Category Archives: Home Buying

In It to Win It: Land Your Dream Home by Avoiding These 7 Mistakes on Your Offer

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You’ve seen every house on the market and you’ve finally found the spot you can’t wait to call home. In fact, you’ve mentally decorated it and planned your new life, down to the barbecues and block parties you’ll have with your awesome new neighbors. Sweet!

Slow down there, dear buyer. As you know, you still have one giant hurdle to overcome: You’ve got to make the offer that wins the house. And in a highly competitive housing market, that can be easier said than done. Don’t blow your chances with any of these common home offer mistakes.

  1. Dragging your feet

If you love a property, the worst thing you can do is wait to make an offer. Of course, you’re allowed to have some feelings of uncertainty—after all, this is likely the biggest financial decision of your life. But the longer you vacillate, the greater the chances you’ll set yourself up for failure.

“Time kills deals,” says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties, in New York City. “Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property all together.”

Not only should you be emotionally ready to pounce, but be logistically ready as well. That means pulling together all of your paperwork—bank statements, pre-approval letter, and any documents supporting proof of funds—while you’re house hunting.

“Get everything ready so we can act fast when we find a home you love,” Sandholm says.

  1. Offering your max pre-approved amount

Today’s sellers are often besieged by multiple suitors, and the successful buyer will be one who’s prepared for a bidding war. The best way to arm yourself for battle is to make sure you’ve got a strong financial arsenal. That means getting pre-approved (do this now, if you haven’t already) to show a seller you’re financially prepared to buy a home—their home.

But when you make an offer, beware of submitting a price that exactly matches the amount you were pre-approved for, says Chuck Silverston, principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline, MA.

“Many buyers come in with a pre-approval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength,” he says. “An exact pre-approval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.”

“In this market I often advise buyers to look at homes under their max loan amount,” echoes Denise Supplee, a Realtor® with Long and Foster Real Estate in Doylestown, PA. “When you have to bid against multiple offers, they will need some room to go up, and if they are at their maximum amount, that may not happen.”

  1. Using an obscure lender

Also consider using a well-known local mortgage lender or bank, suggests Realtor Megan Tolland, with Realty Executives Boston, who often sees online pre-approvals from out-of-state lenders or unknown online entities.

“Agents, and therefore sellers, are generally more comfortable with a local lender they know,” she says.

  1. Lowballing

Trust your agent and bid accordingly—even if it means offering a little more than you think you could get away with. If you lowball the seller in the hope that it’ll spark a negotiation, it could backfire—especially in a seller’s market.

“A lowball offer that isn’t backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely,” Sandholm says.

  1. Waiving the inspection contingency

“I don’t care whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her—get it inspected,” says Joshua Jarvis of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, GA.

An inspection is the only way to uncover potential flaws that could cost major cash to fix. And if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you stand to lose your earnest money if you back out.

  1. Letting outsiders sway your offer

When you’re buying a home, you probably want a second opinion. And probably a third, fourth, and maybe even 10th. We totally get it. But beware of letting these people—who mean well but haven’t seen the many, many other homes you’ve seen—influence your offer.

“The ‘adviser’ does what they think is best and tries to protect the buyer and usually slams the home,” Jarvis says. “Unfortunately, they don’t have the education in seeing the other 10 homes or understanding the market.”

If you’re going to rely on outside advice, Jarvis says, then ask that the person accompany you through as much of the process as possible.

  1. Not selling yourself

Wait, isn’t it the seller who, you know, does the selling? It might not sound quite fair, but in a seller’s market, you want to make sure you—the buyer—look as good to the seller as that picture-perfect house looks to you, Silverston says.

And it’s not just about looking good on paper. In fact, Silverston says, the offer process begins the moment the buyer steps through the door at the open house or showing.

“In today’s highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with,” he says.

That’s why buyers should avoid pointing out defects, asking a lot of nitpicky questions, or even insulting the owner’s taste by discussing changes they want to make.

“Basically buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers,” he says.

And, don’t forget to help seal the deal with a love letter—a personal touch could be enough to boost you to the top in the seller’s mind.

Interested in speaking with Chuck and his real estate team? Let us know or contact him directly on our website.

About Chuck Silverston

Chuck SilverstonChuck has been a top agent for over ten years and even earned the designation by Trendgraphix as the number one buyer’s agent in Brookline. Chuck is a Principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty. He has owned the Paris Creperie Cafe for over 15 years and has lived in Brookline for 20 years. Chuck has one daughter, Lilli, that attends Brookline High School. He served as co-chair of the Pierce School PTO from 2010-2012 and currently serves on the Board of the Brookline Education Foundation.

See the original article on realtor.com.

Boston by the Numbers: Singles Edition

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If you’re on the lookout for that special someone, your best bet may be trying your luck in Boston.

Boston ranked in the top five in a recent nationwide survey, beating more high-profile cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. The WalletHub ranking surveyed 150 cities for the best places for single individuals, using such metrics as cost of living, number of attractions, and dating opportunities to narrow the list. Although Boston is an expensive area to live in, its wealth shines through in the countless events to attend and opportunities to take advantage of.

It’s no secret that Boston is one of the nation’s top places to live, and for good reason with its strong job market and high quality of living. US News and World Report commends Boston for its seamless blend of tradition and innovation, offering perks and amenities for all interests and ambitions. For singles especially, Boston’s restaurant and cultural scenes are unbeatable in both variety and quality: from heritage trails and museums, to film festivals and mouthwatering cuisine, there’s no other city with quite this much unfolding year-round.

If we’ve convinced you to move to Boston and find your other half, these five neighborhoods should be at the top of your list:

Brookline

The charming town of Brookline is hard to beat with its amenities, character and close proximity to Boston. From popular villages with great restaurants and shopping to grand homes in the shadow of The Country Club Brookline makes for a great place to live.

Single Population: 45%
Married Population: 45%
Gender Ratio: 45% male, 54% female


Newton

Recently rated by Money Magazine as one of the top places to live in America, Newton Massachusetts is one of the most sought after communities in the Greater Boston Area.  Located minutes from Boston on the Mass. Pike, Newton offers its residents the convenience of city living in a more suburban environment.

Single Population: 34%
Married Population: 55%
Gender Ratio: 46% male, 53% female


Jamaica Plain

Home to many of the jewels in the “Emerald Necklace”, Jamaica Plain has an abundance of green space for the outdoor enthusiast. This, combined with its artsy flair, easy access to downtown, and community feel make Jamaica Plain a top destination for Boston area residents.

Single Population: 53%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 45% male, 54% female


Cambridge

As one of the most sought-after places in greater Boston to reside, Cambridge has ample charm to go along with its history and intellectual fame. First established when America was still under British rule, it has aged so gracefully that its ivory towers and historical churches blend seamlessly with its thriving science and technology hubs. Combine all of these perks with easy access to the Hub of the Universe and Cambridge becomes a city almost unbeatable in its desirability.

Single Population: 56%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 48% male, 51% female


Somerville

Named Best-Run City in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe, Somerville packs an urban-planning punch only two miles from the Boston city center. It’s won the All-American City Award three times since 1972 for its ideal walking and biking routes, and Cities throughout Massachusetts and New England look to become “the next Somerville” in terms of its roaring success in residential initiatives.

Single Population: 55%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 49% male, 50% female

As the icing on the cake, eighty percent of Bostonians have attended college, so your significant other will be one smart, successful cookie.

Demographic information provided by point2homes.com.

What Brexit Means for American Mortgage Rates

dreamstime_s_54561593Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on Friday shocked many and left Americans wondering what effect the action would have on our economy. International concerns play a large role in the mortgage-backed security market. As a general rule of thumb, when there is risk or danger in the financial markets, investors and speculators tend to flee to ‘safe haven’ assets, such as U.S. treasury bonds and U.S. mortgage-backed securities. This typically results in lower mortgage rates and mortgage-bond purchasing leads to higher prices and lower bond yields.

