Friday, December 31, 2010

Selling Short... Your best option??? Part 2

A guy on fox 25 News the other morning was talking about short sales...    he said was that people overpaid for their homes and in some cases find themselves short....    really?????

Most likely they didn't overpay for the home...  It was market value at the time!    Saying they overpaid makes it sound as if it they saw they did something wrong..... They didn't!    It was the market!!!!...
When the market turns around, .. and it will... will those folks who have purchased today be said to have underpaid????      I don't think so....  

Okay, off my box....  and on to the topic...

So, you "overpaid" for your home and find your self in a financial situation where you can't keep up with the mortgage payments...  what do you do?

you  have a few choices to avoid foreclosure....    as stated in an earlier blog .... BUTthe one choice you don't have is to hesitate....

If your interest rate is the culprit and you could afford the payments if they were only a bit lower.. you might think about re-negotiating rate and terms with the lender....  a "loan modification"....  the caviat here...if the interest rate is lowered or the term extended and you still can't afford it  ..... it's not your option....

or, you could work out a deed in lieu of foreclosure

or,  a "short sale" may be your option.....

A lot of talk going on now is that the lenders are being tough and not considering "short sales". ..   more likely, they are really scrutinizing whether or not a "short sale" is warranted.

  • do you have a hardship?
  • do you have a ready, able and willing buyer for your property?   
  •  is the offer reasonable?
  •  is the offer arms length?
If you chose the short sale option, get your home on the market with a Realtor experienced in short sale negotiations.  Price it correctly!     ... Accept the best offer.....  Make sure the buyer is preapproved and can wait.... these things can take some time.... (you don't want to get this thing approved only to find out the buyer can't move forward )  Get your financial paperwork and that hardship letter in order....  your Realtor will provide you with a list of things to have ready....have them ready and be ready to update as necessary....

Ultimately, the option you chose will depend on your personal situation.   

Nobody wants to find themselves facing  foreclosure.... but if you see it coming, you can hit it head on..
and if you do..... you will come out the winner....  emotionally and financially....


Coming Soon...

Part 3       Buying a Short Sale - Is it for You?


contact me if you have any questions...   Carol-Ann
cal@alandcal.com 508-494-9061

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have You Seen This?....and Wondered? Subject to Short Sale Approval ( Part 1)

The subject of  "Short Sales" is always coming up.   We are asked what it means, how and why it's done.

The nutshell answer...

when the sale proceeds are less than the money owed to the lender of the property, and the lender releases the owner of his obligation to pay the entire debt so that the owner can sell the property, we call it a "Short Sale".

For example....

the owner of a property owes a lender (or two) a total of $300,000.    Current market value on the property is $250,000.    if they don't have $50,000 plus closing costs, they can not sell and satisfy the liens on the property.    

So, in order to avoid foreclosure, the owner may put the property up for sale for less than he owes, procure an offer and submit it to the lender(s) with a request that he be released of his obligation to pay the entire debt.


The lender may agree to this to avoid the foreclosure as well.   Why?   Foreclosure is costly to them and they will likely only get market value anyway.   

With a short sale, the seller must have the lender's approval to convey the property.    If the lender does go along with the process, it saves the seller not only the cost, but the embarrassment and emotional drain of a foreclosure... there maybe less credit damage as well.

If you have questions, contact me...we have plenty of experience and success on both the selling and buying side of short sales.

next 

Part 2     Selling your Home - Is Short Sale YOUR Best Option?
Part 3     Buying a Short Sale - Is it for You?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Painting.... Does it add value??

What you normally find on the cost vs value charts is things like kitchen/ bath renovations or deck replacements...but

2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Chart


The question is does freshening up your home with paint add value?   

with Christmas coming and my addiction to HGTV...
I gently (really Cal??)  urged Al to do a dining room makeover....
I thought, No Big deal really......
We are Realtors for crying out loud!    We know that bright homes are a Giant attraction for people!

... a little paint... new light... curtains...just brighten the place up a little.  

Well....it's done and that's all I'll say..other than, he did a great job....but,

Did we add value?

Probably not monetary value..
but what we really did, was improve the "sale-ability" of the home... and our life style at the same time....

and sale-ability is really important these days with so many homes on the market.....  it's the attraction that makes a buyer chose one home over another.... the more polished looking home with the perception of little to do, wins out every time....

so while we are all looking to gain value....
it's not just the monetary Value that  we need to consider....
sale-ability and lifestyle should be huge considerations on your list.   A fresh coat of paint is an easy, cost effective way to achieve this!
       
        and, oh by the way... 
        now the rest of the place looks shabby......

       should I wait till after Christmas to approach this??????

