Massachusetts Real Estate 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 Any old or outdated equipment will need to be updated and replaced.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
Oct. 19, 2018

Beloved Stories Come to Life on Concord Property

The beloved story of the March girls in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has unarguably stood the test of time. Transcending the written word into the world of filmmaking the love of Little Women knows no bounds. Orchard House sets the scene for where the inspiring novel was created. Found on Concord property guests are welcome to visit the house and relive the scenes of the story.

Beautifully preserved, one feels as if time is standing still with a visit. Guided tours take folks through the Concord home room by room. Explore the kitchen and marvel at the simplicity compared to the kitchens in today’s Concord homes. Many a memory was made in the parlor and formal dinners held in the dining room. Personal touches add charm and whimsy to the upstairs bedrooms. A favorite piece of furniture to reflect on is the desk crafted by Louisa’s father and where she wrote her famous book. Held daily groups larger than 10 are asked to make prior reservations. Take a virtual tour of the house here.

Celebrate Local History in a Beloved Concord Home

Special events are always held on the grounds. Living History Tours and Workshops take place throughout the year. Guides dressed in period garb lead the way throughout the house. After a tour games are played in the parlor giving participants a glimpse of life lived in the 19th Century. Seasonal themes are worked in for Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.

Writing workshops flow with endless creativity. Little Women Fun Weeks in the Spring feature the interests of the sisters. Themes include the Jo March Writing Program, Meg March Theater Program, Beth March Crafts and Games Program and Amy March Art Program. The Concord Property welcomes the holiday season in style. Orchard House is all decked out in December complete with carolers and other festivities. Come one come all and see what Christmas was like for the Alcotts.

Although open year round, hours for Orchard House are seasonal in nature so check the website before visiting. More information can be obtained by calling 978.369.4118.


Posted in News
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates