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Northwood Realty Blog

Trending Real Estate comments and news from a trending Real Estate company.

Announcing Youth Hockey Mom of the Year contest

Announcing Youth Hockey Mom of the Year contest

The only thing tougher than a hockey player is a hockey mom. They do early morning rides to the rink, spend countless hours watching practices and games, cheer on every big play and those times when it just isn't your day, but most of all, they are always a great role model. 

Northwood Realty Services is proud to announce in partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins the Youth Hockey Mom of the Year contest as a tribute to the great hockey moms of the region. We want to recognize and celebrate all their hard work, commitment and dedication "Youth Hockey Mom of the Year" contest. Read the NHL’s story about it.

You can nominate your favorite mom by submitting a 300-word online essay on her behalf at www.pittsburghpenguins.com/hockeymoms

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We’re the Official REALTOR® of the Pittsburgh Penguins®

We’re the Official REALTOR® of the Pittsburgh Penguins®

We are happy to announce we have been named the Official REALTOR® of the Pittsburgh Penguins®.  This exciting partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins®  includes brand integration throughout PPG Paints Arena and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, broadcast and online inclusion, and the launch of the “Hockey Mom of the Year” contest. Find out more in the full press release.

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Better Home Buying and Selling: Introducing Northwood’s Find Buyers Program

Better Home Buying and Selling: Introducing Northwood’s Find Buyers Program

We’re excited to announce a new technology offering that’s completely unique to the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio real estate markets. Created in partnership with industry leader Buyside, Northwood’s Find Buyers program is a custom-designed home valuation tool that combines sophisticated predictive analytics with our agents’ local expertise. It delivers real-time, comprehensive data to more effectively match qualified home sellers and buyers.

With Northwood’s Find Buyers program, you can get property value estimates for your home, or any property; track local real estate search activity, and measure potential demand for properties. It also helps our agents identify potential home buyers and assists with home pricing.

Read the full Northwood’s Find Buyers program press release to learn more, or start your home valuation now by visiting: http://northwood.findbuyers.com.

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How to Boost Curb Appeal in a Day

How to Boost Curb Appeal in a Day

Adding the latest outdoor trends to help sell your home is ideal, but if you’re short on time, you need to prioritize! Fortunately, many simple projects focusing on your home’s exterior can be accomplished quickly, and without a substantial investment. Check out these easy outdoor quick fixes. They can help boost your curb appeal to result in a faster sale and higher ‘sold price.’

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What’s Hot Outside? The Latest Outdoor Living Trends

What’s Hot Outside? The Latest Outdoor Living Trends

Today’s home buyers are more discerning than ever. Particularly during warm weather months, you need to start from the outside in to get their attention. Take a look at the latest outdoor living trends for inspiration and ideas you can incorporate to make your home even more attractive.

From natural materials and entertainment features to low maintenance landscaping, these trends will help you match your property with what today’s buyers want. Even if you aren’t selling your home right now, the ideas can help you make the most of your outdoor space! Learn the latest outdoor trends.

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Meet Our Northwood Family of Services for All Your Home Buying and Selling Needs

Meet Our Northwood Family of Services for All Your Home Buying and Selling Needs

More than ever, today’s consumers are seeking “one-stop shopping” for their real estate needs, according to a 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) study. In fact, 50 percent of recent buyers said they used one source for home-buying services, compared to 29 percent in 2008. Many brokers are now starting to bundle services in response to this demand.

At Northwood, we’ve always believed in the benefits of offering all the real estate services you need under one roof. That’s why over the past 60 years, we’ve built a comprehensive team of proven, trusted partners. We can provide you with financing, insurance, settlement services and home warranties through our Northwood Family of Services.

Our agents and partner companies work together all the time, so you can benefit from experts who know how coordinate services every step along the way. According to a NAR study, 74 percent of consumers believe that using the one-stop shopping approach “makes the home-buying process more efficient and manageable.” Both our agents and our customers agree that working with our partners saves time, energy, and often can reduce costs. With Northwood, you always have the flexibility of employing any one, or all of our partners, depending on your unique situation.

