Posts Tagged ‘realtor’

Burlington Real Estate Negotiations Needn’t be a Puzzler

Game theory only sounds like it has something to do with how to win in some weekend sports outing or family board game. It’s a seriously studied logical field that mathematicians delve into. Interestingly, when you study how to develop successful negotiation tactics—Burlington real estate negotiations included—you can look at them via game theory.

There is a problem, though. The further you get into the subject, the more it tends to become more and more abstract. Unless you are someone who looks forward to curling up by a roaring fire with a favorite math textbook, you won’t get very far into game theory before your eyes will begin to glaze over.

In real life, Burlington real estate negotiations are anything but academic exercises, so I can’t recommend spending hours studying “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or any of the other highly studied game theory games. But even if you’ve been able to stay tuned for only a few of the most rudimentary basics, it seems that in order to develop a winning game plan in any negotiation, there has to be one pre-condition (in game theory, it’s called an assumption).

The assumption that’s necessary for developing a successful negotiation strategy is that all the parties must be rational. They have to be trying to make decisions (game moves) that are intended to benefit themselves. In Burlington real estate negotiations, that usually consists of paying or receiving the least or most money in the most favorable timeframe.

So the takeaway from game theory’s application to Burlington  real estate negotiations is both simple and useful in the real world:

First, remain rational yourself. In the course of negotiations, if your thoughtful proposal isn’t accepted, don’t get mad—even if it’s maddening. Stay cool; acknowledge that you’ve considered the response, and develop the best counter that is in your interest. I’ll help!

Second, as much as possible, foster rationality in the other party. Even if they fly off the handle for what seems to be no reason, assume there IS a reason—but it may not be one that’s rational or even directly connected to the bargain under discussion. It can even be due to misconstrued communication. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that emotions can block self-interest—but even fiery emotions can be quelled when met with calm and reason.

One of the great advantages to having me as your Realtor is the experience I bring to the Burlington real estate negotiations that complete every sale. There are many steps that precede that “endgame” moment—call me whenever you’re ready to discuss getting started!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners     cell 978-376-3978

Joan Parcewski Full Picture 102017Laer Realty Partners


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    OR
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

Joan Parcewski – Realtor Neighborhood Ambassador

Wouldn’t you want to get to know the realtor who has taken the time to get to know the businesses, organizations, people in the local neighborhood?

I am very excited to announce that I have committed to become the neighborhood ambassador for both Bedford and Billerica.  It not only is an opportunity for me to get to know more about each of these towns -their history, their residents, the local businesses (large and small), events, news and more.

Living in any town is more than just the home you live in, it is the possibilities of how you can get involved – in town meetings, on a local committee, as a volunteer at your child’s school.

Check out either  OR – and subscribe to get automatic updates  or keep checking back –  The sites are updated regularly.  Here is a quick link to a recent blog post


Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978    OR
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video
Laer Realty PartnersJoan_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    OR
Licensed MA & NH    
Introductory Video


Laer Realty Partners     Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)



What is the purpose of an appraiser?

So I pose the question to you – do you know when or why you would use an appraiser?

If you said that the bank uses an appraiser when they are going through the loan process, you would be right.

If you were paying cash for a property, wouldn’t you want to know that the property value is going to appraise for the amount that you are paying,.  You would want the purchase and sale to say that it should appraise at or above the accepted offer price.  Right?

What about when you are going to do some major renovations to your home?  Did you ever think about calling in an appraiser to review the intended renovation and make sure that it makes financial sense to the final anticipated value (after the renovations are made).  You may find that certain renovations, while you might think they are worth, really don’t add to the value.  It is an opportunity for a second opinion so to speak before you start paying money out of pocket.

If you need a referral for an appraiser, email me at

If you are thinking about putting your house on the market, or need a value for your insurance company, or perhaps for a divorce situation or an estate situation, email me at or by cell 978-376-3978

Joan Parcewski, Realtor and Notary at Woods Real Estate

Woods Real Estate   655 Boston Rd Unit 6A  Billerica MA 01821

O 978-262-9665    C 978-376-3978

MRP (Military Relocation Professional), SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), LMC (Loss Mitigation Certified), SFR (Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource), CDPE (Certified Depressed Property Expert), CIAS (Certified Investor Agent Specialist), GREEN, E-Pro, GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute), CBR (Certified Buyer Rep)

YOU are my Top Priority. Investors, Buyers, Sellers, Landlords, Tenants, Vacation Properties. Let’s work together to open the door to YOUR dreams


Down Payment – Where to find it….

