Archive for July, 2017

Joan Parcewski – Realtor Neighborhood Ambassador

Wouldn’t you want to get to know the realtor who has taken the time to get to know the businesses, organizations, people in the local neighborhood?

I am very excited to announce that I have committed to become the neighborhood ambassador for both Bedford and Billerica.  It not only is an opportunity for me to get to know more about each of these towns -their history, their residents, the local businesses (large and small), events, news and more.

Living in any town is more than just the home you live in, it is the possibilities of how you can get involved – in town meetings, on a local committee, as a volunteer at your child’s school.

Check out either Parkbench.com/Bedford  OR   Parkbench.com/Billerica – and subscribe to get automatic updates  or keep checking back –  The sites are updated regularly.  Here is a quick link to a recent blog post

https://parkbench.com/blog/griggs-farm-farmers-market-bedford-billy-griggs

https://parkbench.com/blog/growin-minds-preschool-day-cares-billerica-carolina-mango

 

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

For Billerica Renters: The 5-Year Tesla Plan

My 5-year Tesla Plan is fanciful, but based on what could be the situation some Billerica renters can probably relate to.

The imaginary 5-year Tesla Plan participant could be any gainfully employed Billerica renter who has been living comfortably in a nice rental for the past few years. It’s either a comfortable home or a nice apartment: that doesn’t matter.

What’s important is that the monthly rent has been rising. It’s now $1,570. This is now gobbling up just about every spare dollar of the Billerica renter’s income, perhaps leaving only an annual $6,000 bonus for savings, which the tenant has banked religiously for the past five years.

The renter is driving a seen-better-days Subaru, newly paid-off. In fact, the renter has recently been tempted to take that $30,000 bonus savings and buy a brand new Tesla Model 3 sports sedan—but so far, prudence has won out (besides, the trove is $5,000 short of the Tesla’s price tag).

The 5-year Tesla Plan gets started with a call to my office (actually, any Billerica Realtor® could be called—but this is my Tesla Plan, after all!) The object is to find a suitable Billerica home to buy.

This we accomplish with a spacious 3-bedroom 2 ½ bath in an out-of-the way location. Its asking price is low because the motivated seller has been absent for months and now, in July, the yard looks terrible. So it’s a real buy at the just-reduced asking price of $210,000. (Whether the actual number is $210,000 or $2,100,000—the logic remains).

The average nearby comps come in at $240,000, so the bank has no trouble offering a home loan at that week’s rate of 3.835%. The bonus trove will cover nearly 15% as a down payment (saving those annual bonuses instead of buying the Tesla was certainly a good idea)! Because the down payment was less than 20%, the new homeowner will have to add about $65 a month extra for private mortgage insurance (PMI)—but even so, it’s still a great deal.

The bottom line is a monthly mortgage payment of $1,137 including property tax, house insurance, and the PMI insurance. So the proud new Billerica homeowner is now saving $433 every month. This might seem to be an annual saving of $5,200—but that’s not so! There are two other financially lucrative things going on that weren’t available to renters.

First is the appreciation in the value of the house once the yard is back in shape. But that’s not part of the 5-year Tesla Plan—it’s just a long-term bonus.

The second advantage most definitely is: a hefty income tax break. During those first five years, the mortgage interest paid equals $32,636—the entirety of which is a federal income tax deduction. So is the $3,900 in PMI payments. In the 25% tax bracket, that comes to $9,134 less headed to Uncle Sam. When you add everything together, during the first five years, the new homeowner will have pocketed about $35,134.

That’s good because it just so happens that the Tesla Model 3 is being advertised at a starting price of $35,000. So who needs to even trade in the now-rusty Subaru?

That’s my fanciful 5-year Tesla Plan—which gets you your new Tesla at the same time you are establishing a long-term Billerica real estate investment. Individual tax situations differ, and should be always be referred to a tax professional—but you don’t have to be driving a rattletrap Subaru to benefit from the moral of this story—which is the undeniable financial advantage in store for Billerica renters who make the arithmetic work for them when they choose to become Billerica owners. Also, it’s easy to start: just give me a call!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty Partners   Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

5 Tips Maximize Summertime Burlington House Showings

When the Burlington weather turns sizzling, you might think that house showings might go better by holding off for milder weather. After all, as the mercury rises, energy levels tend to wilt, so prospective buyers willing to take on a big initiative—like lining up a new house—might seem to be in short supply. You might think that—but the evidence actually points in the opposite direction.

It seems that the hottest weather invites more home buying instead of less. At least that’s what the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests—and experts at Fannie Mae agree.

