Archive for June, 2017

Billerica Home Appraisals Best Left to Humans

In the Terminator movies, a robot from the future (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down the human heroine in order to change the future by altering the past. Although that’s actually the present. It’s complicated.

Although generally considered science fiction, the same thing is happening right now in the realm of Billerica home appraisals! Now, before any Billerica readers panic, there’s no immediate danger to the community. The authorities have the situation well in hand; in fact, the robot in question has already been hauled into court. There’s certainly nothing that could affect any individual Billerica homeowner…that is, unless your own house is about to be entered into the Billerica listings.

First, about the robot: this is not the Terminator (Arnold) himself. In real life, if you saw him in the supermarket or walking down the street, there would be nothing to fear at all. In real life, he is an actor/Governor who is actually an American/Austrian who is a conservative/liberal and in no way the fictional robot character who was the antagonist/protagonist featured in the Terminator movies.

Neither is the robot that lurks in some online listings: the home appraisal robot. It, too, is nothing to fear, even though it has probably already visited your house without your knowledge. This robot comes from the Zillow website, and its name is “Zestimate.” It means no harm and is doing the best an automated home estimate robot could be expected to do. Any unintended consequences of what happens when it visits your house are, as the phrase indicates, unintentional.

About that court case: the online information company Zillow publishes a dollar figure that its robot calculates for most U.S. home addresses. It is featured as its “Zestimate” of a property’s market value. An Illinois realty lawyer has sued them because she claims that in her case that number is so low and off-kilter that it has materially hampered the sale of her condominium. State law has it that nobody can publish an appraisal without permission of the property’s owner. Zillow says that the $ number it calls its “Zestimate” is not an appraisal at all: instead, it’s an “estimated market value.” Who wins the court case is yet to be determined.

How this might affect your own Billerica home is because prospective buyers might visit Zillow to see what the robot thinks your own property is worth, and be slightly misled. Zillow admits that, compared with actual sale prices, their Zestimate number has a median error rate of 5% (not bad)—but that it’s only within twenty percent 89.7% of the time. A 20% error would be terribly misleading; especially when it happens more than one out of ten times.

The fact is, this robot doesn’t come from the future like the Terminator. Its numbers are based solely on publicly recorded information, which may be outdated, incorrect, or, most likely, unable to factor in anything other than basic square footage and general comps. What the Zestimate cannot account for are things like how upgraded, or outdated, or depressingly dark, or delightfully light, or traffic-noise heavy, or majestically awe-inspiring the subject property actually is in comparison to the comps used to calculate the Zestimate. When human beings aren’t involved at all, the subject property itself is not actually compared. I think there is room for this kind of automated approach. It can be fun and interesting to look around a neighborhood to see how various individual properties fare, even if the numbers aren’t to be taken too seriously.  As the name implies, it’s really just an estimate.

But when the time comes to actually sell your own Billerica home or to start looking in earnest for a house you will be calling home for many years, that’s no time to rely on anything less than comparables and guidance researched by a living, breathing real estate professional. In other words, when the information needs to be right—call me!

Joan Parcewski, CRS, CSHP, SRES, MRP, Notary

licensed MA and NH    c 978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERrealty.com

LAER Realty Partners        JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com

http://JoanParcewski.smarthomeprice.com      http://JoanParcewski.7sellertips.com

http://JoanParcewski.nameyoursellingprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.hometrendsreport.com

Laer Realty Partners      Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Billerica Mortgage Rates and Fed Agree to Disagree…Perhaps

Last week, following the Fed’s hike in the rates they charge banks, you might expect a matching rise in mortgage rates for Billerica home buyers and refi applicants. If the experts are right, that’s far from a done deal.

The Washington Post headline said it all:

Mortgage rates move slightly higher but could be headed back down again.”

Mortgage News Daily reported the same: a slight nudge upward, then back down:

By holding flat, rates remain very close to the best levels seen in more than 8 months.”

The consensus was all but unanimous, with even Freddie Mac predicting that “mortgage rates are likely to follow” Treasury yields—that is, downward.

When the Fed raises the rates banks must pay, it’s only logical to expect the move to echo through the money markets, finally reaching home loan lenders. After all, they must raise rates to maintain the same profit level. But following the Fed announcement, investors drove Treasury rates sharply lower. The reason for the market’s seemingly reverse reaction wasn’t due to the Fed’s move: rather, it was because of “a surprisingly weak” Consumer Price Index report (which the Fed had chosen to ignore). In other words, investors believed the CPI instead of the Fed.

The likely effect on Billerica home buyers and sellers remains very good news. With Billerica mortgage rates holding at the “best levels seen in more than 8 months,” more families’ budgets allow moves to bigger and better homes. And for those who read the Fed rate news and feared it might be too late to take advantage of historically low interest rates, the Mortgage News Daily offered a further prediction about mortgage rates that even “stand a shot at going lower this summer.”

