Posts Tagged ‘Billerica’

Billerica Real Estate’s Unlikely New Player: Amazon.com

Amazon has invaded the realm of real estate—but you couldn’t say it’s happening in a big way.

It’s happening in a tiny way.

Last week the improbable news arrived that the web’s 400-pound gorilla had made its first foray into the realm of real estate. Since Billerica real estate (like all real estate) is by definition local, its very nature would seem to preclude the buying and selling of homes as a mail order enterprise. But since Amazon.com has succeeded in other industries where failure had been assumed (high-end fashion, for instance), could local Billerica real estate soon be monopolized by a tsunami of Amazon Prime home sales? At least it warranted some looking into!

It turned out that Billerica real estate was not likely to be overcome anytime soon. The Amazon listings that showed up are hard to find, and not likely to tempt many Billerica home shoppers. The few listings were only searchable when you entered “tiny homes”—and the few homes being offered were sandwiched in between how-to books about designing and building very small cabins.

(Here, a note for Billerica residents who aren’t familiar with the “tiny homes” phenomenon…they are what the name says: structures smaller than 400 square feet…although some can be as microscopic as 80 square feet, most are in the 300-350 range).

You may not find too many tiny homes in Billerica, but the movement is nation-wide. And the concept is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Anyone who has taken weeks-long vacations in campers or lived for any stretch of time on a pleasure boat knows that you can reduce your living space to a slender minimum if you plan carefully.

Back to Amazon. The lead-off listing was a pre-fab tiny home converted from a shipping container. Like any good Billerica real estate listing, the details pointed out key selling points (in this case, the shipping container was new). Price was a thrifty $36,000, which would be even more thrifty if the “$0.00 estimated tax” turns out to be accurate. The customer reviews were mixed, with one in particular naming a possible sticking point: meeting Massachusetts and Billerica building codes. Additionally, Amazon Prime members who revel in their free delivery perk were bound to be disappointed: the tiny home wasn’t eligible (they’d have to pony up another $3,754 in shipping fees).

If your own Billerica home buying or selling requirements are greater than the tiny home square footage limit, I’m here to lend a hand. Call me!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 

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Thoughts as Billerica’s Summertime Ends…

Friday is the official last day of Billerica’s 2017 summer, but for most of us, the season has been feeling a lot more like fall ever since Labor Day. It isn’t the weather so much as the psychological factor. Things like the passing of that last summertime three-day weekend and watching Billerica’s seasonal businesses post hour change signs. As the school busses appear every morning, you also don’t have to have kids in school to register what all the activity signals: Billerica’s summer is over.

Pinterest, the internet’s foremost collecting place for everyone’s pictures of everything has scores of pages of photos and drawings with Last Days of Summer themes. Some of them do extract a sigh or two. It may have been decades since you last experienced a cookout with friends as the summer sun sets, or watched a little one discovering that the cold tidewater will get your toes if you don’t back away in time—but the thought that the chance to revisit such moments has slipped away till next year is a sigh-producer for most.

The Pinterest collections had lots of swimming pool and beach pictures (including many dogs-in-swimming-pools, for some reason), as well as barbecue grills and drinks with limes in them. They did a good job of making you wish Billerica’s summer could last just a little bit longer…

On the bright side, since they were also heavy with ice cream and popsicle imagery, it prompted the realization that some Billerica summer attractions won’t be disappearing at all! There’s no law that says Billerica’s autumn won’t include an ice cream cone or two. Besides, it’s a fact that the summertime pastime of racing to get to the bottom of the cone before it melts all over the place is easier to win as the weather gets colder. Another plus is how, before long, autumnal treats like pumpkin-flavored ice cream are going to show up again.

With Billerica’s official Last Day of Summer coming on Friday, those whose favorite season arrives with the fall have only the weekend before it’s here. It will be many months before fall fanciers will have to resort to Pinterest to relive the Last Days of Autumn collections. They will undoubtedly find lots of pictures of high school football games, trees ablaze with orange-gold color, turkeys—but let’s not jump the gun; all that is yet to come!