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today's Count, Al - 16...... The "fearless" Cat - just 2.....




They just keep coming, seeking refuge in this "warm" house....
 (trust me, just a bit warmer that outside! story for another day)..

We are learning..... looks like those very sneaky mice can just slip the cheese right out of the trap, laughing all the way to their dinner table..not only are we providing them with warm shelter, but dinner too!

So what to do here? It's not by poison.....not only bad for our cherished "mouser" but by the time the poison takes effect, the slippery little critter has gotten into the wall somewhere and falls prey to the stuff.... and yep, you get to live with the odor of his demise for quite some time. not acceptable..

We've found the best way to trap the thing is to use peanut butter or chocolate.... put that on the old fashion inexpensive trap...set two side by side so he can't jump over them.....and wait... not too long in this case.

Where there is one, there is many.    A couple of other tips.

Eliminate all openings through which they can enter a structure.
Seal cracks and openings in foundations, openings for water pipes, vents and utilities .
Use smooth patching materials so they can't pick at them.
Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly.
Mouse proof all stored, processed food.   Use airtight containers.

Oh....  and by the way.... this is the best part.... when either Al or the Cat gets one....
they feel the need to show it to me! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Location? Condition? Price? What do you think makes a home sell?

When I started my Real Estate journey way back when, I took a course in marketing from an old real estate professional. (everything is relative right?    he was probably 40 at the time.... lol.... )
 
We were all  young, energetic students; new licensees just waiting to get out there and make our mark on the real estate scene.  

He posed the question,  "What makes a home sell?"      (today, the question may be, "Why isn't my home selling?")

Blogs and news media everywhere seem to have the answer..... it maybe the recession, or the foreclosure situation; a lousy location; maybe poor condition......could be people just can't get financing..... ask around, it's interesting the answers you get.... I'll bet similar to the answers in that class 24 long years ago.

Our class was quick to answer...   We knew it was Location or Condition of the home!    

The old seasoned pro must of had a chuckle listening to us all as he shot us down!   ..... "Those aren't the answers", he said...."pure and simply put, it's price!"

"Consider this....   If you had a house smack in the middle of Route 495, would you find someone to pay you a dollar for it?"

Sure, all those other things matter.... and those are the things to take into consideration when pricing your home.... but even in this tight economic situation...  homes are still selling....  if priced right! 

Selling or Buying or just have a real estate related question.... call me....  508-494-9061

Let me put my 24 years of experience to work for you!   

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

When I saw that Snow on the Ground this morning, I thought, "I'm Not Ready!"

It hit me by surprise.... I woke up, looked out the window and there it was....
 yes, SNOW on the ground...    I am so not ready for this!   and, I'm guessing that I am not the only one.

Here are a few check list items to get your home ready for the season....

Outdoors


Inspect roof, siding, and shutters for damage
Clean out gutters
Properly grade your yard to move water away from your home
Remove hoses and store indoors
Protect faucets from freezing (if needed)
Caulk exterior window & door joints
Store outside furniture, lawn ornaments, etc.
Inspect your chimney and have cleaned if needed

Indoors

Have heating system serviced
Change heating system filters
Insulate pipes that are in crawl spaces or attics
Apply weather stripping to windows
Replace smoke detector batteries & test
Remove window screens & repair as needed
Install storm windows (if needed)
Switch ceiling fan to blow up
Check your fireplace

OMG!  I am so not ready!  
But, on the advice of my BF....   I am going to embrace the season!    

p.s.      I'll let you know how that goes..... 


                                         FOR SALE   51 Lawrence Street, Norfolk, MA    $599,900

Real Estate Questions? Contact me at cal@alandcal.com
508-494-9061













Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LARRY LOVES IT!

                                     *****     Click here for Movie!     *****

Do you know of anyone that would be interested in living here?  
Contact me  cal@alandcal.com    or   508-494-9061

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Radon.... The Emperor's New Clothes? Or something more?

Radon Gas.... you can't see it.... you can't smell it....you can't taste it....  

But is it problem in your home?  The experts say the only way to tell is to test!

