Posts Tagged ‘LAER Realty Partners’

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)

 

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)

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)

 

 

Again, Robotic Real Estate Estimates Run into Trouble

There’s news on the real estate value estimating front (robotic version).

For any kind of Billerica real estate activity—whether you are buying or selling; financing or refinancing; whether for your family residence or as an investment—there are at least two value estimation figures that determine how the Billerica transaction is likely to fare.

The first is a value estimate that you come up with: a dollar amount that reflects what the subject property is worth to you. That’s a calculation likely to be based on some mix of the property’s features, your own personal tastes, and your financial profile and outlook. If I’m your Realtor®, it will also be greatly influenced by the research I prepare for you: the real-world values of all the latest comparable transactions that have been taking place locally—along with the asking prices of similar properties.

That figure is one thing, but the second kind is an actual appraisal—the estimate that lenders use as the collateral value for the Billerica property. That estimate is the one a professional appraiser calculates using guidelines and formulas that have been painstakingly developed over time. It’s fortuitous when the first number comes close to the professional estimate—and I’m happy to say that it’s often the case.

But since 2006 there has been a third kind of Billerica real estate value estimate—one that’s increasingly mentioned in news of real estate controversies. This is the “Zestimate” offered by the website data company Zillow: a number that is arrived at via an automated system that assembles publicly available data. It’s stated purpose is “to aid potential buyers in assessing market value of a given property.” Unlike the painstaking reports that certified assessors create for a fee, Zestimates are widely disseminated to everyone for free. There is one problem, which I’ve mentioned before: the figures may be misleading.

Although Zillow claims an “incredibly low” national median error rate of 5%, last June they hailed a new improved algorithm that dropped the rate to 6.1%” [that’s not a typo: 6.1% is indeed a larger error rate than the still-claimed 5%]. Worse yet, research shows that in 10% of the cases examined, the error was 20% plus or minus…so a home with an actual fair market value of $300,000 could show a Zestimate of anywhere from $240,000 to $360,000!

Given that possibility, it’s probably no wonder that Zillow has announced a $1 million prize “to the person or team who can most improve the Zestimate” formula. MarketWatch points out that the contest was announced “just a week after a class action suit was filed against them” for offering unlicensed appraisals that hurt business—but the company claims the timing is just a coincidence.

Billerica real estate buyers and sellers will undoubtedly continue to be amused by those Zestimates when they see them, but the more knowledgeable keep in mind that they can constitute eye-rolling mistakes. When your own Billerica real world real estate affairs are in the offing, better to give me a call for information that won’t include any misleading automated miscalculations.

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)

 

 

Bedford Mortgages & the Student Loan Phenomenon

All of a sudden last month Bedford readers might have come across a number of new articles dealing with the same topic: the problem young first time home buyers are encountering due to outstanding student loans.

The target group is the millennials—everyone born between the early 1980s and 2000s. If you are one of them, you are frequently reminded that there are millions and millions of you out there. And millions who also share the same student loan problem.

There are conflicting accounts of the precise size of the issue, but it seems that the average college graduate now carries somewhere between $30,000 – $50,000 in debt upon graduation. The Federal Reserve says that the amount of student debt has more than doubled since 2007, to something like $1.3 trillion, at this point!

Nobody would deny that this appears to be a roadblock to young adults contemplating applying for their first Bedford mortgage. Dealing with banks or any lending institutions for the first time always has the aura of stepping into alien territory. A major unknown is the detail known as the debt-to-income ratio.

Apparently many would-be first-time homebuyers who are thinking about qualifying for Bedford mortgages automatically assume that their own debt-to-income ratios disqualify them from consideration, even though that’s not necessarily the case. At least according to the folks at Equifax, the debt reporting company, that perception is at odds with the reality.

The debt-to-income ratio is the monthly dollar amount an individual must produce in order to service his or her combined debts in relation to their total income. It is not the total amount of debt (no matter how soberingly large that number might be). Rather, it’s the ratio between the cash in and cash out per month. That becomes a considerably less daunting proposition because it’s a measure that can be improved much more rapidly. A recent survey showed that most respondents assumed that they had to reduce their debt payments by more than $300 per month in order to qualify for a mortgage, but an actual analysis showed that the real number was most often less than $300—and sometimes as little as $150.

Qualifying for Bedford mortgages differs for everyone, so the takeaway for Bedford Millennials (as for every other first time home buyer) is that assumptions shouldn’t get in the way of real fact-finding. Give me a call if you’d like to get a broad view of today’s Bedford starter home offerings. It could be that you are closer to moving into a home of your than you think!

 

Nuts and Bolts Behind Billerica Real Estate Negotiations

When the goals motivating the parties in a negotiation—including Billerica real estate negotiations—are understood by all concerned, the odds for success are greatly improved.

