Archive for the ‘Burlington MA’ Category

Top 4 Reasons Rental Housing is On the Rise

Whether you are investigating Burlington rental housing activity because you’re looking for an investment or just a place to rent yourself, it’s important to become informed about the state of play in rental housing as a whole. It’s a picture that has been changing rapidly—one that’s unlikely to slow anytime soon.

Much is being written about the growing popularity of rental housing due to younger buyers who either can’t yet afford (or simply choose to avoid) taking on the commitment that homeownership entails. But that’s not the only factor contributing to what amounts to a nationwide shift in rental housing’s popularity.

This summer’s in-depth study by the Urban Institute presented four points explaining why “renting homes is overtaking the housing market.”

Overtaking” may be an overstatement as it relates to today’s rental housing profile in Burlington, but there can be little doubt that the points are on target for the U.S. as a whole. It’s also inevitable that we can count on similar factors affecting Burlington’s rental housing future.

In brief, here are their findings:

  • Renter profiles are changing. Millennials are not buying their own homes as early as previous generations, and many in the 65+ set are choosing to rent. As expected, new immigrants continue to choose to rent.
  • Supply trails demand. High-end developments continue to monopolize new construction activity, neglecting the larger “more-affordable” sector.
  • Renovations are lagging. Under-repaired rentals have resulted from inattention by investors…but some great ideas are making rehabilitation more cost-effective.
  • Single-family rentals are becoming more popular. Multifamily projects have long been the focus of government programs, but that’s changing as single-family rentals leap in popularity.

It’s a cinch that both Burlington tenants and landlords will continue to be affected by the kind of national currents that continue to put pressure on housing costs—and rents. Against that background, the potential for Burlington rental housing candidates should be well worth a hard look where investment goals make it appropriate. I’m here to put my deep market knowledge and experience at your service!

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

 

Four Tips for Burlington Homeowners Bracing for Winter

Officially, it may not be winter in Burlington yet, but the end of November is more than a signal to turn to the last page in 2017’s calendar. It’s definitely time for Burlington residents to secure their domiciles against the mercury drops Mother Nature will be providing sooner or later.

Even in places where a November heat wave makes it hard to focus on the inevitable onslaught of chilly weather, there are some household winter preparation tips that apply equally to all areas of the country. Here are four tips to benefit just about every Burlington household:

  1. Tune up the heating system. Instead of hoping that the heat pump or furnace will make it through another year on its own, a preventive tune-up will result in lower fuel bills all winter—not to mention saving you from becoming 15th in the repair line when it fails on the coldest night of the year (when else would that happen?).
  2. Check the “overhead” (that is, the roof, gutters, vents, and chimney). Clearing leaves, pine needles or anything else up there can reveal spots vulnerable to leaks—or breaks in flashing seals. Water damage is much more costly to correct than are small-area roofing fixes.
  3. Mow any remaining leaves. If your yard still has leaves, mow rather than rake them. University studies have proved that leaves cut into dime-sized pieces (which takes several passes) will settle among the grass blades, nourishing them throughout the winter.
  4. Eliminate drafts. Every winter, Burlington homeowners lose truly astonishing amounts of heat due to air leaks. In addition to testing windows for rattles and door jams for gaps, the Department of Energy recommends an exterior walk-around to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet. With a caulk gun handy, also check cable and phone line entrances and where dryer vents pass through walls.

Based on a prediction for low sunspot activity, this year’s Farmers Almanac calls for a chilly winter—while NOAA concentrates on the 70% chance for a La Nina (which might bring normal precipitation except in the drier South).

In other words, Burlington’s winter weather outlook is anybody’s guess.

The foolproof solution is, as always, to be well prepared. In addition to anxiety relief, a side benefit of a consistently well-maintained home becomes evident when you put it up for sale—which is also when you should give 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

 

Augmented Reality: Next Burlington Real Estate Tool

Burlington real estate has greatly benefitted from one offshoot of “virtual” technology. Just click on a listing’s “virtual tour” button and a progression of two-dimensional views of the listed property parade across your laptop or smartphone screen.

Those Burlington listing virtual tours are real estate’s first step toward “VR”—Virtual Reality. VR is the more immersive version that allows viewers to move around within three-dimensional renderings of computer-generated environments. A current example is the TV commercials depicting delighted VR goggle-wearers experiencing animated fictional worlds. They demonstrate two things: 1) the people who don the goggles look as if they truly do feel as if they are surrounded by a mind-bending realistic version of reality; and 2) they also look as if they are disconnected from the actual world around them (as when they duck to get out of the way of something that doesn’t really exist).