According to the Surgeon General...  radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US today!   Only smoking, he says, causes more lung cancer deaths.

So what is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas.  It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground.   Found all over....It can move up through the ground and seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation.   Then your home can trap the gas inside where it can build up.   It can happen in any building, but the greatest concern for exposure is in your home where  you spend the most time.

Testing.

Because it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, the only way to know if you have excessive levels of radon in your home is to test.     Testing is inexpensive and easy.   There are different methods, some as simple as placing a charcoal canister in your home for a couple of days.

What if you have a problem?

Virtually every home has some degree of Radon. The EPA has acceptable levels, and action levels... If your home tests above the acceptable levels, you may be able to bring the level down by sealing the cracks and or holes in the foundation..but, more than likely you will want to install a mitigation system.   Simple enough and inexpensive (relatively speaking).....There are many companies around that will do just that and will guarantee to get that count down to acceptable levels.

follow this link to find out more.....       http://www.epa.gov/radon/


Please contact me if I can help you with your Real Estate needs!   cal@alandcal.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3.8% Sales Tax on the Sale of Your Home.... Is that true????

Have you received this?   This past week, with a definite political slant, emails again are circulating pertaining to the Health Care Bill and the  3.8% federal sales tax on Real Estate Transactions which appears to be buried in it...
   
Is there any truth to the email?    or is it just political spin?

It certainly bears looking into...  and according to Snopes and Factcheck.org and a slew of other articles, there is some truth that there will be a tax on Real Estate Transactions, but it appears the tax is aimed at income earned on investments or earned over the real estate tax exemption.

Not every transaction as the email wants you to believe.

"Medicare Tax" in the Obama Health Care Reform Bill....  is confusing to say the least....

another tax .... strategically dubbed the "Medicare Tax" takes the sting out of what it is and being aimed at the "wealthy" also makes it easier for the general public to take...

Knowing the facts, however confusing, gives us piece of mind... and knowledge gives us the power to not fall prey to those that want to sway our opinions by using fear and misinformation....

That to me is worth the time it takes to learn for ourselves... 

The National Association of Realtors has a decent FAQ on the subject.... here is the link  http://www.realtor.org/small_business_health_coverage.nsf/pages/health_ref_faq_med_tax?opendocument

For the record.... I am in no way defending any Tax, this Tax or the entire Bill....

I am just sick of people trying to influence my thinking by using fear and scare tactics......

Friday, October 1, 2010

Handicap Access w/personal elevator too! $299,900 Bellingham, MA

video
Re-done top to bottom and waiting for new owner!    3 beds, 2 baths, 2 fireplaces, 2 garages.  Handicap Access & a personal elevator too!     $299,900    Do you know of anyone that might be interested?   Contact me at 508-494-9061   cal@alandcal.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Okay......So, I'll admit it... I'm addicted!

to TV home shows that is....

I was out with a friend / Realtor today.  Her opinion was that Home TV shows have changed the way Buyers view real estate.   I have to admit that I agree.    We've all seen the designed to sell or fixing things on a dime shows.   I love them!   I love the way they can transform a home for a few dollars and get the place ready to sell or to make it look fab!......but, ....look again, is the change realistic for living?     or does it just look great?   

These days we have come to expect perfection...

Why not?   

Well, it could just might be that perfection is just not real world.... it's media world....

The reality is that there is always something left to do in a home.. regardless of price..... the expectation of perfect is unrealistic and breeds disappointment....

My first client of all time, convinced her husband that if they chose a particular home, he wouldn't have to do anything to fix it up for her......  several months later when i went to visit... the only thing left unchanged was the kitchen counter!

My point ....  you will always put your personal stamp on a home....a homeowner will naturally change things to suit their needs and lifestyle..

Real people live in their homes.....   key word "live".  

Don't let the TV expectation of the "perfect" home stop you from buying your perfect home!  

When looking at the home, go in with eyes wide open... look beyond the current owners lifestyle.....

If the home looks TV perfect... make sure it is real life "liveable"....  don't let that TV expectation seperate you from your "perfect" home!

in the meantime....  i'm tuning in .....    it's fun to watch and they do have some great ideas!!!       Yeap....  I'm addicted......

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mortgage Contingency


Most of us aren't paying cash for our homes these days.   We need to secure a mortgage from a lender.    In order to secure the mortgage, you must have a purchase and sales agreement on a home.    For that reason, we have come to accept  a "mortgage contingency clause" as reasonable part of the purchase agreement.   