When buying a home many times the biggest hurdle seems to be the downpayment. Many people spend years trying to save for a down payment.  It takes a great deal of financial discipline and planning.  The larger the downpayment the lower the monthly payment.  This information from Trulia is important to those who struggle to put together the funds to finally purchase their dream home.

What programs exist today to help with a downpayment?

1. Local downpayment assistance programs – Some are for first time homebuyers OR for buyers with low or moderate incomes.  Many times potential buyers must…

  • bringing their own funds to the table
  • picking a home that meets certain minimum condition criteria and/or
  • completing a course of homeowner education classes

to qualify for these funds.  Your Realtor may be able to direct you to some of these programs (eg in Massachussets there is Mass Housing assistance

2. Parents, Family, Friends – Some programs will allow some portion of the downpayment be in the form of “gift money”.  Many times lenders will require that a gift letter be provided stating that the person is a relative and that the money is a gift (not a loan).   There may also be an opportunity thru another program (not requiring the person to be a relative) – FHA Bridal Registry which allows couples to open a registry account with their FHA mortage lender and deposit checks from anyone who wishes to give them monies.   Check with your lender to see if this is an option and, if so, how to open such an account.

3. Your Employer – Some universities, municipal agencies,  and other large and small employers may make down payment and other home buying assistance programs available to their employees.  Check with Human Resources to see what might be available.

4. Personal income.  Set a budget and stick to it.  Find areas in your daily spending that you can cut back on….It’s possible you could save $5k or more just by looking at and watching your daily spending.  Redirect these dollars to your downpayment savings account.  Here is where knowledge is power.  Knowing where you might be wasting money and saving it could mean your dream home is a reality.

5. Your assets – If you have a retirement account, you may be able to borrow against or take out funds (penalty free) towards a downpayment.

Clean house – Yes and you are looking for items that you don’t need and don’t use.  Turn them into cash through flea markets, yard sales, consignment stores, and online websites like Ebay.

Use any of these tools to make home ownership a reality for you and your family and use a Realtor to find that home. 

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary                                                                                                

GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute, CBR (Certified Buyers Representative), SFR (Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource), LMC (Loss Mitigation Certified), CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), CIAS (Certified Investor Agent Specialist), SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), GREEN

YOU are my Top Priority.  I believe that ongoing Education as well as Experience are important components of success both personally and professionally.  Let’s work together to implement the most current strategies to make YOU successful in your real estate journey, while building a lifetime relationship. – Have You Done Your Free Energy Assessment

As a realtor I always suggest to a buyer that they do an energy assessment of their home as soon as possible after closing. 

According to their website MassSave (, “Mass Save® is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, The Berkshire Gas Company, Cape Light Compact, National Grid, New England Gas Company, NSTAR, Unitil, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company. The Sponsors of Mass Save work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.”

Why not take advantage of an opportunity to identify areas to save energy and in many cases get at least some assistance in doing the work necessary to ultimately save energy costs.  The following comes directly from their website:


After you schedule an appointment, an Energy Specialist will visit to assess your home’s current energy use and provide a custom list of energy-saving recommendations for your home, and will help you develop a plan to make your home more efficient. What you should expect:

  • A Home Energy Assessment usually takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours
  • All key decision-makers should be present at the assessment
  • The specialist will help you develop an energy plan and explain applicable incentives

Your no-cost Home Energy Assessment includes:      Personalized report outlining recommended energy efficiency improvements     Installation of no-cost immediate savings measures such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), programmable thermostats, and water saving devices, as needed

  • Screening for eligibility for the ENERGY STAR® refrigerator rebate
  • Air Sealing and Insulation specification, if applicable
  • Infrared Testing, if applicable
  • Combustion Safety Testing

Learn about rebates and incentives     Generous weatherization rebates of 75%, up to $2000 towards the cost of the work, and other incentives are available to qualifying Massachusetts residents. Learn more     Get started today     Schedule your no-cost Home Energy Assessment with a Mass Save® Energy Specialist by calling 866-527-SAVE (7283). Or have a Mass Save Participating Contractor start the process for you.



cell 978-376-3978     office 978-262-9665

“Working with Buyers, Sellers, and Investors.   YOU are my Top Priority.  I believe that ongoing Education as well as Experience are important components of success both personally and professionally.  Let’s work together to implement the most current strategies to make YOU successful in your real estate journey, while building a lifetime relationship. ”  


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