The Pros & Cons of a Buyer’s Letter: Standing Out in a Busy Market

Imagine, after weeks of searching, that you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s in the perfect location with the right features and exactly the amount of space you need. But after requesting more information, your agent informs you that there are already several offers made on the house. How do you stand out in a busy market and snag your dream home?

When buyers are looking to make a lasting impression on sellers, they often opt to submit a letter to the seller. In fact, a recent study found that buyers who submitted letters were 9% more likely to have their offer accepted.

A Buyer’s Letter can work both with you and against you, so it’s important to understand what they are and when you should use one.

What is a Buyer’s Letter?

A man typing on a laptopA Buyer’s Letter is pretty much what it sounds like — a letter written by the buyer for the seller in order to stand out in a busy market. The letter is your chance to make a case for why you should get the home over other buyers.

Many people opt to write about how they envision their lives in the home, how well they would take care of it, how much owning this specific home would mean to them, and similar sentiments.

You might also use this space to talk yourself up, bringing up steady finances, your down payment, and job security — things geared towards making the seller confident in choosing you.

Advantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A man and a woman shaking handsA Buyer’s Letter sets you apart from the crowd and makes you more than just an offer on a sheet of paper — it allows you to connect with the seller on a personal level. In a constantly growing and changing market, being able to stand out or connect puts you a big step ahead of other buyers.

Is the home close to a golf course? Does the seller have bikes in their garage? Are there signs of pets in the home? If you notice you have common interests, including them in the Buyer’s Letter can elevate your standing.

When you choose to forgo a Buyer’s Letter, you miss out on the chance to advocate for yourself, which can go a long way in the seller’s final decision.

Disadvantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A woman writing in a notebook. While there are plenty of pros to using a Buyer’s Letter, there are also pitfalls to consider. Making your case is great, but it does give the seller leverage. If you really love the house as much as you say, then what’s to stop the seller from raising the asking price?

Maybe the seller accepts your offer, and you move to the home inspection stage. If issues turn up, then the seller might refuse to make costly repairs, assuming that you’ll buy the house no matter what.

Another unexpected con of a buyer’s letter? It can be tricky for sellers to navigate around discrimination issues. If a seller picks a buyer of a certain race, religion, gender, or family status instead of another, they could face backlash. Be aware of this when writing your letter so as to not put the seller in an uncomfortable position.

Need Help Standing Out?

If you’re kicking off the home-buying process and need help standing out, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you secure your dream home, and answer any and all of your questions in the process.

New Year, New & Improved Home Value

Happy 2019! What do you want to accomplish in the New Year? If you’re thinking seriously about selling your home this year, or just want to add some value to your property, then it’s time to make a game plan for 2019.

You don’t have to break the bank to build your home equity; there are a number of small, easy projects you can do to increase your home’s value. And bonus: they’re indoor-only, so you can get started right away!

Here are three DIY, cost-effective ways to add value to your home.

Update Your Kitchen

Light-filled kitchen with hanging light fixture.Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. It’s just a fact. If you’re aiming to add value to your entire home, start with these areas.

In the kitchen, refinish wooden cabinets or use a faux-wood finish on non-wood cabinets to give them an updated look. You can also replace your sink with a trendy single-basin fit and sprayer nozzle, and upgrade your appliances to stainless-steel.

With just a few small updates, you can have your whole kitchen feeling brand new!

Give Your Bathroom a Facelift

New construction bathroom with a soaking tub and granite countertop.Let’s head to the bathroom. With a few small upgrades, you can have your entire bathroom feeling like new.

Consider installing a low-flush toilet, updating your faucets, updating your flooring, re-caulking your bathtub, and even replacing the vanity. Strike the perfect balance between energy-efficient upgrades and aesthetic finishes to create a space that’s peaceful, luxurious, and comfortable.

Bring Some Light Into Your Home

Chandelier light fixture.Consider replacing all the lights (and light switches) in your home for a more modern aesthetic. Swap out traditional light switches with dimmers, install wall-mounted lights in your bathroom for a more luxurious feel, and be sure you’re using high-wattage bulbs in every room.

Adding light to your home will instantly make it appear more open and spacious.

Planning to Sell Your Home in the New Year?

