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Password Advice Eases Bedford Real Estate Site Visits

Last week came a piece of advice that’s directly applicable to Bedford real estate matters. To a greater or lesser degree, it also impinges on every one of your online accounts that attempt to safeguard your privacy—for instance, when you log into your account here on my Bedford real estate site.

The news is about web passwords and security. For more than a decade we have been offered a choice:

  • If we care about our security—that is, the possibility of being hacked by internet bad guys—we’ve been cautioned to create passwords with long combinations of obscure characters (like ^,@, !, or %) interspersed between capital and lowercase letters and numbers—preferably in an order which makes no sense at all. And to change them every 90 days.
  • The other choice was to throw caution to the winds, cross our fingers, and make our passwords simple and memorable.

This advice originated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a pamphlet written by a mid-level manager named Bill Burr. Last week, Mr. Burr—who is now 72—admitted that much of the old advice was misguided. The recommended complexity had actually had a negative effect. “Much of what I did,” he said, “I now regret.”

So what ARE the new rules for creating your passwords—for my Bedford real estate site and all the other password-protected sites? The new, rewritten guidelines suggest long, easy-to-remember phrases. The Wall Street Journal reported that “correct horse battery staple” (written as one long word) would take 550 years to crack, as opposed to the three days it would take to break “TrOub4dor&3.”

And better yet: forget about changing those passwords all the time. Change them only if there is an indication they’ve been stolen. It’s not every day that life gets easier—but this looks like it could be one of them.

Another way to make life easier when Bedford real estate matters are at hand: check in with me. When you call me at the office, you won’t even need a password!

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 PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

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
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Eclipse in Billerica: 99 Years in the Making, but…

By the beginning of Billerica’s new week, Monday’s eclipse had been so thoroughly chronicled as having been “99 years in the making!” you could be forgiven for any anxiety that might result if you’d been unable to arrange to be where viewing was best. After all, we’ve been hearing from all corners that such an event doesn’t always happen within any given lifetime, for goodness sake! The undeniable takeaway was it’s now or never! Better have those proper viewing glasses at the ready, and get yourself over to where the cloud cover isn’t.

This is not to minimize the grandeur of the occasion. We may be treated to lunar eclipses from time to time—but a solar eclipse interrupts the natural order of things with its literally show-stopping astronomical spectacle. Anyone who has been tempted to fly off to a foreign venue to view one (they happen twice a year, somewhere on the planet) too often learns that it’s also risky business, meteorologically speaking. I recall a news item from a couple of years back about a tour group that set off for South America—where it clouded over five minutes before the event. If you were one of those crestfallen tourists, you’d have returned with little more to show for your expensive effort than a llama snapshot or two.

But in case you were one of the few Billerica locals whose Billerica eclipse experience turns out to be less than stellar, the pressure is off! Although it’s been 99 years since the last total eclipse crossed the mainland, there’s going to be another one, and soon (relatively speaking). You won’t have to wait until 2116, either.

It’s due only seven years from now!

In other words, on April 8, 2024, Billerica residents will have a second chance. The whole once-in-a-lifetime spectacular will have a return engagement. Not since Cher’s most recent retirement tour has such a déjà vu opportunity been in prospect.

The path will be quite different—southwest to northeast instead of northwest to southeast—so the Massachusetts and Billerica experience will be different—but since we will all be solar eclipse veterans, we should be well prepared for the experience. So let’s hang onto our eclipse viewing glasses—or if we never found any for sale, we’ve got nine years to correct the oversight.

In the intervening nine years, whenever any of the more terrestrial Billerica real estate matters arise, 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 PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

 

Perfect Pricing: the Sweet Spot for Bedford Listings

Figuring out the perfect pricing for any Bedford home for sale would be easier if there were a way to confirm past instances that hit that mark precisely. But that can’t be done. It’s the nature of the beast: it’s simply not possible. Even if a comparable Bedford home’s asking price resulted in being sold immediately at that exact amount, it only could have been priced perfectly. We can’t know that it wasn’t priced too low.

Even if the pricing on some Bedford home was quickly met and even exceeded—IOW, it resulted in a bidding —that might be evidence that it had been originally priced too low. Even that isn’t certain because the supposed underpricing resulted in a sale that was higher than expected, which is a perfect result. So perhaps that was the perfect pricing. You see the ambiguity.

So if you can’t ever determine what constitutes perfection in pricing—even after the books are closed on a given sale—then there is no way to guarantee a number will result in the maximum outcome. That’s why the whole issue of pricing any Bedford home is forever going to be an art (with as much science thrown in as possible). That being the case, getting the “science” part right is pretty important.

When it comes to pricing Bedford homes, it stands to reason that the mortgage lending industry would have put maximum effort into determining the most predictive residential real estate values: in other words, any Bedford home’s most realistic pricing. A week ago, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders offered their advice to homeowners. They acknowledged that while “we’re on an upward swing” in property values in general, it’s still important to get “a very accurate estimate of home value” to attract multiple buyers and avoid surprises during the sale process. Their three steps to discovering that:

Online search. Using the massive amount of data is a starting point for establishing a baseline.

Knowing the Market. It’s vital to measure your own house against those that are most similar to yours and on the market now. Visits to nearby open houses will offer the best opportunities to observe how similar homes are priced and marketed.