The NBER finds that “warm weather may have a positive impact on home sales.” In warm weather, if a home has features like access to a swimming pool or A/C, “buyers can see themselves enjoying the home on a nice day.”

Indeed, Fannie Mae’s research into how consumers feel about buying a home at different times of the year points to a similar seasonal effect. Part of Fannie’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s findings line up with real estate’s well-known seasonal bias. Part of the strength of Burlington’s traditional spring and summer selling season may be due to prospective buyers’ need to make a change before the new school year starts, but if so, it’s a strong enough incentive to obscure any discomfort brought on by the July and August heat.

It’s all welcome news for homeowners planning Burlington house showings at this time of year—but it’s still a good idea to make some weather-wise adjustments. Here are 5 tips for hot weather house showings:

  1. Let the A/C rip! Most experts say 72 degrees is the correct setting for central air systems—but I find that it’s really dependent on the difference between outside and in. When you walk through the front door, if the atmosphere gives you a refreshing lift (not a shivering chill), that’s the right setting.
  2. Be vigilant about smells. Summertime brings out any pet or musty aromas that aren’t as apparent during the rest of the year, so pay special attention to what your nose knows. If a dehumidifier helps eliminate a damp area, set it to work. This is also the right time to invest in quality scent-producing oils or candles.
  3. Refreshments. A pitcher of ice water with lemons or similar thoughtful provision will be greatly appreciated by your guests (and your Realtor®!)
  4. Green. The lawn and plantings are always central to creating the curb appeal that sets the stage for everything else, so keep the front yard as green and welcoming as practical.
  5. Leave lights on. Even though it can feel cooler in dark rooms, let the climate control do that work. House showings go better in a light and bright environment any time of year.

If your Burlington home has excellent cooling systems or an inviting swimming pool setup, now is the time to make the most of it. Give me a call to see if we can get started before summer starts to slip away!

 My 5-year Tesla Plan is fanciful, but based on what could be the situation some Billerica renters can probably relate to.

The imaginary 5-year Tesla Plan participant could be any gainfully employed Billerica renter who has been living comfortably in a nice rental for the past few years. It’s either a comfortable home or a nice apartment: that doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the monthly rent has been rising. It’s now $1,570. This is now gobbling up just about every spare dollar of the Billerica renter’s income, perhaps leaving only an annual $6,000 bonus for savings, which the tenant has banked religiously for the past five years. The renter is driving a seen-better-days Subaru, newly paid-off. In fact, the renter has recently been tempted to take that $30,000 bonus savings and buy a brand new Tesla Model 3 sports sedan—but so far, prudence has won out (besides, the trove is $5,000 short of the Tesla’s price tag).

The 5-year Tesla Plan gets started with a call to my office (actually, any Billerica Realtor® could be called—but this is my Tesla Plan, after all!) The object is to find a suitable Billerica home to buy. This we accomplish with a spacious 3-bedroom 2 ½ bath in an out-of-the way location. Its asking price is low because the motivated seller has been absent for months and now, in July, the yard looks terrible. So it’s a real buy at the just-reduced asking price of $210,000. (Whether the actual number is $210,000 or $2,100,000—the logic remains).

The average nearby comps come in at $240,000, so the bank has no trouble offering a home loan at that week’s rate of 3.835%. The bonus trove will cover nearly 15% as a down payment (saving those annual bonuses instead of buying the Tesla was certainly a good idea)! Because the down payment was less than 20%, the new homeowner will have to add about $65 a month extra for private mortgage insurance (PMI)—but even so, it’s still a great deal.

The bottom line is a monthly mortgage payment of $1,137 including property tax, house insurance, and the PMI insurance. So the proud new Billerica homeowner is now saving $433 every month. This might seem to be an annual saving of $5,200—but that’s not so! There are two other financially lucrative things going on that weren’t available to renters.

First is the appreciation in the value of the house once the yard is back in shape. But that’s not part of the 5-year Tesla Plan—it’s just a long-term bonus.

The second advantage most definitely is: a hefty income tax break. During those first five years, the mortgage interest paid equals $32,636—the entirety of which is a federal income tax deduction. So is the $3,900 in PMI payments. In the 25% tax bracket, that comes to $9,134 less headed to Uncle Sam. When you add everything together, during the first five years, the new homeowner will have pocketed about $35,134.

That’s good because it just so happens that the Tesla Model 3 is being advertised at a starting price of $35,000. So who needs to even trade in the now-rusty Subaru?