As it relates to Burlington real estate, there is a slightly different emerging technology. You might say that it’s half-way between today’s virtual tours and full virtual reality. This is “AR”—Augmented Reality—which combines the real and virtual worlds. It allows consumers to superimpose computer-generated images into real life scenes. Some applications are already popping up, with more on the way thanks to support from the latest operating system releases which allow software developers to dream up applications that take advantage of the possibilities.

IKEA is one company that has developed an application to project how any given furniture model would look in a customer’s own home environment. Customers need a copy of the company catalog and access to IKEA’s website. Simply click on the sample item shown on the site, then position the catalog on the floor where the furniture would be placed. Just point your smartphone at the scene and take the picture—the app recreates the scene with the IKEA piece in place, properly scaled with lighting and shadows correctly rendered!

My guess is that it certain that Burlington homeowners will soon have a lot of AR remodeling aids to help them visualize design choices. One countertop manufacturer has already developed an application that shows exactly what different surface finishes would look like atop an existing counter.

House hunters will benefit, too. The Realtor.com web developers are working on “augmenting reality” in the same way that Hollywood adds subtitles to movies. Their “Street Peek” application will allow house hunters to walk down a street, point their smartphone (Android, at first) at a house, and watch a cartoon bubble pop up over its roof with text showing whether it is for sale, the listing price or most recent sale price, and other information drawn from the NAR database. For Burlington new home buyers choosing model home variations as well as for builders eager to show the potential of an unfinished space, the only current drawback is the difference between the look of the real thing and the computer-generated image. Count on that difference rapidly disappearing.

Whether you are buying or selling, I work to keep my clients informed about the coming advances in the tools affecting their Burlington real estate options. 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

Your Burlington Homeowners Insurance Annual Checkup

It’s one of those Burlington documents most of us stash in a safe, out-of-the-way place—somewhere in the furthest recesses of a linen closet or at the back of a bureau drawer. Renters do the same: they don’t actually read the thing, but they know they want to keep it somewhere where they hope they’ll never have to find it.

The document that they value and simultaneously avoid is their Burlington homeowners or renter’s insurance policy—the thing they make sure to purchase and hope to forget. As much as I consider it my job to cater to my clients’ every wish, it is also a document that I’m afraid prompts me to risk violating that part of my job.

Sorry, everyone. You really should go find it and give it a read. Once a year, even.

The fact is, it’s certainly time for your Burlington homeowners insurance policy’s annual checkup!

How do I know that you haven’t done that for at least a year? It’s because when your agent sent you this year’s policy renewal, you may have read the cover letter and the top page, but that’s when your eyes glazed over and you remembered you had something else to do right then. You stuffed it back in the envelope until later (which was when you stashed it in the safe place).

Unless you are the one-in-twenty who likes legal minutiae, you figure you’ll read it when you need it, which you fervently hope is never. I sincerely join you in that hope, but all the industry experts are deadly serious in recommending that you bite the bullet and review your policy at least once a year.

Why? Many reasons—here are just a few:

  • Type of coverage. Is it ACV or Replacement cost? ACV stands for “actual cash value” which means depreciation is deducted in the event of loss.
  • Liability limits. ‘Nuff said.
  • Accurate inventory. As your possessions come and go, they need to be reflected in the policy. This is where over-insuring is most commonly spotted. Here’s the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ handy inventory worksheet.
  • The amount of deductible in your Burlington homeowners or renter’s policy is where you can reap significant savings…if you are willing to absorb more of the expense should a loss occur.
  • If you have more than one type of insurance policy with the same company or are a long-term customer with few claims, you might qualify.

After your house insurance checkup, you should experience some degree of relief. After all, not only are you newly confident that you are accurately covered, but even better: now you don’t have to read the thing for another year!

My job is helping my Burlington clients make the most of their real estate opportunities and decisions. Whenever you can use some help or advice, do give 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

 

Autumn is Burlington’s Landscaping Window of Opportunity

Burlington gardening enthusiasts already know this—but for those whose thumbs are anything but green, right now is a special time of year where landscaping is concerned. It’s Burlington’s high season for planting and transplanting!

You don’t have to intend on listing your Burlington home anytime soon to have a vested interest in maximizing your home’s curb appeal. After all, year in and year out the plantings in front and back yards can make all the difference in the kind of impact your property makes—it’s a pride of ownership fundamental. Neighbors and casual passers-by may not realize how much of a difference a pleasingly planted yard makes, but it’s one area that’s readily within every Burlington homeowner’s control. And experienced gardening hands know that right now it’s the key season for making the most difference for the least expense.

Autumn’s cooler temperatures are what creates the opportunity. The soil is still holding much of the summertime warmth while cooler air temperatures make for less stress on plants’ roots (and on the gardener doing the planting, too). Like bears, perennials need to hibernate. Their dormancy period constitutes a nice restorative siesta. It’s also a low-stress way for roots to settle into their new digs.