We can help with that. Give us a call to begin exploring your real estate options. We’d love to share some additional tips on how to add even more value to your home!

Art, Dinos, Adventures and More: Check Out Local Events this Month

2019 is finally here, and the MacDonald Team would like to officially wish you a happy New Year! Whether you’ve committed to getting more active, drinking an extra bottle of water daily, or making sure you get 8 hours of sleep every night, we hope your resolutions are going well.

A new year is a time for new beginnings, and what better way to kick off the year than by investing in your community? The Main Line and Center City neighborhoods are packed full of events this month, so get out and get involved as you welcome 2019!

Watson Adventures

Two women on their phonesWatson Adventures is a company that hosts scavenger hunts all around the country, using challenges and clues to help participants explore their community and build relationships. During the month of January, Watson Adventures will be hosting two different hunts, on the 12th and the 26th.

The first Watson event’s theme is Munch around the Market, and participants will explore Reading Terminal Market and Chinatown, sampling a variety of foods and solving clever clues. The second event conjures up a Wizard School theme, perfect for any Harry Potter lovers! Prices for each event varies, so make sure to buy your tickets online beforehand.

Hand-Crafted Holiday and Ornament Market

A festive handmande ornament Although the holidays are over, the Hand-Crafted Holiday and Ornament Market is the perfect chance to snag that special piece before the holiday season starts next year. Hosted at the Clay Studio, the market only runs until January 13th.

Get out and support local art as artists Alex Stadler and Kim Kamens share their handmade ornaments, ceramic objects, treats, and holiday decor. Don’t forget to grab one of the Limited Edition Holiday Ornament, designed by Pew award-winner Lauren Mabry.

Dinos After Dark

A miniature dinosaur fossilEnjoy a night at the museum with the Dinos After Dark event. Hosted at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Dinos After Dark features board games, a beer garden, tasty food, and special dino-themed exhibits in the Dino Hall. Although there will be alcohol at the event, it’ll still be totally family-friendly!

The museum’s admission for the night will be pay-what-you-wish, although the suggested price is $10. Other major happenings of the night will include a bug show, talks with scientists, crafts, scavenger hunts, and more. Bring along the whole family or just enjoy a fun night out in the city, and celebrate all things Dino!

46th Annual Fine Arts Show & Sale

Rows of original artwork displayed on easelsHosted by the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, the art show and sale has been a long-standing tradition in Villanova. Over 100 artists will display their work at the exhibit, with a variety of mediums including oils, watercolor, paint, ceramics, glass, and more.

In addition to the weeklong exhibit, there will also be a catered reception to kick things off. The exhibit itself will be free, but those interested in the reception will have to purchase tickets. To learn more about this year’s featured artist and what the exhibit will include, check out the art show’s official site!

Find Your Home in the Main Line and Center City

Bustling community life awaits you in the Main Line and Center City — start the New Year off right by getting involved!

Are you looking to make a move to the area? As your local experts, the MacDonald Team is here to help. If you have any questions, would like more information, or are ready to get started, give us a call today!

Historic Meets Hip in Center City, A Community in the Heart of Philly

Are you looking for a home in the heart of Philly that combines the city’s historic past with its sophisticated future? Stretching from the Schuylkill River to the banks of the Delaware, Center City is home to some of the most popular attractions in the Philadelphia.

Chic shopping centers, historic plazas, luscious city parks — they all find their home in Center City. Explore a little more about this one-of-a-kind neighborhood, and let us help you find your home here, too.

Old City

The Liberty BellA neighborhood within a neighborhood, Old City is located within Center City and is packed full of national history and waterfront attractions. For example, did you know that both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall — not to mention places like the American Jewish History Museums and Constitution Center — are located in Old City? If you’re a history buff, then you can easily get lost for hours exploring this neighborhood.

If history isn’t really your scene, then Old City still has plenty to offer. The Delaware River Waterfront is home to tons of yearly events, stunning walkways, and a smattering of shops and restaurants. Check out a few of the can’t-miss sites and sounds along the Delaware River!

