Archive for the ‘Buyers’ 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

 

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

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

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

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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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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Top 4 Post-Labor Day House Hunting Changes

A while back, Forbes noted what they called “The Four Ways the Real Estate Market Changes” after Labor Day. The article recognized a truism that holds for most parts of Massachusetts—namely, that the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is what most of us think of as “fall.” It went on to describe four ways the change of seasons alters the house hunting landscape.

Although I may not agree entirely with their broad brush proposition that a great number of house hunters throw in the towel after Labor Day, the four market changes described are often true enough.

  1. More of a buyer’s market. Buyers who have held off through the prime selling seasons are more apt to find sellers who are more open to negotiation.
  2. Action increases for vacation homes. This is prime time for Billerica home shoppers whose eyes are on vacation homes. By purchasing in the fall, “you can have it bought and furnished by spring.”
  3. Price dips. House hunters find that asking prices, like the autumn leaves, fall. Forbes may have simply been unable to resist the simile, but in many cases, it’s true!
  4. Open-ended house hunting. Time pressures (like having to be moved in by the first day of school) will have vanished by Labor Day, so many Billerica house hunters tend to adopt a more leisurely house hunting attitude. There may also be something about crisp autumn days (and they’ll be here soon enough) that helps contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere—at least until the Holidays loom!

Every Billerica house hunter has specific individual goals and expectations—and of course, the same is true for sellers, as well. But it does seem to be true that post-Labor Day Billerica listings tend to include an uptick in price reductions—as well as some withdrawals that, as Forbes might have it, “will sprout anew” come springtime.

If your busy summer included activities and travel that kept you fully occupied, now may be an opportune time to inaugurate your own Billerica  house hunting venture. If so, do give me a call!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners        www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com   c  978-376-3978

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