Archive for the ‘Bedford MA’ Category

Bedford “Pet-Friendly” Homes: It All Begins with Petscaping!

“Pet-Friendly” is a term that used to be confined to the Bedford Homes for Rent ads and a few open-minded hotel chains. Given the 84+ million American households which now include pets as family members, Bedford homeowners who plan on listing their property anytime soon might include those animal census numbers in their thinking.

There may not yet be an official “Pet-Friendly Home” seal with stringent qualifying requirements, but it might not be such a bad idea. What research there is indicates that most prospective home buyers don’t at first concentrate on their animals’ needs—yet when you add the 36% of dog-owning households to the 30% of cat owners, there’s a high probability that more than a few of potential buyers will be sizing up your property with Fido or Fluffball in mind.

The qualities that make your Bedford home pet-friendly or not begin with landscaping. The ASPCA considers “petscaping” a high priority, so well-maintained traditional or invisible fencing is a good place to start. If you have succeeded in gardening without pesticides, pointing out its organic character will be another plus.

The ASPCA also offers an online database of toxic and non-toxic plants. If your pet-friendly home includes a thoroughly pet-safe yard, it will be worth noting in marketing materials.

Pet-friendly homes are now including some technological advances, too.  In addition to various automatic self-replenishing water bowl schemes, there are a variety of pet doors that only open for animals wearing a properly coded transmitter collar.

It’s only fair to mention that the pet-friendly concept can be taken to extremes. Open air cat walks with climbing steps and cat doors into every room might appeal to kitty fanciers, but even they might find the weirdness factor a negative. Along those lines is a proposed Pet-Friendly House Project. Its Gofundme page proposes a “dogs room” complete with 12-inch high bed, open-sided toy closet (the illustrations show a LOT of toys), pet-safe flooring, and a big-screen TV “for watching their favorite characters.” The Pet-Friendly House’s mudroom has a walk-in doggie shower which, come to think of it, is not a bad idea.

When the time nears to list your own Bedford home, I hope you’ll give me a call to discuss a dynamic, effective marketing plan—pet-friendly or not!

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

Freddie Mac Minces No Words: “Another 2017 Low”

A couple of weeks back, the ultimate authority on Bedford mortgage rates hadn’t minced words. That was Freddie Mac, whose opinion about mortgage rates constitutes the final say in the matter. Freddie isn’t modest about its preeminence (Freddie’s trademarked corporate slogan is “We make home possible”). Together with sibling Fannie Mae, the quasi-governmental entities stand behind 60% of U.S. mortgages.

Each week their PMMS survey collects data snapshots from thrifts, credit unions, banks, and mortgage lenders to gauge of the direction of the home loan market. Future Bedford home hunters and the homeowners whose properties are found in the current listings (or soon will be) are constantly affected by those ups and downs. For one thing, they dictate the “monthly payment” calculations you find in the detailed breakdown featured most online listings—including those on my site.

Naturally, the rate averages vary from lender to lender and state to state—but it’s the direction in which mortgage rates are headed that can be a spur for buyers. Either direction can cause activity. When rates rise quickly, buyers can be incented to lock in rates before they get out of hand. When they fall, that inducement disappears—although a shrinking monthly payment number does create an increasingly affordable scenario. Low rates create an encouraging “price is up, but cost is down” situation.

The week before last, Freddie’s headline had been an unequivocal piece of favorable news for Bedford buyers and sellers:

30-Year Mortgage Rate Hits Another 2017 Low.”

But last week’s follow-up failed to live up to what was expected (a slight rebound). Freddie’s headline on Thursday was neither fish nor fowl, up nor down. It was the third possibility, where mortgage rates don’t go anywhere: they just sit there, deadpan as a professional poker player, revealing nothing:

Mortgage Rates Hold at 2017 Low.

The U.S. weekly average was still 3.78%, tying the low for the year. For Bedford  buyers who may have missed out on locking in the previous week’s home loan bargain rates, the reprieve was welcome news. Whether the expected rebound was on the way remained to be seen.

Current Bedford mortgage rates are key when it comes to buying and selling area homes­­—and with rates holding at historic lows, it creates an undeniably auspicious market opportunity. 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 (1 of 1)

 

 

 

4 Bedford Home Buying Steps (with Some Adjustments)

What a simpler world it would be if Bedford home buying could be reduced to anything like a simple 4-Step process. Even better if those were four easy steps. Actually, without actually coming out and saying so, that’s the tantalizing prospect hinted at on radio financial guru Dave Ramsey’s web site’s “Home Buying Process Made Easy.