"When I used Northwood to buy and sell a home, I was surprised by how smoothly everything went. After 30 years, I was ready to have someone else mow the grass. When I found the perfect townhouse, my agent was excellent. Despite multiple offers, mine was the one that was accepted! Then, from timing to pricing, to making it look its best to potential buyers, she guided me through the selling process. Her knowledge and experience paid off – my old house sold the very first day! I even used Northwood’s affiliated mortgage and settlement companies, which were great. I felt that everyone was on the same page and that I had my own ‘team’ behind me every step of the way."
~ Kristine A., Northwood Customer

Meet the businesses and partners that comprise our Northwood Family of Services:


Financing
West Penn Financial (Pennsylvania) and People First (Ohio) provide the expertise to help you obtain the best mortgage loan possible for your individual needs. These teams deliver personalized attention to help you navigate through the mortgage process.

Insurance
Through insurance services provided by Everest Insurance, Northwood makes homeowner’s insurance available to homebuyers, plus auto and life coverage as needed.

Home Warranty
Northwood Home Warranty services, provided through 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, provides extra protection for a home’s major systems and appliances.

Closing
Closing represents the moment when seller-to-buyer agreements come together. The team at Everest Settlement ensures that the process of transferring property is handled smoothly and professionally.

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Northwood Honors Hockey Moms

Northwood Honors Hockey Moms

In late 2015, we announced Northwood's "Youth Hockey Mom of the Year" as a new contest that pays tribute to the great moms in our region. These moms take constant early morning (and sometimes late night) rides to the rink, spend countless hours watching practices and games, and they're exceptional role models in the communities where they live.

We designed the contest to recognize and celebrate their outstanding efforts to their families and the community. Recipients are honored and presented gifts in front of their family and team, and Northwood makes a significant donation to the youth hockey organization of their choice.

We were thrilled to receive nominations for so many amazing hockey moms in the area. Visit the winners page to read about all the hockey moms honored in the inaugural contest. 

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Taking the First Step: Career and Motherhood

Taking the First Step: Career and Motherhood

Last year, we hosted an event to introduce five of our Northwood Moms to an amazing group of mom bloggers through The Motherhood.com.  We recently connected with these amazing moms to share some tips for their followers who may be interested in exploring a real estate career.

Some of our agents have talked about how daunting it was to take the first step, and we figured the mom bloggers may have some insights from their own work/life experiences.  In response, these moms wrote posts that speak from the heart about choices they've made in career and motherhood.  They are sure to inspire you, too. You can read them all here.

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On the Go? VoicePad Technology Makes Mobile Searches Easier.

On the Go?  VoicePad Technology Makes Mobile Searches Easier.

In 2015, Google announced that mobile searches exceeded desktop searches for the first time ever. This fact has a big impact on buying and selling homes. Home listings are constantly changing, and people want accurate, immediate information -- anytime and anywhere.

To address this challenge, Northwood is now the only real estate broker in the region to use the power of VoicePad technology, which is designed to improve listing details and make it easier to search from any mobile device. Northwood is leveraging VoicePad services in two ways:

 First, imagine you are driving down the street and you see an interesting home with a Northwood Realty "For Sale" sign. To get more details immediately, you can call the number at the top of the yard sign and give the street address. You’ll hear a recording that gives the latest specifications of that property.  Want to talk to someone about the property immediately?  You can get connected with the listing agent while you're still on the call.  You can call the number anytime, day or night whether you're right outside the property or even after you are in your own home.  

 In addition, Northwood is making it easier for consumers to search listings while on the go with GPS-enabled software. Just use your mobile device to search from your current location to find homes for sale and open houses happening near you. Our mobile listings provide information for every home that is in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The information is updated every 15 minutes so you can get the latest details. Want to learn more? Just ask us!

 

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Despite Slow First Quarter, Residential Real Estate Market Still Looks Positive In Western PA

Despite Slow First Quarter, Residential Real Estate Market Still Looks Positive In Western PA

Plan on a strong year for the local real estate market in Western Pennsylvania, even though the first quarter was slightly slow. At Northwood Realty Services, we are constantly assessing conditions that indicate what we can expect to happen in the market. In April, I provided an analysis of the first quarter and took a look ahead for the rest of 2016.  Here are highlights:

  • While real estate sales in Western PA were down slightly in the first quarter 2016 over last year, we believe mortgage rates will continue to stay relatively low. We see that as a positive factor for the rest of the year.

  • We estimate two .25% rate increases by the Federal Reserve this year, most likely coming in June and late fall.  Slight rate increases often motivate people to buy more quickly, as they don’t want to lose an opportunity for a good rate. 

  • We also see indicators of positive wage growth, which is a huge component of real estate sales. Combining higher wages with a reduction in gas prices means people have more income to spend on housing. 

  • Home prices in the market continue to remain stable and are very affordable, based on ratio of price to local income. 

  • Higher priced homes saw a decline in sales during the first quarter of 2016, but we expect more demand in the luxury home market by the second quarter.  

  • Given all these factors, we project that the region’s overall home sales will be up about 5% over last year in the second quarter.  

Read the full press release here.

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New Year - New Career

Last year, we hosted an event to introduce five of our Northwood Moms to an amazing group of mom bloggers through The Motherhood.com. We had such positive conversations that night, and the bloggers continued to inspire us by recapping what they discussed about balancing career and motherhood.

In the spirit of a ""new year - new career," we reconnected with these amazing moms to share some tips for their followers who may be interested in exploring a real estate career. Some of our agents have talked about how daunting it was to take the first step, and we figured the mom bloggers may have some helpful insights from their own work/life experiences.

Of course these dynamo moms didn’t disappoint. Their posts speak from the heart about the choices they’ve made in career and motherhood:

"...it can be difficult to know what to expect and how to succeed, especially if you re-enter the workforce after becoming a mom."
- Heather, Diary of a First Time Mom

Having hard set goals, envisioning them and then finally achieving them is the only way to go about success.
- Maria, Adventures of the Mommy Homemaker

All-in-all it made me realize that while I needed a break to re-energize, I was doing the very best I could.
- Muffy, Brown Mamas

The bottom line is this, just because you might choose to stay at home with your children, you don’t have to lose your identity. You can be a mother as well as a successful businesswoman.
- Rachel, Third Stop on the Right

These moms also reinforced something we’ve known all along: Moms are great employees. Their comments make us extra proud to know that we are a company that really means it when we say "Moms Welcome" at Northwood!

Employers that help women be both amazing mothers and amazing employees are rewarded with the retention, rather than loss, of talent.
- Brynne, Femme Frugality

"Who better to practice patience and grace under pressure than moms?"
- Kelly, Pgh Momtourage

For companies looking to protect profitability and morale by retaining valuable employees and reducing turnover, a policy of flexibility shouldn’t come with strings attached.
- The Motherhood, Work Life Balance

Chaton’s post may have summed it up best about how we operate at Northwood:

"Moms Welcome" is a refreshing slogan that promises that working moms are part of the plan and not an afterthought.
- Chaton, Chaton’s World

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How to Stage a House That’s Alive with Kids

How to Stage a House That’s Alive with Kids

As Realtor.com reports, selling a home while you’re still living in it isn’t easy, but selling a home when you still live in it AND have kids is infinitely harder. To get the most offers (and the best deal), you’ll have to present your home as a blank canvas anyone could love and not just a home fit for kids. Here’s how to pull it off.

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Make Your Home Appealing to All Five Senses with These Tips

Make Your Home Appealing to All Five Senses with These Tips

No matter the size or style of your home, there are a whole range of small things you can do to make it more appealing to aspiring homeowners (and help you lock in a sale!). Housecall from RIS Media suggests that you can inspire a potential buyer by connecting with them through each of their five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Here's how to get started.

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Get Neighborhood Insider Intelligence with ePropertyWatch

ePropertyWatchWant to stay up to date on the value of your home, transactions in your neighborhood, and overall real estate trends in your area? Now you can with ePropertyWatch – a new FREE service available on www.northwood.com. You can monitor your home's changing value and all that’s happening in real estate around you – at no cost.

Neighborhood changes can affect your family. ePropertyWatch will tell you about new neighbors, foreclosures in your neighborhood, the number of homes for sale, pricing and mortgage trends in your zip code. See detailed maps and lists of nearby sales and foreclosures. Learn how your home value is calculated.

Just select your own home or multiple homes – anywhere – that may interest you. Then choose to receive a customized report every two or four weeks, or log in anytime to get immediate updates. Sign up for ePropertyWatch and in minutes you’ll have the inside track on what’s happening in your neighborhood.

