Massachusetts Real Estate News


March 16, 2019

3 Secrets about Your Credit Score


3 Secrets about Your Credit Score


Credit scores can be an overwhelming, daunting subject. Today I’m going to let you in on three big secrets about your credit score.


1. Did you know that 35% of your credit score is from your payment history? It’s so important to pay on time to keep your credit score high!


2. About 30% of your credit score is based on your capacity of credit. For example, if you have a credit limit of $5,000, you only want to use 30% of the capacity of that card.  In this case, you only want to use $1,500 of credit and keep $3,500 unused.


So here’s a tip: if you have one credit card with a $10,000 balance and another with a much lower balance, transfer some of the debt from one credit card to the other so that the capacity used is as close to 30% as possible.  


3. About 10% of your credit score is based on inquiries and past applications. You can keep this down by only applying for credit cards when you need them. Every time you shop, a cashier might ask you if you want to apply for that store’s credit card. You probably don’t need to apply for all of them.


So, this all adds up to 75% of your credit score. That means 75% of your entire credit score is based on three things: payment history, the capacity of credit used, and inquiries and past applications. Be mindful of this to keep your credit score up.


Pay your bills on time, be sure not to max out your cards, keep a 30% balance or lower and don’t get too many inquiries. By following these three steps, you can dramatically maximize your credit score. For more detailed information about how to maximize your credit so that you can save money and get better interest rates, reach out to me at any time or email me to get a detailed 17-page report.


If you’d rather watch a video than read a post, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel!



Posted in Market Updates
March 16, 2019

The Top 5 Biggest Credit Mistakes


The Top 5 Biggest Credit Mistakes  


When you go to purchase or rent a home, having a good credit score is crucial. If you have a good credit score, it will be much easier to get a home loan, and you’ll likely get it at a better interest rate. Keeping that in mind, here are the five biggest credit mistakes that you could be making to hurt your score.


1. Maxing Out Your Cards


Maxed out cards cause your credit score to go down by anywhere from 10 to 45 points depending on what your current credit score is.


Did you know that the higher your credit score, the more it is impacted when you make a credit mistake? For example, if your score is 680 and you have a maxed out card, it can impact your score between 10 to 30 points, but if your credit score is higher, say 780 then maxed out cards will impact you between 25-45 points.  


2. Making Late Payments


A 30-day late payment negatively affects your score anywhere between 60 and 110 points. That can be a major impact on your score. Make sure you pay your bills on time, and don’t let them get to 30 days overdue.  


3. Debt Settlement


A debt settlement, or agreeing with your creditor to pay less than the full amount but considering it “paid in full,” drops your score from 45 to 125 points. Don’t do this. Pay your credit card bills in full.


4. Foreclosure


A foreclosure can decrease your score between 85 and 160 points. Avoid this if at all possible.


5.  Declaring Bankruptcy


Going bankrupt negatively affects your score and can drop it anywhere from 130 points to 240 points.  


If you’re looking to improve your score, let me know. For a more detailed report on how to maximize your credit, reach out to me at 978-505-1466 and I'll get a detailed report out to you right away.

If you’d like to learn more real estate tips and prefer video, head over to my YouTube channel!

Posted in Market Updates
March 16, 2019

How Much Do You Need for a Down Payment?


How Much Do You Need for a Down Payment?


Do you need money to help you get into a home in the Boston MetroWest area? One of the hardest things about getting into a home is saving for the down payment and closing costs. But did you know that it is a MYTH that you need 20% down in order to buy a home?


Yes, it’s true! There are down payment assistance programs that will help you so that you can begin to build wealth by owning your own home. There is a national program called the National Homebuyers Fund, or NHF, that will give you a 4% grant to help with closing costs and down payment. It is a non-repayable grant up to 4% of the mortgage loan amount. It can be granted for people with low to moderate income levels and FICO scores down to 620.


This program is NOT limited to first time home buyers, but it must be for your primary home. If you’re thinking about that vacation home down in Florida, this wouldn’t be a good fit.


Even better news, gift funds and seller concessions are allowed! Owning a home helps to give you stability, improves the community, gives you tax benefits and provides long-term wealth when home prices go up. In fact, research shows that it's actually MORE expensive to rent a home than it is to OWN one.  


The bottom line: it’s time to become a homeowner!! You can make today a great home buying! Reach out to me by phone or text at 978-505-1466 for more information on this and all your real estate needs!


If you’d like to learn more real estate tips and prefer video, head over to my YouTube channel!

Posted in News
Feb. 13, 2019

Have You Considered Investing in a Fixer-Upper Home?


Are you thinking of buying a fixer-upper home in the Metro West area as an investment? If you’ve been thinking about it, there are 5 parts of the home you must check before making that purchase! Read on or watch my video to find out why.