Calling in the pros. Ultimately, the do-it-yourself idea for home pricing seems to yield to what is available when the assistance of a real estate professional can be called upon—at least in the opinion of the other pros: the lenders. Rallying the in-depth data that current and historical comparable sales figures provide is persuasively the superior path, from their point of view.

Perfection in pricing might not be attainable—but if success in selling Bedford homes is a good stand-in, one way to achieve the desired end result is to seek out a professional with a proven track record like mine. Call me!

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 PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

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
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Billerica Mortgage Rates: Perception and Reality

Billerica mortgage rates have been so low for such a long time that it would be surprising if area buyers didn’t begin to take them for granted. It’s only human nature. Addressing would-be home buyers who, though qualified, remain on the sidelines, government-sponsored Freddie Mac headlined the question, “If Housing Is So Affordable, Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?

The article appeared in Freddie Mac’s Insight publication which noted that right now housing isn’t just affordable—it’s “near record” affordable! HUD’s Housing Affordability Index has been rising for over 35 years, interrupted only briefly by the housing crisis of the mid-2000s. It hasn’t quite sustained the all-time affordability peak but is holding steady well within hailing distance of that 2012 record.

Billerica mortgage rates have cooperated nicely, continuing to go with the national herd. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, U.S. rates averaged 3.90%—down even further from the previous week’s 3.93%. Of course, the 15-year and adjustable rate offerings were even lower.

With that kind of good news, why do the media report “affordability issues” (Mortgage Daily News) and even an “affordability crisis” (PBS)? The answers dwell in both perception and in some underlying realities.

There’s definitely reality in the widespread phenomenon of a shortage of housing supply. Billerica listings may show a number of properties being offered, but the national number of homes up for sale remains “very tight.” The echoes from 2009, when new housing starts hit rock bottom, are still having an effect. In that year, housing starts barely equaled a third of the previous averages. Even though current construction levels are nearly back to normal, they’ve yet to make up for that shortfall.

Less real is the public perception of how much cash is needed for a down payment. Billerica mortgage rates may be tantalizingly low, but when potential local applicants “mistakenly believe they must have a 20% down payment to obtain a mortgage,” the result is a number of otherwise-qualified buyers who don’t know that more than half of today’s borrowers make smaller down payments.

Not mentioned in the Insight article is another psychological factor that could explain two things at once. In The New York Times’ “Politics” section, a commentary sought to explain why the Federal Reserve wasn’t acting to boost interest rates. According to the author, the cause lay with inflation rates, which remain low—“and that’s a problem” for Fed rate-makers. The reason higher inflation would be a good thing (despite common sense) is that it makes consumers feel good when their paychecks go up. “A little inflation can brighten the economic mood…people enjoy the illusion.”

The upshot here may be that even though today’s extraordinarily low Billerica mortgage rates create actual affordability, some well-qualified customers may feel safer staying on the sidelines until the economy starts generating go-go economy headlines. It’s an ironic reality that by the time those headlines materialize, actual affordability might have already begun to slip away.

If you’ve been mulling the wisdom of your own Billerica home acquisition, let me show you some great properties…and some great numbers!

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 PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

 

Bedford Asking Prices Can’t Beat this Week’s $10 Example

It’s true that today’s Bedford asking prices fall into a wide range—occasionally even at temptingly reduced levels. But last week came news of one that I have to admit beat them all by a mile (at least regarding the asking price). This was found in Montclair, New Jersey. CBS interviewed the selling agent. Money Magazine wrote it up. The NAR highlighted it.

Photos made the offering all the more interesting since the asking price was so low—yet the pictures were not, as any well-schooled real estate watcher would have expected, fuzzy images of some run down dump. The shots all showed a pristine historical (1904) 4-bedroom, 2-bath beauty, seemingly presiding in stately repose over well-manicured grounds. It looked like, well—a mansion.

The asking price is $10.

For those budget-minded Bedford home shoppers who would never consider making a first offer at full asking price, in this instance, you might make an exception. Since the current asking price has already been reduced from $1,400,000, you have to expect that the owner will probably not be willing to come down much further. The $10 is probably a take-it-or-leave-it number.

But lest any Bedford house hunters think about packing their bags for the trip to Montclair for a tour of the property, it’s only fair to elaborate on what anyone would already be assuming: namely, that there must be a few problems.

Local house hunters will appreciate the first problem, which is location. The house not only isn’t in Bedford, but it’s also currently sited on land that has been sold to a developer. It has to be moved. Moving a three-story 3,912 sq. ft. structure of this size is an expensive undertaking. Although the current owner is offering to contribute $10,000 toward solving that problem, anyone who has ever overseen this kind of house-moving project knows that the details (digging up the foundation, wedging in all the I-beams, jacking up the structure, getting it up on the trailer beds, etc.) comprise a pricey, open-ended proposition.

Local house hunters would encounter another problem, which is that, as a historically significant local landmark, the powers-that-be in Montclair have made it clear that the mansion won’t be allowed to be moved beyond the city limits. So transplanting it to anywhere in Bedford isn’t a possibility. Another problem: having been designated an historical monument, the home will have to be treated tenderly by its new owner. “Handle like eggs” might be the watchword. That could prove as tricky as trucking it off to its new Montclair destination.

Fortunately, the current batch of area listings offers buyers Bedford asking prices that may be a bit steeper, but represent opportunities with significantly fewer complications. They may carry asking prices less head-turning than the $10 listing, but when you consider the big picture, they constitute significantly better bargains. Call for details!

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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