Massachusetts Real Estate News

 

May 11, 2019

Research Prevents Home Buyer’s Remorse

 


You can change a house—location is tougher.

 

According to new research by Trulia, 36 percent of Americans have “neighborhood regret,” or would have moved to another neighborhood than the one they reside in today.

I am here to give you a few tips on avoiding making the mistake of moving to a neighborhood in the Metrowest that isn’t right for you!

When looking at what makes a neighborhood suitable, 48% of those surveyed were motivated by the “vibe,” 37 percent were affected by crime rates, and another 37 percent were attracted to easier travel to work. Attributes that led to regret for many were lack of public transportation, noise and traffic.

How should you be sure BEFORE you move that you don’t make the “neighborhood regret” mistake?

#1 Prepare through research. Look up neighborhood photos—something just 38 percent of those surveyed did

#2 Plan a visit to explore. Only 37 percent explored the neighborhood’s popular spots. Drive around, go to the supermarket and see how the “vibe” is there.  If public transportation is important to you, make sure you know where to find it whether it be in the town you are looking to move to or another town hopefully close by.

Last but not least #3 Go there at night. According to the Trulia survey 47% did not see what their neighborhood felt like at night.  Is there a lot going on? Do things close early? Is it safe to go out for a run? Think of what is important to you and get your answers prior to buying your home.

We all know that buying a home is a big decision and therefore make sure you not only find a home that you love but check out the neighborhood and what it has to offer prior to buying so you don’t become one of the 36% of people with Neighborhood regret!

If you would like help finding your next home I would be happy to assist. Call or text 978-505-1466 and let’s talk!


Prefer to get your news via video? Here’s a video on this topic. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more great tips and information.

 

 

Posted in News
May 3, 2019

Around Town This Spring

 

 

Around Town This Spring

Things to do this spring in Boston’s Metrowest Area

Get outside!   

 

Really, is there anything else you want to do now that winter is over?  Of course not, especially not with all the great options for getting out and about.

 

Marlborough-Sudbury State Forest and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge offer hiking trails and bird watching.  You can dip your toes where literary history happened at the Walden Pond State Reservation.  Want to take it up a notch, you can bike the trails at either Hopkinton or Callahan State Parks.  Or relax on the waters of Hopkinton or Cochituate State Parks (though boat rentals won’t start until Memorial Day).   These are just of few of the options available for shaking off the winter doldrums.

 

Get outside and work.   

 

If you want to be more productive in your outside activities you can visit one of the many Farmer’s Markets in the area to find the perfect plants for spring planting.  

 

Get outside and eat.  

 

Spring offers many activities to mark on the calendar.  

 

May 8, 4:30PM-7:30PM.  The 1st Food Truck Festival at the Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

*A portion of the proceeds goes to Jamaica Jammin’--the HS Senior Safe Night

*Food trucks--Say Cheese Food Truck, the Travelin’ Bones BBQ Truck, the 3rd

          Alarm Pizza Truck, the Cupcake City Truck, and VeeBop’s Ice Cream   

          Truck.

 

June 8, 9:30AM-3:30PM.  33rd Annual Hudson Fest.  Downtown Hudson

*Free family entertainment, children’s activities (some free and some with small fees),

and dozens of different vendors.  And of course, the Rotary Club’s Annual Duck Race.

 

June 15, 11AM-4PM.  Metrofest.  Bowditch Field Athletic and Cultural Complex in Framingham

*Food trucks, live music, beer and wine tasting, games for kids and adults, and over 125

              vendor booths.

 

June 23, 12PM-3PM.  Food and Brew Festival.  Avidia Bank in Shrewsbury.  

*Live music, a children’s play area, and sampling of food and drink from area restaurants

              and breweries.

**Tickets--$30

 

And for the adventurous women out there...Get outside and get muddy.

 

June 15, 7AM-4PM.  Muddy Princess.  Kalon Farm in Lancaster.

**5k obstacle mud run for women only

**Tickets range from $50-$99.

 

 

As you can see from the mild to the wild, there’s plenty of fun activities to take part in around the area. And, if you see something you especially love, tell us about it in the comments.

 

Posted in News
April 29, 2019

5 Tips to Get More Money From Your Home Sale

Are you thinking of Selling your home but are wondering if there are things you can do that will help you obtain more money and sell more quickly? I am about to go over five small repairs that can make a difference when selling your home.

#1 Apply New Paint

If you have not painted the interior of your home in a while, now is the time!  Neutralizing the paint colors as well as making sure your trim is in good shape will go a long way. Also, if the exterior of your home has paint that is peeling, you are always better off getting it repainted prior to selling. If you don’t have the money to do so, consider offering a credit to the potential buyers.

