Archive for the ‘Burlington MA’ Category

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

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Burlington Real Estate Negotiations Needn’t be a Puzzler

Game theory only sounds like it has something to do with how to win in some weekend sports outing or family board game. It’s a seriously studied logical field that mathematicians delve into. Interestingly, when you study how to develop successful negotiation tactics—Burlington real estate negotiations included—you can look at them via game theory.

There is a problem, though. The further you get into the subject, the more it tends to become more and more abstract. Unless you are someone who looks forward to curling up by a roaring fire with a favorite math textbook, you won’t get very far into game theory before your eyes will begin to glaze over.

In real life, Burlington real estate negotiations are anything but academic exercises, so I can’t recommend spending hours studying “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or any of the other highly studied game theory games. But even if you’ve been able to stay tuned for only a few of the most rudimentary basics, it seems that in order to develop a winning game plan in any negotiation, there has to be one pre-condition (in game theory, it’s called an assumption).

The assumption that’s necessary for developing a successful negotiation strategy is that all the parties must be rational. They have to be trying to make decisions (game moves) that are intended to benefit themselves. In Burlington real estate negotiations, that usually consists of paying or receiving the least or most money in the most favorable timeframe.

So the takeaway from game theory’s application to Burlington  real estate negotiations is both simple and useful in the real world:

First, remain rational yourself. In the course of negotiations, if your thoughtful proposal isn’t accepted, don’t get mad—even if it’s maddening. Stay cool; acknowledge that you’ve considered the response, and develop the best counter that is in your interest. I’ll help!

Second, as much as possible, foster rationality in the other party. Even if they fly off the handle for what seems to be no reason, assume there IS a reason—but it may not be one that’s rational or even directly connected to the bargain under discussion. It can even be due to misconstrued communication. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that emotions can block self-interest—but even fiery emotions can be quelled when met with calm and reason.

One of the great advantages to having me as your Realtor is the experience I bring to the Burlington real estate negotiations that complete every sale. There are many steps that precede that “endgame” moment—call me whenever you’re ready to discuss getting started!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

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New Burlington Homes Win in an Auto Value Comparison

Ask a typical Burlington consumer to name the two most important purchases people make, and you’ll almost always hear “new house” and “new car.” They’re often lumped together, but they shouldn’t be. They aren’t all that similar.

The rationale for buying a new car is clear: automotive technology advances nearly every model year, improving fuel economy and safety. Add in that intoxicating new car smell, and the preference is all but automatic. Used cars may be economical, but as for the thrill factor: nyah!

Similarly, when the question is put to a cross-section of typical Americans, new homes get the nod over existing ones. The percentage of those who “strongly” or “somewhat” prefer buying a newly built home weighs in at 41%. That’s a 2-to-1 margin over those who say they favor existing homes.

With such pronounced popularity, you might think it means that Burlington new homes should sell twice as rapidly as those previously owned—but that’s not the case. It isn’t just that there’s no intoxicating new house smell. It’s all about the cost factor.

The preference numbers come from the latest survey run by Trulia, which also reported the major reasons given. “Modern features” were cited, along with the “ability to customize the home.” The first reason is perhaps more sensible than the second since the survey’s definition of “new home” included newly-built homes that were fully completed. An existing property can usually be customized (remodeled) as readily as a finished new home.

In any case, the popular leaning toward new homes is tempered in practice when it comes to dollars and cents. Among those who strongly prefer a new home, only 46% are willing to pay for the privilege when it comes to actually writing the check. Since the national average is for new homes to be priced at a 20% premium over existing properties with similar features, that original “strong” preference often takes a backseat to a slightly stronger one—working within the family budget.

Fortunately for those who do become Burlington new home owners, the long-term outcome differs from what new car buyers experience. Whereas the joy of driving a new model automobile off the dealer’s lot is tempered by an instantaneous drop in its resale value, nothing similar happens when you take ownership of a new Burlington home. The steady rise in housing values over the past five years is pretty solid evidence of that!

Some terrific Burlington new and existing homes are out there awaiting new owners. Give me a call whenever you’d like to take a look!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 

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Equifax Hack Could Affect Burlington Mortgage Applicants-

When news of the Equifax hack first broke, the credit ratings giant scrambled to minimize fallout from this massive personal information breach. After an initial embarrassing misstep (they tried to have affected consumers sign off on Equifax’s liability), the company moved to ameliorate the hack by offering free ID protection to consumers.

Burlington homeowners and potential home buyers had reason to do more than shake their heads at yet another electronic pratfall. In one way or another, most Burlington real estate transactions involve creditworthiness appraisals that are managed by the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax is one). That means that among the 143 million consumers it admits could be “potentially impacted” are certainly a lot of current and future Burlington home buyers. The stolen information includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses—and for hundreds of thousands, credit card numbers. Even some Massachusetts driver license data figured in the Equifax hack.

Given the obvious potential for identity theft, the company’s Chairman went online to make an unprecedented offer: his firm will furnish a comprehensive package of credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to everyone. Literally.

To every consumer in the United States. For a year. For free.

With few exceptions, it was left to us to take the initiative to take them up on the offer. That factor might shrink the size of the undertaking, but even so, delivering on this scale was unlikely to be accomplished without a few hitches.

Hitch #1: when this many millions of people try to check in on any site, no system can handle it all at once. So contacting this Equifax Trusted ID Premier link results in varying lengths of delay before enrollment can be confirmed.

Hitch #2: because it is now obvious that sophisticated thieves are active in the credit reporting industry, it will be doubly necessary for Equifax to make certain that you are who you say you are. That makes multiple email confirmation back-and-forths unavoidable­­.