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Why 2016 Will Be a Great Year for Local Real Estate

Every year, I spend some time in January to reflect on what we can learn from the previous year and what we can expect for the New Year in the local real estate market. In a recent press release), I was happy to report that 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years yet for the market. My forecast calls out key factors that paint a positive picture:

  1. We have a stable local economy. While we’ve seen some slowing in the energy industry locally, technology companies are continuing to move in. In fact, the Huffington Post just cited in “Top 10 Cities Techies Should Consider Moving to In 2016.
  2. Interest rates will remain historically low, even if we experience a few modest rate hikes this year. Low interest rates mean that homebuyers in 2016 will have significantly more buying power.
  3. Increase in Wages: As unemployment – and underemployment -- drops locally, it will force employers to give raises they may have been holding back. Greater earnings enable employees to afford a more expensive home.
  4. Higher confidence in the market among buyers translates into a higher comfort level for investing in a larger home.
  5. We’re also expecting an ease in credit restrictions. As lenders get more comfortable with increased government regulation, they’ll broaden their lending profile criteria.
  6. Since 2016 is a presidential election year, we may see some increased federal government spending, which buoys consumer confidence and also puts a few more dollars in consumers’ pockets.
  7. Some stock market worries about foreign economies and fears about low oil prices are actually good for the average homeowner. Lower energy costs mean more disposable dollars and international concerns may mean that the Fed will probably be slower with any rate hikes, which would keep mortgage rates low.

If you are thinking about moving in the near future, you should consider buying in 2016 so you can get a more expensive home for a lower payment. If you wait to purchase until next year or later when rates are higher, you may end up buying less house for the same amount of payment.

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Moms Make Superstar Real Estate Agents

Many of our most successful agents have something in common: they are moms. When you think about it, the traits of a great mom are the same characteristics that make up a superstar real estate agent. Moms are smart, compassionate, savvy multi-taskers who genuinely care about helping others. They know how to make things happen! For a mom looking to re-enter the workforce, becoming a real estate agent is an ideal option.

Our mom agents say that a career in real estate allows them to combine a flexible schedule with unlimited income potential, so they can adjust their own work/life balance. We love helping moms pursue this career option, so earlier this year we started a “Moms Welcome” initiative at Northwood.

To help kick it off, we invited 10 mom bloggers from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio to meet with five of our Northwood Moms. Over some snacks and desserts, the bloggers and Northwood moms got to know each other by trading stories about balancing career and motherhood. Our moms shared their experiences of being a real estate agent while maintaining hectic family lives. The conversations were full of helpful tips and plenty of funny antidotes ("…and how big is your laundry pile?"). The bloggers later posted highlights about what they gained from the discussions.

Are you a mom thinking of a career outside of the home? Take a look at what these mom bloggers discussed with our Northwood moms. Their shared insights about balancing life, family and a real estate profession just might encourage you to explore a new career option!

"Beautiful conversation about what it's REALLY like trying to balance career and motherhood. Go be inspired before you dig into your week, mommas!"
- Brynne, Femme Frugality

"…it was encouraging to see a bunch a smiling working moms who actually like their jobs and believe that it makes them better."
- Chaton, Chaton’s World

"We talked shop: motherhood, life, jobs, and how to make it all work as Northwood for Moms really know and experience the truest level of letting life come together…"
- Dana, Lavishly Living Life Out Loud

"The number one tip–set up a support system. Recruit family and friends to your super team instead of exhausting yourself trying to be a super woman."
- Heather, Diary of a First Time Mom

"The top two reasons they all agreed that it was the best job EVER? Flexibility + the sky is the limit on your salary!"
- Kelly, Pgh Momtourage

"We all learned some valuable lessons throughout our conversations. These women truly understand the sacrifice that all moms and women make to achieve theirs and their family’s goals."
- Maria, Adventures of the Mommy Homemaker

"Hearing her made me think about the little things we do daily in our careers, homes and with our families that pass the legacy of good living down to our children."
- Muffy, Brown Mamas

"They spoke with so much passion when they shared their reasons for joining Northwood Realty. The one thing that was a constant in the conversation was the way they were treated, and how the company understood moms."
- Nicole, Champagne to Crayons

"Northwood doesn’t just accept that some women happen to become moms, but instead specifically recruits moms to become part of their team. With an acute appreciation that working moms are extremely organized, loyal, and driven, Northwood has really hit the mark with their corporate culture."
- Nicole, Mediterranean Baby

"This road of motherhood is hard and we can’t do it alone. We all need a hand every now and again, and lets look no further than our fellow moms!"
- Rachel, Third Stop on the Right

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Moms Welcome!

A Place for Moms

At Northwood Realty Services, we genuinely feel we’re the ideal place for Moms. We understand and respect the dedication, hard work and purpose Moms bring to every task and challenge they take on. Their devotion and passion goes beyond the home and is a vital fabric of the Northwood identity. We are a family and we promote family values. This blog is dedicated to the Moms that help make us who we are. We hope you enjoy their stories and wisdom.

 

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