#1:  The Roof

A standard-shingle roof only lasts about 20 years. You’ll want to inspect the roof on the home you’re looking at, because the average roof replacement costs between $10,000-$15,000 or more. Take this into consideration if you are planning to flip your home!

#2: HVAC - Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

After the roof, replacing a home’s HVAC system is the single most expensive item you’ll be involved in fixing. Depending on the system’s size and the type of equipment you purchase, you could easily be looking at $8,000 or more to replace a system. On some older homes, you may need to also add new duct work, so make sure you think about that, as well.

#3: The Foundation

The foundation is what supports the home, so it’s essential for it to be checked thoroughly. If the foundation has large cracks or looks like it is sinking, then you’re going to be looking at major repair investments. Not all foundation problems are found outside the home, though. Other signs could include uneven floors, gaps around window frames or doors, doors that stick or won’t close properly, and horizontal cracks in the basement walls. Make sure you check for all of these red flags.

#4: Electrical System

You will need to make sure that the electrical system in the house is up to code. Any old or outdated equipment will need to be updated and replaced. In many cases, the panel box will need to be updated, and extra circuits will need to be added throughout the home to bring it up-to-date with today’s technology needs.

#5: Plumbing

If the investment property you’re interested in has been sitting empty for some time, then there is a good chance that there could be problems with its plumbing system. When pipes are not used for a long time, they can become dry, brittle, and more likely to develop leaks. It is important that you check them thoroughly.

Beyond these five critical pieces, you’ll also want to check a few other things. Look for insect or pest infestations, mold, dry rot, asbestos, water damage and, last but not least, the home’s location.

While it’s every investor’s goal to sell an investment property after fixing it up, there are some instances where a home still won’t sell, even after your renovations. If you want to be a real estate investor, you’ll want to ensure that the home you invest in can still turn an eventual profit if you are forced to rent it out, instead of selling it quickly. Your profit will take longer to accrue this way, but at least you won’t be sidelined with a second mortgage if you can get a renter in at the right price.

If you’re looking for more tips on investing in a Boston area fixer-upper, check out my downloadable PDF. It’s full of great information! If you have questions after that, feel free to give me a call,  I’m happy to help.


Would you rather watch a video than read this post? Check out this video and more on my YouTube channel, and make sure you subscribe.



Posted in News
Feb. 13, 2019

How to Get a Home When Competing with a Cash Buyer


How to Get a Home When Competing with a Cash Buyer


If you have been in the market to buy a home in the Boston Metro West area recently, then you may already know how competitive it can be. Some buyers will do anything to get a home, including paying in cash! What can you do if that happens to you?


Let’s look at six ways you can increase your chances of getting a home in a multiple offer situation, especially when you are up against a cash buyer.


#1 Pay More out of Pocket

Just because a buyer can buy a house with a pile of cash doesn’t mean that he or she will make the highest bid. Many times, these buyers will offer a price lower than the seller’s asking price. As a result, you might be able to meet or exceed a cash offer by making a big down payment. Down payments are typically more than 20%, and then you can finance the rest


# 2 Jump Start the Loan Approval Process

Most serious homebuyers get pre-approved before hunting for a house, but they don’t actually apply for their loan until after making an offer. If you really want to compete with cash buyers, it can be a good idea to ask if you can begin the application process right away. This way, you can tell the seller you have already begun that process. Your loan will be approved much more quickly, which can help level the playing field.

#3 Connect with the Seller

Parting ways with a home is a business transaction, but in many cases, it’s a personal matter. Many people have a personal attachment to the homes they’re selling. Write a letter to the seller and perhaps include your picture. Let them know what you love about their home and how you are looking forward to taking great care of it and living there for many years. This may give you an edge over potential buyers who are telling the seller what they need to change!

#4 Bring a Home Inspector or Contractor Before You Make an Offer

If you feel comfortable making an offer without having a full-blown home inspection, many times you can get what you need to know by hiring an inspector or contractor. They can come with you to a showing prior to writing an offer. This can help you to know the important details about the home that they know to look for, and that will allow you to drop the home inspection contingency. Many times that will look more appealing to a seller than a cash offer with a home inspection.

#5 Move at the Seller’s Pace

Timing is often an important element to both homebuyers and sellers. Find out what their ideal closing date is and try to make it work if it all possible!

#6 Give the Seller the Upper Hand

In addition to working around the seller’s schedule by keeping contingency dates as tight as possible, it can be a good idea to keep additional requests to a minimum. The seller will feel better about your offer once they can feel confident that all the contingencies such as the mortgage or inspection contingency have been met!

I hope you found these tips helpful should you find yourself up against multiple offers and possibly a cash buyer. If you’d rather watch a video with this information, visit my YouTube channel for this and many other videos.



Posted in News
Feb. 10, 2019

Buying New Construction Homes {Negotiating}


Are you looking to buy a new construction home in the Boston MetroWest area and you want to know how to negotiate successfully? You will want to read this and watch my video.

Buying a new construction home is a bit different than an older home. Here are some tips to be aware of:

#1 Find a great Agent. Many builders will not allow you to hire your own agent if you wander into the new homes sales office without representation. The builder's sales agents are paid to represent the builder, regardless of what they may tell you. Many will use high pressure tactics to persuade you to sign a contract. Find an agent experienced in new construction and let your agent introduce you to the builder so you're covered with someone working in your best interest.

#2 Negotiate on upgrades, not price. Many builders will throw in some extras since that is where they make the most money. They also do not want to drop their prices because it doesn’t look good- not only to new buyers but to those that have already purchased. Think about the extras you want and ask your realtor to negotiate with some of those.

#3 Keep your emotions out of it! A builder is a corporation; treat it like a business transaction without emotion. This is where having an agent who has your best interests at heart is critical. Many times I will tour a community with a client, and then suggest that they head home so I can talk to the sales rep by myself.  I don’t want them to know how badly my buyer wants the home right away. A good poker face in the beginning can go a long way to negotiating on your behalf.

#4 Be prepared to walk. Be willing to walk out the door. If you feel you are getting in over your budget then get up out of your chair and let the builder know this isn’t going to work.  There’s a big chance they’ll come running to ask what they can do to get you to stay.

#5 Consider buying a finished home.  If there are any homes that are already up in the complex, or even the model if the builder is willing to sell, you may be able to get a better deal since in both cases the builder knows his costs already and may be ready to get the home out of their inventory.

#6 Don't Automatically Use the Builder's Lender. Builders often prefer their own lender because the builder will be kept fully informed of your personal progress. But a builder's lender might not offer you the best deal. Ask if there is an incentive to use the builder's lender and then shop around to compare rates.

#7 Get a One Year Warranty. Most builders do this but if not have your Realtor negotiate one. If it does exist, read the fine print so you know exactly what the builder is covering. Also, if the home is not yet built make sure there is a penalty in place if the home is not built on time. If a builder goes way over the projected close date, this not only is an inconvenience but it could cost you real money with your lender to hold your rate.

#8 Get your home inspected by a Licensed Home Inspector prior to closing. Make sure your Realtor adds a home inspection contingency to the offer. The Home Inspection will usually be done a few weeks prior to closing and will be for punch list purposes only.  This will not only insure you are getting what you paid for but will get the builder to work on a timely basis to fix any issues prior to close.

If you’re looking to build, buy, or sell a home near Boston, be sure and contact me. I’m happy to assist you.


Is video more your style? Check out my videos on YouTube and be sure to subscribe. 


Posted in News
Jan. 19, 2019

Does Your Home Smell Fresh?

You are selling your Boston MetroWest home and you receive that call. You have a showing! There is so much to do before the showing, you need to clean and declutter, remove any personal touches. With so much on your mind before a showing, you may overlook an important detail- smell.


When getting ready to show your home, it’s important to remember how your home smells. So here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your home smells great.


First, bust out the baking soda. Before you start adding pleasant scents to your home, you need to make sure there are not any underlying smells that could give your new aroma a funky edge. Sprinkle baking soda over your carpets and couches. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum it up. You’ll be left with a clean slate. For hard to sprinkle fabrics, you can make a deodorizing spray of equal parts water and vinegar.


Second, cue the classic cookies. There is something about the smell of freshly baked cookies. Since you are going for the smell, rather than the cookie you can minimize your legwork. Just buy some pre-made cookie dough at the store. Bake the cookies so that they are finishing up right before the showing.


Third, simmer some scents. Boil a pot of water on the stove, reduce it to a simmer and add some easy pantry ingredients. If you do this an hour before your showing, your kitchen will smell amazing. There are simmer pot recipes online, but one of my favorites is lemon, rosemary, vanilla extract, and orange zest.


And finally, double down with a diffuser. If you’re serious about scenting your entire home, invest in a few diffusers. Simple reed diffusers are effective in small spaces, like a bathroom, but an essential oil diffuser makes a significant impact in larger, open rooms.


So if you’re selling your home and getting ready for a showing, don’t forget this important detail. How your home smells can attract buyers or push them away.



As always, if you have any real estate questions or would like help in buying or selling a Sudbury or Wayland, MA area home, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to assist you.


If you prefer video, feel free to head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe.