In the meantime, season in and season out, call me whenever Billerica real estate matters need to be attended to!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

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Hurricane News Overshadows All but One Bright Spot

Last weekend’s regular Massachusetts news should have been promoting all the usual upbeat feature stories about the onset of football season, the start of a brand new school year, the finals of tennis’ last grand slam tournament and the like—but Billerica readers would have gotten eye strain trying to find any of them. Instead, the dark clouds brought by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey cast dense shadows across the region and the nation’s news. It was certain, too, that even after the terror of their actual passages had subsided, the fallout would continue to reverberate—expensively—for a very long time.

What was covered was how the prayers of millions not directly affected were being answered by many thousands of Good Samaritan volunteers. That uplifting story was joined by another, too; a piece of hurricane-related real estate news. Too bad it was all but drowned out by the fury of the storms and their tragic aftermaths.

Nonetheless, for Harvey-stricken Houston area homeowners with home loans backed by FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the announcement came that evictions and foreclosures would be suspended immediately. Added: the same government-backed entities would forego demands for monthly payments for at least 90 days (along with hints that “in some cases” that relief might be extended for up to a year).

As for those just beginning the climb out from Hurricane Irma’s destruction, I think it would be all but inconceivable that the same relief won’t be swiftly forthcoming for those homeowners—even if the size and cost of that will eclipse the cost of defraying the Harvey-affected loans. The small print has it that interest will continue to accrue—but Billerica onlookers will probably agree that the immediate granting of this relief is more than welcome at this juncture.

It’s really too soon to be able to concentrate on what happens in the months and years to come­—but the future of the American story is entirely predictable. This year we may have lost focus on traditional late summer sports, but in the championship ring of our real world and our real communities, we don’t suffer knockdowns easily. In U.S. history, there are no true KOs; there won’t be this time, either. The communities Americans rebuild will be better than ever!

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

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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
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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)

 

 

 

Buyer’s Remorse, Billerica Mortgage Rates, and Summertime

Mortgage rates in Billerica remained mostly steady this past month, at least partially due to the predictable July-August doldrum effect. When the summertime vacation schedules of Washington and Manhattan movers and shakers presages a slowdown in activity and economic reports, there is simply less going on that might affect the rate meter—in either direction.

Summertime can also mark the beginning of a nationwide tapering off of real estate’s peak selling season. With the added factor of mortgage rates in (town) looking as if they will remain invitingly low for the near future, fear of a sudden rate rise is ebbing as well. It’s the kind of  apprehension that can spur some buyers into feeling the need to scoop up some of Billerica’s current inventory with less than due diligence, so that’s a positive development—especially if a new report from Trulia is accurate.

Trulia’s report highlighted the importance of careful deliberation for new buyers. A wide-ranging poll registered the startling fact that nearly half of Americans are willing to express some form of buyer’s remorse about their home soon after purchase.

Trulia found the top regret came in not choosing the right sized home. The lion’s share belonged to the third of homeowners who wished they’d bought a larger place. This might have been expected among those whose budgets wouldn’t accommodate a “dream home” property, yet even among Americans earning $100,000 or more, according to the study, 16% regretted having bought a home that was proving too small for their liking.

The takeaway is simple: if you are thinking of buying in the near future, allowing any outside factors (including Billerica mortgage rates) to push you into a home that isn’t right for you and your family can have an immediate downside. Buying a home is definitely a venture that rewards cool reflection…even when a potential dream home is in on the horizon.

At least for the moment, mortgage rates in (town) remain at historically affordable levels.  If you’re looking to buy this year, be sure to keep your “must have” list handy as you assess the emerging inventory. Better still, when you give me a call, I’ll be happy to turn my professional efforts to helping with the monitoring effort. I’m here all summer 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

 

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