Archive for the ‘Selling Your Home’ Category

Long Term Strategic Thinking for Selling Your Burlington Home

Selling your Burlington home is never something you do on a whim. There can be rare situations when the decision to sell is a sudden one that’s forced by unexpected life circumstances (favorable or not)—but selling your Burlington home is not likely to be the result of some sudden impulse.

Since that’s the case, it follows that most of us will have been aware for some time that we will be selling sooner or later. That gives us some leeway for improving the ultimate results we can expect when an eventual sale takes place. Thinking about that, and acting upon it, constitutes a strategic advantage.

The tactics for selling your Burlington home will vary when the day comes, depending on market conditions, what comparable properties are the most sought-after at the time, etc. Such factors are somewhat unpredictable. But tactics and strategy are different. Strategy can start anytime. It can start right now!

Here’s an example I came across in an old blog post. Instead of discussing selling your Burlington home, it dealt with the kind of decision investors make when they are rehabilitating investment properties they intend to rent out. Landlords know there are good tenants and bad tenants, so their best strategy is to develop a property that will retain maximum value in either case. An example is a decision they sometimes have to make when they’ve acquired a home that calls for some rehabbing: should they install carpeting or hardwood flooring?

Most experienced investors tend to go with the hardwood. Not only does it stand up better when it comes to regular wear and tear—it also signals quality to most people. That is also true for carpeting when it’s newly installed, but over time, the effect is lost. A scratched hardwood floor can be refinished, but worn carpeting is a start-over situation. It’s a strategic choice.

When the day arrives when selling your Burlington home becomes reality, if you have been making similar long-term strategic decisions all along, the results will be rewarding. Preparing for sale will not only require much less effort and expense—it has every likelihood of returning the results every seller hopes for.

Whether selling your own Burlington home is an immediate or distant prospect, you are always invited to give me a call to discuss any of your own ideas and questions when it comes to any and all Burlington real estate matters. I’ll be standing by!

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

Selling Your Burlington Home for Profit (that’s the Fun Part!)

Every once in a while you can be checking through the accumulation of notes and other odds and ends when you find something that doesn’t look familiar. Possibly it’s something someone handed to you that you didn’t have time to look at previously. It’s just there, somehow—who knows how or when it got mixed in with your own notes.

Here’s one of those. It’s a memo that came out of a printer, so there’s no handwriting which might have provided evidence of its origin. When I read it, everything in it rang true—and valuable. Here it is in its entirety (I have fixed a spelling error or two):

—————-

Keys to Selling Your Home for Profit

 

-smart modest investments (new stainless steel appliances, new carpet, etc)

-smart exterior improvement (clean landscape lines, strategic color pops, fresh mulch, new exterior paint/trim)

-stage it! Stage indoors and outdoors during warm months. Research average return on staging statistic.

 

Unless it’s a fixer, then these tips don’t apply, in that case to make the most money, don’t invest in any improvements, just price to sell!

—————-

 

If I had one thing to add, it would be the “staging statistic” that the author (who was obviously pressed for time) seems to have wanted to include.

Boiling down Realtor® Magazine’s most detailed analysis of the topic (2015), they found that “A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home.” Furthermore, when it comes to speed in selling your home, staged offerings left their non-staged competitors in the dust: they sold “87% faster.” Those statistics might be a little misleading, since if you are selling your Burlington home and either willing to hire a professional or else put in the work yourself, you are automatically more energetically focused on the sale—itself a plus.

Selling your Burlington home profitably is everyone’s goal from the start to finish of the process. I offer the local knowledge and expertise that has helped me perform exactly that for my clients through years of practice and experience. That’s the best reason to 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
Laer Realty Partners     Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

5 Tips Maximize Summertime Burlington House Showings

When the Burlington weather turns sizzling, you might think that house showings might go better by holding off for milder weather. After all, as the mercury rises, energy levels tend to wilt, so prospective buyers willing to take on a big initiative—like lining up a new house—might seem to be in short supply. You might think that—but the evidence actually points in the opposite direction.

It seems that the hottest weather invites more home buying instead of less. At least that’s what the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests—and experts at Fannie Mae agree.

The NBER finds that “warm weather may have a positive impact on home sales.” In warm weather, if a home has features like access to a swimming pool or A/C, “buyers can see themselves enjoying the home on a nice day.”

Indeed, Fannie Mae’s research into how consumers feel about buying a home at different times of the year points to a similar seasonal effect. Part of Fannie’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s findings line up with real estate’s well-known seasonal bias. Part of the strength of Burlington’s traditional spring and summer selling season may be due to prospective buyers’ need to make a change before the new school year starts, but if so, it’s a strong enough incentive to obscure any discomfort brought on by the July and August heat.

