Lehigh Valley Real Estate News

Check out the latest news and interesting articles about what's going on in the Lehigh Valley!

Harbor freight is opening at Westgate mall

Oct. 14, 2022

What is an FHA home loan and how does it work?

FHA Home Loans and How To Get One

If you're considering buying a home it's important that you understand all of your different financing options. Most people don't realize that there are a few different types of Home loans. So let's start with an FHA mortgage and go through what that actually means to you.

What is an FHA Home Loan?

FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration. An FHA home loan is a federally insured mortgage. What does this mean? Well it means that the federal government will guarantee that Mortgage to the bank in case the borrower has trouble repaying a loan.

The purpose is the FHA home loan is to help people to qualify to buy a home or otherwise might not qualify. FHA is much more lenient with your credit scores, and much more flexible when it comes to your debt to income ratios. The guidelines for an FHA mortgage make it easier for the bank to approve you so that you can buy a home. 

Is it hard to get a FHA loan?

A common misconception is that most people think FHA is a first time homebuyer loan, but it's not. Anybody can Purchase a home with an FHA home loan, as long as they do not already have another FHA loan. You can only have one at a time. But you do not have to be a first time homebuyer.

Whats the difference between a convetional loan and an FHA Loan?

With a traditional or conventional mortgage, typically you're going to need a credit score closer to 700 and you're typically going to need between 10 and 20% down or, but with an FHA mortgage some banks will actually go as low as a 600 credit score and they will be much more lenient when calculating your debt to income ratios, meaning that you can have a higher debt level with an FHA home loan. 

What are the benefits of an FHA Home Loan?

The other benefit of an FHA loan is that if you do have a lower credit score you can still qualify for a competitive interest rate. For example if your credit score was maybe 640 or 660, it would be very difficult for you to qualify for a conventional mortgage, and even if you did you would get a much higher interest rate than what you would get with an FHA loan. 

How much is the down payment for an FHA mortgage?

OK that's another one of the nice features, with FHA you only need to put down 3.5% of the purchase price, whereas traditionally you might put down 10 or 20% with a conventional mortgage.

Which homes qualify for FHA?

That is a very important question, most people don't realize that the property itself must also qualify for FHA. It's all about the condition of the home. It's OK if the home is dated may need some TLC, however everything has to be safe and functioning. Some of the things that FHA may look for or peeling paint, they do not wanna see any peeling paint in the home. Missing handrails, that's a safety issue smoke detectors, grounded electrical outlets, FHA will also look at the condition of the roof to make sure it still has a few years of life left in it. 

How do you qualify for an FHA mortgage?

As with any mortgage, the basics still apply. Get togther your banks statements, paystubs, pay down your debt as much as you can, get together as much money as you can, then, like we said in some of our other articles about getting qualified, the first step is to choose a good real estate agent who has knowledge and experience working with buyers who purchased using an FHA home loan, and that agent will connect you with a reputable local lender who again is also familiar with the process. 

Here in the Lehigh Valley housing market there are many homes that may qualify for an FHA mortgage, if you'd like more information please feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to help!

Search FHA Homes For Sale

Oct. 13, 2022

How do I qualify to buy a house?

If you are a first time home buyer you're probably wondering how do you get qualified to buy a home?

For this artice, we're going to focus strictly on getting prequalified to buy a home. Will do another article later that outlines more steps in the homebuying process. 

OK, so really the first step that I would recommend is to find a good real estate agent to work with. If you're a first time home buyer you're going to want to find a buyers agent. Somebody you're comfortable with, somebody who seems knowledgeable, somebody who seems experienced and somebody who can genuinely guide you through the process and more importantly direct you to a local lender that they would recommend.

When you're getting prequalified and trying to buy a home it's very important that your lender and your real estate agent are in sync, as they will need to work together to help you through the process. The right agent will have good relationships established with local lenders and based on your situation should be able to connect you with the best lender to help you specifically.

What kind of credit should you have?