That’s my fanciful 5-year Tesla Plan—which gets you your new Tesla at the same time you are establishing a long-term Billerica real estate investment. Individual tax situations differ, and should be always be referred to a tax professional—but you don’t have to be driving a rattletrap Subaru to benefit from the moral of this story—which is the undeniable financial advantage in store for Billerica renters who make the arithmetic work for them when they choose to become Billerica owners. Also, it’s easy to start: just give me a call!

Laer Realty Partners   Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

Events that Trigger Buyers for Homes for Sale in Bedford

What are the most common changes in circumstances that send buyers out looking for homes for sale? What are the events that trigger typical prospects to comb through the Bedford listings, contact Bedford Realtors®, set out on house tours—and ultimately make the offer that results in the move to a new home?

The answer to that question may be different for everyone, but some in-depth research has come up with interesting similarities among groups of active homebuyers. It matches a conclusion that also conforms with common sense: namely, that the motivating events (or “triggers”) sometimes vary by age group. In other words, when we humans reach similar milestones in life, we often make the same housing decisions—even though the reasons for a couple of them may be mysterious.

I came across the details buried in a report put out this past spring by economist Lawrence Guo in Realtor magazine. The top line of the piece—the part that got the most attention—dealt with the homeownership goals of active home shoppers. “Privacy” was the leading goal; “physical comfort” was second; “stability,” third. Of the styles of homes for sale, “ranch homes” were the most sought-after; the kitchen was considered the most important room, etc. None of these findings were at all mysterious or unexpected.

But when it came to revealing the impetus for a move in the first place—the life event or changed condition that set people checking out the current crop of homes for sale—a few could definitely be tied to the age group of the prospects. Since more than 20 triggering events were identified—each broken down into five different age groups—the resulting graphic was so complicated that most readers’ eyes probably glazed over before many conclusions could be drawn. Most of the findings were unremarkable—as when youngsters weren’t as likely as oldsters to cite “considering retirement” as a triggering event, or when some events were equally named by all age groups. But some were less predictable:

  • Relocating to a new city: most common among 35-44 year-olds; least among those 55-64.
  • Favorable home prices: most cited by 25-34 year-olds; least (fewer than half of that group) among 35-44 year-olds.
  • Favorable interest rates: most pointed to by 45-54 year-olds; least among the 35-44 year-olds … and equally cited (about 1 in 10) by all the other age groups.
  • Desire to live closer to family/friends: as expected, ‘way more prominently named by the 65+ group.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ferret out why home prices are most important to the youngest group, but the greater importance of interest rates to the 45-54 group but not the 35-44s? That one will take some thought. Not a surprise is the across-the-board Number One triggering factor among every age group: “tired of current home”!

If you fit in with that extremely common group, right now there are extraordinary values to be had among today’s homes for sale in Bedford. Give me a call to lay out an itinerary for visits to the ones that match up with your own specific wish list requirements!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
 Laer Realty Partners    Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

Events Solidify Burlington Mortgage Rate Speculation

Several weeks ago there was another interest rate development—though it was a slightly whipsawed kind of development. Since mortgage interest rates are so important to the bottom line in all but all-cash Burlington residential home sales, the direction rates are headed is something worth watching closely.

It was one of those days that come about twice a year. It was the occasion when the Federal Reserve Chairman is called upon to testify before Congress. The date is set as a biannual marker for revealing what’s likely to lie ahead for interest rates. If the Fed is going to decide to raise the Fed Funds rate, it’s usually the single strongest pointer to higher mortgage interest rates. All things being equal, that would eventually slow Burlington’s real estate market activity by making mortgage payments more expensive.

As the appointed hour for the testimony neared, Reuters weighed in early. At about 8:30 in the morning, they reacted to the advance copy of Chairman Yellen’s prepared remarks. Reuters reported on some key paragraphs citing the continued gathering strength of the economy—which would, therefore, “warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate over time.”

Not great news for Burlington mortgage rate watchers—or was it? Reading more closely, there were those “gradual” and “over time” phrases. Wouldn’t that lead one to think the raises would be slow and gradual? Possibly more slow and gradual than previous Fed hints had led us to believe?

Ninety minutes later came the actual testimony, followed by questioning from the congressional committee. CNBC saw good news for Burlington mortgage applicants: “Fed stands ready to slow down rate hikes” was their takeaway. Sooooo, the Fed was going to raise the Fed funds rate (bad), but more slowly than expected (good).

The picture became clearer as the Mortgage News Daily pointed to newly released retail sales and consumer inflation reports showing “economic data that coincides with rates moving lower.” And despite anything the public hearing had produced, in MND’s opinion, “the Fed is less likely to flip the switch on those plans.”

