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      Blog :: 09-2014

      Relocating to a New Home Can Mean a New Neighborhood as Well

      When searching for a new house, topping most people's list of requirements are the number of bedrooms, number and configuration of bathrooms, square footage, yard size - characteristics that are easy to compare, Architectural style might be important; asking price, certainly highly important, although many prospective buyers assume some wiggle room might be possible.

      There are so many facts to consider, particularly when that new home might include relocating to the Boston area, that one extremely important factor sometimes gets short shrift: the neighborhood.

      When I escort my clients on a tour of the properties they have decided to check out, I'm sure to remind them to observe the surroundings as well as the home. Some key details to observe about a neighborhood when relocating to Boston:

      Noise levels will vary by hour and day. If at all possible, visit candidate properties at different times of day and night to get a feel for the noise level in the neighborhood. Is there a lot of traffic and honking? Trucks passing by? If so, does the traffic layout make them hit their brakes or upshift frequently? Is there a church nearby that fills the street with cars on Sunday? Will that be okay - or an annoyance? Are there noisy restaurants or pubs that might keep you up late at night on weekends? When you are relocating to a new area and can't visit often, talk to some neighbors: they have the real scoop!

      Even if you don't have kids, it's important to learn the reputation of the area's school district: it will affect the resale value. Homes in better school districts are more desirable, and merit higher price tags as a result.

      The Internet is a terrific asset when it comes to scoping out crime maps and reports for specific areas - often with free up-to-the-minute information and alerts on crime rates. A chat with neighbors can also help you sense the level of concern - or ideally, the lack of it.

      As you approach an area, notice whether the road quality improves or falls off as you get closer. If the streets are crumbling and filled with potholes, community services may be suspect. Are the public parks grassy and clean? How handy are the nearest hospital, fire department and police stations? Before relocating to Boston, see if you can tell which neighborhoods seem to be on the rise. Any obvious trend has a good chance of continuing in years to come.

      Relocating to Boston - even if just from one end of town to another - is an exciting prospect! If you're looking to buy a home in Boston this fall, it's time we got on your radar. Call us at 617.536.8000 or contact us today!

      Flipping a Home in Boston: Clearing the Finance Barrier

      In conjunction with the rise in house prices and demand, the profit potential for flipping a home in Boston is once more drawing the entrepreneur-minded.

      Flipping a home is the process of purchasing a property - often one in a rundown condition - then improving its value and reselling it for a quick profit. Quick is the key word in this strategy, since a fast turnover allows capital to be devoted to purchase and renovation rather than operating and maintenance costs. It's why successful house flippers generally focus on quick gains over maximizing profits.

      While this has proven to be a lucrative strategy in the past, financing has always been the first major hurdle for anyone flipping a home. If you've been noticing some of the inviting house-flipping prospects in the greater Boston area, several financing routes sometimes make such a deal possible:

      Larger Down Payment:

      Flipping a house in Boston in the current lending market will often require a significant down payment. Since launching the project might require at least 25-40% for financing, it's essential that you prepare sufficient cash reserves to complete the renovations envisioned - and successful house flippers suggest you add 20% to the cost estimate!

      Seller Financing:

      Seller financing - a mortgage provided by the home owner - is also called a 'purchase money' morgage. Sellers may be willing to provide financing if they have had trouble selling their property, which is often the case when a home flipper believes its value can be greatly enhanced by repair or remodeling. Seller financing would be more common were it not necessary that the original owner own the home outright.

      Hard Money Loan:

      Hard money loans - also known as short-term bridge loans - are another common source of financing for flipping a home in Boston. Hard money loans are backed by the value of the property rather than the credit record of the borrower, and typically feature a lower loan-to-value ratio than found in a bank mortgage. The added risk has a cost: expect to provide a large deposit and a premium for the loan (often 8% or more).

      While sub-prime mortgagees may no longer be as readily available as they once were, there are still multiple sources of financing for entrepreneurs who can spot profit possibilities for flipping a home in Boston. With real estate prices continuing to rise, this fall again holds promise in the house-flipping arena. Call us if you are interested in learning about some of the latest prospects!