What exactly does this mean?  

The mortgage contingency clause protects the Buyer's deposit while the Lender researches the Buyer's qualifications and the home's value supported by an appraisal.   This process can take a few weeks.   Normally, during this time the home is "off the market."   

After review, the Lender will either issue a "commitment" or a "denial"....

The commitment, formal and in writing, means both Buyer and Seller can breathe easy and  can move ahead with the purchase of the home..... 

If one receives a "denial", the Buyer MUST provide a "letter of denial" from the Lender, and then ask for a release of his funds.  The home goes back up for sale.

Because of the mortgage contingency clause, most Buyer's will seek out a "pre-approval" from a lender prior to offering on a home.     This way they know in advance that they are likely to secure financing and exactly what their purchasing power is...  and, the Savy Seller will request to see a "pre-approval" on the Buyer before accepting an offer on their home; taking it off the market while the formal process works itself out.

This "pre-approval" process is the reason we don't see that many denials. 

Need a lender referral or help with purchasing a home?       cal@alandcal.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Regardless of Whether or not we get Weather!

Not to jump on the OMG the sky is falling, "we might have a hurricane band wagon", it probably does make sense to take a few minutes each year to inspect parts of our property and around it that we don't necessarily think of.  

These might include your roof shingles, chimney, gutters and downspouts, tree limbs, utility lines, drains and pipes, doors & windows, (latches and seals).  

.....If all those are looking good... then, okay, run out for that milk and bread!   

Here are a few good tips offered by House logic..

http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/look-three-ways-prepare-severe-weather-events/


and ... to keep an eye on "Earl"

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at2.shtml?5day  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

30 Days Late? - Don't Wait! Pick up the Phone!

It could happen to any of us in these tough economic times.   All it takes is being laid off or receiving an unexpected medical bill....

The very stressful and emotional situation of falling behind on a mortgage payment by just 30 days can and may start the forclosure process to begin on your home!  '

For many, there is help out there....  It's a matter of knowing where to turn and what to say....

For those that have equity in their home, and can't work out a modification, get it on the market!    If you don't have equity and can't work out a modification, a "short sale"  may be the solution.    In either case, Pick Up The Phone..... call a Realtor and get that home on the market pronto.

Call your lender .. discuss the situation, see if you can work something out.    Speak to the loss mitigation department, take notes and names.   It can be tough dealing with these folks.    They are overwhelmed too.   Be persistant...  you may have to call several times.

Call a non-profit counselor.   Try 888-995 HOPE or the Hud.gov website.    They can help ..   This is what they are there for!      Pick Up The Phone!

I know it's a tough situation and for most and an embarrassing one.... no one buys a house with the intention of falling behind...   but, it's happening all around us.     

Do not hesitate to reach out!    It just doesn't make sense to put your lender in the driver's seat here!    

Investigate.   You may have options.     The key is to act quickly!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Info for those of you who heat by oil... A new MA Law

This seems kind of ridiculous given the scope of what's happening in the Gulf.... but I get it.... and guess it's a good idea .....

In a nut shell....

.....A new MA law designed to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes connected to your furnace requires an upgrade to your oil heating system equipment by September 30, 2011.  

There are two major provisions:
  • an installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that don't currently have them
  • insurance companies to offer coverage for leaks from oil heating systems
So, what exactly does it mean?

         If you heat by oil, you'll probably need the upgrade..... can't do it yourself....   needs to be done by a licensed professional....

And..., what's it going to cost?

        A conversation with my "go to" oil burner tech, Rich Palmieri, (Palmieri Mechanical.. 508 958-0523)..  reveals that,  it won't be a major expense to have this done.... ball parking.... up to $350 or so, depending on your system...

A good idea considering the cost to cleaning up a leak if one should happen..... 

hmmmmm.............don't you love that they are always looking out for the little guys??  

for more info... check out    http://www.mass.gov/dep/cleanup/laws/hhsl.htm  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Metro-West / Boston... A beautiful place to live!

I've been selling real estate in the area for the past 24 years... all the while, thinking that I knew the area so very well...

