Massachusetts Real Estate News

 

Aug. 3, 2019

How Does the Inspection Phase Of Home Sales/Purchase Work?

The inspection phase of a home will vary but in general, all Metro West inspections will involve evaluating certain aspects of the home before a seller can sell their home to a prospective buyer.

Health and safety are important considerations. Basic amenities expected of a modern building should also be in place and functioning properly.

Inspections are crucial to help arrive at a final sale price as well. If there are any serious issues, the bank may determine the seller needs to fix them before the sale can go ahead. In some cases, the prospective buyer might agree to make the repairs, but would also expect to get the house for a lower price in consideration for the work and money they will be putting in.

The Areas of Inspection

The usual areas of inspection are:

  • Structure
  • Exterior
  • Roofing system
  • Plumbing system
  • Electrical system
  • Heating system
  • Air conditioning system
  • Interior
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Fireplaces  

They will also look for problems like radon gas, carbon monoxide, asbestos, termites and more.

Inspection Standards

The American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI, has "Standards of Practice" which stipulate what must be inspected, and how far home inspectors need to go to report those findings. If you’d like to see what a home inspection might be like, check out the ASHI virtual home inspection on their website HERE

Sellers who want to get a clear idea of the state of their home and what needs to be attended to urgently can hire their own inspector, who will then give them an evaluation of all that needs to be done. Inspections usually take 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the house.

Hiring an inspector will cost money, but it can also prevent your sale from falling through further down the road because "deal breakers" have been discovered.

Buyer Inspections

Once a buyer makes an offer on your home, they will come with an inspector to assess the property. This is bound to make most sellers nervous, but again, if you’ve hired your own inspector and done all the chores on your to-do list, you should get a good evaluation.

The prospective buyer will usually walk through with the inspector. This can be very nerve-wracking, so it is probably best to leave the house while they are doing the walk-through. However, do make yourself available by mobile phone if they have any questions. 

The Report

When the home inspection is complete, the inspector will write a report and give a copy to the prospective buyer detailing everything that has been found. If there are major causes for concern, they will usually require immediate attention before the sale can go through. 

They might also report on potential future issues, such as the boiler only having another three years under warranty. You probably won’t be required to buy a new boiler, but you will most likely be asked to lower the price of the house.

You will have time to fix the issues, and there will be a follow-up inspection. Once all the parties are satisfied that the house is in good condition, the sale can proceed.

 

If you’d like to learn more about home inspections in the Sudbury and Wayland areas, give me a call and let’s talk about it. 

Posted in News
July 5, 2019

Put Your Toes In The Sand in Massachusetts

 

Last week I listed a few summer fun activities to help fill out the calendar.  But, let’s face it, sometimes the best part of summer is grabbing a towel, a chair, the cooler, and heading toward the beach to put your toes in the sand. You can stretch out under the sun and spend the day doing absolutely nothing.  And here in eastern Massachusetts, we’ve got so many beaches to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to name the best.

 

Nearly, but not totally impossible.  At least not according to Best of Boston, which has named Crane Beach in Ipswich the best beach for the last three years.  The four miles of white sand include lifeguards, outside showers, and bathhouses (with toilets and changing areas).  There’s also the Crane Beach Store where you can purchase refreshments. Crane Beach is a recognized conservation area with over five miles of trails that move through the dunes and along the coast on both sides of the Castle Neck peninsula.  

 

Another consistent winner is Coast Guard Beach, which is always at the top of the list for best family beaches in the country.  Coast Guard Beach is one of several within Cape Cod National Seashore.  Keep in mind, during the summer season there is no parking at Coast Guard Beach but there is a shuttle from the Little Creek Parking area.

 

The best surfing is found at Long Beach or Good Harbor in Gloucester.  Both offer restrooms, showers, and food vendors.  Parking can be expensive and crowded so plan your arrival early.  And, if you’re making the trip to surf, there is no surfing from 9-5, so you can get in and out early before the crowds descend.  

 

Want to include a little camping with your sunbathing? Head over to Horseneck Beach State Reservation, at the western end of Buzzards Bay in Westport.  The park includes picnic areas, showers, a dishwashing station, a playground, and trailer/RV dumping.  During the summer the beach has public restrooms and lifeguards on duty. 

 

Don’t feel like heading all the way over to the coast?  Check out Cochituate State Park.  The park has swimming, fishing, some light hiking, and boating (with rentals).     

 

There are places to go and plenty to do in Massachusetts this summer, so don’t get to September and lament that summer passed you by.

 

Posted in News
June 27, 2019

Summer Fun in MetroWest, MA

 

Summertime….and the living is easy.

 

What’s not easy?  Finding things to do in summer.  We all start out with big goals and plans, but by September we’re wondering what we did all summer.

 

Here are a few suggestions around Sudbury, Wayland, and beyond, to help you skip the fall regret.

 

This summer there’s always something happening at the Wayside Inn978-443-1776

 

Strawberry Concert--every Tuesday at 7:00.  Featuring different local bands, dinner, and of course strawberry shortcake for dessert.  $45 or only $15 if you just want to enjoy the music.

 

Annual Craft Beer Tasting--July 26, 6-9:30.  Food and live music for $25.  Each beer is $3. Also, cigars will be available from Victory Cigar.