Ramsey is the likable media expert in household budgeting and financial planning. A good deal of his guidance could be summed up in just 2 steps:

1) get out of debt (except for mortgage debt) as soon as humanly possible; then,

2) stay out.

Since that’s not bad advice, the promise of home buying in 4 steps seems almost reasonable. After all, his millions of listeners have undoubtedly benefitted greatly through the years (once they’ve figured out a way to act on the advice).

And in fact, his 4 easy home buying steps are actually not far off-target—although I think they’re out of order:

  1. Put your finances in order before home buying; IOW, know what you can afford.
  2. Do the cash flow Ramsey thinks your Bedford home’s monthly mortgage payments should be no more than a quarter of your net income.
  3. Get a home loan. Make this a 15-year fixed rate mortgage to minimize total interest paid.
  4. Find a good real estate agent to “help make sure you don’t pay too much” and deal with any “unexpected home buying hurdles.”

Realistically, Bedford home buying involves a bit more involvement than that. Also, Step 4 should actually come after Step 2, and Step 3 (getting a mortgage) should come after that—and after you and your good real estate agent have zeroed in on your target Bedford  home.

One more practical alteration: the 15-year mortgage structure automatically results in a higher monthly payment that, when combined with a 25% of net income budget cap, could yield an unrealistically limited budget target. Being financially conservative also means being realistic. A growing family, for instance, might find that they have wasted money if they have to move to a larger home after only a few years.

That’s where your good real estate agent can save the day. Call me at any step in the process: I’ll be your sounding board on today’s practical short and long term Bedford home buying trade-offs!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty Partners       Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

The Economics 101 Reason to Sell Your Bedford Home Now

Give me one good reason why selling now is better than waiting until next spring,” is a perfectly legitimate request. It’s a challenge to the traditional peak of Bedford’s selling season. Why should right now, at the start of September, be the right time to sell your Bedford home?

Statistics show that more homes are sold in the spring and summer, that—plus sheer inertia—can be powerful arguments to the contrary.

So here’s the “one good reason.” In fact, it could be the best reason. It’s the textbook Economics 101 basic rule about markets and pricing.

Simply put, the supply of housing all across the nation continues to be low. Really, really low. A few weeks ago, USA Today put inventories of homes for sale at “a 20-year low.” By the start of summer, that explained why the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index was up 5.6% from the year before—an all-time high.

Now, it could turn out that the supply of competing homes on the market remains low throughout the fall and winter—and even throughout 2018. But it’s also possible that conditions change, and that the housing inventory slump finally reverses. In fact, the economy, jobs reports, and consumer confidence are on the rise…

But until then, it’s what those Econ 101 introductory texts lay out: a basic truth that the price of an item is a reflection of supply and demand. Unless the annual pattern does a surprise about-face, come springtime, many more competing homes can be expected to enter the market. In other words, right now an already-constricted supply is likely to thin out even further. And most homeowners will wait for the traditional peak selling season to sell their Bedford homes.

The long and short of it is that listing now isn’t just a good time—it could be the good time. If you were looking for that “one good reason,” it’s also another reason, too—to give me a call me to discuss how best to sell your Bedford home!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary    LAER Realty Partners

JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com   cell 978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com

Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Password Advice Eases Bedford Real Estate Site Visits

Last week came a piece of advice that’s directly applicable to Bedford real estate matters. To a greater or lesser degree, it also impinges on every one of your online accounts that attempt to safeguard your privacy—for instance, when you log into your account here on my Bedford real estate site.

The news is about web passwords and security. For more than a decade we have been offered a choice:

  • If we care about our security—that is, the possibility of being hacked by internet bad guys—we’ve been cautioned to create passwords with long combinations of obscure characters (like ^,@, !, or %) interspersed between capital and lowercase letters and numbers—preferably in an order which makes no sense at all. And to change them every 90 days.
  • The other choice was to throw caution to the winds, cross our fingers, and make our passwords simple and memorable.

This advice originated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a pamphlet written by a mid-level manager named Bill Burr. Last week, Mr. Burr—who is now 72—admitted that much of the old advice was misguided. The recommended complexity had actually had a negative effect. “Much of what I did,” he said, “I now regret.”

So what ARE the new rules for creating your passwords—for my Bedford real estate site and all the other password-protected sites? The new, rewritten guidelines suggest long, easy-to-remember phrases. The Wall Street Journal reported that “correct horse battery staple” (written as one long word) would take 550 years to crack, as opposed to the three days it would take to break “TrOub4dor&3.”

And better yet: forget about changing those passwords all the time. Change them only if there is an indication they’ve been stolen. It’s not every day that life gets easier—but this looks like it could be one of them.

Another way to make life easier when Bedford real estate matters are at hand: check in with me. When you call me at the office, you won’t even need a password!