Billerica mortgage rates do rise and fall daily—and knowing for certain where they are headed is famously impossible. As Bloomberg.com noted by the end of the week, “it’s been an especially rough six months” for those charged with predicting trends. What needs no crystal ball to establish is that it now seems likely that this year’s spring-summer busy season will continue to produce real estate bargains that would have seemed almost inconceivable in earlier inflation-ridden decades.

With both sellers and buyers seeing Billerica mortgage rates that translate into more house for lower monthly payments, it remains prime time to check out the market—and to give me a call!

Joan Parcewski – CRS, SRES, CSHP, MRP, Notary           JParcewski@LAERrealty.com

LAER Realty Partners            JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com

http://JoanParcewski.smarthomeprice.com         http://JoanParcewski.7sellertips.com http://JoanParcewski.nameyoursellingprice.com http://JoanParcewski.hometrendsreport.com

 

Laer Realty Partners    Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Smart Positioning in the Quest for Bedford Homes for Sale

Not everyone who is looking at the homes for sale in Bedford needs to come up with a winner right away. If their own house has just been listed, they may reasonably estimate that it will be some months before the moving vans need to be summoned. Or they may be contemplating a move only if they happen across just the right place at just the right price.

If you find yourself in a similar kind of low-pressure house hunting mode, some basic truths about homebuying still do apply. Remember that when you finally do find just the right home at just the right price, all of a sudden you could find yourself in competition with others who see the same thing: the house they’ve been looking for!

The takeaway is that, even if your interest in today’s Bedford homes for sale is strictly low-key, it’s prudent to prepare yourself as if yours is more of a front-burner quest. Although it could seem to be more trouble than it’s likely to be worth, most people in a similar “just looking” frame of mind won’t have gone to the trouble. In other words, when the Bedford house of your dreams suddenly does come on the market, guess who’s going to be the one to land it?

Here are three checklist items that will position you to make the most of any Bedford house hunt:

  • Budget seriously. Without doubt, the place to start is by doing some financial homework. If you don’t know what you can comfortably afford, you can’t know which of the homes for sale in Bedford should be competing for your attention.
  • Get real. Unless you plan to be a cash buyer, having a mortgage lender on your team is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that being “pre-qualified” isn’t the same thing as being “pre-approved”—the more rigorous (and real) process. It spells out the precise size of the home loan you can expect to receive. It’s no surprise that sellers tilt toward prospective buyers who have bothered to get real!
  • Widen the field. Once you have narrowed the field in terms of the price range you will be considering, you can improve the chances of finding a singularly appealing property by widening your search parameters. This can mean considering homes for sale in areas you hadn’t really paid attention to—or opening your imagination to include properties with features or architectural styles you hadn’t previously thought about. Especially in an active market with tight inventories, the open-minded approach is often the one that yields pay dirt.

Today’s low home loan rates are allowing surprisingly affordable monthly payments—numbers which can transform even the least motivated prospects into active house hunters. To see what that means in terms of the actual current crop of Bedford homes for sale, give me a call!

Joan Parcewski – CRS, SRES, CSHP, MRP, Notary – licensed MA and NH

LAER Realty Partners           c 978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERrealty.com

JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com                    http://JoanParcewski.smarthomeprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.7sellertips.com         http://JoanParcewski.nameyoursellingprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.hometrendsreport.com

Laer Realty Partners       Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

The Light and Bright Rule for Selling Your Burlington Home  

 

You could say that selling a home—in Burlington or anywhere else in the nation—is in large part “a light show.” When you dissect marketing statistics that trace the path of the vast majority of buyers, it’s clear that the first sense that comes into play in the selling of a home is sight: either a first view of the online listing, a glimpse of a property with a “for sale” sign out front, or an image in an ad or printed handout. As the saying goes, “the eyes have it.”

Selling Burlington homes really begins with the photography. Professional photographers know that whenever they aim their cameras at something they intend to capture, as important as the actual object itself is the quality of the light that illuminates it. They talk about the “shape” of the light and whether it’s “hard” (meaning shadows are prominent) or “soft” (shadows innocuous). It’s why the pros will time a listing’s emblematic “curb appeal” shot for the sun to be in the most flattering position.  Inside, they may use as many as three or four hidden slave strobe lights to brighten larger rooms where the natural light is photographically uneven.

With few exceptions, light and bright is the rule of thumb for what succeeds best in selling a home. That guideline explains why most agree that the preferred wall colors are variations of “pale” this or “light” that. The perennial favorites are light beige, pale taupe, and pale gray-blue. The common denominator for room color recommendations is high to moderate reflectivity—in other words: light and bright! A recent published analysis of over 32,000 photos of sold homes seems to have been a largely unnecessary exercise: the leaders were (you guessed it) pale gray blue and light beige.

The same thinking leads to the good practice of preceding every showing and open house with a quick trip through the home, opening blinds and curtains and turning on lamps and overheads.

But there are exceptions, of course. Burlington homes with media rooms can often benefit from dimmed lighting that accentuates media screens. Likewise, a rich, darkly paneled study can do the same. Both make an interesting contrast with the rest of the home (and a dramatic break in the whole presentation). When showing a client’s property, some agents lead the guests on a predetermined route through the property. The idea is to manage the progression of impressions to achieve maximum impact.

When you begin to contemplate selling your own Burlington home, even if it’s not being planned for a while, I hope you will give me a call. I’ll come out so we can chat about some low-intensity preparations that will pave the way for a quick and easy eventual sale. There’s never any obligation—and there are often some early steps you can take that result in meaningful results!

Joan Parcewski, CRS, GRI, SRES, CSHP, MRP

Licensed MA and NH

C 978-376-3978     JParcewski@LAERrealty.com

http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com

http://JoanParcewski.smarthomeprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.7sellertips.com

http://JoanParcewski.nameyoursellingprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.hometrendsreport.com

 

 

Billerica Public Library looking for local authors

Great opportunity for authors published since 2005 –

 

We’re looking for local authors!

Are you a local author? Would you like the chance to tell the public about your book(s), meet other local authors, and/or even sell copies? Then read on!
The Billerica Public Library is looking for published local authors to participate in our Local Author Fair to be held Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

. Authors will be afforded the opportunity to meet potential readers and share their talent with the community. The event will also provide authors with an opportunity to promote, sell, and sign copies of their work. Applications are due July 10th; guidelines and the application form can be found below, and on our website here.

Guidelines:

  • First preference will be given to authors living in Billerica and the immediate surrounding towns (Chelmsford, Lowell, Bedford, Burlington, Carlisle, Tewksbury, and Wilmington), but those from a wider area will be considered.
  • We will only be accepting authors with works published after 2005.
  • Authors must attend the event and are responsible for their own exhibits, including money, cash boxes, change, products, signage, or other items they wish to use. If you wish to use a credit card reader, your unit must operate wirelessly and its setup and configuration are your responsibility.
  • The library will provide one shared table and one chair, but will provide no other assistance. Use of electrical outlets is not guaranteed.
  • Display materials must fit in the confines of the table space. The library cannot accommodate banners, posters, floor displays, or wall hangings.
  • The library will promote the event as a library-sponsored program, but does not endorse, promote, or spotlight any one author to the exclusion of others.
  • Space is limited. The library reserves the right to accept or refuse any application at its discretion.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an application form by July 10th, 2017. In addition to the application, authors will be required to submit a hard copy of their book, a resume, professional reviews (if applicable), and a recent photograph. Library staff will evaluate the applications and respond to all as soon as possible.

Looking in Billerica? – Make the Most of the Billerica Homes for Sale!

Not everyone who is looking at the homes for sale in Billerica needs to come up with a winner right away. If their own house has just been listed, they may reasonably estimate that it will be some months before the moving vans need to be summoned. Or they may be contemplating a move only if they happen across just the right place at just the right price.

If you find yourself in a similar kind of low-pressure house hunting mode, some basic truths about homebuying still do apply. Remember that when you finally do find just the right home at just the right price, all of a sudden you could find yourself in competition with others who see the same thing: the house they’ve been looking for!

The takeaway is that, even if your interest in today’s Billerica homes for sale is strictly low-key, it’s prudent to prepare yourself as if yours is more of a front-burner quest. Although it could seem to be more trouble than it’s likely to be worth, most people in a similar “just looking” frame of mind won’t have gone to the trouble. In other words, when the Billerica house of your dreams suddenly does come on the market, guess who’s going to be the one to land it?

Here are three checklist items that will position you to make the most of any Billerica house hunt:

  • Budget seriously. Without doubt, the place to start is by doing some financial homework. If you don’t know what you can comfortably afford, you can’t know which of the homes for sale in Billerica should be competing for your attention.
  • Get real. Unless you plan to be a cash buyer, having a mortgage lender on your team is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that being “pre-qualified” isn’t the same thing as being “pre-approved”—the more rigorous (and real) process. It spells out the precise size of the home loan you can expect to receive. It’s no surprise that sellers tilt toward prospective buyers who have bothered to get real!
  • Widen the field. Once you have narrowed the field in terms of the price range you will be considering, you can improve the chances of finding a singularly appealing property by widening your search parameters. This can mean considering homes for sale in areas you hadn’t really paid attention to—or opening your imagination to include properties with features or architectural styles you hadn’t previously thought about. Especially in an active market with tight inventories, the open-minded approach is often the one that yields pay dirt.

Today’s low home loan rates are allowing surprisingly affordable monthly payments—numbers which can transform even the least motivated prospects into active house hunters. To see what that means in terms of the actual current crop of Billerica homes for sale, give me a call!

Joan Parcewski, CRS, GRI, SRES, CSHP, MRP

Licensed MA and NH

C 978-376-3978     JParcewski@LAERrealty.com

http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com

http://JoanParcewski.smarthomeprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.7sellertips.com

http://JoanParcewski.nameyoursellingprice.com

http://JoanParcewski.hometrendsreport.com

 

%d bloggers like this: