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Welcome to the Susquehanna Valley situated on the border of central and northeastern Pennsylvania and this area's most comprehensive real estate web site. Here you will be able to find all sorts of useful information within one easy source so take your time and enjoy!
 
We are a strong, vibrant and global real estate family. We strive every day to deliver unsurpassed market intelligence and insights, and use our strengths to help you successfully buy and sell real estate. We embrace your goals and are committed to achieving them. The award winning company and agents of CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. offer the most complete real estate service to our clientele with a truly visionary approach to high tech marketing and skills. We have served the real estate needs of Columbia, Montour, and lower Luzerne counties and surrounding areas for 34 years and look forward to providing you with the finest quality service unmatched by our competitors. Browsing through this site will allow you to explore our region along with community information, demographics, schools, medical facilities, area attractions plus much, much more. 
  
With our search the MLS, we give you direct access to all the properties available in a five county area, as well as new listings, featured properties, single property websites, and virtual tours. Upon e-mail request, we can also send you all new listings within your search criteria immediately as they become available with e-mail alerts so you won’t miss the "right" property.
 
Also available are valuable articles and information regarding buying, selling, home improvement, free reports, tax planning, as well as up to the minute news and weather from various media sources. In addition, the real estate resource center and blog are updated daily with real estate articles and answers to thousands of consumer’s questions about the buying and selling process.
 
If you are a first time buyer, experienced investor, or anything in between, you will find priceless information on our site about how to choose the right property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed decision in today’s real estate marketplace. 


In addition to all the information we have available for buyers, we also provide up-to-date information for sellers. If you are considering selling your property, this site offers dozens of articles about preparing your home for sale, choosing the right agent, appropriate pricing, effective marketing, the inspection process, and the importance of a market evaluation.
 
Thank you for visiting our online real estate website. We hope you enjoy our site and find everything you are looking for and more. We will look forward to hearing from you, so we can help you with all your real estate needs. Be sure to visit us often!

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CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc.
Bloomsburg: 570-784-2821

Benton: 570-925-0210

Testimonials

Did a fantastic job staying on top of things and keeping me informed. Answered questions day/night. Very easy to work with. Knowledgable of every aspect of purchase. Recommend to anyone. Brandon - Bloomsburg
Kim was very helpful with the process as we had just left for vacation when negotiations ended. Everything was handled through email and went smoothly from start to finish. My husband and I were able to relax and enjoy our vacation. Sylvia R. (Seller)
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Real Estate News

Latest in Housing News and Tips for Home Ownership

Homes in Major Markets Realize Thousands in One Year

Homes in major markets have realized over $10,000 in the last year in value, according to the October Zillow® Real Estate Market Report. In fact, the median nationally has risen over $12,500. Appreciation is highest in the San Jose, Calif., metropolitan area, where prices have soared $118,200, or 12.3 percent, to a median $1,076,400. Nationally, there are now 11.7 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago.

“We are in the midst of an inventory crisis that shows no signs of waning, impacting potential buyers all across the country,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Home values are growing at a historically fast pace, and those potential buyers want to get in the market while they still can. But with homes gaining so much value in just one year, buyers—especially first-time buyers—have to set aside more and more money for a down payment just to keep up with them. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough homes for sale, and demand will continue to drive prices higher until we reach a better balance between supply and demand.”

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Homes in Major Markets Realize Thousands in One Year appeared first on RISMedia.

Best and Worst Places for Millennial Home-Buying

Members of the millennial generation, especially first-time buyers, are already struggling to purchase a home due to student loan debt, trouble saving for a down payment and tight inventory—factors cited in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. According to GOBankingRates, slow wage growth and low unemployment rates across the country are also impacting the homeownership rate.

There are, however, specific locations that may be easier to purchase in because of low median list prices and low monthly mortgage payments. GOBankingRates rated the most and least expensive states across the U.S. to help millennial buyers find affordable housing. The report uses a median income of $60,932 to represent ages 25-34, and the following rankings are based on a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage.

Top 5 Most Affordable States

  1. West Virginia
    Median Lis price: $154,900
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.5 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $693
  1. Ohio
    Median list price: $150,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.5 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $704
  1. Arkansas
    Median list price: $150,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.5 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $757
  1. Indiana
    Median list price: $167,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.7 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $757
  1. Iowa
    Median list price: $169,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 2.8 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $766

Top 5 Most Expensive States

  1. Hawaii
    Median list price: $599,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 9.8 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $2,584
  1. California
    Median list price: $499,950
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 8.2 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $2,168
  1. Massachusetts
    Median list price: $419,900
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 6.9 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $1,833
  1. Colorado
    Median list price: $408,068
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 6.7 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $1,780
  1. Oregon
    Median list price: $352,000
    Estimated time to save for a down payment: 5.8 years
    Monthly mortgage payment: $1,551

For more details, read the entire GOBankingRates report.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Best and Worst Places for Millennial Home-Buying appeared first on RISMedia.

