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Winning a Bidding War

by Mike DelRose Team

As the market swings from a buyer's market to a seller's, you may find yourself facing competitive bids for the home you want. Do not let this situation throw you off the track. Winning a bidding war may not be as difficult as you think. A little bit of knowledge and preparation on your part can minimize your frustration.

  1. Meet with your lender first. If you walk in to the home with a preapproval letter from your bank, you can move to the front of the line. A seller with multiple offers will often skip past a viable bid if the buyer cannot assure immediate financing. Knowing how much your lender is willing to finance will define your price range so that you can negotiate with confidence.
  2. Do not make an exceptionally low offer. Do not try bringing a house you cannot afford into your price range with a low bid. The seller will likely reject your offer immediately.
  3. Be flexible and creative with incentives. If a seller can stay in the house a little longer or avoid doing some minor repairs you do not mind making, let him know you are willing to make the sale easier for him. Your agent may be able to meet with the listing agent to determine what would motivate the sellers, such as a quick closing or rent-back arrangement. A non-cash incentive like a delayed move-out date can be just the motivation the seller needs.
  4. Provide proof of available cash. If you can make up the difference with cash if the appraisal comes in lower than the asking price, the seller may accept your bid. Beware of offering more than the home is worth. Consult with your real estate agent to consider the wisdom of this option. A higher down payment or a large amount of earnest money may also be attractive to the seller.
  5. Be prepared to meet the terms of a counteroffer. In order to do this, you must be fully prepared to make higher payments. Be sure you are capable of doing so and that your lender will still finance the transaction.

When you meet with your real estate agent, be completely honest about your resources and your willingness to negotiate. As your representative, your agent can advise you about creating an attractive offer. He will also help you find creative ways to sweeten the deal and make winning a bidding war a reality.

US Pending Home Sales Increase in March

by Mike DelRose Team

According to the National Association of Realtors®, home sales in March rose 3.4 percent to break a nine-month streak of stagnant activity. Although still 7.9 percent below the March 2013 figures, it continued to grow in April. The Midwest and Northeast gained momentum sufficient to outweigh declining activity in the West and South. The U.S. pending home sales increase in March is an indicator of slow, but positive growth in the real estate market. 

Economists predict that existing-home sales will continue to increase throughout 2014 to about 4.9 million in 2014, slightly below the 5.1 million recorded in 2013, but expect continued growth to about 5.3 million next year. Continued inventory shortages will drive existing-home prices up an expected six to seven percent in 2014.

The Pending Home Sales Index is based on sales of existing homes for which the contracts have been signed, but the sales have not closed. It is based on a national sample representing about 20 percent of the total number of transactions nationwide. It has proven to be a reasonably accurate indicator of the level of closed existing-home sales over the next two months.

NAR economist Lawrence Yun predicts a gradual increase in home sales as inventory levels give buyers more choices and mortgage interest rates have experienced a slight decline. He further states that this is not a trend, projecting an increase in mortgage interest rates to 5.5 percent in 2015. According to Yun, '€œAnnual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.'€? The impact of the current increase on housing sales will largely depend upon whether income grows within the labor market. Possible changes to mortgage underwriting conditions could further impact sales.

Housing inventory increased in April by 16.8 percent. This means that 2.29 million existing homes are available for sale which translates to a 5.9-month supply. Existing home sales account for more than 90 percent of total home sales. The U.S. pending home sales increase in March continuing into April is good news for home sellers as the market gradually turns to their benefit.

The National Association of Realtors® is the largest trade association in the country with over a million members.  The newsletter provides current market statistics for the benefit of realtors and their clients.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages

by Mike DelRose Team

Going green is a laudable goal in today's world.  That being said however, going green can be an expensive proposition that saves money in the long run, but requires a significant investment prior to that payoff.  To expedite those long-term energy savings, new homeowners can apply for an Energy-Efficient Mortgages(EEM) to help cover the cost of these green initiatives.

What is an Energy Efficient Mortgage?

Sometimes referred to as green mortgages, an EEM mortgage allows homeowners to finance energy efficient upgrades by rolling the cost of the upgrades into their new mortgage.  Rather than shopping after more than one loan, the new homebuyer can affect their energy upgrades with just one loan package all rolled up into one deal.  An EEM package allows lenders to give qualified homebuyers an opportunity to take out a loan larger than the asking price on the property.

Upfront costs on an EEM mortgage are higher than a traditional loan due to the cost associated with making the improvements that will lead to a smaller carbon footprint for the home.  While the initial costs are high, the energy savings that the homeowners realize from the energy efficiency steps will pay back dividends in savings that are designed to be cheaper in the long run. 

Three Types of EEM

There are three types of EEM loans that are typically extended to homebuyers including conventional EEMs, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, and Veteran's Administration (VA) loans.

  • Conventional EEM — by far the most common green mortgage option, allows lenders to credit buyer's income by the estimated amount of mincome of $105,000 annually, which allows homebuyers an opportunity to afford more house than they otherwise would have.
  • Federal Housing Administration'The FHA extends green mortgages to those who have already met the underwriting qualifications set out for an FHA loan.  Borrowers can either borrow the lesser of the total cost of improvements, or borrow against the lesser 5% of the home's value.
  • VA Loans' The Veteran's Administration offers EMMs to veterans who qualify for VA financing.  These allow veterans to upgrade an existing home, but places a cap on total loans between $3,000 and $6,000 maximum.

Going green is good for the planet and good for the wallet, so prospective homebuyers should look into the advantages that a green mortgage can have on the cost of the monthly utilities.

New Home Maintenance Alternatives Designed to Save Money

by Mike DelRose Team

Buying a home is just the start of the expenses that a homeowner is going to have to fork out upon moving in to their new home. In addition to the cost of the mortgage, moving, insurance, and refurnishing, the new homeowner is also on the hook to pay for the maintenance regimen, which is designed to keep those home price values high. Whether it's putting on a new roof, or the house needs a serious coat of paint, these maintenance costs can become overwhelming unless the homeowner takes steps to minimize maintenance costs. Towards that end, here some outstanding ideas for reducing the costs associated with maintaining your property.

Fiber Cement Siding

Theses lightly flexible cement mixed shingles are made with an eye towards keeping them from rotting, warping, or cupping after they have been installed, and has an estimated life of 30-years. The pieces are normally factory painted before being nailed to the side of the house one by one, which gives it a natural and authentic look. The tiles will need to be repainted on average every seven to ten years, which compares favorably with having to repaint traditional wood siding every five to seven years.

PVC Trim

Utilizing the plastic pipes that are used for plumbing drains, PVC piping made with air added during the molten process results in natural looking trim that displays wood-like density. Contractors are able to cut, shape, form, and install each piece like any board of lumber. Whereas normal pine trim can expect to be around and looking good for ten to fifteen years, the PVC piping will virtually last forever requiring only the occasional touch up of paint.

Quartz Countertops

While once upon a time, granite was the rock star when it came to installing kitchen and bathroom counters, but a new act is threatening to supplant granite's reputation: Quartz countertops. Quartz is available in just about every color imaginable and is readily available at any local stone yard or online. Unlike the costs associated with caring for granite, for instance granite needs to sealed annually, whereas quartz simply requires a standard sponge cleaning without the heroic measures needed to care for granite, marble, or limestone requires to keep countertops looking their very best. Made from natural stone, one can expect that their quartz countertops will outlast every other feature, appliance, or appointment that can be found in a kitchen.

Having nice things is easy when they do not take an army of maintenance personnel keeping them looking their best. Remodel your home with maintenance free items and you will save countless hours and expense. 

National Existing Homes Sales the Strongest in 7 Years

by Mike DelRose Team

As the nation attempts to extradite itself from the grips of the Great Recession, existing homes sales indicate that 2013 may have been the strongest year for new housing sales in seven years. According the National Association of Realtors, the sale of previously occupied housing rose by a single percentage point over 2013 as pent up consumer demand pushed sales past 4.87 million units last year. 

Recent Slump in Sales

Home resale rates have taken a hit since spring due to a sharp rise in mortgage interest rates. These ongoing price increases have shut many house hunters out of the market now. Early estimates by economists pointed to previously owned home sales to reach 4.94 million units rather than the 4.87 million units that actually changed hands. Still, even with the last quarter slump, economists were pleased with the performance.

'For the year as a whole, it is a good recovery, but we lost some momentum towards the end of 2013,' admits National Association of Realtor economist, Lawrence Yun.

Lawrence points to two opposing forces that are having their impact on the vitality of today' s housing market, which includes fast rising prices that are coupled to weak income growth as the job market continues to trail behind other strong economic growth indicators.

Signs of Growth

Coupled to the strong housing market displayed last year, other recent indicators suggest that the sector is headed towards a period of vitality. Chiefly, economists point to a steady rise in household formations that have been lacking in recent years as college graduates delay making that first housing purchase in preference to moving back in with their parent' s house until the economy is more vibrant. 

Additionally, as noted above, rising mortgage rates have had a cooling trend on the market causing many to put their house buying aspirations on the shelf for now until the market gets friendlier. While the percentage of housing units on the market continues to shrink, median housing prices are on the march to rise by nearly ten percent as prices stood at $198,000 at the end of last December.