It’s a cinch that Burlington residents who decide to sign up for the free protection should also be extra vigilant in monitoring their financial transactions. An additional step is also possible: you can contact any one of the three credit agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian) to request that they place a 90-day “fraud alert” on your file. It’s free, and whichever agency you contact is required to notify the other two. Fraud alerts obligate any lender to contact you before they issue credit in your name. You can renew the alert as many times as you wish—and cancel at any point.

Your credit score is a vital ingredient when it’s time to look for favorable home loan offers, so even before the Equifax hack, it’s always been well worth protecting. Give me a call when questions about this or other Burlington real estate matters come up: I’ll be minding the phone!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 

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A Tenant-Occupied House Sale Can be Smooth Sailing

Even investors whose Burlington rental homes have served long and well as income-producers can eventually decide it’s time to sell. Given today’s tight housing inventories, the current market does stack up as one where selling your tenant-occupied house can be a timely financial move.

But if that is under consideration, what should you do about the current tenant? Is it better to wait until the current lease expires—so that the vacated property can be shown without having to deal with an inconvenienced (and possibly miffed) tenant? Or will it be better to go ahead and list the property while it’s still occupied? Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws will have to be observed in any case, and specifics depend on the terms of the rental agreement, but experience teaches that following a few straightforward guidelines will usually solve any tenant-occupied Burlington rental home sale issues before they become problematical.

As with so many “people” matters, keeping the lines of communication open should be the first order of business. For the planned sale of a tenant-occupied house, that means letting your tenant know as soon as possible that the house is going to be put on the market, and that you and your agent will actively minimize any inconvenience that might result. This is also the most opportune time to suggest that they consider buying the place themselves—an option that eliminates further complications.

If that’s not a possibility, be prepared to address their likely concerns, such as—

  1. Having to allow strangers into their home. Impress on the tenant that showings will only be conducted for qualified prospective buyers who will be escorted by your agent—a Massachusetts-licensed real estate professional.
  2. Having home life suddenly interrupted. Let them know the terms of your agreement with your Realtor® specifying the required advance notice for all showings.
  3. Having to move. This is only a possibility since their good history as a tenant increases the possibility that the new owner may choose to continue to offer the property as a rental.

The solution depends on the specifics. If you are selling a property that tracks well as an investment, tenants may be a plus. If you are selling an upscale property, having it vacant and staged to the 9s may well be your best bet (and a good one, too!).

In any case, the most accurate advice will come when you give me a call to come out and see your property. That’s how we can develop the right game plan!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

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Burlington Real Estate Agents, Radio Ads, and Boosting Income

Successful Burlington real estate agents almost universally share some common personality traits. Among them is one skill that’s not usually mentioned when it comes to real estate agent requirements. By the time we’ve been on the job for long, Burlington real estate agents have necessarily become really experienced and skilled drivers!

When I’m chauffeuring a buyer on a Burlington property tour, the car radio is turned down. That’s because we have much to chat about—everything from impressions from the homes we’ve just seen and background information on the next to the latest intelligence on neighborhood happenings. It’s an enjoyable part of my day.

But when I’m by myself, driving solo to or from an appointment, the radio is probably on. That’s how I know that all summer long there’s been a raft of commercials from a company pitching the idea that truly successful people don’t spend 24 hours a day tending to their main business. The most accomplished among them know “the secret” of how to control “both money and time” (by which is meant their own time). The spiel is actually a promotion for a self-help company that promises to school their customers in “how to create multiple income streams.”

I couldn’t agree more. Not about that self-help company, which may or may not dispense useful advice. I mean about the genius of fostering multiple income streams. Burlington real estate agents have seen it in practice, and it works as advertised.

Even better, you don’t have to take a special course in business strategy to cash in on the concept. Just identify one of the current Burlington listings that would make a good rental property, double-check the arithmetic that forecasts positive cash flow combined with underlying principal appreciation, and act to become one of Burlington’s real estate investors with multiple income streams generated by Burlington rental properties.

I know how to help with the whole process of broadening your income sources. It’s a process that can start as soon as you give me a call!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

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

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

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The 5 Top Reasons for Selling Your Burlington House Now

When you have a firm timeline that governs when you’ll be selling your Burlington house, it’s one decision that’s made for you. Of course, it’s not always that easy. If a move from one home to another, or from Burlington to another area isn’t dictated by outside events, you have to make the decision anew every week or month.

On the one hand, the adventure and energizing prospect of a new home tugs in the direction of getting the project going…while on the other hand, the mountain of details and effort pulls in the direction of putting it off a bit longer. Here are five prime reasons why now—at the tail-end of this summer, right before autumn sets in—is an increasingly good time to be selling your Burlington house:

  1. It’s the BEST time to be moving up…at least for the foreseeable future. The most reliable projections say that prices are projected to appreciate 23.4% by 2021.
  2. The season is right. Whenever the spring/summer selling season starts winding down, competition begins to fade. And as soon as you have made your own Burlington sale, the homeowners you will be looking to buy from are more likely to be flexible.
  3. Selling your Burlington house can move faster. The processing (paperwork, approvals, etc.) tends to find quicker action as seasonal activity slows.
  4. Overall, there’s just less competition. Aside from the seasonal aspect, overall, the big picture continues to be one of a housing supply that isn’t keeping pace with demand.
  5. You’ve decided to sell sooner or later—but until you make the decision to take the plunge, many aspects of your life can get stuck. Major changes of all sorts have to be postponed when a big move is in the wind (especially when it gets stuck in that wind)!

The prime reason for knowing you are going to be selling your Burlington house, but not acting on it, is the hassle factor (the many details that have to be attended to). I can be a major help with all those parts—and since I enjoy every part of what I do, it’s a feeling that’s easily spread to my clients!

Making the decision that now is the time is actually simpler than stewing over it any longer. 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
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