Archive for the ‘Rentals’ Category

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     cell 978-376-3978

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Renting or Selling Your Billerica Home: Caterpillar or Butterfly?

From our earliest days, everybody in Billerica is inundated with tale of transformations. It started with those grade school day trips to science places with exhibits showing the improbable progression of fish (well, pollywogs) into frogs. There were nature TV shows with sped-up motion films demonstrating the unlikely truth that icky caterpillars DO turn into graceful butterflies. In fact, Billerica cable TV is littered with the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel and PBS and the NatGeo Channel—all of which seem to be dedicated into making sure we won’t forget that Nature is full of every day metamorphoses and how ugly ducklings will one day become swans.

We’ve been brainwashed into accepting that transformations are unstoppable.

So it’s only natural that when some Billerica homeowners have found themselves a new home, they don’t hesitate to assume it would be no big deal if they decide to change themselves from homeowner into landlord.

Since Billerica rental rates are projected to keep rising, renting the current house out rather than just selling it surely makes sense. If Nature is any guide, the transformation from homeowner to landlord doesn’t seem like there’s much to think about. Their Billerica home has been a good investment, so why not try renting it? It’s a natural progression, isn’t it?

The answer is yes and no. Renting your Billerica home can be a terrific move if you are ready to add the landlord’s role to all the other activities that currently fill your day. It starts with making a stream of decisions: Will you allow pets? Chihuahuas? Rottweilers? What will your deposit agreement look like? When will you be available to take repair calls? What happens in emergencies?  

Decisions are one thing, but once the rules are set, not everyone is comfortable being the person who has to enforce tough business realities—even if they are perfectly fair. How comfortable will you be about having to insist on inspections now that your house is another family’s home? How often? And if back-to-school time expenses cause your tenant to have trouble scraping up September’s rent, how will you feel when you have to hold them to their obligation?

Pollywogs don’t consider their temperamental disposition before they turn into frogs, but renting—the homeowner-to-landlord transition—is more complicated. Even if the financial equation will allow hiring a professional management company to handle the day-to-day supervisory details, the renting decision—transforming the family homestead into an investment vehicle—can have overtones that aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m here to help you in all your Billerica real estate matters—starting with arriving at decisions that let you feel comfortable. I hope you’ll give me a call!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978    OR
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video
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Rental Property Investing 101 – A reprint from


This is from Fox Business (the Power to Prosper) – Personal Finance.  How many of us think of buying property to live in and then to ultimately rent, then move on to another property to do the same and so on.  With the drop in home values, this is a real possibility and another way to prepare for income in retirement. 

The media and real  estate professionals continually report that 2012 is the year to buy real estate. Since home values have dropped considerably, the U.S. median  list price has dropped considerably, too. Couple that with interest rates that are the lowest they’ve ever been and  it’s a perfect storm of real estate buying opportunity, especially for starting  out your career as a landlord.

Note: If you are one of those folks that believes you can predict the future  and hopes prices will go down, they may. But interest rates might go up which  would nullify any gain you would hope to obtain from any price decrease. But  more importantly, all investments fluctuate in value over time. You should not  be concerned about short-term fluctuations in a long-term investment, like real  estate. If you buy sooner over later, ten years down the road not only will you  own more properties overall than someone who waits, but you’ll most likely have  earned significant equity in all of them. And you won’t care about any price  fluctuations that might have occurred in 2012, 2013, or 2014.

Here are tips to get started. And, if you start a few years out of college,  and amass several properties, you will probably be retiring early.

Go for the long haul — Rarely do people increase their  wealth by owning property for short periods of time. Long-term investing in cash  flow-producing assets like real estate is the way to go.

Don’t’ give up your day job! – You need a solid job to be  able to save money for a down payment and be able to obtain financing to buy  properties.

Buy cash flow-positive properties – If you don’t understand  why to do this, you might want to skip real estate ownership. See “What  is a Good Real Estate Investment” article.

Buy a property that you love! – The more you love the  property for all the right investment reasons, the better chances you’ll own it  long term.

Skip the prize properties – Prize properties have negative  cash flows and are NO prize, it’s the moderately priced properties that are the  real prizes.

Buy as a personal residence to change to rental – Buy  properties in life that make good rental  property investment sense and first live in them as a personal residence.  When you buy as owner occupant, you get the best financing and can put down a  smaller down payment if you so desire. Plus you learn the property  characteristics, issues, and can fix issues so they won’t be issues once you  make it a rental. Then, move out after one to three years and into your next  personal residence that will become a rental property a few years later. This  also ensures you will only buy properties in areas where you are willing to  live, and that’s very important to do as a real estate investor.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is! – Real estate is  high risk as there are many things that can go very wrong. If it sounds too good  to be true, be very careful. Once you take ownership of the property, you have  to correct the problems and issues,or live with them.

Fully educate yourself for 3-6 months – Talk to other people  who own properties, read books, go to the local real estate investment clubs,  etc. The better you educate yourself, the higher the chances you will take the  proper steps to reduce your risks and make smart and safe decisions.

Buy properties in good shape – Fixer-uppers are money pits  and rarely sell at a large enough discount to compensate for all the work  needed. Buy properties that are as close to rental ready as possible. A great  move, if possible, is to buy a property with a good tenant already renting the  property!

Be conservative on your expectations – Always overestimate  the amount it will cost to renovate a property, underestimate the rental income  you will earn, and overestimate the expenses you will have to pay. Then, when  you blow it out of the water, you’ll have a big smile on your face and be able  to gloat to all your friends!

Stay away from high vacancy areas or declining cities – Buy  properties in nice, moderate, working class areas where there are not too many  foreclosures, empty properties, or in a city or area that is in decline.

Start young, but not before you are settled in a particular  city – You want to start early, but make sure you’re somewhat settled  before you take on this big responsibility. Have fun when you are young, there  is still plenty of time to get rich on real estate. Just start saving your  pennies for that first down payment.

Death, taxes, and…. – Those two items are guaranteed in  life. But, there is one more item if you are a real estate investor, and it’s  100% guaranteed: If you own real estate, you will feel pain along they way.  Things will go wrong, but you will recover and will likely look back on the  journey with fondness when you retire early.

And let’s end where we started, once again with the most important item in  real estate investing:

Go long! – Long-term ownership will give you the highest  chances of entering retirement with a nice rental property cash flow stream. And  long-term ownership equity gains will compensate for the hassles and issues you  have along the way.

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