For Americans who have been waiting for one reason or another to refinance, now is the time to act. Rates are back at historic lows and the Federal Reserve is likely not going to be raising short-term rates again for a while. Investors are putting their funds toward the safest assets, such as U.S. Treasuries, mortgage -backed securities, and gold. According to financial analysts, this won’t last long. Homeowners are urged to act quickly, and lock in rates as soon as possible.

The Brexit vote and ensuing turmoil in Europe also strengthened the U.S. dollar overseas. As a result, imported goods, such as German automobiles or appliances, could also see some price improvements over time with a stronger U.S. dollar, along with a decrease in the cost of traveling to Europe.

It is certainly worth a conversation this week about where your mortgage rate is and whether or not the team at Fairway can help you save money each month. Call our partner at Fairway, Jarred Alexandrov, to discuss where rates are and how he can assist you with a quick refinance for your home. If you have been considering moving to a new home, he can talk about your options as well, as there may not be a better time to buy in 2016 than in the coming weeks and months!

JarredA
Jarred Alexandrov
Office: 508.735.0078
Cell: 508.735.0078
Email: jarreda@fairwaymc.com

 
Source: Fairway Independent Mortgage

 

Home Sales Spring in March

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The National Association of Realtors has just announced that home sales have surged in March due to large increases in both the Northeast and the Midwest regions. These numbers were proving to be slightly higher than last year’s at this time as we enter the spring market.

“We continue to see a significant amount of activity here in the local Boston real estate market ourselves with the number of transactions that we have closed recently,” states Jon Ufland, Broker/Owner of Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty. “The demand is still flourishing and has remained consistent due to a warmer winter and early spring market.”

NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, says that the surge in sales followed a decline during the month of February. “Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest – overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home,” he said.

Sales have been up yet inventory levels still pose their challenges. The total inventory level by end of March did have an increase of 5.9% to 1.98 million homes for sale, but by comparison to last year this was still 1.5% lower than the 2.01 million figure we had seen then. This increase in inventory has brought total unsold homes to a 4.5 month supply up from 4.4 months in February should all sales remain at the current pace.

The demand is real and is still moving properties at even faster rates this spring. The effect is a lower average days on market for the slim inventory. Properties typically remained on the market for 47 days in March which is down from 52 days in March of 2015.

Inventory has been coming on sporadically. Trends typically show homes being listed after the holidays in the New Year yet are often effected by the weather in some regions. Any additional economic factors such as stock market fluctuations can also have their imposed results.

“The choppiness in sales activity so far this year is directly related to the unevenness in the rate of new listings coming onto the market to replace what is, for the most part, being sold rather quickly,” adds Yun. “Additionally, a segment of would-be buyers at the upper end of the market appear to have been spooked by January’s stock market correction.”

On the mortgage side of the industry, Freddie Mac reports that the average rate for a 30 year conventional fixed-rate mortgage had a slight increase to 3.69% in March up from 3.66% in February. However, rates have now crossed into their eighth month of consistently being south of the 4% threshold. These historically low rates should continue to make home ownership more affordable as we proceed through the spring market.

Article information gathered is provided by The National Association of Realtors and their sources. This article was written by a third party and is deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Featured Listing: Beautifully Renovated Luxury Medford Condo

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107 Bowdoin Street, Unit 2 – Medford

Offered at $649,000

Luxury, newly renovated 4 bed, 2.5 bathroom duplex condo. Offering a modern eat-in-kitchen with honed granite countertops, large center island, and stainless steel appliances. Luxurious brand new bathrooms. large master suite with ensuite bathroom and two walk-in-closets. In-unit laundry room and storage conveniently located on the 3rd floor. Private spacious back deck. Two parking spaces in the garage plus three parking spaces in driveway. Close to I-93 great for commuting.

