Monday, January 23, 2017


Growth in Community. Business. Self

    Society has hit a tipping point. There are only two mindsets we can choose to adopt for the remainder of our time on this planet. We can choose to focus on the positive or the negative of each situation. From my experience it seems a majority of the population has decided to spread the latter.

    Changing this epidemic must start by promoting change within ourselves. Moving forward, I will be focusing everything in my life around the mindset of GROWTH. First, we must strengthen our self purpose which will lead to stronger businesses and in turn allows us to give more back to our communities. 

    Starting this year I will do business as a reflection of gratitude. By focusing on helping people with no expectation of future returns I will be doing my part. For anyone who trusts me with their business I will donate a portion of the commission to a local charity of their choice. In addition to giving back to the community financial I also pledge to give time each month towards a project that betters our local community. 

   If you found value in my thoughts I would ask that you share this with your friends and family. If each of us do something small each day to promote positivity the world will be a better place tomorrow.

***Any recommendations of local charities that you support would be much appreciated. I plan on making a list of charities for my clients to choose from if they do not have one already in mind.

Chris Lawlor
Realtor @ Coldwell Banker Heritage

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why invest in Multi-family properties?

1. Cash Flow

Your monthly cash flow will always be greater in Multi-family as opposed to single family investments if purchased at market value.

The more unit you have under one roof, the less risk you take on. When you lose a tenant in a single family property you lose 100% of the income.

2. Economy of scale

If you have six single family houses opposed to one six family, you have six roofs to be replaced or repaired, six lawns to be maintain, six tenants spread out through out your city or town

In your six family you have one roof, one lawn and your tenants are centrally located. Economies of scale are in your favor.

3. Less competition

There’s a lot less competition than there are in single family houses. Why? Because no one is out there teaching how to do it and all the single family guru’s make flipping single family houses sound as easy as chewing gum. The smart investors put multi-units in their portfolios along with single family houses.

4. Property managementthe operation, control, and oversight of real estate.

With the bigger cash flows, you can afford to hire management companies to manage your tenants, thus eliminating that hassle. The thought of having to deal with tenants at all hours of the day is why most people do not invest in real estate.

5. Debt Reduced by property income

The debt on the property will be reduced by the income of the property’s net operating income, NOI. NOI is figured by the gross income less all expenses before debt. The NOI will sufficiently fund the debt payments thereby reducing the debt balance and creating equity.

6. Multiply Asset Value through Leverage

Another important characteristic of commercial real estate investing is the ability to place debt on the asset which is several times the original equity. This allows you to buy more assets with less money and significantly multiply asset value. $100,000 can buy $300-$400k in property.

7. Appreciation of Asset Value

Income producing Real Estate Investments have historically provided excellent appreciation in value that meet and exceed other investment types. Properties historically increase in value as the net operating income of the property improves through rent increases and more effective management of the asset.

While no one can ensure the future of rents or income properties’ values this asset class seems positioned to continue to benefit from a number of other social economic issues that I will save for another time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Millennials vs. Home ownership
    Why is it that the largest and best educated generation in American history makes up the smallest buying segment of the real estate market? The obvious answer is the increase in student debt, but is there more to it? 
      Developers and local builders seem to be looking past the millenials all together. Most new construction, especially in the Lehigh Valley, seems to be catering to the aging baby boomers. There has been an increase in 55+ communities as well as the $400,000+ new construction homes. Both of which do not fit the needs of the millennial buyers who are able and willing to buy. 
    Surveys by the National Association of Home Builders show that less than 20% of new construction in recent years has been for entry-level properties. Before the recession, that share typically hovered around 30%. More than half of single-family houses sold in recent years have been 2400 sq ft or larger, compared with about 40% a decade ago.
 With limited options, millennials have turned to renting instead of home ownership. The problem is rental values have increased faster than any time before. In just the past 12-months rents have increased just over 2% nationwide. First-time home buyers could purchase a 3 bedroom home with roughly 1500 sq ft. for a lower monthly mortgage payment than current rents on a 2 bedroom apartment. So why aren't more millennials purchasing homes?
     There is a lack of information on mortgage rates, home affordability, and how much down payment money is needed to buy a home. With the help of sellers assisting in buyers closing costs (which occurs in a majority of home sales) and mortgage programs that allow as little as 3.5% (in some cases even 0% down payments) buyers can get into a home for a few dollars more than most security deposits required to rent.
     Instead of paying your landlord's mortgage payment, start build equity for yourself. If you would like more information on the different options available for first-time home buyers please message me directly.

Chris Lawlor
Coldwell Banker Heritage
Cell: 484-560-3226

Monday, September 22, 2014

Continued Improvement: A Market on the rise

     After a strong 4th Quarter in 2013, this year started with a fizzle. Most of this can be attributed to the frigidly cold winter that hit the entire Northeast. Starting in March the housing market started to pick up steam and never slowed down. Existing-home sales have risen for 5 straight months and in July hit the highest pace of the year.
     Jobs are always important for home sales, and over the past year we have seen jobs grow by over 2.6 million. Even with a strong economy that is producing many new jobs the interest rates refuse to increase.
     The inventory shortage is also improving, inventory hit a 2-year high in the month of July. Most buyers like to view between 12-15 homes on average before they choose "the one." The increase in homes on the market allows todays buyers to find more of the options they are looking for during their search. What's even better, all-cash investors are stepping back, which allows the first-time home buyer a better chance of getting into the market.
     The bottom of the market has much less of a strangle hold on our area. Distressed property sales       (REO and short sales) are at their lowest point since 2008. The national average of distressed sales this July was 9%, down from 15% the same time last year. Also, the taxpayer funds used to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been fully paid back.
    The housing market is steadily improving, and the growth potential remains strong thanks to pent-up-demand. For all of the reasons stated above the NAR (National association on Realtors) predicts growth in four of the next five years nationally. The one down year simply reflects the fact that data never moves in a straight line in any direction.