So Burlington buyers and sellers could head into the coming days with few worries about interest rates, which remain at appetizingly low levels. If you are thinking of taking a look at some of the terrifically affordable Burlington home buys they make possible, today would be a good time give me a call!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty Partners    Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Renting or Selling Your Billerica Home: Caterpillar or Butterfly?

From our earliest days, everybody in Billerica is inundated with tale of transformations. It started with those grade school day trips to science places with exhibits showing the improbable progression of fish (well, pollywogs) into frogs. There were nature TV shows with sped-up motion films demonstrating the unlikely truth that icky caterpillars DO turn into graceful butterflies. In fact, Billerica cable TV is littered with the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel and PBS and the NatGeo Channel—all of which seem to be dedicated into making sure we won’t forget that Nature is full of every day metamorphoses and how ugly ducklings will one day become swans.

We’ve been brainwashed into accepting that transformations are unstoppable.

So it’s only natural that when some Billerica homeowners have found themselves a new home, they don’t hesitate to assume it would be no big deal if they decide to change themselves from homeowner into landlord.

Since Billerica rental rates are projected to keep rising, renting the current house out rather than just selling it surely makes sense. If Nature is any guide, the transformation from homeowner to landlord doesn’t seem like there’s much to think about. Their Billerica home has been a good investment, so why not try renting it? It’s a natural progression, isn’t it?

The answer is yes and no. Renting your Billerica home can be a terrific move if you are ready to add the landlord’s role to all the other activities that currently fill your day. It starts with making a stream of decisions: Will you allow pets? Chihuahuas? Rottweilers? What will your deposit agreement look like? When will you be available to take repair calls? What happens in emergencies?  

Decisions are one thing, but once the rules are set, not everyone is comfortable being the person who has to enforce tough business realities—even if they are perfectly fair. How comfortable will you be about having to insist on inspections now that your house is another family’s home? How often? And if back-to-school time expenses cause your tenant to have trouble scraping up September’s rent, how will you feel when you have to hold them to their obligation?

Pollywogs don’t consider their temperamental disposition before they turn into frogs, but renting—the homeowner-to-landlord transition—is more complicated. Even if the financial equation will allow hiring a professional management company to handle the day-to-day supervisory details, the renting decision—transforming the family homestead into an investment vehicle—can have overtones that aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m here to help you in all your Billerica real estate matters—starting with arriving at decisions that let you feel comfortable. I hope you’ll give me a call!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty Partners  Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Buying Bedford Luxury Homes on a Tight Budget

The content the National Association of Realtors® publishes is usually staid and non-controversial. After all, what they put out there has to ring true for the real estate industry in every nook and cranny of the country: in communities large and small, coast to coast—from Podunk to Peoria, Manhattan to Bedford.

Real estate is, after all, the most massive industry in the country, so you’d expect the Association that represents its professionals to be hyper-cautious in its pronouncements.

So it was eye-widening to come across an article in the Realtor website that was a how-to on buying a luxury home without having to pay a lot of money for it. I’m of the opinion that Bedford luxury homes are more expensive than less-luxurious homes—so I was eager to see what in the world they were talking about.

Surprisingly, they had a point—in fact, several good ones. In truth, the “6 Sneaky Tips for Buying a Luxury Home Without Wads of Cash” are mainly variations on becoming a shrewd shopper, but putting them in one list was a clever way of presenting that idea. And I can add a few more along the same lines for future Bedford luxury home shoppers.

Their six tips started with timing: waiting for the darkest, dankest days of winter, possibly around Christmastime, when few other prospects are out there competing. Then look for evidence of a motivated luxury home seller who has recently reduced price a couple of times. Then see if the motivated seller will finance at least a piece of the mortgage (although this slightly contradicts a previous tip, which was to “make your bid straightforward”).

Both of the last two tips call for disclaimers: to check out foreclosure listings and to be ready to borrow from your retirement funds. The first tip is not “sneaky” at all—but should carry a disclaimer that, as with all foreclosure buys, it’s a good idea to check that the property won’t ultimately involve “wads of cash” to rehabilitate. Likewise, raiding your retirement plan requires the utmost of caution (and probably professional guidance).

A (non-sneaky) tip I would add is to be realistic when budgeting the upkeep costs your Bedford luxury home will generate. Maintaining luxury can be relatively expensive—and allowing it to deteriorate, even more so. Another tip: be patient, and think long term. Be willing to start with a non-luxury home you can improve, and start the process of working your way up. It’s non-sneaky in the extreme—and it’s the way most Bedford luxury home owners wind up luxuriating!

One last tip is equally non-controversial: reach out to an experienced Bedford real estate professional who understands your goals and stands ready to help—not just now, but for the future, as well. Call me to start that process!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty Partners   Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)
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