WHY PEOPLE USE A BUYER’S AGENT

A  huge-proportion of serious Central MA house hunters ultimately decide it makes the

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most sense to team up with a real estate professional to get the job done. Worcester County buyers may begin the process of finding and buying their next home on their own, checking through the online listings or driving target neighborhoods to check out the “For Sale” signs, but the NAR® reports that 9 out of 10 of U.S. buyers will eventually use a real estate agent in their search process.

The most obvious motivation for that is because the buyer’s agent’s fee is paid from the seller’s proceeds. That alone could explain a 90% level of popularity. When you can benefit from a professional’s services at no cost to yourself, Central MA house hunters would have to think long and hard to come up with what the downside could possibly be. To run down the arguments that could explain how 10% might decide to pass up the buyer’s agent service, I looked for the most common arguments against the grain.

Here are the Top Four, presented in no particular order. (Since I definitely do have an interest in this fight, I’ve also included some counterarguments):

  1. Distrust. Something for nothing? A free lunch? Common sense teaches the same lesson, always and forever: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH! (Counter: the service is not free: the seller pays).
  2. Independent Spirit. Some people know that they work and think better when they take sole responsibility. They may have been misled by “experts” too many times and may regret not relying upon their own instincts. After all, Americans are individualists by nature: they are at their best using their own native ingenuity to solve problems. (Counter: a substantial portion of the process of purchasing a home in Central MA requires mastering technical legal and timing requirements. Although a buyer can take the time to learn about all of them, since their buyer’s agent has already handled them successfully many times, it’s wasted effort. IOW, this is a wheel that doesn’t need to be reinvented).
  3. Commitment. If asked to okay an agreement that spells out the ground rules for working with a buyer’s agent, it’s as if a commitment is being forced prematurely.
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    After all, who knows for certain that the right area house at the right price is even out there? It just feels like putting the cart before the horse. (Counter: this is never a commitment to buy, just an agreement for how the search and commission will be handled if a suitable home is found and purchased. The buyer can make sure the arrangement can be severed without penalty if the service is not satisfactory).

  4. Motivation. Since a buyer’s agent will profit from any sale they’ll try to sell me anything. (Counter: Every buyer’s agent is legally and ethically duty-bound to represent their client’s interests—plus, since their entire career is utterly dependent on their reputation, their interests align).

Whenever I represent any buyer, my motivation is 100% that of helping them reach their desired outcome. Reaching that goal—finding the right Central MA home, then negotiating and closing at the right price is the way I keep the phone ringing. See for yourself by giving me a call!…..Realty Ace, LLC

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IS THE CURRENT PACE OF HOME SALES SUSTAINABLE?

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Simplifying The Market

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable?

There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

INCLUDING A HOME WARRANTY CAN CINCH CENTRAL MA SALES

When last week’s surprising news (on the plus side) about consumer confidence was

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announced, it was one more sign Central MA homeowners might have felt nudging them in the direction of putting their home on the market. U.S. confidence rose to an 11-month high in August—a turnaround from consumer blahs that had ruled during the first half of the year.

Even when there’s some time pressure to sell your Central MA home, one snag that can stall the decision—especially for those with older homes—is the thought of the cost of bringing the place fully up to date. Even if the mechanicals (heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical) are actually in perfectly fine working order, it can seem as if potential buyers will be hard to convince that it’s the case. And if the appliances are veterans, even if they’re perfectly serviceable, potential sellers sometimes fear that prospects will shy away from the Great Unknown of costly dishwasher or clothes dryer breakdowns.

So it’s pretty good news that this is one concern that Central MA homeowners and their future customers can do something about. The doubt-remover is a home warranty—the kind of policy that helps shield against the cost of unexpected breakdowns. Massachusetts consumers can choose from a number of home warranty providers, each of whom offer varying levels of protection.

The home warranty companies provide a straightforward proposition: it is a service contract, usually a year in duration that promises to pay if a major system or covered appliance should break down due to normal wear and tear. Some high-end policies offer complete coverage for repairs—or even full replacement if necessary. More inexpensive home warranties may provide less comprehensive coverage or require the use of specified repair services.