#2 Fix up your Flooring

If you have carpets that are old and stained it makes sense to replace them so they look fresh. New carpet is an inexpensive fix that can go along way in a buyer’s eyes.  Hardwood floors are preferred by most buyers however. If you have hardwood under your carpets, it definitely makes sense to lift them and get the wood refinished. Also, if you are planning to replace your carpet, I always recommend getting a quote on what it would take to replace with hardwood since it is preferred.

#3 Refinishing kitchen cabinets and Countertops

If your cabinets are dated and you don’t want to spend the money on replacing them, consider refacing or having them painted white. Many buyers these days are looking for white cabinets therefore this can really appeal to many and give your kitchen a fresh look. Also, changing out-dated knobs and re-grouting your countertops and black splash are inexpensive updates that can go a long way.

#4 Replace Bathroom fixtures

As you may know, kitchens and baths sell a home. If you can’t spend the money on a reasonably priced bathroom renovation, take a look at your light fixtures, vanity and flooring and consider replacement. Rather than gutting to the studs, these fixes will be much less costly and will contribute to fresh look. If you have a colored bathtub, get it painted white to make the room feel lighter and more updated.

#5 Boost your Home’s curb appeal

A buyer’s first impression will be how your home looks from the outside. Start by checking  for wood rot and peeling paint and fix the affected areas. Make sure your landscaping is fresh and bushes are trimmed away from the house. Fresh flowers in pots in the appropriate weather can give your home a welcoming look.   If there are cracks in the walkway or driveway, patch them up or resurface. Remember you only have one chance to make a first impression!

If you are thinking of selling, I would be happy to come and take a look at your home and give you tips on things you can do to get the most money.  Please don’t forget to LIKE, COMMENT AND SHARE. Have a great home Buying and Selling day everyone.

 

If you prefer video to blogs, you can watch my video here below and then subscribe on my YouTube channel to get more video tips.

 

 

Posted in News
April 25, 2019

Tips to Buy and Sell at the Same Time

 

Are you looking to sell your current home and buy a new one and are wondering the best way to do it? I’ve got some tips for you today to help you navigate the process of buying a new home and selling your current one at the same time.

 

Whether you plan to buy or sell first, follow these three tips:

#1 Hire an experienced realtor.

Buying and selling at the same time can be complicated and overwhelming so it is important to have an Agent that has the experience to help you price your home appropriately as well as find and negotiate the best deal on your new one.

#2 Know your financial situation.

The amount of liquid cash you have, the amount of equity in your home, and the loan amount you qualify for can all factor into deciding if you will be buying or selling first.  

#3 Evaluate the current market. It is important to know if it is a Buyer’s or a Seller’s Market and plan accordingly.

In a Buyer’s Market, you’ll likely have an easier time finding your new home than you will selling your old one. In a Seller’s Market, it is likely that your current home will move more quickly than you may be able to find a new one.

 

If you plan on selling your current home first and don’t want to be homeless, here are some tips you may consider:

#1 Make your current home sale contingent on your finding your next home in a set period of time.

Keep the dialogue open with your buyer and agree on a set time frame that you will proceed with the sale even if you have not found your next home.

#2 Find a temporary rental to live in.

Yes, you’ll have to move twice, but sometimes closing one sale before starting another one can be the least stressful option. This will let you take the pressure off the timing and gives you the time to find a home you really love, rather than one that was simply available.  

#3 Sign a rent-back option.

A rent-back option is when you have agreed with the buyers that you can stay in your house for a short time after close and rent back from the new owner. This works especially well if your buyers don’t have a buyer lined up for their home yet.

 

If you decide to purchase your next home prior to selling, you will want to consider the following:

#1 Make an offer with a home sale contingency.

If you sign a contingency, the sellers of the home you’re buying are still allowed to seek other offers. Now, if you’re unable to remove the contingency when a second offer comes in, you have the first right of refusal.

#2 Request an extended closing.

If you’re confident that your existing home will sell in a short period of time, you can request to extend the closing date of your new home past the standard 60 days. This will give you more time to sell your current home and put your home’s equity toward your new one.

#3 Use your savings to purchase your next home.

If you’re in the financial position to do so, the simplest route is to use your savings to pay for your new home and then get a mortgage after you sell your first home.

#4 Take out a home equity line of credit or a bridge loan.

A line of credit allows you to borrow against the equity in your current home. A bridge loan is a short-term loan offered by a bank to cover your costs of buying, just until your sales close.

 

Whether you decide that Buying or Selling first is right for you I hope these tips have made you more aware of your options. If you want more information, give me a call! I’m always happy to talk.

 

If you’d prefer to watch this information in video format, make sure you visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

 

Posted in 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