House Hunters Get in the Black Friday Mentality With Holiday Home-Buying

The holiday season is here, and with it the mass amounts of consumer shopping tied to gift-giving, or just personal spending at a discounted price. While terms like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are synonymous with post-Thanksgiving consumer spending sparked by widespread sales, real estate shoppers are no strangers to home-buying during the holiday season, regardless of their location.

With seasonal real estate transactions come serious buyers and sellers who are ultra-motivated to spend their money and close quickly.

“Many times, when you have clients who are looking during the holidays, they are really serious buyers. After all, most people are out shopping or preparing for the family feast,” says Nancy Lulejian Starczyk, president of the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® in Van Nuys, Calif. “Additionally, the buyer may need to buy before the year is out, or they want to be in their new home to bring in the new year.”

Sarah Gustafson, president of the REALTOR® Association of Central Massachusetts, agrees with motivation being the underlying factor for those who stick around in a winter market.

“You have less inventory, but the inventory that you have is more motivated,” says Gustafson. “With snow and muddy boots coming through a home, sellers won’t put their home on the market unless they are motivated. And the same goes for buyers—if they are out at this time of year, they are very motivated.”

Often, the motivation stems from buyers who just want to get into a home before Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or other holidays. And sellers want it done and closed by end of year, which is especially true for luxury or distressed properties, according to Bruce Elliot, president of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association.

In some instances, the added motivation of sellers and buyers leads to smoother and faster closings during the holiday season.

“Sellers who are willing to be in ‘show condition’ during the holidays are just as serious as the buyers who are looking. It’s a great time for both parties to be open to negotiating a mutually acceptable and timely sale,” says Lulejian Starczyk.

During this time of year, many markets are also dealing with tight inventory, which adds a competitive twist for buyers that have to deal with multiple offer situations. The impetus for selling can also be heightened in states that experience a noticeable drop in temperature during the winter months.

“The one thing that is really driving the market is the lack of inventory,” says Matt Akers, owner and managing broker of Rainbow Realty and president of the Lafayette Regional Association of REALTORS® in Indiana. “I think the people that are going ahead and putting their homes on the market [are] trying to get through the winter.”

Holiday homebuyers, just like the swarms of Black Friday midnight shoppers, tend to be part of the younger generations, although sources say all types of homebuyers are looking for similar things, regardless of time of year.

“Millennials now outnumber the baby boomers. And interestingly enough, they are both looking for the same features in the home. Both are looking for walkability to shopping, entertainment, restaurants, transit and medical facilities,” says Lulejian Starczyk.

Of course, this can differ by location. In Florida, for instance, the baby boomer generation is flocking toward warmer weather during the winter months in search of retirement properties.

“In some areas outside of Orlando, it’s a seasonal spike in the retirement areas. The snowbirds are coming down and their activity is picking up. Seasonal rent literally doubles,” says Elliot.

Holiday home-buying also puts consumers in a different state of mind. Akers believes reverse psychology comes into play, stating that winter buyers come up with opposing views of summer buyers to find reasons to buy and tough it out in a slow market.

Since the home-buying and -selling is happening during such a sale-centric time of year, both sides are looking for a good deal. And according to real estate professionals, that doesn’t always mean the best price.

“A great deal is when you walk away from closing and you’re thrilled,” says Akers, clarifying that today’s buyers and sellers have more than enough information to determine whether they are getting a fair deal because of the available technology and internet sources. “There are a lot of educated buyers and sellers out there. They know more than they’ve ever have,” he adds.

Lulejian Starczyk, on the other hand, says being aware of comps and working with an agent is essential to getting a good deal.

“Knowing the market and paying a ‘fair market value’ is always advisable,” she says, emphasizing that hiring a REALTOR® is the only way to ensure that consumers have the data necessary for making an informed purchasing or selling decision.

Meanwhile, Elliot believes a good deal is tied to a positive emotional response. “The emotion and the excitement is long forgotten when buying the wrong home. [Real estate] is an emotional process, and as long as it’s the right home for the client, and meets the family’s needs, there is no perfect everything.”

While homes don’t necessarily have reduced price tags on them during the holidays like electronics do on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there is a heightened sense of urgency and an impact on a transaction’s dynamics when buying or selling during this time of year. Many agents look forward to the holiday season because of the opportunities afforded by less inventory and the added drive.

“It’s my favorite time of the year to do business because everyone is so motivated,” says Gustafson.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post House Hunters Get in the Black Friday Mentality With Holiday Home-Buying appeared first on RISMedia.

Consumer Trust at Risk Amid Equifax Breach and CFPB Arbitration Rule Repeal

The real estate world lies within a network of sensitive contact information, financial records, identifying paperwork and the team of experts that keeps these things secure. So, what happens when this information isn’t properly safeguarded? Or when companies use information to take advantage of consumers? Between financial corporation scandals, like the cyber attacks on Equifax, and the recent repeal of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arbitration rule, consumers are having trouble trusting financial institutions with their personal information.

Equifax
In September, Equifax—one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies— announced a massive cyber breach that may have affected 143 million people in the U.S. The company is being criticized for its security practices, especially since this is the third major cybersecurity threat on Equifax since 2015.

It took Equifax nearly four months to identify the intrusion after hackers stole personal information through a simple website vulnerability. Along with 209,000 credit card numbers, hackers got their hands on Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, birthdates and addresses. It is one of the largest hacks on record.