So let's get to it how do you actually qualify? Your credit score is very important. You may see a lot of headlines and articles that say you don't need a score or that you can get qualified with a low score, but to be perfectly honest it's simply not true. In the real world, if you're talking to a bank and you're trying to get prequalified for a mortgage to buy a home, you are generally going to want to have a minimum credit (FICO) score of 620

Now before I talk a little bit more about that number let me explain credit scores a little bit. A lot of websites are going to give you what's called a vantage score, that is a consumer credit score and it's not your actual credit score the banks use. The score that banks will use is called a FICO score. If you already have a credit card most times when you log into your account you'll be able to see that score.

Regardless, any time you can see your credit score that's a good thing because it's going to be an indicator. At the end of the day it's almost impossible to see the exact same score that banks will see. Because there are just so many different scoring models and so many different factors. But again if you can see your credit score it's gonna be an indicator and it's gonna give you a good idea of where you stand.

As a first time home buyer 620 FICO Is usually going to be the bare minimum and with that you should be able to qualify for an FHA home loan. But here's a tip, your credit score, it's almost like a video game with different levels. 620 will give you certain options, 640 will give you certain options, 660 will give you more options, 680 or higher will really open doors to many programs. The bottom line is the battery score, the better options the bank is going to offer you, the better interest rate they're going to offer you, and the more opportunities you're going to have to buy the home that you want

What do banks look for?

So, besides your credit score what else do banks look for when they pre-qualify you for a mortgage to buy a home? They're going to look at your debt to income ratio and they're going to look at how much money you have saved to buy a home.

Let's take these one at a time. So what is your debt to income ratio? The bank will look at your total gross monthly income from all sources, when they pull your credit a list of all your debts will come up, any credit cards that you have any loans that you have, each one of these accounts will have a minimum payment. The bank uses an automated underwriting system to subtract all of your debts and obligations from your gross monthly income. That is how they determine your debt to income ratio. In most cases your total monthly debt should not exceed 40 to 50% of your total monthly incomein most cases your total monthly debt should not exceed 40 to 50% of your total monthly income.

Now the other thing the bank will look at is how much money do you have saved up? This is important because no matter what your situation, the bank will look at is how much money do you have saved up. This is important because no matter what program you may qualify for you're always going to need to have money to buy a home

How much money will you need to buy at home?

The easy answer for that is going to be about 10% of the purchase price. with FHA home loans and low down payment home loans, you're typically going to need between 3 to 5%, but what most people don't realize is that you also have a closing cost when you buy a home and they generally run around 6% of the purchase price. The down payment and the closing cost can vary. So an easy estimate to be safe is to say that you will need 10% of the purchase price to buy a home. So if you want to buy a home for $200,000, it's best that you have a minimum of $20,000 cash on hand.

Another thing that banks will look at when you were trying to be qualified for a mortgage is your job history and stability. They are going to want to see a consistent two year work history. They don't want to see any large gaps in your employment and they don't want to see that you switched jobs frequently. They want to see stability and consistency. Same thing with your residence, your address, they want to see a consistent two-year history for your home address.

if a bank is going to lend you hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home, and count on you to make the monthly payments, they are going to want to see that you are a consistent, reliable person, with a good job history, a stable home address, enough funds to buy the home, and sometimes they like to see you have some extra money in the bank those are called cash reserves

I know it may sound like a lot but it's generally not that difficult to apply and qualify for a mortgage. As I stated at the beginning of this article, in my opinion this journey starts with finding the right real estate agent, to represent you, and guide you through this process.

if you're looking to buy a home anywhere in the greater Lehigh Valley, Allentown Bethlehem region, please feel free to reach out to myself or my team here at Lehigh Valley Just Listed, and we will definitely be happy to guide you through the prequalification process, connect you with a local lender, and advise you with all things involved in buying your first home

Best of luck in your home search

Aug. 23, 2022

Lehigh Valley home sales July 2022

Lehigh Valley home sales July 2022

The average sales price for homes sold in the Lehigh valley in July was $300,000. In July 2021 the average sales price was $275,000, so the price increase continues, right now we're sitting at a little over 9% more than last year for July.

The average days on market is now 13, that's still a very short time. Even with rising interest rates, the Lehigh Valley housing market continues to thrive. The pace may be slowing but it's still a much more aggressive market than any pre-Covid Seller Market..

Main problem still seems to be lack of inventory. The number of new listings hitting the market was down almost 20%, close to sales or down about 18%, however the demand is still strong as there are many buyers looking for homes.

Across the country other metropolitan areas do seem to be slowing, however that we have Ali as one of the few markets still being driven by increased buyer demand, despite rising interest rates.

Posted in Lehigh Valley News
July 7, 2022

Grand Opening Buyer Seller Seminar


Lehigh Valley Just Listed Announces Grand Opening


7/6/2022 Northampton Pa – Lehigh Valley Just Listed, is proud to announce the Grand Opening of our first real estate office, here in Northampton PA. Located at 1926 Main St, Northampton, (right next to the Roxy Theatre) we offer full service for both buyers and sellers here in the Greater Lehigh Valley! Our team of full time agents are dedicated to providing exceptional service, and knowledge of the residential real estate market.


To celebrate our Grand Opening, we are holding a Free Open House mixer Friday August 5, from 5-8pm. Everyone is welcome to enjoy free refreshments, door prizes, gift cards, and more! We will also have industry experts on hand – lenders, homes inspectors, title agents, and realtors, available to answer and all questions you may have! Free and with no obligation whatsoever! Ask us anything! “Im super excited to meet as many people as possible, so we can all get to know each other, and offer some real information in this crazy market..” Chris Hoffman Realtor/CEO


Lehigh Valley Just Listed, LLC, is independently owned and not affiliated with any real estate franchises. Our team of full time, dedicated agents, all live and work right here in the Lehigh Valley.

With over 16 years experience in the residential real estate market, we pride ourselves in offer Full time service, and exceptional market knowledge. No gimmicks, just good service. “We try to treat every client, like they are the only client!” For more information, please visit www.lehighvalleyjustlisted.com

Lehigh Valley Just Listed LLC

1926 Main St Northampton, PA 18067

Direct: 610.533.4549

Office: 484-259-7062


Posted in Lehigh Valley News
Jan. 11, 2022

Harbor freight is opening at Westgate mall

Harbor freight is opening at Westgate mall

 Harbor Freight Bethlehem PA

If you're from Bethlehem, I'm sure you're familiar with Westgate Mall. For years the mall has struggled to keep tenants , and has recently made great strides in improving its image. Since Weis Markets moved over to the old Bon Ton location, it left a vacancy right in the heart of the mall.


We always wondered who would take up that spot? Well now we know! It's official harbor freight, which is a family owned chain, recently committed to opening a location in a portion of the old Weis market space. Renovations have already begun and we anticipate the new harbor freight in Bethlehem to be opening later in 2022.


As you know there's a harbor freight over in Easton and there's one over in West Allentown in the Tilghman Square shopping Center, so this location definitely makes a lot of sense! Having a new harbor freight right here in Bethlehem, right in the heart of The Lehigh Valley, should prove very successful!

Posted in Bethlehem PA News
Aug. 26, 2019

Record setting housing prices hit the Lehigh Valley!

Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors just released their July data report showing for the second month in a row home prices have broke records.


The average days on market in July it was only 27 days, and the median sales price is up a whopping 5.7% over July 2018. The median sale price is now $222,000. However inventory is down 17.8%! The total homes sold in July 2019 versus July 2018 is actually down 7.2%, due to the lack of inventory.


This trend continues to create a very very strong seller market. Buyers have less homes to choose from, are paying more, and running into multiple offer situation‘s. The good news for buyers though is that mortgage rates have declined sharply, and are now sitting around 3.875%.


The bottom line: if you’re looking to sell, now is the time! Contact us immediately, we have qualified buyers desperate to find homes!


If you’re looking to buy, we offer a free home buyer consultation explaining the best ways to navigate a sellers market. Contact Us.

Posted in Lehigh Valley News