Once it’s been determined that the incremental cost is a worthwhile investment, it’s important to read through the previsions about what is covered—and to remember that systems and appliances have to be in good working order at the time the policy is issued. Some of the items commonly included can be the plumbing and electrical systems, furnaces and heating ducts, water heaters, pumps, dishwashers, garbage disposals, cooking appliances, refrigerators, washers and dryers—sometimes, even swimming pools. You can see why checking the scope of coverage is critical for determining the choice of contracts.

Lately, home warranties have grown in popularity—possibly because of timing considerations. H.U.D. says it’s because the protection they offer home buyers comes Buyer 13 mo warranty-1during the critical period immediately following purchase—a time when there is often less extra emergency cash on hand. That can be a critical reassuring factor for Central MA home buyers.

Even more convincing are the statistics from the National Home Warranty Association. If it’s as true for Massachusetts sellers as it is nationally, it’s eye-opening. The NHW finds that when a home warranty is provided as part of the sale, it can help a home sell up to 50% faster.

THIS could come as welcome news if you’ve been undecided about whether this fall will be an opportune time to sell. Even if you’re on the fence, give me a call!…..Realty Ace, LLC

P.S. For a limited time we are offering our buyer and seller clients a complimentary 13 month Home Warranty (conditions apply, call for details!)

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HOW SUPPLY & DEMAND IMPACTS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low & demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to outpace Seller Supply!

Ed Triboski
Designated REALTOR
CRS, GRI, CBR, e-PRO, BPOR, LMC, BROKER
Realty Ace, LLC
(508) 365-4064
“WE PUT THE REAL IN REALTY!” Realty Ace, LLC is dedicated to providing buyers and sellers with the most competent and professional representation possible while helping them achieve their real estate goal of buying or selling real estate.

SEEKING CLARITY ON CENTRAL MA’s FUTURE HOME LOAN INTEREST RATES

Here’s a piece of incoming information that crossed my screen, an item that related to the

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possible direction in which Central MA home loan interest rates might be heading.

The first came from a big national listing aggregator. It seems that once this outfit gets the idea that you are interested in homes, they conclude that it’s your wish to establish an ongoing relationship. They then display all the energy and persistence a large corporation can muster to share their thoughts about this and that. They will continue to email you with regularity until you call, “halt”.

Along with other communications, they sometimes send attention-grabbing questions to everybody on their list, then share the answers from the “community” (that is, everyone who hasn’t begged off yet). Here’s an example question: “Is it better to buy a house right now or wait until 2017?” Since Worcester County’s current home loan interest rates are one of the prime reasons today’s market is so affordable, the posted responses would surely be relevant.

Some were confused (“When interest rates rise, this puts pressure on affordability, which then slows rising house prices…then is the best time to buy”). This commenter apparently hadn’t taken into account the fact that higher home loan interest rates mean higher mortgage payments; definitely not a more attractive time to buy.

A crank in Upstate New York complained that houses around those parts were too spooky and expensive (“housing and all these old, some hunted houses costs easily over 500K”).

Other answers were more philosophical (“it is ALWAYS a personal matter whenever a large purchase is contemplated”). Some claimed dubious expertise (“BUY NOW>>>NEXT YEAR THE PRICE WILL BE GOING EVEN HIRE”). Others were observant (“You should go to grammar school and get some spelling lessons. Seriously”).

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All in all, most did subscribe to the majority view that low home loan interest rates make the current environment genuinely inviting. One writer was defiantly emphatic (“Buy now; waiting costs you more for interest rate and purchase price”).

Answers like that (there were lots of them) made the second source of home loan interest rate news all the more relevant. It came from a source that should supply the most reliable clues to the future direction of rates: the financial press. Unfortunately, after reading many different takes on the breaking news, clearness was in even shorter supply.

Anyway, continued low home loan interest rates could mean smooth sailing for the Central MA’s residential market. And another good reason to give me a call. Come to think of it, if the opposite happens, it’s also a good reason!…..Realty Ace, LLC

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5 TIPS FOR CENTRAL MA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

 

Much of the financial press has been sounding a recurrent theme for a while:

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the complaint that the interest rate slump has left growth-oriented investors with few choices other than a Wall Street gamble. Worcester County investors may find that some degree of risk is tolerable when you have a lifetime of earning ahead of you, but it’s a lot less tempting when the savings from that lifetime of hard work is already in the bank; barely keeping pace with the real inflation rate.

Happily, one of those “few choices” is in our own backyard. A residential real estate investment in Central MA brings with it the built-in peace of mind that comes with an investment that is right here, where you can keep an eye on it. And it also has the additional appeal of offering flexibility in the degree of involvement and control you decide to exercise. With a single- or multiple-family rental property as your Bay State real estate investment, you can either decide to be a property’s hands-on landlord, or choose to play a more passive role by letting one of our home-grown reliable property management companies handle the operational details.

If that is your choice, you can sit back and let the professionals do their job. All you need do is a bit of top-down managing of the managers. Every property has its own unique characteristics, but you will be able to rely on the best property managers to diligently accomplish these “Top 5” performance bench marks:

  1. Keeping in touch. Beyond simply answering your requests and questions, the best property managers report to you on a monthly basis.

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  2. Finding quality tenants. Filling any vacancy in short order (and with good tenants) is one key way professional property managers make it financially worthwhile to employ them. Good tenants are valuable!
  3. Tenant-handling. You should not have to be involved directly with tenant concerns or complaints. An important part of your property manager’s responsibility is addressing repairs or problems rapidly and efficiently.
  4. A stitch in time saves nine is especially apt when it comes to keeping your real estate investment in top shape. That translates into regular inspections, at least once a year, inside; more frequently, outside.
  5. The optimal result of a great Central MA real estate investment is both growth in its underlying value at the same time that positive cash flow is generated. Bottom line: the cost of property management should leave you smiling at the end of the year.

When your real estate investment is handled properly, each of the Top 5 performance bench marks will be met without fail. Of course, what makes it all possible is the sound investment that underlies the whole enterprise which starts with a call to my office!…..Realty Ace, LLC

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WHY SHOULD CENTRAL MA BUYERS AND SELLERS CARE ABOUT BREXIT?

Homeowners who keep an eye on Worcester County mortgage rates had a remarkably

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clear view of what the future is likely to bring. “Brexit” had all but sealed the deal.

Part of the reason for the resurgence in the local real estate market has been the phenomenon of Central MA’s historically low mortgage interest rates. Following 2015’s first rate hike in nine years (and the promise that two or three more were in store for 2016), across the nation, financial commentators foresaw the expected gradual rise in mortgage interest rates to act as a moderating influence on home sales activity. In other words, a market that would slowly grow a bit tighter.

As recently as last April, that had been the common wisdom. That changed. Those who factor mortgage interest rates into their own decision about buying and selling a south central property were doubtless pleased when, recently, some bad news about employment rates triggered good news about the all-but-certain Federal Reserve interest rate hike: it was going to be delayed.

For anyone whose vacations allowed them to remain blissfully unaware of world affairs, “Brexit” was the name given to an election Great Britain held to determine whether or not to remain in the European Union. When the votes came in, the decision was to leave. Exit. This was so completely unexpected that the bottom dropped out of world stock exchanges. Convinced that Brexit would fail, traders had bolstered markets in the days leading up to the vote. Japan’s stock market tumbled 7.9%. Theirs was the most dramatic, but here in the U.S., the Dow fell 3.4%. The British pound dropped; the dollar rose.