In most cases where the negotiation is between a buyer and seller of Billerica real estate, the goals are straightforward enough that it doesn’t seem to require much attention. Yet with a negotiation as weighty as the buying and selling of a home, stripping down the motivations common to the various parties can be a clarifying exercise. Here is what you might call a negotiation matrix:

When a buyer puts together an offer, more often than not their mental decision-making process goes something like this:

  • — — — — — — — — BUYER — — — — — — — —

  I do not want to lose this house è|çI want to pay as little as possible

  • — — — — — — — — —— — — — — — — — — — —

The reason for the colliding arrows is that the two goals run the risk of conflicting with one another. If the buyer’s offer is too low, another buyer could come in to swoop up the property, and: game over. If the offer is higher than would turn out to be acceptable to the seller, the second goal will have been needlessly sacrificed.  

At the same time and on the other side, the seller is usually thinking:

  • — — — — — — — — —— — — — — — — — — — —

I want to complete the saleè|çI want to bank the full asking price (or            higher!)

  • — — — — — — — — — SELLER— — — — — — — — — — —

It’s quite similar to the buyer’s mental process. Both are calculations of the risk vs. reward that making an offer and responding to an offer entails.

When a buyer makes a lowball offer, it signals to the seller that the “don’t want to lose this house” side is probably losing out to the “pay the least” side of the buyer’s calculation. If the seller is leaning toward the “complete the sale” side of his or her own calculation, the offer will either be accepted or countered with a significant discount. If the current inclination is more toward the “full price” side, the counter may contain just a minor discount.

This negotiation matrix is the barest of bare-bones reductions. In practice, it’s often a little more complicated. Offers often contain details about desired maintenance corrections or may be dependent upon outside factors (like selling their current home); counter-offers, likewise.

Where a possible negotiation can needlessly go off the rails is if either party becomes emotionally threatened by an offer or counter. And believe me, it can happen! What’s vitally important is that each side understands that the other’s goals are legitimate, even though at odds with their own. A lowball offer may be misguided, but it’s not evil. A refusal to counter at all is, likewise, a statement of a legitimate bargaining position. Either may be disappointing, but neither is necessarily evidence of bad faith.

It’s my job to help my buying and selling clients chart a course through the negotiation rapids while avoiding such emotional cross-currents. At best, they are a needless distraction; at worst, obstacles that can prevent a meeting of minds. Appreciating the legitimacy of everybody’s motivations before the actual numbers start to fly is a good way to prepare. And, as usual, calling me is another prudent idea!

Laer Realty Partners                       Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

8 Bedford House Value Boosters that Make the Most Sense

From time to time it can be fun to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to increase the value of Bedford house value.

Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the house value lists, for instance—but those lists were probably thrown together in a hurry since the return on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly competitive. For Bedford homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong on the action list.

The best idea lists are the ones which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t actually be verified)—

  1. Yard improvement, AKA Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303% according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per This Old House). And it’s true that a weedy, dried-up lawn is not the way to woo any but the most bargain-thirsty buyers. We can assume that the investment figure the NAR points to does not include the homeowner’s time, but even so, a shipshape yard definitely provides a house value gain.
  2. Repair (electrical, plumbing, what-have-you). Return: 299%. This is for sure: Bedford houses with unaddressed mechanical defects are handicapped in the marketplace—in the end, it’s just too costly.
  3. Clean and Declutter. Return: 403%. With an average cost estimated at about $400, there’s no argument that it will be easily returned multiple times. When you can rely on truly professional help, the boost is invaluable.
  4. Carpet. The return on investment for an average outlay ($671) is calculated by the HomeGain website at 160%. I might add a caveat to this one: a truly threadbare or uncleanable carpet surely rates replacement—but if existing carpet is presentable, that cost might be better directed elsewhere.
  5. Staging. With a return of 196%, it’s hard to disagree—especially since Bedford’s professional stagers can often save by directing attention away from areas that might be overly expensive to renew.
  6. Lighten and brighten. This includes everything from “clean windows” or “repainting dark-colored rooms” to boosting the wattage of living room lamps. As a result, the “return” numbers are all over the map: but they’re all positive.
  7. Upgrade appliances. Full kitchen remodels are usually too expensive to fully reclaim their cost, although when necessary, minor kitchen remodels reclaim 79%. As an alternative, replacing seriously outmoded kitchen appliances is much more likely to add enough value to make it a canny move.
  8. Declutter and Clean. (I know—but if anything is worth repeating, this is it)!

Your Bedford house’s value is what the market proves it to be—but it’s also the shelter your family calls home. If it’s filled with happy memories, that value is probably the one that winds up counting the most. But as for the other kind, when it’s time to shift gears, I hope you’ll give me a call!

Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Joan Parcewski — CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978   JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    OR    JParcewski@gmail.com
LAER Realty Partners (22 offices – one team)
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video  https://youtu.be/RrM4q17cjU0

 

http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERrealty.com

LAER Realty Partners (22 offices – one team)
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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