 

Country Fest--August 9, 6-9:30.  Food and live music for $35, plus a cash bar.

 

Cigar Dinner--August 22, 5:30-9:30.  Food and cigars (from Victory Cigar) for $60, plus a cash bar.  

 

There is something for everyone in Ogunquit

 

This summer the Hackmatack Playhouse will be showcasing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, running from July 3rd-20th. Mama Mia running from July 24-August 10th.  And, Peter and the Starcatcher, running from August 14th-29th.

 

Every Friday and Saturday night Mainestreet Ogunquit has Dueling Drag Divas, live music from famous female impersonators.  

 

Jonathan’s Ogunquit has plenty of entertainment to choose from- as does Vinegar Hill.  

 

And, don’t forget the 4th of July fireworks on Ogunquit Beach.  

 

And, of course, there’s always Boston for entertaining options.

 

From free Shakespeare on the Common to cruises around Boston Harbor to the summer discounts on CityPASS you’re sure to find the perfect entertainment.  

 

For more events here are the calendars for  July and August. 

 

And, if your ideal summer plan simply includes lounging on the beach, check back next week when I’ll list the top 5 area beaches. 

 

Posted in News
June 20, 2019

The Hard Facts About Fixed and Variable Rate Mortgages

My buyers in the Sudbury and Wayland areas are always asking me about mortgages. It's important to make sure you get a mortgage that you are comfortable with.

 

In the realm of mortgages, a fixed rate mortgage is considered to be the perfect little princess. And, a variable rate mortgage is often thought of as the wicked stepsister. While variable mortgages can be detrimental to some, they can provide the most benefit for many others. The same logic applies to fixed-rate mortgages.  

 

Below, we'll cover the good, bad, and ugly on both sides of the fence.  

 

Variable Rate Mortgage

 

Due to its nature, variable rate mortgages start out at a substantially lower interest rate than fixed-rate mortgages and then increase incrementally over time. This practice that is only associated with variable rate mortgages is often referred to as a teaser rate because the introductory rate is so alluring.  

 

The incremental increases, which are most often seen in 6-month or 12-month intervals, are set according to the current fluctuations of the average mortgage interest rates. Therefore, if you sign on with a reputable lender, your interest rate should be set according to the local average. Your interest rate will both increase and decrease according to the natural ebbs and flows of the market.  

 

Below, we'll cover which buyers would benefit most from opting for a variable rate mortgage.

 

Variable rate mortgages are ideal for the following buyers:  

 

  • Newlyweds who want to own a smaller home now and move on to a larger home once they're ready to start a family  
  • Real estate investors who plan to flip a home (renovate for profit) over the course of several years and then sell at or before the five-year mark  
  • Homeowners who are "testing out" a new area and want the leniency of being able to move within a few years with little penalty
  • Homebuyers who have a limited income at the moment, but foresee a large increase in income within the next five years (new college graduates, owners of a startup business)  
  • Homeowners who are hoping to get into a certain market while it's hot at the lowest possible price, and refinance into fixed rate mortgage within a few years

Fixed Rate Mortgages

 

Fixed rate mortgages are the most popular mortgage selection among homebuyers. In fact, this type of mortgage is so popular that over 75% of homebuyers nationwide choose this option.  

 

A fixed rate mortgage is self-explanatory; the interest rate you sign on with today is the same amount you'll be paying in 5, 10, or 15 years, according to the terms of your mortgage - no surprises.  

 

Though the security of a fixed rate mortgage may have you giddy to sign on the dotted line, there is one very important fact that you must be aware of before you make your decision. The interest rate applied to a fixed-rate mortgage is inflated.

 

This is because lenders must anticipate fluctuations, particularly increases in interest rate averages, long before they occur. Therefore, if the lender anticipates that over the course of your mortgage, interest rates will spike to 8%, you'll likely be quoted an interest rate of 7%, even if the lender only needs to charge you 6%.  

 

Interest rates are more inflated with 30-year fixed rate mortgages than they are with 15-year fixed. This is a logical move to lenders because they assume a far lower risk of exorbitantly spiked interest rates over the course of 180 months as opposed to 360 months.

 

A fixed rate mortgage is ideal for the following homebuyers:  

 

  • Those who plan to reside in their home throughout the duration of their mortgage and are purchasing a home with adequate space to accommodate the needs of their growing family
  • Buyers who operate a small business locally and plan on staying in their home for an indefinite period of time
  • Homebuyers who are uncomfortable with the uncertainty of variable rate mortgages and prefer to pay a set amount each month for the duration of their mortgage, even if the interest rate is a bit inflated  
  • Buyers who have a general idea of what their foreseeable income will be over the next 15 to 30 years

 

When choosing your type of mortgage, base your decision on the foreseeable needs of your family.  

 

It can be tempting to either go for the no-fuss fixed rate mortgage or the low introductory rates of a variable rate mortgage. But, if the decision isn't practical for your specific needs in 5, 15 or 30 years, you’ll only be hurting yourself from a financial standpoint.

 

Have more questions about Metrowest real estate or mortgages? Looking for a mortgage lender? Hook up with me. I’m happy to assist.

 

Posted in 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