Also promising is the growth in demand for builders to undertake new development projects during the same time period that has surpassed decade long lows. Also, prices have remained inflated owing to a shortage of properties on the market as home sellers have removed their listings I n anticipation of an improving market.

Ten Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

by Mike DelRose Team

With the passing of winter' s snow and sleet comes the onslaught of spring' s rain and runoff. The brief respite between the two affords the homeowner a unique opportunity to perform needed maintenance to repair the damage caused by the former, and gird against the ravages of the latter. Since Mother Nature can prove to be a strict scheduler however, it is best to prioritize your property maintenance with these ten home maintenance tips for spring. 

Top Ten Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Begin your inspection with the main structural components of the building. Starting with the roof, scan your property for any signs of damage or defects:

  1. Exam the Roof - any top down examination of the house will of course begin with the roof. Winter winds, snow, and hail can play havoc on roofing shingles, so conduct a visual inspection from the ground for missing or damaged shingles. A qualified roofing contractor should replace loose, cracked, or buckled elements immediately.
  2. Chimneys - Before taking your focus off the roof, be sure to check out the chimney for any outward signs of damage. This is also an excellent time to schedule a professional cleaning from a licensed chimney sweep.
  3. Windows and Door Jams - Inspect the trim around windowsills, decks, railings, and doors for signs of wear and tear. Once you have identified problem areas, be sure to make improvements before the spring rains have a chance to cause more damage to the exposed wood.
  4. Inspect Concrete Slabs - Check the concrete slabs for signs of cracks or indications of movement. Be prepared to fill in any cracks that you might find with silicone caulk or concrete crack filler, and if weather allows, now would be an excellent time to power-wash the surface and seal the concrete.  
  5. Clean A/C Coils - Hire the services of a qualified HVAC contractor to come service your A/C unit before the thermostat starts to rise with the summer months. An annual service call will guarantee that your unit is operating at peak efficiency.

Water breaks rock, paper and scissors, so be sure that you have taken steps against the onslaught of spring' s rain and runoff:

  1. Loose and Leaky Gutters - an improperly functioning gutter is perhaps worse than having no gutter at all. As such, make sure that your gutters are free from debris and functioning properly while verifying that the downspouts drain away from the home' s foundation.
  2. Swampy Areas - low lying areas in your yard that stands near the foundation should be filled in and leveled with compacted soil, so as to avoid damage to the building from flooding. As an added benefit, this will eliminate pools of water that serve as a breeding ground for insect outbreaks.

Make sure that your lawn care tools of summer are ready to fire up to begin cutting, edging, and pruning your yard:

  1. Tools of Summer - give your yard maintenance tools a once over to make sure your gas and electrically powered yard equipment will be ready to go when you are this summer. Change out fluids and sharpen blades to guarantee peak performance.
  2. Outside Faucets Damage - check your outside faucet pressure by turning the water on and placing your finger over the spout. If you are able to block the flow of water, then there is probably damage further up the line, and you should have a plumber come in and look at your system.
  3. Winter' s Firewood - as a move against fire danger, store any remaining firewood away from your home.

These ten home maintenance tips for spring will get your home prepared for summer!

Making Your Offer More Competitive

by Mike DelRose Team

We're seeing it over and over again in Greater Boston and beyond, a well qualified home buyer getting beat out in a multiple offer situation. Unfortunately this has become more commonplace in today's inventory-lacking market. Rates are still low and people are not trading up or trading down, still recouping lost value from the market crash which is causing a lot of frustration for buyers. 

Utilizing specific language or waiving certain customary clauses in your offer may drastically increase your chances of having your offer accepted. Here's a few pointers to at least take into consideration. While there are certainly more ways to improve your offer, here are the most common. 

Down Payment

While your agent and lender may have different opinions regarding your downpayment depending on your financial situation, there's no doubt that number can make or break your case to a seller. Despite the fact that two potential buyers may both be equally qualified for a loan, more often than not a larger down payment will beat out a lower one if all other terms are equal.

Home Inspection

A good buyer's agent will always caution against waiving a home inspection, but a Seller and Seller's agent loves this situation. Our advice is to never to waive that inspection unless you're okay with taking on the liability of potential problems, or you're a contractor . Otherwise you can end up in hot water pretty quickly. That being said, there's a way to make your offer more appealing while also limiting your liability. A savvy buyer may limit potential renegotiations with the seller post-inspection by including a clause in their offer that basically states; "The buyer will not renegotiate material defects found in the home inspection up to $X." (That figure is variable and depends on individual situations so consult with your buyers agent and attorney for specific language). Language like this immediately gives confidence to a seller when reviewing offers. While the buyer assumes some of the rish, they know if there's anything serious that the seller will have to take those things into account or risk having to put their home on the market with known issues. 

