Archive for the ‘Bedford MA’ Category

A Single Piece of Advice from Buyer’s and Seller’s Agent

The dual nature of Bedford real estate agents is unlike most other professions. A medical doctor who is a family physician in the morning doesn’t switch hats and become a surgeon in the afternoon—any more than a lawyer who pleads in court for a defendant can decide to become a prosecuting attorney that afternoon.

On the other hand, Bedford Realtors® may begin any single day in negotiations representing a seller, then spend the afternoon escorting a buyer client through a series of Bedford home showings. I’m happy to say this isn’t evidence of a split personality disorder. It’s perfectly normal: the Massachusetts real estate agent’s license I carry specifically permits me to perform as either a buyer’s or a seller’s agent. That’s noteworthy because each of the agencies carries distinct professional obligations.

The subject of the duality of being a real estate agent came to mind this week when I happened across an article on the topic of the 3 things you shouldn’t talk about with a seller’s agent. The author listed the 3 things: how much you like (or dislike) a house; the size of your budget; and (well, the last one wasn’t specifically what not to talk about)—just the advice to buyers to “let your agent do the talking.”

I can vouch for all three, but go it one further: the same real estate agent advice works for sellers, too. Your agent is there to expertly gather and dispense relevant information, at the same time preventing the divulging of any and everything that might weaken your side of the coming bargain. Doing so while maintaining a positive, upbeat tenor is an art—one that sharpens with practice. For sure it’s one place where there is no substitute for experience.

Whether your next Bedford real estate role will be as buyer or seller, I can be there to serve as your voice—as well to offer my experience, guidance, and advice you can count on. Call me!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty Partners Joan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

A Single Underlying Factor When Applying for a Mortgage

Every mortgage lender develops their own unique guidelines for evaluating the factors contained in a home loan application. These may change from time to time so that their portfolios stay “balanced”—that is, so that the cumulative risk represented by the entire batch of home loans do not exceed the level of risk they wish to assume.

Potential Bedford mortgage applicants are bound to be curious about which factors are more or less influential for that decision. Their curiosity is why you can find hundreds of “Top 5” and “Top 7” lists of “mortgage application factors”—and why home loan originators pay top dollar to advertise on them.

Given that the factors mortgage companies examine are hardly secret, it’s not surprising that all of the lists are pretty similar. It’s also true that the individual factors all have something to do with a single underlying element. (I’d call it the “hidden factor” if it weren’t right out there in the open). Here’s a typical list seen as it relates to that single underlying factor:

  1. Down payment (underlying factor: size of loan). If, say, $50,000 will be available for the down payment, a $200,000 home loan would be easier to grant than one for $600,000. Many mortgage firms have relaxed their requirements—but inevitably look harder as a down payment percentage declines.
  2. Debt level; aka Debt-to-Income ratio (underlying factor: size of loan). Lenders analyze an applicant’s monthly cash flow to determine how much will be available to pay the monthly mortgage payment. The size of the loan—thus amount of the payment—determines if that’s easily doable.
  3. Loan type (underlying factor: size of loan). Conventional loans carry stricter qualifying factors than do other types. For instance, if the size of the loan is beyond the conforming loan limitation, jumbo loan requirements pitch in.
  4. Employment history (underlying factor: size of loan). Starter homes requiring smaller loans are often right-sized for younger borrowers with shorter employment records.
  5. Credit Score. Typical descriptions say things like, “Borrowers who need to finance more will need a higher credit score of 700 or above…” In other words (you guessed it), underlying factor: size of loan.

Success when applying for a mortgage loan does involve all these factors—­and more­­—but that’s just another way recognizing the common sense notion that home loans are granted to those who can demonstrate the ability to repay. The last time that notion was abandoned, the global financial crisis ensued.

The corollary for house hunters is equally clear: determine your comfortable budgetary range first­­­–then go out and find your new home. The mortgage lenders will fall into line—and I’ll be delighted to help!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

Bedford Home Selling Negotiations are More than a Game

When it comes to appraising and developing appropriate responses to offers on your Bedford home, I’m there to offer counsel and guidance. Even so, you are the ultimate decision maker. Especially for Bedford homeowners without previous selling experience, becoming familiar with some practical pointers for home selling negotiations is well worth doing. Bedford sellers can find one rich source at the National Association of Realtors® web site. This month’s World Series finale undoubtedly inspired the title for a list of home selling negotiation pitfalls. Published the morning of Houston’s Game 7 victory, it dealt with errors in home selling negotiations. It was subtitled “Negotiation Hardball Fouls.