Last year, my friend, Dee and I decided to rent a couple of kayaks to check out the Charles River.   Of course we were hooked...  
Found a couple of kayaks to call our own, we decided this year that we would attempt to paddle the entire river...  Now, what we find is something really special!   Right here in our own back yards is an unbelievable escape from the stress of our day to day lives....    you can get on the river anywhere from Hopkinton to Franklin, to Norfolk, Millis, Medfield, Dover, or Natick all the way to Boston..  The experience is something like being in the woods of NH or ME ... a blood pressure lowering experience for sure!...

.... uninterrupted nature, beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife, and pieces history that tug your imagination at every river bend....  Imagine as after you pass thru Rocky Narrows... before you get to the train bridge... King Philip's watchful eye on you from his lookout high above!

We live in such a beautiful area with the ocean, the mountains and city life all within a short reach...  here is another breathtaking reason for living here where we do...

I urge you to check out the Charles by kayak or canoe....    you can rent from Trish at "The Charles" on Medfield/Millis 109 line (508) 734-0052...  or Charles River Canoe and Kayak....   Natick, Newton, Boston....   I'm sure there are other places too.....these are easy to get to ... 

Get ready for a new look at the Metro West / Boston area!  

I'm around all weekend...if you have any real estate needs, give me a call....

             
                  

Monday, June 28, 2010

That "Insulting" Offer

Consider this..

Your home is on the market... just a couple of days.... you have reviewed comparables with your Realtor and have priced your home to sell. You have staged your home and it looks fabulous! You've had showings and one has produced an offer!   But wait!   The offer is low... real low.... what do you do?

Your initial thought is, no way! .. an insult some may say.

I say.... yes, maybe way too low, but definately not an insult.    Why?... because this Buyer loves your home or would not be making an offer.... They are just doing what they think is the "right" thing to do in this market.

So, how will you respond?      You can do one of three things.... Accept, Reject, or Counter Offer.

We already know that you are not going to accept.... so, should you reject or counter offer?
Let's think about that....

Try and take the emotion out of it.....

Re-evaluate the comps....see how your home is positioned in the market today.     Has anything changed?    What's the actual feedback been on your home?    Are the financing options still the same?  

Based on this information, with your Realtor develop a plan that will get the Buyer up as far as he will go..

Counter offer a bit... either on price or terms... but leave the door open,  just slightly,  so that they will feel comfortable in making an advance.   A reasonable Buyer will be looking at those same comps that you did and evaluating the market with his Realtor in the same way you did.    

By keeping emotions in check (not easy, by the way).... reviewing and evaluating facts....   you may be able to come to that "meeting of the minds"  even if their initial offer is so very low! 

About the author...  Carol-Ann Palmieri, a full time Real Estate professional in Massachusetts for the past 24 years along with Al Mussi has helped hundreds of families find, sell or purchase new places to live.

Al and Cal's primary areas of service Franklin, Bellingham, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norfolk, Wrentham, Plainville, Blackstone, Walpole, Milford, Holliston, Hopkinton, Mansfield, and Foxboro, North Attleboro, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville

Search for Homes    (to get up to date MLS listings)

cal@alandcal.com     508-494-9061

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too???? Right of First Refusal

Would a Right of First Refusal Benefit You?


Normally a right of first refusal is used when a prospective buyer offers to buy a home, but for some reason has a contingency that needs to be addressed before “he” is willing to move on… (The most likely contingency would be that the buyer needs to sell their home before purchasing)….

The seller in this case, likes the offer, but for good reason is wary of the contingency....

What can they do?     Buyer and Seller may agree to a “right of first refusal”…..

The Buyer and Seller enter into contract, price & terms are agreed upon and there is a RFR clause.

The right of first refusal gives the Seller the right to continue marketing his home…. If he gets another offer from another Buyer before the 1st Buyers contingency is met then He can then ask Buyer with the RFR to remove the contingency and move forward towards closing, or…. back out of the transaction so that the Seller may move forward with the subsequent offer….

The Benefits… a sense of security…..

To the Seller:    knowing that he has an offer for a certain amount of money…that is if the buyer’s contingency is removed…..

To the Buyer:     knowing how much he will be paying for a property….. Thereby knowing what his bottom line is on both sides….

Cons…..

For the Seller:      It stops some potential buyers from viewing their home….he really doesn't have his home sold until the Buyer gets a contract on his....

For the Buyer:      it can have an effect on his negotiating power…. The seller will view this as a less than perfect offer and want more money for accepting it.....

Bottom line……

This can afford a sense of security for both Buyer and Seller but comes at a cost….