It’s all welcome news for homeowners planning Burlington house showings at this time of year—but it’s still a good idea to make some weather-wise adjustments. Here are 5 tips for hot weather house showings:

  1. Let the A/C rip! Most experts say 72 degrees is the correct setting for central air systems—but I find that it’s really dependent on the difference between outside and in. When you walk through the front door, if the atmosphere gives you a refreshing lift (not a shivering chill), that’s the right setting.
  2. Be vigilant about smells. Summertime brings out any pet or musty aromas that aren’t as apparent during the rest of the year, so pay special attention to what your nose knows. If a dehumidifier helps eliminate a damp area, set it to work. This is also the right time to invest in quality scent-producing oils or candles.
  3. Refreshments. A pitcher of ice water with lemons or similar thoughtful provision will be greatly appreciated by your guests (and your Realtor®!)
  4. Green. The lawn and plantings are always central to creating the curb appeal that sets the stage for everything else, so keep the front yard as green and welcoming as practical.
  5. Leave lights on. Even though it can feel cooler in dark rooms, let the climate control do that work. House showings go better in a light and bright environment any time of year.

If your Burlington home has excellent cooling systems or an inviting swimming pool setup, now is the time to make the most of it. Give me a call to see if we can get started before summer starts to slip away!

 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!

Laer Realty Partners   Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

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   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
 
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0
Laer Realty Partners  Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Selling Your Bedford House: a Tool Called PST!

If you see the letters “PST!” in connection with selling a house in Bedford, don’t think it’s someone whispering to get your attention (that would be spelled “psst!”).

The selling-a-house kind of “PST” isn’t something whispered by a black marketeer to keep an off-the-books deal under wraps. There’s no need to speak in hushed tones about PST in polite conversation. When speaking about selling your Bedford house, its meaning is right out there in the open. It may not be on the tip of every homeowner’s tongue as they prepare their home for sale, but its import is undeniable in formulating one of your listing’s most important ingredients: the asking price.

Before any Bedford house can be put on the market, zeroing in on the dollar amount the ultimate buyer will be willing to pay is always a kind of high-stakes guessing game. This mysterious buyer could be anyone. He or she could appear at any time. Even so, picking an asking price that attracts the greatest number of possible ultimate buyers isn’t pure guesswork, nor is it some number that’s plucked out of the air. And it definitely isn’t a large number that’s chosen “just to see what happens.”

The most reliable way to arrive at an effective asking price is to do some serious investigation into the current Bedford market by seeking what previous buyers have been willing to pay. That’s where PST! comes in.

This “PST” is an acronym for Proximity, Similarity, and Timeliness—the three main ingredients that measure the quality of Bedford “comps”—the comparable sales figures that buyers, their agents, lenders, and sellers rely upon to develop asking and offering prices.

P—proximity: how physically close was the sale? Next door is best; in the neighborhood also good; 50 miles away, pretty worthless.

S—similarity: how do the layout and features compare with your house? With a slight adjustment, a 4 bedroom 3 ½ bath comp is useful for your own 4 bedroom 3 bath property. For a 1 bedroom condo, not useful. It’s important to account for level of finish, too. If a neighbor’s home sold for X dollars including its brand new $80,000 kitchen remodel, a similar house that’s straight out of the 80s shouldn’t expect the same.

T—timeliness: how recent was the sale? A March sale would be terrific right now; January 2015, not so terrific.

Researching and analyzing a good sampling of comps accomplishes more than just establishing the asking price. Being able to furnish a solid selection of comps convinces buyers that you are selling your house for a reasonable price. And lenders can use them to verify a property’s collateral value in today’s Bedford marketplace.

When you are selling your Bedford house, a good first move is to partner with an experienced local real estate agent. When you give me the nod, from the outset, you will be the beneficiary of the most comprehensive PST research available. That’s a solid place to start!

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
Laer Realty Partners    Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

Selling Your Burlington House by Defeating Two Scoundrels

Selling your Burlington house is a lot easier when you have an experienced professional relieving you of the lion’s share of the work. I spend full time dealing with the ins and outs of marketing, dealing with qualified prospective buyers, and making sure the Massachusetts and Burlington technical requirements are met to the letter. That means that the lion’s share of what you need to deal with are the finishing touches of showings and open house presentations.

But long before any marketing can get under way; before an eye-pleasing Burlington listing can be created—and even before a final choice the right Realtor® is made—two formidable opponents have to be met and conquered. Taken individually, neither is nearly as imposing as when they team up. But when they work together, they can stall the initiation of any Burlington house selling initiative for months—even years. Unfortunately, they’re always hanging around the house, waiting to cause trouble.

The villains are inertia and its helpmate, clutter.

Inertia is the force that pushes you back in your seat when your jetliner takes off. It’s the force that keeps the car moving after you’ve taken your foot off the gas. It’s the physical property of a body at rest (or in motion) that opposes a change in what is happening at the moment.

In the realm of homeownership, real estate inertia is the natural tendency to stay put in your familiar home setting. Rather than upsetting the applecart by striking out in a new direction, it’s the understandable propensity to leave well enough alone—even when the familiar home base is no longer as suitable a venue as it used to be.

This despite the fact that as our family or work or financial situations evolve, sooner or later most everyone will overcome house-related inertia and start thinking about selling and finding a better fit. That might be larger or smaller, grander or simpler, or simply more conveniently located. That’s when inertia’s partner comes into play to stop everything.

