
Kable Team Realty
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Posted by: Tracy Kable AT 09:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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KABLE Team Realty

Tracy Kable, Broker
873 E Washington St, Suite 200
Charles Town, WV 25414-1520
Phone: (304) 725-1918
Email: TheKableTeam@TheKableTeam.com

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