Listed by Kate Kittipanthopas and Joanne Polo
Kate – 617.501.4892, kate.k@unlimitedsir.com
Joanne – 617.957.1708 , joanne.polo@unlimitedsir.com

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Featured Listing: Stunning 21 Acre Property in Harvard, MA

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55-57 Oak Hill Road – Harvard, MA

Offered at  $2,395,000

An exceptional property on 21 acres in idyllic Harvard. This unique compound includes a main residence, a farmhouse, a large barn and a modern workshop. The main house is a 3200 square foot, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath contemporary landmark residence by noted architect Graham Gund, with soaring ceilings, skylights, clerestory windows, a kitchen worthy of its own television show, and a European style central courtyard accessed through French doors. The charming farmhouse, perfect for extended family, staff, or rental income, has 3554 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, plus bonus spaces that include a studio and a sky lit loft with a private entrance. The picture perfect post and beam barn has 5 stalls, a hayloft, and a sky lit studio/workroom. The heated drive-through workshop is ready for any project. The land includes lawns and gardens, a swimming pool, bearing fruit trees, pasture, woodlot, and a skating pond. A sub-dividable, build-able lot has been perc tested.

Listed by The Surrealtors, contact them at:
Trisha Solio, 617.293.8070, trisha.solio@unlimitedsir.com
Jay Balaban, 617.293.8932, jay.balaban@unlimitedsir.com

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December in Times Square

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is collaborating with the New York Stock Exchange to showcase a video banner on the ABC Super Sign on 44th and Broadway in Times Square, New York City.

During the entire month of December, Sotheby’s International Realty® will be a part of these flashing displays and bright lights of Times Square. The special video promotion is set to run throughout the entire month of December, and will be displayed 15 times per day. On average, Times Square sees 1.6 million visitors PER DAY. This new and exciting advertising experience allows visitors to immerse themselves in sir.com, and catch a glimpse of the incredible services, properties, tools and strength of this great brand.

See the banner come to life by watching the video below:

Brookline is the brainiest place in Massachusetts

Brookline is the brainiest place in Massachusetts, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data gathered by the Boston Business Journal and parent company American City Business Journals in 40 markets around the country.

See the other cities ranked and learn more about why Brookline was ranked the #1 best-educated community in Massachusetts. To read more: Boston Business Journal.

Brookline SS Pierce Building

Featured Listing: Newly constructed by renowned, local artisan builders

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200-R Amory Street, Unit 12 – Jamaica Plain

Offered at $799,000

Stunningly crafted and beautifully accented triplex newly constructed by renowned, local artisan builders. 1700+ sq.ft. 3 bed, 2.5 bath townhouse with an open floor plan and wonderful light. No cookie cutter new construction shortcuts here, just refined, high quality design and execution with thoughtful details everywhere. The kitchen features abundant custom maple cabinets, granite counters and stainless Jenn-air appliances. Gas fireplace. Acid washed concrete floors with radiant heat on the first floor, which includes a bonus space and a garage that is almost too beautiful to park in. Sumptuous cherry floors grace the second and third floors. You will never want to leave the amazing roof deck with spectacular views (& plumbed with water and natural gas to make cooking and dining easy and fun). Steps to the T. “WalkScore 89: Very Walkable”.

Open House: Sunday, 11/8 11:30am-1:00pm

Listed By: Jay Balaban, 617.293.8932, jay.balaban@unlimitedsir.com
Trisha Solio, 617.293.8070, trisha.solio@unlimitedsir.com

New to Market: Sunny 1 Bed on the Boston/Brookline Line

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922 Beacon Street, Unit 44 – Boston

Offered at $399,900

Charming, quiet, and sunny top floor/rear facing unit in St. Mary’s area near Fenway/Kenmore and right on the Brookline line. Best of Boston/Brookline and move-in ready! Hardwood floors in living room and bedroom, new windows in living room, tiled kitchen and bath, new natural gas boiler. Professionally managed association, heat/hot water included in condo fee, and on-street parking available with Boston permit. Walk Score® of 93: Steps to C line and quick access to B and D Green Lines, Whole Foods, restaurants, shops, and coffee. Walking distance to BU, Coolidge Corner, Longwood Medical, Fenway Park, The Landmark Center, downtown and much more.

Open Houses: Sat, 10/31 12:00-1:00pm and Sun, 11/1 12:00-2:00pm

Listing Agent: Chris Masterman, 617.467.8198, chris.masterman@unlimitedsir.com