Clutter is all the stuff we’ve built up to make our lives more comfortable—and there is a lot of it we could do without. But the idea of actually addressing which things are disposable, and then actually disposing of them? Well, nobody in his or her right mind wants to tackle that (at least not right now).

To make a mathematical formula for this common phenomenon:

inertia + clutter = later

The foolproof strategy for overcoming the two scoundrels is to cut the clutter part down to size. Tackle one room at a time. It works. True, this involves overcoming a certain amount of inertia—but nothing like the mountain of the stuff that thinking about the whole household full of the stuff involves.

My i + c = l formula probably might not be included in any physics textbooks, but it’s a good one to remember as soon as you begin to think about selling your own Burlington house. Also good to remember around the same time is to give me a call!

Laer Realty Partners       Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Housing Opportunity Comes in an Ugly Box

Another great article by guest blogger Kathy Vasel of Sage Bank.  And this goes out not only to the buyers who may be on the fence but also to the sellers.  The same opportunity is out there for you as you will not only be selling your house but more than likely will also be buying one.  This is the time to put your home on the market and make your dreams happen.     Joan Parcewski, Woods Real Estate     joan@woodsre.com    O 978-262-9665   c 978-376-3978

 

Is it really an opportunity now to invest in real estate when it seems to be declining?  Or did you miss the boat?  Those are great questions! You will see why I believe it is still a great investment!  It is not only one of the reasons below but all of them to create this tidal wave of opportunity.   Opportunity doesn’t come in a pretty box with a bow for you to open…it is ugly.  The stars have never been better aligned to buy real estate.  If you wait the opportunity window will close.

Where are the interest rates?  Rates are currently at the lowest level in history.  Let me say that again…rates are at the lowest they have been in history.  Talk to your parents who may have bought their first home with an 18% interest rate.  Do not think the rates will stay where they are forever.  We have been spoiled and this is not reality.  Do not get fooled.  Normally interest rates follow gold prices.  Have you seen the way gold is growing in value?  The Feds are holding rates down which is not normal.   Interest rates are affected by stocks and bonds.  When the stocks decline, bonds improve and interest rates will go up.  The Feds job is to bring inflation to turn the market around.  Inflation helps the government but hurts people.  I predict as a nation the Feds have to have inflation and rates will go up.   The only good thing about inflation for the people is that their home values increase.

Let’s talk about population…there are 310 million people who need a place to live.  They either live in a home, need to buy a home, or rent which will absorb the real estate on the market.  There are approximately 15 million college students.  The normal tracks of life are to graduate, get married, and you guessed it buy a home.   Once they graduate and start buying real estate will soar and bring up values.

Historically, appreciation for real estate is a 6% average.  A great example of appreciation is when Manhattan was sold in the year 1600 for beads and cloth which was equally valued for $24.  If that money was invested into the bank the mathematical calculation with compounded interest would be worth over $200 billion today.  My point is everything appreciates historically even though currently you may not be seeing that appreciation.  So let’s say real estate may only grow in value at 2% to use worst case scenario.   Let’s use this example, if you were to purchase a home today for $100,000 and used $10,000 for a down payment.  With a 2% appreciation growth in that house you gain a $2,000 value.  Since you invested $10,000 that equals a 20% return on your investment.  Are you getting that in your bank account right now?  Not to mention, you will have tax deductions when you buy real estate which increases your wealth and net worth.

Are we at the bottom you might ask?  If the rental for a single family home is at $1,400 per month and you can get a mortgage payment for the same $1,400 per month it is an indication that we are at the bottom.  Oh and by the way, this is absolutely attainable right now.  However, you may be still thinking you want to make sure you get the cheapest purchase price you possibly can and want to still hold out and wait.  Or you may be afraid of overpaying.  If you buy when the market is still going down you are buying right.  Some thoughts you may have are:  I don’t want to settle on this market, I want to buy the cheapest price, I ‘m afraid to over pay.  Fear can turn to greed which may cause you your self inflicted loss.  Do you remember grandparents telling you I wish I bought when?  Don’t let this happen to you.  When the market rebounds and home prices start increasing you will have missed the boat.  When prices increase again that means that it is gone…the market sailed by you.

Are you a follower or a leader?  So here is the real question to think about.  If you are a leader you will do your own research and determine it is without a doubt a remarkable time to buy real estate.  Most leaders make their money when they don’t follow the crowd.  When the crowd starts making purchases it is too late to buy at the lowest level, because everyone is doing it and this causes values to increase.  Remember history repeats itself and what goes down must come up. In 1992 there were many articles written that will make you think you are reading about today’s news.   Do you remember what happened after 1992?  Did we have a real estate boom?

Educate yourself, buy smart…Buy Now!  Go find out about the ugly box of opportunity waiting for you.

Kathy Vasel
Senior Mortgage Consultant
NMLS# 50076
sage bank

 

66 Concord Street, Suite M, Wilmington, MA 01887

 

 

Direct: 978.433.5322
Office: 781.995.3440
Mobile: 978.502.2998
Fax: 781.995.3423
kvasel@sagebank.com

 

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