Closing Date

Often times we don't have it, but sellers love flexibility. Even more so when the seller hasn't found a place to live post-sale of their home. While the buyer should always consult with their agent and attorney on language in an offer, adding a like clause lets the Seller know that you're serious and will be willing to work with them cooperatively. 

Letter to Seller

We're seeing more and more letters addressing our sellers on a personal level with offers. It allows people to establish connections and what we find is most people care. Regardless of whether the offer is accepted or not, it definitely helps the buyers position and is a great compliment to the offer package. 

Cash

Cash is king. Very rarely do we see a financed offer beat out a similar cash offer. There are roadblocks to financing like credit, job security, appraisals, etc. while they don't exist in a cash sale. Proof of funds are presented and the rest of the deal usually goes smoothly. A large percentage of deals in Massachusetts were cash last year and many of those purchases were by foreign buyers. If you're fortunate enough to have it, use it. 

Pre Approval

A pre approval isn't a guarantee that a lender will give you a loan, but it's a very important document regardeless, especially to the seller. I would safely say it's paramount that a buyer have a good pre approval from a reputable lender. I say reputable because some approvals are not worth the paper they are printed on. Do your research or ask for advice as I won't bash any particular company. It's also important to know that a pre qualification is not a pre approval. You actually want to speak to a lender directly for it and provide your necessary information. Internet forms you can fill out and provide some information to generate a form are convenient, but not the real thing. 

U.S. Phone Migration Patterns;Boston

by Mike DelRose Team

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New Features to MikeDelRose.com

by Mike DelRose Team

In an effort to make MikeDelRose.com the most comprehensive real estate website in Massachusetts, we have added some distinct new features to benefit our viewers. 

Search By Neighborhood

In order to keep up with the constant flow of real estate technology we have recently implemented a map search feature that we feel best meets our client's needs and expectations. While we still have our old search, users will now be able to utilize the site to search for real estate and lifestyle points of interest on the map. 

Because Greater Boston is home to hundreds of very distinct neighborhoods and larger aggregate sites can't possibly distinguish them, we have worked countless hours to set up searches by individual neighborhoods. Users can access these pre-defined searches by clicking the 'Communities' tab on on the menu bar for a complete list, or utilizie the dropdown menu to search by town. If you don't see your desired neighborhood, don't worry, we would be happy to add it. Simply email MikeJr@MikeDelRose.com with the request. The neighborhood search again features the map search and includes single family homes, multi family homes, rentals, and lifestyle points of interest. 

Statistics and Market Reports

When it comes to real estate, statistics and trends have a large impact on decision-making. Clicking on the newly added 'Statistics' tab will provide you with the latest MLS Marketwatch report for all of Massachusetts and specific counties, allowing the reader to see what's happening in their respective communites. 

'Market Watch Reports' are frequently updated PDF's of local market activity for specific communities. The reports will show the reader what's coming and going off the market. If your community is not listed, a simple request will insure it's added in a timely manor. 

Agent Referrals

If you have the need to move from the State, you will certainly find our 'Agents Referral' Page useful. While not every state is represented yet, we our consistently adding to our out of state network of REALTORS and specifically adding people we trust. When you contact them, let them know we sent you. 

In The News

Whenever we can add value to a large audience we will make the effort to do so. The 'In The News' page will feature recent moments the Team was able to shed some light on the industry in the public eye. 

Mortgage Center

Home Loans are a large part of most real estate transactions and we have many relationships with different companies to assist our clients with the best representation. The 'Mortgage Center' page features one of our many preferred vendors and offers substantial information on rates, programs, and costs.

News

Being in Greater Boston and having an office based in Watertown, news happens, a lot. We have added a 'News' page with syndicated content from Greater Boston's best sources to keep our viewers updated on current, local events. 

Discussion

One of the best aspects of the internet is that people can interact with each other more freely and exchange information. Our 'Discussion' page Links to the Real Estate Forum on Reddit where commenters can talk specifically about real estate. 

 

These are the most prominent updates at the moment, but rest assured. As the market changes and technology grows, so will we. 

Virtual Tour: 28 Bay State Road, Belmont, MA 02478

by Mike DelRose Team

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 432

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Mike DelRose Team
RE/MAX Leading Edge
142 Galen St
Watertown MA 02472
Phone: 617-848-0000
617-923-8355
Fax: 617-926-5166



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