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)

 

 

Perfect Pricing: the Sweet Spot for Bedford Listings

Figuring out the perfect pricing for any Bedford home for sale would be easier if there were a way to confirm past instances that hit that mark precisely. But that can’t be done. It’s the nature of the beast: it’s simply not possible. Even if a comparable Bedford home’s asking price resulted in being sold immediately at that exact amount, it only could have been priced perfectly. We can’t know that it wasn’t priced too low.

Even if the pricing on some Bedford home was quickly met and even exceeded—IOW, it resulted in a bidding —that might be evidence that it had been originally priced too low. Even that isn’t certain because the supposed underpricing resulted in a sale that was higher than expected, which is a perfect result. So perhaps that was the perfect pricing. You see the ambiguity.

So if you can’t ever determine what constitutes perfection in pricing—even after the books are closed on a given sale—then there is no way to guarantee a number will result in the maximum outcome. That’s why the whole issue of pricing any Bedford home is forever going to be an art (with as much science thrown in as possible). That being the case, getting the “science” part right is pretty important.

When it comes to pricing Bedford homes, it stands to reason that the mortgage lending industry would have put maximum effort into determining the most predictive residential real estate values: in other words, any Bedford home’s most realistic pricing. A week ago, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders offered their advice to homeowners. They acknowledged that while “we’re on an upward swing” in property values in general, it’s still important to get “a very accurate estimate of home value” to attract multiple buyers and avoid surprises during the sale process. Their three steps to discovering that:

Online search. Using the massive amount of data is a starting point for establishing a baseline.

Knowing the Market. It’s vital to measure your own house against those that are most similar to yours and on the market now. Visits to nearby open houses will offer the best opportunities to observe how similar homes are priced and marketed.

Calling in the pros. Ultimately, the do-it-yourself idea for home pricing seems to yield to what is available when the assistance of a real estate professional can be called upon—at least in the opinion of the other pros: the lenders. Rallying the in-depth data that current and historical comparable sales figures provide is persuasively the superior path, from their point of view.

Perfection in pricing might not be attainable—but if success in selling Bedford homes is a good stand-in, one way to achieve the desired end result is to seek out a professional with a proven track record like mine. Call me!

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)

 

Bedford Asking Prices Can’t Beat this Week’s $10 Example

It’s true that today’s Bedford asking prices fall into a wide range—occasionally even at temptingly reduced levels. But last week came news of one that I have to admit beat them all by a mile (at least regarding the asking price). This was found in Montclair, New Jersey. CBS interviewed the selling agent. Money Magazine wrote it up. The NAR highlighted it.

Photos made the offering all the more interesting since the asking price was so low—yet the pictures were not, as any well-schooled real estate watcher would have expected, fuzzy images of some run down dump. The shots all showed a pristine historical (1904) 4-bedroom, 2-bath beauty, seemingly presiding in stately repose over well-manicured grounds. It looked like, well—a mansion.

The asking price is $10.

For those budget-minded Bedford home shoppers who would never consider making a first offer at full asking price, in this instance, you might make an exception. Since the current asking price has already been reduced from $1,400,000, you have to expect that the owner will probably not be willing to come down much further. The $10 is probably a take-it-or-leave-it number.

But lest any Bedford house hunters think about packing their bags for the trip to Montclair for a tour of the property, it’s only fair to elaborate on what anyone would already be assuming: namely, that there must be a few problems.

Local house hunters will appreciate the first problem, which is location. The house not only isn’t in Bedford, but it’s also currently sited on land that has been sold to a developer. It has to be moved. Moving a three-story 3,912 sq. ft. structure of this size is an expensive undertaking. Although the current owner is offering to contribute $10,000 toward solving that problem, anyone who has ever overseen this kind of house-moving project knows that the details (digging up the foundation, wedging in all the I-beams, jacking up the structure, getting it up on the trailer beds, etc.) comprise a pricey, open-ended proposition.

Local house hunters would encounter another problem, which is that, as a historically significant local landmark, the powers-that-be in Montclair have made it clear that the mansion won’t be allowed to be moved beyond the city limits. So transplanting it to anywhere in Bedford isn’t a possibility. Another problem: having been designated an historical monument, the home will have to be treated tenderly by its new owner. “Handle like eggs” might be the watchword. That could prove as tricky as trucking it off to its new Montclair destination.

Fortunately, the current batch of area listings offers buyers Bedford asking prices that may be a bit steeper, but represent opportunities with significantly fewer complications. They may carry asking prices less head-turning than the $10 listing, but when you consider the big picture, they constitute significantly better bargains. Call for details!

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
%d bloggers like this: