On the House: Is radio missing a market?

Posted: October 30, 2011

Because I get regular requests for information about him, I thought I'd tell you that I heard from Jay Lamont a couple of weeks ago, and that the venerable radio host is doing just fine and still knows the regional real estate scene inside and out.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lamont, he hosted All About Real Estate Sunday mornings on WPEN-AM (950) from November 1978 to September 2009, when, for reasons that he and the station management disagreed about, the show was canceled.

He did a brief stint on another station, but since 2010 Lamont, now 67, has been off the air but certainly not out of the loop.

I e-mailed him looking for an address for a real estate agent he knows whom I wanted to interview about the Shore. In his response, Lamont gave me the impression that he remains in the thick of it, even though he "no longer has a radio mike to use on Sundays."

His daughter, Molly, and her mother are in Hollywood. The little girl, whose photo from birth on has always been the first thing proud Papa Jay offered his visitors after a handshake, is embarking on a film career. Not bad for a guy who always said that he (and I) had great faces for radio.

That leaves Lamont to keep an eye on his real estate holdings here and at the Shore.

Hearing from Lamont led me to wonder: When you consider the overwhelming interest people have in local real estate - remember, it's all local, and the national programs, including TV design shows, don't have any real meaning for sellers and buyers - wouldn't it make sense for someone to do this on the airwaves regularly?

It could even be on a smartphone app or an Internet broadcast. I listen regularly to public radio on an iPhone app and have another that tunes in all the stations offered by the Irish state broadcaster RTE.

Why not?

Straight from the inbox

A reader asks:

"My husband and I are trying to refinance our home. The appraiser was here a few days ago.

"We have always thought our house had 2 1/2 baths. We were told the one bathroom that has a shower, rather than a bathtub, was not considered a full bath, even though there is a shower, sink and toilet.

"Would you consider that bathroom to be a full bathroom?"

From what I have been told, a full bathroom requires a bathtub. The appraiser appears to be correct.

Another question:

"In 1957, my late husband and I built a mid-century modern house on a 1.9-acre wooded lot in Parkesburg.

"The house was custom-designed and sited to make the most of leafy shade in summer and passive solar light in winter. It's a style that never really caught on in western Chester County.

"Now that I'm nearly 80, it's time to move on. Having had no experience in home selling or buying, I asked a younger cousin-by-marriage, a real estate agent, to tell me what I could expect to get for the property next spring.

"She's spent the last several weeks checking 'comparables,' and we're to get together next week for her answer.

"I'm wondering if having a real estate appraiser in before the house goes on the market is a good idea."

From the recent experience of acquaintances of mine, probably not. I'd look at the comparables, then you and your kinswoman decide on a price, keeping in mind that the style of your house might compromise the sale price.

Then again, things have changed in Chester County and elsewhere. Today's strapped buyers might be attracted by the promise of lower utility bills thanks to your rather revolutionary thinking about energy in 1957.

Don't rule out a like mind or two among buyers.

 Inquirer real estate writer Alan J. Heavens' home improvement column appears Fridays in Home & Design. See instructional videos at Al's Place. Go to philly.com/yourplace 

Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, aheavens@phillynews.com or @alheavens at Twitter.

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