Posted in News
Nov. 24, 2018

10 Reasons To List During The Holidays


Are you ready to list your home but feeling a bit leery of listing right now? Everyone is busy and the house is decorated for the holidays and you just don’t think people will buy. That thinking is actually incorrect. Believe it or not, during the holidays is a GREAT time to list (and maybe even sell) your home. Here’s why:


  1. Serious buyers have few houses to choose from during the holidays, and less competition means more money for you!
  2. People who look for a home during the holidays are more serious buyers.
  3. Houses show better when decorated for the holidays.
  4. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your specific home. Less demand means less money for you...
  5. You can sell now for more money. We can certainly provide an option for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.
  6. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays, so they are more likely to pay your offering price.
  7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  8. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than they do during the work week.
  9. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transfers can't wait until spring to buy, your house must be on the market now!
  10. Your house can still be on the market, but you'll have the flexibility to limit showings during the six or seven days during the holidays.


If you’re ready to take the plunge and start preparing for your new dream home, text me or give me a call and let’s talk about it.


Rachel Bodner



Posted in News
Oct. 22, 2018

Harvard Real Estate Overflows with Wildlife

Fall in love with the great outdoors on Harvard real estate. At the Oxbow National Wildlife Reserve, over a thousand acres wait to be explored and appreciated. Declared as “a place set aside for wildlife, Oxbow is a place where a visitor can witness the diversity of the natural world”. Paths wind through the wilderness curving along the banks of the Nashua River, around oxbow ponds, streams, wetlands, fields and forests.

Getting back to nature has never been easier. Those who want to be in the thick of things can set out on a two mile hike beginning at Still Water Depot Road. Benches are strategically scattered about for moments of reflection, settling in for a good read or just catching one’s breath. A canoe launch is at the ready for canoers and kayakers itching to float about on the river. Fishing on the Nashua River is allowed on the shores and from the vessels. Anglers living in Harvard are often successful reeling in large mouth bass, yellow perch, sunfish and brown bullheads. Any season in the reserve is picture perfect. In the winter time plenty of cross country skiers and snowboarders enjoy the pristine scenery.

Fall in Love with the Great Outdoors when Living in Harvard

As expected wildlife flourishes on this protected piece of Harvard real estate. Visitors ready to observe often spot white-tailed deer, eastern coyote, cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, American toads and common garter snakes. The blue-spotted salamander is an excellent find as is Blanding’s turtle which is rare to the area. Bird watchers are truly in heaven with the amount of migratory birds flying by. Feathered friends may include the red-winged blackbird and gold finch. Check out a listing of potential species to see here. Wildlife is most active at sunrise and sunset. Being quiet is key and more successful sightings are experienced when the weather is cool.

The Friends of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge take good care of the land. This organization helps promote a message of conservation and environmentalism. Also, they provide a great support to the Urban Education Program where local school children make the most of the outdoors with interactive educational activities. Open year round, the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge reminds guests to “take only memories and leave only footprints.”


Posted in News
Oct. 21, 2018

Wayland Property Sets the Scene for Delicious Dining

Indulge in the world’s cuisine without ever traveling from Wayland property. Restaurants and eateries around town feature an array of international menus catering to every appetite.

Start off right at home with classic American comfort food. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and early birds fly on over to Mel’s Commonwealth Cafe in the a.m. Get the morning started with blueberry stuffed pancakes. Those hungry enough to eat a bear opt for the Wayland Warrior platter with eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon and a bagel. Nearby, a tuna melt with sweet potato fries has lunch written all over it at 110 Grill. Their menu boasts a great selection with seafood dishes, salads, soup, sandwiches and more. Experience the ambiance by eating out on the patio near the blazing fire pit. Special occasion dinners have been celebrated in style at The Coach Grill since the doors opened in 1930. Indulge in a steak dinner or choose a decadent lobster. Tables can be reserved by calling 508.358.5900.

Dine in Exotic Lands when Living in Wayland Homes

Add an exotic touch to what’s set about the table. Be prepared for a crowd during the lunch buffet at Soul of India. Authentic dishes are taste sensations. Get a glimpse of their menu here. Stop in at Spice and Pepper the local Thai food hot spot. This no frills diner serves up classic dishes. Offering both take out and delivery this is a great choice for those wishing to dine in comfort inside their Wayland home. The sushi bar is the perfect place to mingle with friends. Fresh is best and at Takara creative combinations bring back customers. This Japanese restaurant intermixes tradition with contemporary tastes. Americans love Italian food and it’s easy to take a bite out of Italy on Wayland property. Italian subs and pizza pies are popular at the Wayland Pizza House.

With so many choices for what’s for dinner it may take a while to decide. From American to Italian to Japanese, Wayland restaurants have hungry tummies covered.


Posted in News