Rittenhouse Square

A city street in Philadelphia near Rittenhouse SquareWhen you live in Philadelphia, almost every part of the city has some sort of claim to historical significance, and Rittenhouse Square is no exception. A neighborhood that perfectly blends the historic with the modern, Rittenhouse is one of the five original squares mapped out by William Penn, the city’s founder.

Now known as upscale and exclusive, Rittenhouse Square is home to tons of top-notch restaurants, boutiques, and luxurious high-rise homes. Plus, the neighborhood is centered around a luscious city park, filled with cozy benches, shady trees, and immaculate landscaping. When you live in Center City, Rittenhouse Square is just one of the many attractions that are a stone’s throw away.

City Parks

A fountain in a city parkOld City and Rittenhouse Square offer a great blend of city amenities and small parks, but there are also plenty of stand-alone parks to explore in Center City. If you’re looking to lace up your shoes and enjoy a breath of fresh air, here are a few of the best parks in the area.

Dilworth Park is the latest edition in the city and has quickly become a hub for activity in the community. Enjoy the interactive fountain, on-site cafe, and active events calendar — featuring live music, festivals, and move screenings. For more of a traditional park experience, we recommend hitting the Sister Cities Park, which features gardens, ponds, and playgrounds.

Luxurious Homes

A modern loft in the cityIf the amenities of Center City aren’t enough of a highlight, then the homes will definitely grab your attention. Whether you’re looking for a historic brick-front townhouse or a modern high-rise loft, we can help you find your dream home in the heart of the city.

Homes in Center City offer exclusive features like hardwood floors and granite countertops, state-of-the-art appliances, exposed brick, and private balconies — not to mention some of the best views of the city. A few examples of amenities in the buildings include private parking and an automated parking system, expansive pools, modern fitness centers, and full spas.

Ready to see more? Explore a few of our favorite listings, and find your modern metropolitan home in Center City!

Let’s Get Started

If you’re looking for a neighborhood in the middle of big-city action that effortlessly maintains its historic charm, then Center City is the place for you. There’s truly no other place like it on Earth!

If you would like more information, have any questions, or would like to get started, don’t hesitate to contact the MacDonald Team today!

The Top Factors that Make the Main Line a Great Place to Call Home

If you’re looking to relocate to the Philadelphia area, don’t look any further than the Main Line. Taking its name from the Philadelphia Main Line Railroad that is spans across, the Main Line is comprised of some of the most luxurious neighborhoods in the state.

The Main Line offers a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural living, so there’s an ideal neighborhood for every lifestyle. Wondering what life in the Main Line could look like for you? Dive in to the top reasons why locals love the area, and find your new home in one of these communities today.

A Variety of Amenities

An art exhibit.Whether you settle down in Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, or Villanova, you’ll never be far from all of the amenities you need. Each community offers a variety of things to do, including movie theaters, shopping malls, five-star restaurants, and museums and galleries.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement, Philadelphia is never too far away. Take a trip into the city and enjoy visiting major attractions like the Philadelphia Mills shopping center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the weekly events in the iconic LOVE Park.

Stunning Parks

A person exploring the woods. A major selling point of the Main Line is living near the city, but there are also tons of natural areas to explore! Visit the historical sites, monuments, and meadows of the Revolutionary War site and national park, Valley Forge. For beautiful sites and sounds, explore the American College Arboretum or Chanticleer Gardens, both of which are known for their stunning and diverse array of flora and fauna.

Other smaller parks — like The Willows, Saw Mill Park, and Ithan ValleyPark — are scattered along the Main Line. These natural areas provide residents with access to hiking, fishing, picnicking and more!

Active Community Life

A Holi festival color celebration. Are you looking for a place where you can get involved with weekly, monthly, and annual events? The Main Line is always buzzing with celebrations, festivals, and performances that are open to the public. From expansive holiday markets to elaborate parades during every season of the year, there’s something happening every weekend on the Main Line.

The tight-knit, active community provided by the towns along the Main Line are hard to find anywhere else. Stay up-to-date with the community calendar so you don’t miss out on any of these events.

Breathtaking Homes

A beautiful new home. Are you looking for a multi-million dollar estate? A modest single-family home? Or perhaps a cozy townhome near the city? Whatever you need, the Main Line has it.