Chris Lawlor
Coldwell Banker Heritage

Monday, June 2, 2014

What is my home worth?

      As a realtor, I have realized everyone has the same question for me. What is my home worth? Understanding what your home is worth can help you decide whether or not to sell, how to price your property, and whether your property is holding its value.

      When trying to get a better understanding of what your home is worth, you should first consider getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) performed by a knowledgeable, local realtor. A market analysis takes into consideration many different market factors to come up with a target range of what your home is worth. There are four main categories used when preparing a CMA.

1. Available Listings- These properties are your home's direct competition. The price of your home will not be directly determined by this category because these homes have not yet sold. Market Value is only determined by homes that have already sold in the current market (90-180 Days).

2. Pending Sales- These were previously active listings that have an accepted offer on them but have not yet closed and settled. Once again these homes will not directly determine the value of your home but they will help paint a picture of where the market is heading

3. Sold Listings- Homes that have closed in the last 3-6 months are your comparable sales. These homes are the ones an appraiser will use to determine your home's appraised value. These are the most important homes in determining the current value of your home.

4.Expired Listings-This group will reflect the highest median sales price because they did not sell and were probably unreasonably priced. Some of the expired listings could also show up as an active listing, listed by a new agent at a new price. Listings also expire because they were not aggressively marketed or because the home was in need of repairs.

Call me today for a Free Market Analysis.

Chris Lawlor
Coldwell Banker Heritage

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

First Time Home Buyers

Finding and Financing a Home Made Simple

The Financing Process

  • Determine your budget and how much you can afford.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage using a reputable local lender.
  • Gather the documents you will need. (Listed in photo =>)

Deciding on a Mortgage

Differences in Fixed and Adjustable Interest Rates
  • Fixed Rate Mortgage: The interest rate stays the same for the entire term of the loan.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage: The interest rate is linked to a financial index and may fluctuate with market conditions
Types of Mortgages
  • FHA- These loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a government agency. The borrower pays a monthly mortgage insurance to protect the lender incase the borrower defaults. A lower down payment is required for FHA loans (only 3.5%) and borrowers can ask for as much as 6% towards their closing costs. However, the monthly mortgage insurance last for the life of the loan.
  • Conventional- These loans are secured by investors, therefore not insured like FHA or guaranteed like VA. A down payment of 5% is required to secure a conventional loan. There is almost a monthly mortgage insurance with these loans, however it drops off once the borrower reaches 20% equity. Borrowers can ask for as much as 3% from the seller to assist with closing costs.
  • VA- These loans are guaranteed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. VA loans are available to active and retired Veterans and their surviving spouses (assuming they have not remarried). If you qualify VA loans allow veterans to acquire a loan with 0% down.
* There are many other options available for financing, these are the most popular choices.

Calculating Your Budget

To estimate your budget, add up your total financial worth (Money saved for purchase)and then subtract all the cost in the purchase.

Some expenses you may carry:
  • Down Payment
  • Mortgage Payments
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
The Home Search Begins

Some things your should consider when searching for homes:

  • Size of the property
  • Type of neighborhood you desire
  • Quality of School system
  • Nearby transportation
  • Urban or Suburban
If you want to get started searching online TODAY click the following link: Home Buyer Search
This website gives you a secure login and password to allow you to search the Multiple Listing Service. You can get directions, view maps of the area, and even set up showings through the site.

Writing the Offer

Once you have found the perfect home, I will write up the offer and ensure all paperwork and activities are completed so you can close on your property.

The Closing

This is where the transaction is finalized. I will guide you through all closing procedures to make your home officially yours.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Foreclosures….What you need to know

Foreclosure is a legal process in which the mortgage lender makes an attempt to recover the balance of an unpaid loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments. The lender forces the sale of the home as collateral for the loan. The major difference from a traditional home sale or even a short sale is the home-owner no longer has possession of the house. If you are thinking about buying a foreclosure in the future there are a few things you need to know.

1. Get Pre-qualified

You should always get a letter of pre-qualification before you start your home searching process. This is especially important when searching the foreclosure market. Foreclosures are a very competitive market, since so many people are looking for a bargain. When you have already been pre-quailified for the purchase price of a particular property your offer looks stronger than your competition.

2. Budget for Repairs

Most foreclosures are sold in "as-is" condition. This means the bank will not make needed repairs to the property before the sale. The bank usually prices the foreclosed home at a price that reflects the needed repairs, so there is not usually much room for negotiations. Of course, you should always attempt to get a lower price.

3. Do Your Research

Pick an area you are interested in and do research on what comparable homes are selling for. Make sure you choose homes that have recently sold in the area that are as close as possible to that property. Some things you should focus on are : # of bedrooms, # bathrooms, square feet, school district, lot size, days on the market, etc.

4. Ask for Closing Cost Assistance

Since the bank is usually unwilling to make any necessary repairs you should have your realtor ask for the bank to help with closing costs. You have a decent chance of getting some of the closing costs taken care of by the bank. This will allow you to keep more money in your pocket to make repairs after settlement of the home.

5. Get a Home-Inspection

Even if the home is being sold "as-is" make sure you have a home inspection contingency written into the agreement of sale. This protects you incase there are major repairs that were unseen during your time looking through the home.

* To receive a list of the current bank owned properties in you area contact me TODAY.*

Chris Lawlor
Realtor @ Coldwell Banker Heritage
cell: 484-560-3226
office: 610-250-8880 ext. 350