Equifax hired cybersecurity firm Mandiant to perform an in-depth investigation of the cyber attack to find out how many consumers are at risk. Results are in and estimated totals for impacted individuals has risen by 2.5 million to a total of 145.5 million at risk. Even the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority is investigating the incident, as nearly 700,000 U.K consumers were also affected.

“I want to apologize again to all impacted consumers,” said Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., CEO of Equifax, following the Mandiant results.”As this important phase of our work is now completed, we continue to take numerous steps to review and enhance our cybersecurity practices. We also continue to work closely with our internal team and outside advisors to implement and accelerate long-term security improvements.”

Impact on Real Estate
Credit plays a major role in lending and the real estate industry. The cyber attack could not only weaken consumer confidence, but may add some challenges if the hacked information is used fraudulently.

Compromised personal information can be used in a variety of damaging ways. Borrowers may have to deal with stalled or rejected loans if hackers purchase expensive items using the stolen credit card numbers. Additionally, new accounts could be opened up in borrowers’ names using their Social Security numbers. Not only are loans at risk, but hackers also have the potential to demolish credit scores via identity theft—an infinitely harder problem to fix.

Equifax’s cyber attack may also lead to a spike in illegal mortgage and refinance applications. According to National Mortgage News, the mortgage industry widely uses The Work Number for employment verification during the underwriting process. The service is also the designated third-party provider of income and employment data for Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty™ program. The cyber security breach leaked the information collected by the Work Number, leaving financial institutions unsure of whether the source has been corrupted.

Overall, loan processors may delay closings to ensure that employment data has not been affected by the breach. Fannie Mae is keeping an eye on its dealings with Equifax, as well.

CFPB Arbitration Rule
The repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule comes at a time when consumers are searching for ways to protect themselves against dishonest business practices. The rule was created over the span of five years and was set to go into effect in 2019. It would have allowed millions of U.S. consumers to pool resources in class-action lawsuits against financial corporations.

The rule was widely approved by Democrats, but Senate Republicans overturned it, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. According to supporters, the ruling would have protected consumers, and, at the same time, held financial institutions responsible for upholding ethical business practices.

“[This] vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, in a statement. “As a result, companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax remain free to break the law without fear of legal blowback from their customers.”

Those opposed believed the rule would have a negative impact on lawsuit payouts for consumers.

“This is good news for the American consumer,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a statement.” A ban on arbitration clauses would very likely have resulted in lower reward payments for wronged customers and higher credit costs for everybody. There’s little evidence to suggest that class-action lawsuits actually stop the behavior they seek to punish, and there’s plenty of evidence to show they give the lion’s share of money to the lawyers who file them.”

As a result of the repeal, financial corporations will be able to continue using arbitration clauses in their fine print as a way to protect themselves against the courts. Since consumers will not be able to use class action lawsuits as a catalyst for changing a company’s business practices, they will have to familiarize themselves on what to look for so they don’t fall victim to malpractice.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves
Unfortunately, data breaches and business practices are not just tied to credit reporting agencies. Everyone remembers the Target hack, various large banks like Bank of America have had their share of financial scandals and global accounting firm Deloitte recently announced that it fell victim to a cyber attack, as well.

While these companies are working toward regaining the trust of their consumers, the damage has been done. These business mistakes happen often, especially with companies that are intertwined with the real estate industry. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Deutsche Bank, the real estate industry features one of the lowest percentages of authentication testing. Don’t wait for the next data breach to protect yourself. Here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t fall victim to flawed business practices or cyber attacks:

Check in with Equifax. Find out, if you haven’t already, if you were exposed during the Equifax data breach.

Keep an eye on your credit. Watch out for any sudden changes in your score. If you really want to make sure you’re not at risk, sign up for a credit monitoring service.

Freeze your accounts. If you are vulnerable, go online or call the three major consumer credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on your account. This will keep hackers from checking your credit score or using your personal information. Once you are certain the risk has been taken care of, you may unfreeze your account.

Equifax: 800-349-9960
Experian: 888‑397‑3742
TransUnion: 888-909-8872.

Read the fine print. Don’t sign up for any services, even if they advocate privacy and security, without reading the terms first. Make sure your information isn’t being released to third-party vendors.

Before you apply for a loan, ask for a breakdown of all fees. Get everything in writing so you have evidence of malpractice or fee discrepancies should a conflict arise during the lending process.

Ask how your information is being protected. Any time you need to submit sensitive information that can leave you vulnerable if in the wrong hands, inquire about the company’s cyber security practices. Due diligence before forming a business relationship with any type of financial institution and being a savvy consumer is your best defense against flawed business practices.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Consumer Trust at Risk Amid Equifax Breach and CFPB Arbitration Rule Repeal appeared first on RISMedia.

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CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc.   |   570-784-2821   |   570-925-0210

©2017 CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. CENTURY 21® and the CENTURY 21 Logo are registered service marks owned by CENTURY 21 Real Estate LLC.  Equal Housing Opportunity.  Each office is independently owned and operated.