The reason Central MA mortgage interest rates could be affected by a distant overseas political event is due to the currency ramifications. When the dollar is seen as more stable

than others, it rises in value. That causes U.S. products sold overseas to become more expensive, producing a drag on the economy. Since growth might falter if the Fed were to add the additional burden of higher interest rates, it seems all but certain that mortgage interest rates will remain where they are for longer than had been assumed. Possibly, for far longer.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that “central banks will bolster growth by easing policies and, in the case of the Federal Reserve, delaying potential rate increases.” Forbes

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headlined “Brexit Makes That Federal Reserve Rate Rise Recede into The Future;” they predicted a future of “near zero interest rates…far longer than expected.” London’s Financial Times went even further, suggesting “the possibility of the Fed reversing last December’s quarter-point rise.” The Washington Post noted that U.S. mortgage interest rates “already hit rock bottom this year…nearly a three-year low.” They quoted one analyst’s post-Brexit observation: “If you’re a borrower, don’t wait to lock your rate as this opportunity may not last long.”

The Brexit phenomenon is certainly not reason enough for anyone to buy or sell a home but when the decision is already in the works, current mortgage interest rates can’t help but make the prospects more attractive. Call me if you are interested in further investigating just how rewarding today’s market can be! I can help connect you with a top-rated lender…..Realty Ace, LLC

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CENTRAL MA MARKET VALUES RARELY EQUAL THEIR REPLACEMENT VALUES

“Ideal” is a Nirvana kind of a word. It’s not just because of its feel good, rainbows in the

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sky definition (“a standard of perfection or excellence”) but because contained right there inside the word itself is a unspoken admission. It’s only an idea, not something necessarily connected to concrete reality.

Worcester County residents don’t come across “ideal” anything very often in their daily routines, so few would be surprised to learn that even in something as important as determining the value of their Central MA residence, the calculation turns out to be less than straightforward. The vagueness owes to the fact that it all depends on how you look at it.

In reality, there are two quite different approaches for determining any home’s value. Ideally, both methods would produce the same value for the same home-grown property. That would be the enlightened outcome, a fine idea but it’s seldom the case. The two methods are the Market Value approach and the Replacement Cost approach. Knowing how and why they differ explains why they yield dissimilar results.

When homeowners examine their home insurance policies, they may find a breakdown of the replacement cost. The face amount of such a policy is meant to cover what the current cost would be to construct a similar building of equal quality, one that would have the same utility as the one that was destroyed. Such factors as materials, labor, the builder’s overhead, profit and fees are probably part of that calculation. In actuality, some of the costs that might be encountered may not be included, though; things like demolition of the old structure, debris removal, licenses and permits. It depends on the policy.

The market value is an estimate of the amount a buyer would pay in today’s market to purchase the same home in its current condition. Right off the bat, you can see that this would include the cost of the land so you might deduce that its market value would automatically be greater than the replacement value. Ideally, that might be true. If the

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home were brand new. But for structures that have been in existence for a while, that may or may not hold true. For a home in less than top condition, the total might be less. Likewise, if the local residential market were in a slump. On the other hand, for older homes having architectural details with fine workmanship that is expensive to duplicate today, the reverse would be true. You get the idea: given the vast number of variables that can influence the difference between market and replacement value calculations, it would be miraculous if the two ever came out the same.

When you are buying, selling or even insuring your MA home, weighing market and replacement values is more than an abstract exercise. I’m here to help with those and many other issues that will help you determine how to make the choices that serve you best. Call me!…..Realty Ace, LLC

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THE ONE QUALITY TO SEEK OUT IN YOUR CENTRAL MA REALTOR®

When you find yourself being drawn to the real estate listings, even only to peek, it’s a

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clue that something big may be on the horizon. Either you’ve begun to think you’ve begun to outgrow your current Central MA home, or you’re just curious about what might be available in case you should decide to up-size, or downsize or to move on because of a professional change that only just may be hanging there as a possibility…

The clue is the twinge of curiosity about those other Worcester County homes, the ones that are out there on the market this summer. It’s always somewhat interesting to see what’s on the market at any time, but if you find yourself visiting the listings more than every once in a while, it’s probably because you sense that you might find your own future somehow entangled with one of them. Or that these could become the competition if you decide to put your own home on the market. If that particular pang sounds like something you recognize, there’s a logical next (post-pang) step: it’s finding an understanding Realtor® to talk things over with.