If you’re looking for luxurious living, explore some of the listings above one million dollars. These homes offer unique access to features like home theaters, marble floors, fitness centers, and wet bars. Many of these impressive listings are under 30 minutes from the heart of the city, and provide acres upon acres of privacy.

Is your style of living more suited to a private penthouse suite? We offer several different listings located in exclusive penthouse buildings that offer unbeatable city views. Enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows, luxurious amenities, and easy access to all that the heart of the city has to offer.

Find Your Main Line Home

The Main Line is one of the most unique collections of neighborhoods in the country. No matter what sort of home you’re looking for, you’re never far from the heart of the city. Explore more about the Main Line, and find your new home here today.

If you have any questions or want to set up a showing, feel free to contact the Macdonald Team today!

How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s start the new year off right. If you’ve been dreaming of a new home, it’s time to get started. Here’s a month-by-month guide to planning for and buying a new home. It’s about time to set your new year’s resolution, right?

January: Brush Up on Your Market Knowledge

Woman typing on a laptop with a paper pad and pen sitting next to her on the desk.The best way to get started? Brush up on your real estate knowledge. Scour the market with a fine-tooth comb. Check out things like current inventory in your city, average sales prices, and the listing-to-sales-price ratio.

This research will help you familiarize yourself with the market.

February: Address Your Budget

Let’s finalize our budget shall we? The easiest way to do this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a lender (let us know if you’d like a recommendation) to review your finances. The lender will go over your financial history, and then let you know what the bank is willing to lend you.

Now you have an idea of what your mortgage will be and what you can afford in a home.

March: Find Your Perfect Location

A park full of bright trees, each at a different stage in the fall process (one is red, one yellow, and one green).Do some soul searching. Where will you be happiest? Explore locations based on their job market, housing affordability, and overall quality of life. The goal is to narrow down your search to one city.

If you have the means, try to take some time off to go and visit a few cities. Once you find a city, it’s time to narrow your search down even further by pinpointing specific areas or neighborhoods that will best meet your needs.

April: Find the Right Agent

Find the right real estate agent to help you buy a home. Trust us: they’ll save you time, money, and more than a few headaches.

If you need any recommendations, let us know. We have more than a few ideas.

May: Define Your Dream Home

Luxurious living room with winding staircase, bright furniture, and hanging light fixtures.Now is the fun part! Start putting together a list of everything you want in your dream home. We recommend starting by defining your “must-have” features. Think of the things in your home you can’t live without. That’s a great place to start.

It’s also important to know the difference between “must-have” (i.e. you need 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) and “nice-to-haves” (it would be nice to have granite countertops but you can also live without them.)

June-July: Begin Searching

Use a handy home search tool like ours to begin browsing homes for sale in your target area. Once you find a home that you like, it’s time to schedule a tour.

Private home tours are often better than traditional open houses because you have more time to walk through the home, without the pressure of competing with other potential buyers.

At some point in your home-search journey, you’re likely to come across at least one home that calls your name.

August: Fall in Love and Make an Offer

Bright dining room with hardwood floor, small black table, modern decor, and a ceiling fan.You’ve found the one; now make an offer!

Work closely with your agent to compare recently sold homes in the area and craft the perfect offer.

Ask your agent for their advice—like whether or not they think the price is right for this home, as well as what other contingencies you might want to include in your offer. This is when your real estate agent will prove truly valuable: they’ll be able to provide useful insight in order to help you get the home of your dreams for the best possible price.

September: Schedule All the Things

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to negotiate with the seller, schedule an inspection, have your real estate agent complete any renegotiations (based on that inspection), and get the home appraised by a professional.

You’ll also have to take care of some more paperwork to finalize your mortgage loan.

October – December: Let’s Start Closing

Two adults reaching over a table to shake hands.Next, you’ll start the closing process.

Buckle up, because we’re in it for the long haul! Here’s where you’ll finalize your mortgage approval (this requires a ton of paperwork) and meet with an attorney to set closing dates and sign paperwork prior to closing. This is also the time when you’ll review closing fees and the exact monthly costs for your home.

At the end of it all comes the close. You’ll pay the remaining closing fees, sign all the paperwork, and collect your keys Congratulations! You just bought a home.

Ready to Begin?

We’re ready to help. Give us a call today to get started.