Posts Tagged ‘Burlington’

Four Tips for Burlington Homeowners Bracing for Winter

Officially, it may not be winter in Burlington yet, but the end of November is more than a signal to turn to the last page in 2017’s calendar. It’s definitely time for Burlington residents to secure their domiciles against the mercury drops Mother Nature will be providing sooner or later.

Even in places where a November heat wave makes it hard to focus on the inevitable onslaught of chilly weather, there are some household winter preparation tips that apply equally to all areas of the country. Here are four tips to benefit just about every Burlington household:

  1. Tune up the heating system. Instead of hoping that the heat pump or furnace will make it through another year on its own, a preventive tune-up will result in lower fuel bills all winter—not to mention saving you from becoming 15th in the repair line when it fails on the coldest night of the year (when else would that happen?).
  2. Check the “overhead” (that is, the roof, gutters, vents, and chimney). Clearing leaves, pine needles or anything else up there can reveal spots vulnerable to leaks—or breaks in flashing seals. Water damage is much more costly to correct than are small-area roofing fixes.
  3. Mow any remaining leaves. If your yard still has leaves, mow rather than rake them. University studies have proved that leaves cut into dime-sized pieces (which takes several passes) will settle among the grass blades, nourishing them throughout the winter.
  4. Eliminate drafts. Every winter, Burlington homeowners lose truly astonishing amounts of heat due to air leaks. In addition to testing windows for rattles and door jams for gaps, the Department of Energy recommends an exterior walk-around to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet. With a caulk gun handy, also check cable and phone line entrances and where dryer vents pass through walls.

Based on a prediction for low sunspot activity, this year’s Farmers Almanac calls for a chilly winter—while NOAA concentrates on the 70% chance for a La Nina (which might bring normal precipitation except in the drier South).

In other words, Burlington’s winter weather outlook is anybody’s guess.

The foolproof solution is, as always, to be well prepared. In addition to anxiety relief, a side benefit of a consistently well-maintained home becomes evident when you put it up for sale—which is also when you should give 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

 

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)

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)

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)

 

Half a Dozen Vacation Safety Tips for Burlington Homeowners

An overstuffed curbside mailbox, blazing porch light at noon, or a pile of newspapers out there by your front door all indicate a couple of things Burlington homeowners would do well to avoid. For burglars and housebreakers of all stripes, these are like lighted billboards announcing:

  • This Burlington homeowner is off somewhere enjoying a nice summer vacation; and
  • This afternoon and/or evening, there’s nobody home!

Every Burlington homeowner deserves an extended break now and then—and the July/August weather makes now the ideal time for many—but it’s also high season for break-and-enter artists (or just ‘enter’ artists, since 34% of burglars walk in through the front door). As long as we’re discussing the percentages, the common assumption that break-ins are midnight outings doesn’t hold water. Sixty-five percent of burglaries happen in broad daylight; most between 10am-3pm.

For vacation-bound locals, a few precautionary steps will do much to avoid a miserable discovery on your return home. If your home is currently listed, I think it’s a good idea to notify your agent to add a “Do Not Disturb Occupants” rider under the “For Sale” sign (whether it’s occupied or not!). In general, here are another six good vacation safety tips:

  1. Recruit some trusted neighborly help to keep an eye on the place and gather any mail and newspaper overflow. Most Burlingtonites are delighted to help—and you should offer to reciprocate.
  2. DON’T POST VACATION PIX on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media haunt until you get back. High among leading vacation safety no-no’s are tweets like, “Off to Maui!”
  3. Think like a thief (that is, take a few minutes to case the joint). You’ll find yourself securing little-used doors and windows that are usually unlocked.
  4. Either unplug automatic garage doors that can be triggered by remote control frequency scanner or install a deadbolt lock.
  5. Do a better job of hiding the spare key. Thieves know all the common places. A spare key can be a vacation safety backstop if you need to phone someone to help get into the house in an emergency, but a spare key under the flowerpot is asking for trouble. Best hiding place: inside an envelope you entrust to your neighbor.
  6. Cancel deliveries. An Amazon Prime carton beside the front gate is a commonplace—but when one or more remain uncollected for more than 24 hours, it’s a virtual invitation to the unscrupulous.

Even for Burlington neighborhoods that are safer than most, vacation time burglaries can happen anywhere and anytime that basic vacation safety precautions aren’t observed. A few minutes of prevention should yield added peace of mind while you’re on the road as well as a pleasant return to a safely secured home. I’ll be standing by to help when you start planning the more extended kind of outing: to your next Burlington home!

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)

 

 

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