Although the first “foul” was “starting a bidding war,” that was a slight overstatement. Obviously, a bidding war is any Bedford seller’s ideal situation. What was spotlighted was how that situation could be mishandled. One misstep is setting an offer deadline too far in the future because time-pressed buyers might disappear. Another foul ball is passing up an already strong offer that might not reappear.

Another home selling negotiation tactic that Bedford sellers should think twice before adopting is being overly tough when responding to repair requests. That’s similar to “being stubborn” about a host of other relatively minor points like setting the closing date, closing cost payment requests, and squabbling over inclusion list items.

Another tactic that might result in an expensive misfire: threatening to put the property back on the market. The problem here isn’t only the stigma sometimes attached to the “put back on the market” tag. It’s also the fact that interested buyers you’d expect to return might have moved on.

The valuable insight that underlies all of the NAR examples is a guiding principle I believe to be valid for all home selling negotiations. When you are coming down the home stretch (or are in game 7 of the Series), evaluate every aspect of an offer as part of the whole transaction. Individual details that might seem emotionally important lose their clout when viewed in relation to the whole. In other words, as every major (and minor) league batting coach will tell you, if you want to make contact, keep your eye on the ball.

No matter how exciting it might be, any World Series Game 7 is only a game. When it comes to selling your Bedford home, it’s a much more meaningful exercise to the families it will affect for years to come. I keep that in mind during every aspect of your Bedford home’s sale, from the listing’s preparation to the final home selling negotiations. Call me!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

For Bedford Real Estate, Halloween Marks a Turning Point

Fa la la la la, la la la la: it’s carol time again!

Not quite? You can’t almost hear those sleigh bells ringing? Well, brace yourself. Halloween is today—and nowadays, that means that by Wednesday, holiday advertising will be with us for the duration.

Whether we admit it or not, the Thanksgiving start of holiday season is a thing of the past. Hallmark has already launched its “Countdown to Christmas;” Bedford mailboxes are filling with gift catalogs; store windows are only weeks away from being transformed into snow-sprayed winter wonderlands.

As far as Bedford real estate is concerned, a couple of the advantages to buying during the holiday season will arrive more or less simultaneously. And there are advantages.

One real estate education company, FortuneBuilders, counts five key reasons why “the holidays are a great time to buy.” In short, they are:

  1. Limited inventory. Less activity means fewer competing buyers.
  2. Sellers are motivated. Those who have not sold during the peak season are more likely to welcome offers.
  3. This depends on the particular financial situation of both Bedford buyers and sellers.
  4. Lower interest rates. Historically, interest rates tend to be lower during the holidays—probably because mortgage companies need to pep up sleepy demand.
  5. Faster closing. Although lenders, brokers, and inspectors may be thinking it’s time to take a vacation, when business does appear, they clear the decks and move!

Those reasons may seem like distant abstractions in the week before Halloween, but they are very much in play starting with the first stirrings of November….and Thanksgiving…and all the rest of the holiday onslaught! For those who will be in the market for a new Bedford home—in reality, they’ll be shopping in a “holiday” market environment! As the educators put it, “some of the best deals you can make during the holidays involve real estate, not 72-inch televisions.”

Give me a call me anytime!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedford Halloween: Controlled (but Safe) Disruption

Halloween in Bedford is the one day in every year when the regular order of things gets a thorough shaking up. For one thing, it’s the single day of the year when we expect our doorbell to be ringing non-stop for hours on end. It’s certainly the only time when prudence dictates that we stockpile bowls full of treats to serve as ransom payments against demands for booty from an onslaught of pint-sized masked neighbors.

For Bedford’s small fry, if all goes well, Bedford’s Halloween ranks right up there with birthdays in terms of fun and excitement—possibly because of the aura of good-natured bounds-testing that seems to hover over the proceedings. When else does everybody get to dress up in disguises? When else might some perfectly dignified adult don an eyepatch and start talking like a pirate? When else does practically the whole of Bedford agree to engage in a tradition that disrupts the normal order of things for the express purpose of just having some fun? Who thought this thing up, anyway?

For parents who may or may not find themselves costumed this Tuesday, the fun will be somewhat tempered by the grownup’s job of keeping everybody safe amid the spooky mayhem. Without spoiling the fun altogether, the most-noted Halloween safety concerns for Bedford homeowners are:

  • Keep your property’s walks and stairways well-lit.
  • Place pumpkins and other Halloween decorations well off to the side to prevent their becoming tripping hazards.
  • Secure pets away from the mayhem. Even the best-behaved may lose their cool after hours of doorbell ringing and screaming kids.
  • Avoid homemade treats and loose candy—parents can’t trust them.
  • Don’t leave treats outdoors for the kids to take. They can be tampered with.

Health authorities aren’t shy about advising parents to temper their little goblins’ candy intake. One good tactic: reserve a particularly enticing new toy to trade for a goodly amount of the sugary swag.

Here’s hoping your family has a safe and moderately sane Bedford Halloween. As soon as things get back to normal, I’ll be here, ready to assist with your next Bedford real estate venture!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty Partners

Joan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

 

Forewarned is Forearmed: Top 6 Investment Property Repairs

When you first look into whether an investment property in Bedford would be a suitable addition to your own portfolio, the positives leap out. Bedford investment properties can throw off positive cash flow even as they appreciate in long-term value. What’s not to like? But there is one area that may hover as a wildcard: the maintenance issue.

Because tenants are part of the picture, Bedford investment properties undergo varying amounts of wear and tear, so keeping them in top shape does require at least some degree of attention. Veteran landlords learn how to handle maintenance and repairs with a minimum of turmoil—sometimes by simply farming them out to professional property managers. In that, we are fortunate—Bedford has some great ones!

However you choose to address the issue, it’s useful to know which repairs investment property owners say are most frequently needed. Here are six leaders:

  1. Leaks. Under sinks, under windows and in the ceiling, leaks require the swiftest action to forestall expensive repercussions. Even the smallest leaks can result in mold growth, so any hint of water where it doesn’t belong rates immediate attention.
  2. Appliances. They have the greatest number of working parts, so it’s no surprise that they wind up having the greatest number of non-working parts. Repairmen are whispering that current models in almost all brands are not holding up as well as they used to…so when replacements are necessary, consider that higher-quality models may be worth the initial expense.
  3. Water heater. Tenants deserve hot water, so when it peters out, having the attention of a veteran plumber can be the difference between a repair (often all that’s needed) or a more expensive replacement.
  4. Rodents and bugs. Sealing up holes is the first line of defense for discouraging all manner of creepy-crawlies. If they show up anyway, Bedford pest control experts can usually rid infestations for at most a few hundred dollars.
  5. Furnace. If the heat goes out during cold spells, unless it’s only a pilot light going out, it can quickly become an emergency situation. You’ll want to have the emergency phone number for one of Bedford’s experienced furnace repairmen at the ready.
  6. Running toilet. We’re all familiar with the sound of a toilet that won’t shut up. It’s usually (in fact, virtually always) due to a “flapper” that doesn’t quite seat properly. These are inexpensive parts that are easily replaced—but there are also a hundred different varieties. All the expertise that’s required to fix this common tenant complaint can be found in YouTube videos demonstrating the various 10-minutes solutions.

Some terrific Bedford investment property possibilities are among this fall’s listings. Call me to explore them!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 

Joan Parcewski Full Picture 102017Laer Realty Partners

 

 

Rx for Bedford Real Estate Inspection Jitters

As worrisome physical symptoms go, house inspection jitters should not be worrisome in the least. Neither Bedford home buyers or their counterparts (Bedford home sellers) need be troubled if they find themselves awaiting the house inspector with mounting anxiety: these are perfectly normal symptoms. My advice echoes HGTV’s prescription for a “Drama-Free Real Estate Rx”—in their words, “Don’t Freak Out.”

The utter normalcy for pre-inspection jitters is indisputable—as is their cause. If you are the seller, you can be perfectly satisfied that you have done everything possible to ensure that your Bedford home is in tip-top shape, and yet be aware that some totally unknown malady (that only a sharp-eyed house inspector could ever uncover) might be lurking. If you are the buyer, you’ve found the house you’ve been searching for, but know that all the plans you’ve set into motion could be derailed by some unanticipated dire structural finding.

With so much on the line, the house inspection is usually viewed as the last possible monkey wrench that could be thrown into the works of the deal. Jitters are appropriate.

The prescription for real estate inspection jitters is to realize that although deal-killing inspections are certainly possible, they aren’t all that likely. The reason is that almost any set of negative findings can be dealt with rationally: in terms of dollars and cents. Your Bedford real estate agent (hopefully me!) is expert at doing away with post-inspection jitters. If the problems are so minor that they don’t bother the buyer, the jitters disappear all by themselves.

If more major items are in play, contractor bids can be gathered and compared, and the probable costs factored into a renegotiation which results in a deal that seems fair to all. The most frequent result is the calm knowledge that the house inspection jitters were quickly put to rest via a mature and rational solution: freak-out not warranted.

Helping buyers and sellers appraise the results of Bedford real estate inspections is only one part of how I can help you when it comes to the very important project of buying or selling Bedford properties. I hope you’ll consider giving me a call!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

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