Explore Lancaster, PA
A new proposal for a State House Bill targets unscrupulous home builders in Pennsylvania who never deliver on their promises.  The Bill proposes that homebuilders would have to pay $300 each year, funding the New Home Builder Guaranty Fund, and register with the PA State Attorney General's office.  The intention is to keep customers from losing deposit funds paid to builders who in turn never build the agreed-upon home. The Bill has been drafted by Rep. Frank Andrews Shimkus from Lackawanna County, in response to an upcoming trial focused on a consumer who had been ripped off by a builder, accused of taking a deposit and never building the home, bilking the consumer out of $50,000.  The Bill, known as the New Home Construction Consumer Protection Act, would require that the registration...
By Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA)
Comments 14
Yup, that's right - the Second Lancaster, PA Real Estate Bloggers Summit tied its previous attendance record.  That is to say, all three of the Charter Members were there - myself, Jeff Geoghan, and Jeannie Kontis! We met on April 29 at Senorita Burrita, a trendy cafe in the heart of downtown Lancaster.  Jeff had eaten there a number of times before, but for me it was the first time.  I was amazed at the size of the customizable burritos - truly a two-handed affair!  Makes the Whopper look like an appetizer... There have been a couple of major real estate franchise changes in Lancaster County recently.  Homesale Services Group has switched from Coldwell Banker to Prudential, and Realty Select has acquired the Coldwell franchise.  That really spurred the conversations as we talked about ...
By Jeannie Kontis
Comments 5
"I don't need an agent to find a house".   This seems to be the general opinion if you are a Lancaster real estate buyer, and you are absolutely right.  You don't need an agent to find a house.  With trulia, zillow, craigslist, realtor.com and a host of other Lancaster MLS Search and IDX real estate listing sites, not to mention virtual and video tours available at the click of a mouse, you really DON"T need a real estate agent to FIND a house.    But, that's not what I'm here for.  I know you can find a house.  Especially in this market, with a plethora of open houses every weekend, with technology at your fingertips, with so many Lancaster County houses available for sale.   I'm here to help you BUY a house -- not just FIND one.  Who do you trust with one of the greatest purchases of ...
By Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
Comments 3
In honor of Tax Day I researched the year-to-date sales stats for Manheim Township, one of our popular destinations here in Lancaster County PA.  Homes for sale in Manheim Township historically have sold well, and many in-demand neighborhoods such as Grandview Heights, BelAir, Cobblestone Court and Wetherburn are situated in Manheim Township.  More recently, building pressures have started to put the "squeeze" on open space in Manheim Township, and new listing prices have continued to climb accordingly.  Here's the summary: Year-to-date, there are about the same amount of new listings, with a 9% increase in initial listing price.  Unfortunately, the average sale price declined by 11%!  Sold homes are down 22% over last year to date.  Pending sales are down too, by 16%, and average days-...
By Jeannie Kontis
Comments 50
I saw a squirrel chasing a nut across the street yesterday, and somehow it struck me as quite ironic.  I've admitted before that I hate squirrels (and yes, hate is a strong word), but I was too amused with the scene to think about putting the pedal to the metal and making roadkill out of him.  No, I would never really do that, and I found myself slowing down to let him cross, as I watched, amused.Who am I to put the brakes on his goals?  It was quite funny because this nut was rolling down the hilly street, and this poor squirrel kept catching up, before it would get away from him again.What struck me as ironic is the fact that we are all - squirrels and humans alike - chasing something.  It might be a dream, it might be a goal, it might be the basic pursuit of happiness.  But at what p...
Looking for something to do on a beautiful Spring Day in Lancaster County?  Why not go "downtown".   By visiting www.onlydowntown.org you can find information on exciting community happenings in local "downtown" Lancaster County communities such as:   Lancaster City Ephrata Mount Joy Manheim Elizabethtown These "downtown" boros have banded together to bring us http://www.onlydowntown.org/, a website and organization dedicated to bringing together not only communities that are some of the oldest established communites in America, but current thriving communities as well. The Lancaster County Downtown Consortium promotes the uniqueness and attractions of our local "downtown" centers, not only to tourists and those relocating to the area, but to local residents, as well.  There is nothing ...
By Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
Comments 3
BelAir is a large Manheim Township community of single family homes nestled in alongside a busy stretch of offices, restaurants and stores in the heart of Manheim Township.  Fruitville Pike, one of the main routes out of Lancaster City northbound, borders BelAir on it's eastern side.  A second development nearby is called BelAir North; the divider is Delp Road. Both areas of BelAir saw construction starting in the late 1960's with the larger community being built throughout the 70's and into the 80's.  BelAir North is primarily late 1980's and even a couple of 90's homes, but not many.  Homestyles are typical 1980's bilevels, "two-stories", split levels and a sprinkling of ranchers.  Square footage would range from 1300 to 2000 when first built.  Since these homes are now approaching 25...
What has 1,000 windows, is as long as an airplane carrier, and was once as smooth as silk? It's the old Stehli Silk Mill in Manheim Township, which has stood on it's Martha Avenue location in the Grandview Heights area since it's heyday in 1900.  Once a thriving silk mill, where over 2,000 men and women worked among this huge building and its future additions, it now sits as a derelict, old warehouse, waiting for its rebirth.  And, that might be coming soon.Recently, the building has been sold to a York County developer and partner, who plan on revitalizing the property.  In line with the redevelopment that is going on in Lancaster City, this building will be a fine addition to the growth that Lancaster City and the surrounding areas have been experiencing.  I drive by this massive stru...
I could have sold a listing today, only the buyer and seller could not see eye to eye regarding "seller's assistance" .  The seller just couldn't believe that the buyer would ask for such a huge amount towards closing costs, and can't justify paying it out of her pocket for someone who does not have the cash to purchase the home of their choice.  I have to admit that I agreed with her.  This home was just listed recently -- a very nice, well-cared for home, and most importantly it is priced accordingly.  Imagine our surprise when we saw the amount of seller's assistance that the buyer wanted.  Now, I know how the ballgame works, and sometimes there is no harm in asking for seller's assistance. Let's play ball!  But, when the home has been on the market for just over a week, there is alm...
By Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
Comments 2
Lancaster City Living, our local city living advocate and information source, released their Spring/Summer issue of Lancaster City Living Magazine last week.  This magazine is unique in that it brings together many of the great things Lancaster City residents love in one place - the restaurants, galleries, attractions, theatres, neighborhoods and much more.  I like this magazine because it puts the whole city down on paper for my homebuyer clients to study, which helps me immensely when I have to explain the different areas and markets within the city limits.Lancaster City Living has had an eventful first year under the able leadership of Michael Sprunger.  An offshoot of Tabor Community Services, Lancaster City Living has focused from the beginning on improving the home ownership situa...
By Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA)
Comments 6
The City of Lancaster, PA has been undergoing a renaissance for the past several years.  I have written about the Lancaster County Convention Center, the Lancaster Fall Art Walk,  the Eastern Market,  First Friday in Lancaster, PA, Musser Park, and many other aspects of the County Seat of Lancaster County. Last Fall, Lancaster City Living was created.  This organization, formed to improve homeownership in the City of Lancaster, is composed of three facets.First of all, a website was created as a resource for anyone wanting information about the history, cultural opportunities, restaurants, and residences of the city.Second, a physical "storefront" has been located at the Eastern Market, 308 East King Street, where local information may be obtained.Third, a new glossy magazine has been c...
By Brandon Clark, GRI,ABR, CSP, REALTOR
(Gateway Realty Inc)
Comments 1
I had the great honor to be one of 11 people selected in the state of Pennsylvania to participate in The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Leadership Class 2007. "Recognizing that leadership development is an essential element in the process of improving our Association and profession, the Pennsylvania Association ofREALTORS® offers its LeadershipPAR Program. Through this program, the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® identifies emerging REALTOR® leaders throughout the state, encourages them with timely, meaningful instruction and activities, and assists in developing their leadership skills in the hope they will exert a strong,positive influence on the future of the Association and profession. The participants work together in a training course that combines individual study, gr...
It seems like the homeowners and residents of Lancaster City's northwest neighborhood can breathe a sigh of relief - for now.  Mayor Gray has stepped up and announced that he has withdrawn as a supporter of the proposed zoning plan that would group Franklin and Marshall students in local neighborhood rowhomes.     A developer has teamed up with Franklin and Marshall and has proposed to renovate existing rowhomes in the Northwest Lancaster City area to create additional off-campus housing.  Living quarters in these newly renovated homes would be awarded to students via lottery.  A winning lottery meant that the student can choose which classmates he/she would want as housemates -- clearly an invitation for a bad scene as far as the local neighbors are concerned.    This doesn't mean the ...
A week ago I wrote about a transaction that was just barely Hanging On by a Thread.  The seller had not disclosed certain defects and was hard to get in touch with, let alone act responsible to getting repairs done in a timely manner.  The listing agent was no better!  This transaction was for a Lancaster City multi-unit investment property.  This transaction is no longer hanging on by a thread, but by now has completely unravelled!  You know how you find a thread hanging loose, and then you pull it?  And keep pulling it?  And it doesn't end... it will just eventually cause the cloth to unravel completely while you're feeling like you're getting tied up in knots?  That's what this entire transaction was like! Not only were there a number of code violations and repairs that needed attent...
By Jeannie Kontis
Comments 12
I have a deal that is just barely hanging on by a thread!  What could have helped to move things along a bit would have been for the Seller's Agent to have actually visited the property -- let alone reviewed the Sellers Disclsoure document -- before actually taking the listing!   Major defects that came up on the inspection were completely ignored by the seller and listing agent - such as leaky main waste lines - eewww.  Major items indicated on the MLS sheet were completely out of line with what was factual.    A little fact like "who pays for heat" in a tenant-occupied property "is" a big deal when it's mis-stated.  When finally reviewing the actual bills from the utility company, they were completely out of line with what was estimated verbally to us. My investor buyer has been very ...
How much love can someone have for their home?  Is it just something to be considered as 'shelter'?  Or do we wrap our lives and memories around these four walls and a rooftop we call "home"?  How do we take that with us when we sell our home? I took part in a settlement yesterday that had some ups and downs along the transaction -- stressful moments for both, buyer and seller alike, I'm sure.  Of course the buyers are concerned about getting the value of their hard earned money, without question.  The seller, undoubtedly, is also concerned about a new buyer seeing the value of his beloved home.  But it dawned on me that many times the seller is not only concerned with monetary value, yet it can also be important for him to know that his past memories and life in this home will be value...
U.S. News and World Reports recently released their study of the Nation's Top High Schools.  Is it any wonder that Manheim Township High School was awarded as such a high ranking school?  For years, Manheim Township has scored highly on standardized tests, but this year we received a very nice surprise when US News and World Reports included High Schools in their yearly ranking analysis, and we found that our very own Manheim Township High School was a winner.  Believe me, it's not something we already didn't know!  Usually reserved for higher education and Colleges, this year U.S. News and World Reports decided to analyze over 18,700 high schools in over 40 states in their 2008 report.  Of the high schools they analized, they narrowed it down to the top 505 schools, awarding Gold, Silv...
Residents of East Hempfield Township have been placing "NO to TND" signs in their front yards for months now.  And they're concerns have been heard! Kudos to the East Hempfield Township supervisors, who voted unanimously to discontinue any further studies for the TND (Traditional Neighborhood Development) that builder & developer Charter Homes & Neighborhoods was hoping to build.  The plan was for Charter Homes to build more than 3,000 homes and a large commercial center on 309 acres in East Hempfield.  What they considered to be a "neighborhood" development, many residents feared would actually turn into a logistical nightmare. Some of the concerns also centered around how the Hempfield School District would accomodate such a large influx of students -- understandably a major concern f...
By Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
(Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA)
Comments 42
What Future For This Historic Lancaster PA Farm House? For years I have passed this vacant and boarded up stone farm house on Charlestown Road, Lancaster, PA.                             When I first saw it, there was farm land on both sides of the road.                                                    Now there are commercial property and municipal projects nearby.                                                     This is the old barn on the property.                      There is a matching stone outbuilding next to the farm house.  Perhaps it once was a carriage house.                                 The style of the farm house indicates that it was probably built circa 1780 or 1790, during or shortly after the American Revolution.  One can only imagine how much history this home...
Lancaster City landlords -- listen up!  Realtors need cooperative tenants and cooperative landlords in order to sell your listed Lancaster City investment properties.  I was showing some multi-unit investment properties today in Lancaster City.  Some were kept in fairly good condition considering these properties are well over a century old.  Others are clearly in need of some maintenance.  These were mid-priced investment properties in popular areas of downtown Lancaster City.    Landlords, my question to some of you is:  Do you do anything to maintain these homes?  I know that Lancaster City is stomping down on "slumlords" and Mayor Gray has a hard-at-work rental taskforce, that we are all going to be very appreciative of.  I have to admit that the properties I viewed today are not on...

Lancaster, PA Real Estate Professionals