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      Blog :: 01-2015

      Beating Competitors When Multiple Offers Surface in Boston

      Part of the recovery in the Boston area’s real estate scene is the increasing likelihood of multiple offers on a listed property. This is every seller’s dream— but if you are one of the bidders, it’s important that you don’t allow it to become your nightmare.

      There is one way— the only sure way—to keep the specter of competing multiple offers from upsetting your home buying prospects. Summed up in one word, it’s “preparation.”

      Preparation starts with assembling a strong financial package. If your target property attracts multiple offers, you want yours to stand out. By the time you learn that other offers are at hand, it’s probably already too late to begin putting together documents—they should be in hand before you even identify a property. Getting pre-approval for your loan, having a letter that says so, and being able to show you have funds available can be persuasive.

      When it comes to making the offer itself, although including “Subject to” clauses will protect you from unforeseen problems with the property, when multiple offers are on the table, the fewer contingencies the better. Again, only preparation will make this reasonable. If you’ve had an advance home inspection, and also made sure that there aren’t any right-of-way or easement issues, your offer can be significantly more attractive.

      Personal preparation can be another positive. Visiting the property on several occasions at different times of the day should give you added confidence for what the home is truly worth to you…and when the listing agent and owner can put a face to your offer, it tends to strengthen its validity.

      When multiple offers on a property occur, it’s possible that someone is going to bid more than the home is really worth. If you’ve done thorough research and know precisely what its value is in today’s market, that won’t be you. Having your bottom line number unshakably in mind means that in any bidding war, you’ll be able to sweeten your offer without hesitation. You can be creative, perhaps by offering to reduce the seller’s costs by picking up escrow fees, transfer fees or title policies; perhaps by offering the seller a few additional days to move without seeking financial compensation in return; perhaps by increasing the down payment or earnest money. When you know your bottom line, the arithmetic is uncomplicated (and your less-prepared competitors are more likely to throw up their hands!)

      And then…should the bidding go over what you know it’s worth, you’ll be ready to walk away. There will be other properties to bid for – and I’m always here to help keep all your options open! Contact us today.

      New England Patriots are 2014-2015 AFC Champs!

      Congratulations to our own New England Patriots for winning the AFC Championship! We are proud of their acomplishment of beating the Colts 45-7. We are also looking forward to the 2015 Super Bowl mathcup with the Seahawks. Good Luck to Bill Belichek, Tom Brady and the rest of the team. We are pulling for you!

      3 Facets of Selling a Boston Area Home in Winter

      Bears hibernate. Geese fly south. And Boston area home buyers become different people in the winter. During spring and summer months, the competition, speed and market saturation can make selling a home in town and the surrounding areas an intense experience (in extremes, almost like speed dating!) When the selling season heats up, buyers can come flying through open houses in a veritable revolving door of showings. In the winter, selling a home is a far more intimate exercise. To make the most of the next few months, it’s useful to recognize some of the hallmarks: 

      1. Buyers: They Expect a Deal

      For whatever reason—blame HGTV or the rumor mill—many buyers have come to believe that in the winter and early spring months, there’ll be deals aplenty. To handle that mindset, it’s useful to remember that “deals” for selling a home aren’t limited to rock-bottom pricing. Consider how you might otherwise sweeten a deal. And before that, be sure your listing information captures the value shoppers’ imaginations.

      2. Inventory: Scarce 

      Buyers may be expecting that deal, but in reality, with fewer houses on the market, there may actually be more buyer competition for the gems that are there. If you are selling a home that’s highly desirable, don’t miss any opportunity to make it stand out from the crowd. With few homes out there, yours may line up to be by far the most appealing listing.

      3. Weather: a Fact of Life

      Scheduling your open house on what turns out to be a miserable day may be unavoidable. Make the most of it by warming up the house. A cozy, warm home (think fireplace, hot apple cider, oven-fresh baked goods) will make it easy for prospective buyers to feel right at home in front of their future fireplace. And remember that buyers are shopping online first—never more than in bad weather—so include pictures compelling enough to drag buyers out into the cold.

      Selling a home any time of year rewards an artful, studied approach. Adjusting your tactics to make potential buyers feel like they are getting a deal and finding a gem is a winning game plan. If you have been looking for a marketing plan to get your home S-O-L-D this winter, contact me today to put a plan into action!

      First-Time Home Buyers in Boston Should Check Credit Scores Early.

      It can take years for first-time buyers to save up for their first home's down payment, but even after that hurdle has been cleared, it can take even more time to secure a mortgage -- if they have neglected the other part of the equation. Their credit rating.
       
      Before first-time buyers in the Boston area will be able to move forward with that initial home purchase, they need to ensure that their credit score does not raise the kind of questions that sometimes derails an otherwise well-qualified home loan applicant. This has always been true, but may become even more likely as lending limitations grow increasingly strict.  
       
      But it's the occasional recording error or misstatement that is most easily preventable. Ironically, those often affect perfectly well-qualified buyers--precisely because they have no reason to suspect that a problem could crop up. 
       
      The upshot: first time buyers should start reviewing their credit history one year to six months before they intend to buy a home. Since the credit agencies provide upon request free copies of every individual's report once each year, the only hassle is having to check the details line-by-line (a single reporting error can have a big impact on an overall score). And since it's not unusual to take 90 days or more to cure a disputed entry, the earlier a first-time buyer begins the process, the better. Individuals can file a dispute online with the credit bureaus, or can hire a credit repair company to assist with disputes. In all cases, claims should be documented and correct information provided immediately.   
       
      Once a first-time buyer is certain that his or her reports are accurate, is it time to relax? Hardly. It's important to continue to monitor those scores to ensure against accidental surprises. Especially recently, after wholesale credit card thefts sowed confusion and disruption throughout the system, it's probably wise to assume nothing. Several online services offer credit monitoring (and it's possible that your bank might provide free monitoring).
       
      From first-time buyers to seasoned investors, I'm here to help my clients every step of the way. Contact me or call me today!  617-536-8000.
       

      3 Simple Tips Increase the Perceived Value of Your Boston Area Home

      Even when it is clearly necessary, if you're like most of us, you feel a built-in reluctance to sell your property. Those four walls (okay, I know there are more like 40 or 80, but bear with me) contain all the furnishings and other possessions we gather through the years to create our family's unique environment. When we come through that front door, we feel more comfortable than anywhere else on Earth.

      But your home is also an investment (and what a colossal one it is!). That's why the decision to sell your property--disconcerting though it may be--ought to be much more a business proposition than an emotional one.

      When you choose me as your real estate agent, it becomes part of my job to point out the smart business decisions that will help you sell your property--even when that means altering some of what has always made the place feel like home to you.

      Fortunately, sometimes there are really simple things that increase a home's perceived value:

      The front door is frequently absent from renovation lists, but as the point of entry, it does much to influence potential home buyers. Installing a bright, shiny new brass doorknob, giving the door a fresh coat of paint, or adding a traditional mailbox out at the curb can make your entire home seem more inviting.

      Buyers are attracted to spacious rooms. If you have a cramped hall or dining area, think "mirror". Adding one or two large wall mirrors automatically make any home that much more expansive.

      If you enjoy your oversized television, you're part of a not-so-silent American majority. That's all well and fine, but unless the room is a man-cave, it's likely that a television which overpowers the space will make buyers feel that the room is too small. Consider swapping for a size-appropriate set to help you sell your Boston area property.

      Even on a miniscule budget, minor changes like these can attract interested buyers in this winter's market. Looking for more creative ideas to sell your property? Contact me today!


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