Archive for the ‘Buyers’ Category

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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Top 5 Qualities of the Best Burlington Real Estate Agent for You

If you are just about to commit to buying or selling a home in Burlington, the first important task before you comes with identifying the best Realtor® to assist your effort. That comes first because although you might begin by combing through the current Burlington listings or driving through the neighborhood to spot what’s going on, there is always a possibility that acting without delay will be important. If that happens to be the case, zeroing in on the best Burlington agent takes first priority.

How you ultimately select that best real estate agent for you involves a selection process that’s a lot like any business person’s procedure—except that it’s easier to identify the candidates. You won’t have to post “help wanted” ads since the candidates (myself included) are all actively looking for you! We are the prominent Burlington brokers and agents whose names you see on the web and on our “FOR SALE” signs. They’re all over the place.

The true lion’s share of the work of identifying your best “hire” will come in the conversations you have with the leading candidates. Whether you call them up or drop in on them at their office (or run into them at an open house), it’s important to bear in mind that these conversations, whether casual or not, are actually employment interviews. You’re the boss; the agents are applicants—and the hiring decision is a very important one. During these interactions, if you can determine that the agent you’re speaking with is strong in these five qualities, you’ve found your agent:

  1. Accessible. The best Burlington real estate agent for you is easy to talk to—the kind of person you connect with automatically; who puts you at ease. The best agent will be someone who is engaging and enjoyable to talk with.
  2. Professional. At the same time (it only seems to conflict with the above), the best agent is a professional at all times. After all, some of the most durable friendships wind up being with people we’ve “been through the wars with” in business!
  3. Sympathetic. A lot of the business at hand will consist of pinpointing your personal tastes and leanings and prioritizing them correctly. The best Burlington real estate agent for you will be keenly aware of your preferences—which won’t be the same as everybody else’s.
  4. Authoritative. That best agent knows Burlington inside and out; is personally familiar with the current crop of area listings; is known and widely respected by her or his Burlington real estate colleagues.
  5. Dedicated. Your best partner in the upcoming campaign will be committed to the real estate profession—not just for this week or for this transaction, but for the long haul. The best Burlington real estate agent will be there for you the next time, too!

Needless to say, when you are narrowing the field for who you want to become your own best Burlington agent, I hope you’ll call me for a chat!

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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For Billerica Renters: The 5-Year Tesla Plan

My 5-year Tesla Plan is fanciful, but based on what could be the situation some Billerica renters can probably relate to.

The imaginary 5-year Tesla Plan participant could be any gainfully employed Billerica renter who has been living comfortably in a nice rental for the past few years. It’s either a comfortable home or a nice apartment: that doesn’t matter.

What’s important is that the monthly rent has been rising. It’s now $1,570. This is now gobbling up just about every spare dollar of the Billerica renter’s income, perhaps leaving only an annual $6,000 bonus for savings, which the tenant has banked religiously for the past five years.

The renter is driving a seen-better-days Subaru, newly paid-off. In fact, the renter has recently been tempted to take that $30,000 bonus savings and buy a brand new Tesla Model 3 sports sedan—but so far, prudence has won out (besides, the trove is $5,000 short of the Tesla’s price tag).

The 5-year Tesla Plan gets started with a call to my office (actually, any Billerica Realtor® could be called—but this is my Tesla Plan, after all!) The object is to find a suitable Billerica home to buy.

This we accomplish with a spacious 3-bedroom 2 ½ bath in an out-of-the way location. Its asking price is low because the motivated seller has been absent for months and now, in July, the yard looks terrible. So it’s a real buy at the just-reduced asking price of $210,000. (Whether the actual number is $210,000 or $2,100,000—the logic remains).

The average nearby comps come in at $240,000, so the bank has no trouble offering a home loan at that week’s rate of 3.835%. The bonus trove will cover nearly 15% as a down payment (saving those annual bonuses instead of buying the Tesla was certainly a good idea)! Because the down payment was less than 20%, the new homeowner will have to add about $65 a month extra for private mortgage insurance (PMI)—but even so, it’s still a great deal.

The bottom line is a monthly mortgage payment of $1,137 including property tax, house insurance, and the PMI insurance. So the proud new Billerica homeowner is now saving $433 every month. This might seem to be an annual saving of $5,200—but that’s not so! There are two other financially lucrative things going on that weren’t available to renters.

First is the appreciation in the value of the house once the yard is back in shape. But that’s not part of the 5-year Tesla Plan—it’s just a long-term bonus.

The second advantage most definitely is: a hefty income tax break. During those first five years, the mortgage interest paid equals $32,636—the entirety of which is a federal income tax deduction. So is the $3,900 in PMI payments. In the 25% tax bracket, that comes to $9,134 less headed to Uncle Sam. When you add everything together, during the first five years, the new homeowner will have pocketed about $35,134.

That’s good because it just so happens that the Tesla Model 3 is being advertised at a starting price of $35,000. So who needs to even trade in the now-rusty Subaru?

That’s my fanciful 5-year Tesla Plan—which gets you your new Tesla at the same time you are establishing a long-term Billerica real estate investment. Individual tax situations differ, and should be always be referred to a tax professional—but you don’t have to be driving a rattletrap Subaru to benefit from the moral of this story—which is the undeniable financial advantage in store for Billerica renters who make the arithmetic work for them when they choose to become Billerica owners. Also, it’s easy to start: 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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