Most non-gardeners only start thinking about boosting the color and variety of their gardens with the arrival of springtime…but for many spring-blossoming bulbs, shrubs, perennials, and trees, that’s not the optimal time to get out the digging forks and shovels. Right now is when experts say it’s best to divide clumps of any perennials that have been doing well. It’s how to spread the color to other parts of the garden—at a total cost of nada. It’s also prime time to watch for sales at Burlington garden centers.

Burlington house flippers approach their projects on a much-compressed schedule—but for homeowners who aren’t thinking about selling anytime soon, taking the long view of property enhancement begins with their home’s setting: its landscaping. October is the perfect season for turning any long-range creative ideas into next spring and summer’s lush garden reality. Then when the time does come to buy or sell Burlington real estate, I hope you’ll think of giving me a call. I’m always here to share some no-obligation counseling and advice!

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

 

 

 

Buying a Home in Burlington: Quelling the Top 5 Fears

While we’re still in Halloween Scary Things mode, we might as well address the fear factor when it comes to buying Burlington homes. First-time Burlington home buyers aren’t the only ones who experience at least some degree of trepidation as they go about such a major purchase. The prospect of buying a home can be so intimidating that putting it off seems the easiest course of action (actually, inaction). The problem is that if that delay happens to fall during a period of rising home prices or mortgage rates­, it’s going to seem self-defeating in retrospect.

But unlike the scary Halloween decorations that are being crated up until next year, the fears that accompany home buying are reality-based. When you look up “home buying top fears” you come up with a remarkably consistent million and a half commentaries.

Here are 5 hobgoblins that contend for the honor of being the most Universal Home-Buying Fears—issues most likely to haunt people as they go about buying a home in Burlington:

  1. Money. It’s not just the unusual number of zeros that buying a home involves, it’s also the scary thought that maybe the property is overpriced (in other words, that you are the only one who will ever be in love with the place enough to pay $xxx,xxx). The mortgage lender’s loan approval letter can shoo away this goblin.
  2. Interest rates. As home loan interest rates rise, it’s rational to fear that you won’t find a suitable home before rates drive the monthly payment number out of range. As soon as the right Burlington home is located and rates are locked, this witch flies off into the night.
  3. Condition surprises. This fear can wake anyone up in the middle of the night: what if the inspection doesn’t uncover major issues–but they show up later? This fear may be rational, but it’s seldom realized. It’s usually banished by Father Time.
  4. The neighborhood. What if the neighbors turn out to be an unfriendly lot—or are just plain weirdos? The cure for this is as simple as chatting with some folks on the block, making some shopping forays at local Burlington stores. Most of us have our own reliable built-in antennas that alert us to places that make us uncomfortable.
  5. It’s safer to rent. Especially for first-timers, this scary gremlin may be the most persistent of the five because it’s self-inflicted. In fact, it’s just another cloak that Fear of the Unknown wears­—so it’s particularly difficult to throw off. The best cure is to remember that everyone who has ever bought a home in Burlington has eventually reached the opposite conclusion. Ask them, and they’ll tell you it’s one they don’t regret.

Buying a home can be scary at first, but one very reassuring factor is that you don’t have to go it alone. Just give 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

A Century of NAR® First House Buyers Guidance…and a Quiz!

My organization—the National Association of Realtors®—offers a wide range of guidance for Burlington families who have decided it’s time to land their first house. With more than a century’s worth of experience, you’d expect nothing less.

Last week I happened across an article the NAR had distilled that looked like a must-read for anyone who is just starting out on the path to buying their first Burlington house. Its title was “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying a Home”—but it could just as well have been “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying Your First Burlington House.” Each of the eight was apt—and important to mull over—but it’s the kind of list that’s awfully easy to read without giving much thought to the individual items.

The challenge was to come up with an interesting way to share the ideas with you. The article put the “8 critical things” in order—so I decided to make a game out of them: a quiz.

See if you can guess what was the order—from first to last—that the NAR presented them in. I don’t know that the order I’d choose would match theirs exactly …but see how well yours does:

-A. Amass a down payment

-B. Go mortgage shopping

-C. Ponder the future (*I love this one: wait till you see where the NAR put it!)

-D. Crunch your numbers

-E. Know your credit score

-F. Get educated

-G. Ballpark your closing costs

-H. Interview at least three real estate agents

 

The NAR’s answers are at the bottom, but I have a minor addition for Burlington first house buyers: if you’re just getting started, you can get a head start right now by giving me a call. There’s never an obligation, but I’m always happy to discuss where you are and the options you might already have. In any case, later—when it comes to action H.—you’ll definitely have a head start!

Answer:

D, E, A, F, H, B, C

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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