Destination Realty News: November

Happy Election Day to all of our friends and loved ones! We hope that wherever your political sentiments might lie, you’re taking time today to get out and rock the vote.

October marked an exciting time for us here at Destination, as we participated in the inaugural Pumpkin Palooza on the 500 block of Penn Street, brought to us by the good people at the Reading Downtown Improvement District, on October 22nd. The festival included live music and entertainment, a pumpkin pie eating contest, scarecrow making, pumpkin carving, mummy wrapping, a pumpkin seed spitting contest, horse-drawn wagon rides, and of course, the annual DID scarecrow contest!

The contest encourages entrants to create humorous, entertaining, mischievous, or lovable scarecrows as a way to bring together local businesses, organizations, families, churches, and schools in a delightful autumn event downtown. We’re very proud to announce the Destination Realty scarecrow, in the form of Despicable Me’s Gru, along with a host of Minions, took second place in the contest!

The Penn Street Market included special seasonal goods and produce from the vendors to accompany the Pumpkin Palooza’s events, and if you were in attendance, you might have noticed Destination Realty sponsoring the craft zone for families with two of our lovely volunteers. Donations for the craft zone were generously provided by Weaver Orchards, Home Depot, Opportunity House, and the Reading Eagle.

With hundreds of local residents turning out to enjoy the music and carriage rides, the Pumpkin Palooza was definitely an amazing event, and we’re so honored to have been part of it! We’ll be looking forward to seeing you at the next one!

Happy Birthday to Us! Destination Realty Turns Four

As some of you might already know, last month marked four years since the founding of Destination Realty, LLC. When we started out in 2011, the only employees were Sean Moretti, the founding realtor & broker, and one part-time administrative staffer to handle real estate sales and commercial leasing. We started with one client, a property owner who had a few rental properties in the city of Reading to be managed for rent collection and city codes inspections.

Since then, Destination Realty has grown to a staff of five employees covering the marketing, accounting, leasing, and administrative departments. Furthermore, we now proudly provide property management services to over 20 owners and almost 100 rental units in Reading, West Reading, Birdsboro, Mohnton, and other municipalities throughout Berks County.

Along with our commercial and residential property sales and leasing services, we also provide the following services for property owners and investors:

  • Collection tactics to ensure timely collection of rent
  • Complete applicant screening and approval
  • Institute legal proceedings, evictions, lock outs
  • Record tenant and owner requests for service
  • Create and track work-orders to completion
  • Manage/engage contractors, tradesmen to ensure satisfactory work
  • Attend City Inspections, schedule follow up work
  • Pay bills, contractors, hardware/home improvement supplier

While we’ve invested in some advertising along the way, we owe the majority of our growth to word-of-mouth and referrals from past & present clients as well as fellow realtors. We’re proud of our relationships with both the property owners whose units we manage, and the prospective owners & renters that come to us to help them find a place they can be happy to call their home. Those relationships have brought us to where we are today, and we are so grateful to continue to grow and develop with all of you in the coming years. Thank you for choosing Destination Realty, LLC, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

“Two-Tree” controversy shows there’s something for everyone in Reading

As many of you are well aware, Reading recently made its way into the national news scene again with the arrival of the city Christmas tree. The tree harvested from a city park for Reading’s annual tree-lighting ceremony was deemed by many residents to be “too ugly” to put on display, but because it was too late to do anything about it, the tree-lighting ceremony was held anyway.

In response to the protest from residents regarding the “ugly” tree, the city received a donation of a second, more “aesthetically pleasing” tree to replace the first one, only to be met with more protests from those who had gone fond of the so-called “ugly” tree. These protesters thought it would be going against the spirit of Christmas to take down a tree because it wasn’t “pretty” enough; after all, if it worked for the kids in Charlie Brown, shouldn’t it work for our city?

So, now the city of Reading has two Christmas trees. The original tree still stands in its place in Penn Square, and the more visually appealing tree stands at the entrance to the city, giving both sides a tree to meet at for their holiday festivities that suits their tastes. Though it may seem foolish to many, this situation is a perfect example of the variety of needs to which the city is capable of catering. The same can be said of the myriad of real estate opportunities available within the city limits: there’s a little something for everyone here.

Investors tend to split into a similar two groups when it comes to commercial properties: some prefer to invest in those properties which are immediately visually appealing and ready to sell, while others prefer the properties that require a little more rehabilitating before going back on the market.

Fortunately, within the city of Reading, there are plenty of both types of investment opportunities currently available. In 2014, multi-unit properties sold for as low as $12,500, with other properties of the same type selling for as much as $299,000. These multi-unit properties (housing anywhere from two to nine apartments) offer a healthy range in sizes: from 1200 to 4400 square feet. At this very moment, there are 80 multi-unit properties on the market in Reading priced between $10,000 and $100,000, and 53 between $101,000 and $1,000,000.

Whether your tastes run to properties that need a little TLC before they can go back on the market, or properties with a quick turnaround; whether you’re a fan of the Charlie Brown tree or the more attractive tree, there’s something for everyone here in the city of Reading.

Reading Awarded Sustainability Certificate, Joins National Sustainability Program

In a move that city officials hope will encourage further development, the City of Reading received its first sustainable community award at the end of September, and will be trying for three others in an effort to compete with sustainable cities across the nation.

To be considered as a sustainable community, the city must demonstrate that it is gaining business rather than losing it, as well as ensure that its first responders are familiar with a national system which controls responses to crises such as accidents, fires, and floods. Overall, sustainability promotes a healthy environment, a strong and healthy economy, and encourages the well-being of current and future residents within a community.

Now that the city has received a sustainability award at the state level, Mayor Spencer and his special assistant, Eron Lloyd, have entered the city into the National League of Cities’ Sustainability Tools for Assessment and Rating Communities (or STAR Communities) program. Mr. Lloyd believes the city has enough points to be designated as a three-star community, and the long term goal is to be awarded the coveted five-star designation in the next five years.

The Pennsylvania Municipal League awarded Reading a Gold Certificate in its Sustainable Pennsylvania Community initiative, and now the city is striving toward receiving the highest award possible, a Platinum Certificate. Sustainability has been a goal of Mayor Spencer D. Vaughn’s since before he was elected, and since he assumed the position, his administration has been consistently working toward it.

Hopes are high for sustainability efforts to bring in foundation money along with attention from developers to the city of Reading, rather than other communities without a STAR rating. Private developers will be provided with incentives to meet sustainability standards, but will not be penalized or forced to meet them, which the Mayor and his administration hope will spur businesses and investors to stimulate further growth and development within the city. Additionally, a number of major foundations belong to the STAR Community program, and are awarding a steadily increasing amount of grants and other assistance to STAR-rated communities. The combined potential of the city’s efforts toward sustainability should prove beneficial for city officials as well as current and future residents and investors.