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        Real Estate Books Aid the Greater Boston Area Buyers, Sellers and Investors

        When it comes to making the most of real estate, knowledge is power. The schools didn't teach us anything about selling a home or how to decide which home to buy, yet those are subjects that have lasting impacts on our lives. When such key decisions are in our immediate future, we come face-to-face with the importance of making the right choices, asking the right questions - and engineering the best deal.

        Whether or not you're about to head a foray into real estate in the Boston area, here are a number of excellent recent books that will help arm you with actionable knowledge:

                100 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask

        This book is a general go-to reference for buyers (and for sellers as well: being able to put yourself in the shoes of potential buyers is essential for intelligent marketing). Answers to the "100 Questions" are provided by top brokers from around the country, so every detail won't necessarily answer local real estate specifics; but on the whole, this book is concise and informative. The questions are arranged in an easy-to-read format, separated into chapters like "Putting Together the Deal" and "How Do I Know What I Can Afford to Spend." Readers rate it very highly.

                Smart Essentials for Selling Your Home

        Solid, practical information that can be invaluable for homeowners about to enter the Boston real estate market. In the same way that 100 Questions is also useful to sellers, this one would make excellent reading for itinerant home buyers who'd like to know what's important to sellers... thus being one step ahead when it comes to striking a win/win deal. Smart Essentials is mercifully short: just under 100 pages.

                Buying a Home: Don't Let Them Make a Monkey Out of You

        Newly updated and with the highest reader reviews, this one is most appropriate for potential buyers with little or no previous real estate experience. As author Musgrave puts it, the object here is "to convey to the reader only the necessary information - and not one work more." The extremely easy-to-read, informal approach is a welcome departure for first-timers: no wonder readers are almost unanimous in agreeing that if first-time home buyers read just one book, this is a worthy choice.

                Investing in Real Estate

        A recently written follow-up to the 2008 best seller, this is an accessible starter book that addressed most of the key issues that successful real estate investors learn to evaluate. The index is especially useful for locating individual topics quickly (something eBook readers don't need to worry about; just highlight a search term).

        Thinking of buying or selling real estate in or around Boston? Knowledge truly is power - and we're here to share what we know and to bring it all to bear on your behalf! Call 774.766.1577 or 617.536.8000 for expert real estate advice when considering buying or selling a home.

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        Boston Area Luxury Home Listings and Fall Time Romance

        Ah, fall is truly in the air... the traditional time when people can fall in love at first sight! I'll try not the dampen those autumn spirits too much, but for anyone currently looking into the Boston area luxury home listings, some advice may be in order:

        Online love at first sight is a really bad idea.

        Those Boston area luxury home listings can indeed be truly alluring, and using today's technology to winnow through the current crop of terrific luxury home listings is a supremely practical approach.

        Bust do remember that any warm glow you experience after checking out a particularly fetching online tour is best held in check until after you have paid an in-person visit. Then the love affair is more likely to be the real thing.

        Especially when it comes to the luxury home listings, they have been created by talented professional stagers and photographers (not to mention musicians, when a video is part of the presentation). We work with them to create an immersive online experience, which is all to the good.

        The only drawback comes if we do such a good job that Boston area luxury home prospects fall head over heels. If reality can't possibly match the romance of their mind's eye abstraction, well... just ask a teenager's parents about what the falling out of love experience is like! Until you have contacted me and we've made a real life, in-the-flesh house tour, what we are dealing with is - let's face it - puppy love.

        Seasoned buyers know that stunning photos can't begin to reveal all the details that make for 'the real thing.' Does the kitchen fit a family's cooking style? Is that gorgeous landscaping a good setting for kids and pets? Is the neighbourhood right for a particular family?

        If your own home belongs among our eye-catching Boston area home listings, you probably also know that prospective buyers will be genuinely impressed when they visit in person. If that's the case, I hope you'll be contacting us soon for a complimentary consultation.

         

        Call us today! 617.536.8000

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