If you already know and have come to trust one of our area Realtors, that’s a done deal. Call them up! But if that’s not the case, what to do? Finding the right professional may not seem awfully important when you are in the beginning stages or just looking to have a brief chat about what’s going on currently, but there’s another way to look at it. In case you do wind up making an important residential move, even if it doesn’t happen for a while, having been in touch with the right Realtor over an extended period can be a significant benefit when the time comes. Professional relationships strengthen over time, as individuals get to know each other and grow comfortable talking things over. That’s makes for the kind of team-building that’s a hallmark of success in any enterprise.

That being the case, what’s a short and direct way to distinguish a likely candidate for your Realtor? The key to finding a Realtor who is most likely to help you accomplish your goals is to find someone who is genuinely interested in you, your situation, your background, likes, dislikes, and the works! The fact is, selling a home, or buying one, is a uniquely

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personal business transaction. It is not like buying an automobile, because no two residential properties are identical. Buying and selling a home is a life-altering event in which personal likes and dislikes must be taken into account. The right Realtor is one who won’t hesitate to take the time to understand who you are and what are the set of expectations that are uniquely yours. That only happens when you find someone who is interested in more than selling a house. The right Realtor is one who’s thinking how to help you build the future you imagine.

It’s one of the key reasons that being a Realtor is such a satisfying profession. Being able to help a family find the right Central MA home and make it their own is hugely gratifying as is guiding a sale from preparation to closing. Of course, either only happens when I know as specifically as possible where my client’s best hopes reside and that’s not just about listening; but also caring!…..Realty Ace, LLC

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TWO REAL ESTATE TERMS TO LIVE BY WHEN SELLING A HOME

You will find that most advice about preparing your Worcester County house for

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sale features a duo of essential terms: de-clutter, clean, and de-clutter. That’s not a typo: you can’t say ‘de-clutter’ often enough. It has to be emphasized that “clutter” doesn’t necessarily refer to tattered or worn-out items, it means literally everything that doesn’t develop the look and feel of a spacious, ready-to-move-into home.

That’s why this particular definition of “clutter” might include a good-looking leather seat that perfectly matches its recliner, but leaves too little space for walking from the den into the kitchen. How about the large living room tapestry that doesn’t match anything else in the house, or the armoire in the hall that holds all the winter stuff. That armoire and/or the winter gear ought to find a temporary home in a less prominent place.

In other words, when you have a house for sale in Central MA, clearing away non-essentials to emphasize spaciousness is a high priority even if it might mean sacrificing some degree of livability. Yes, you DO have to continue to live in your house, so the de-cluttering has to be within reason. Likewise, the cleaning.

Now; about the cleaning.

There is cleaning, the kind we do all the time but then there is also “deep cleaning.” Like “de-cluttering,” “deep cleaning” is a real estate watchword invoked by everyone writing about preparing a house for sale. The phrase would seem to be clear, but it needs to be pointed out that professionals usually do a better job of it than we civilians can. They simply see dirt that normal householders don’t; and also somehow manage to get rid of it a lot quicker than we can.

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The finer points of deep cleaning include being in possession of an assortment cleaning tools and substances that aren’t found in every closet. But in addition to those, it takes a dirt cop’s eye to recognize the many areas that are easily overlooked:

Light bulbs. Trash cans. Drawer organizers. Bed skirts. Dishwasher and washing machine seals. Undersides of cushions. Ceiling fan blades. Beneath the range, beneath the refrigerator, behind the toilet…etc.

You get the best results when your south central house for sale is presented in a way that invites prospective buyers to easily envision living there. Open spaces that are in order and clean invite them to do just that. I’m here, too, to help with ideas and suggestions that will prove to make the entire process as easy as possible. Why not give me a call?…..Realty Ace, LLC

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