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How Home Sellers Can Maximize Buyer Offers

Today’s market can be a difficult one for many sellers to navigate. While your real estate agent can advise you, the ultimate decision of what offer to accept is entirely up to you.

This decision can come with quite a bit of pressure. Even in the most favorable of markets this can be a difficult time. How do you know when to accept an offer?

maximize offers
Here are some questions to consider:

•  Is the buyer pre-qualified/approved? Selling will require an investment of time and money. You may need to find a new home or a temporary rental. There’s nothing worse than buying a new house only to find out the deal to sell yours has fallen through.

•  Do you need to move? The urgency of your move may dictate what offer you accept. Many sellers need to move quickly for a new job. You may need to sell to avoid foreclosure. If you are in a rush, you may need to accept an offer that is less than ideal.

•  How much do you owe? You don’t want to sell your home at a loss. And be sure to take closing costs into consideration. Many markets experienced high levels of depreciation over the last year. If you are underwater on your loan, now may not be the time to sell.

•  What is the market climate? Are you likely to get another offer? How long has your home been on the market? Have you had many showings? All of these are factors to consider when contemplating what offer to accept.

Above all, ask yourself if this offer was a reasonable offer. There are buyers that may attempt to low ball you. They may see that your home has been on the market longer than your competition. They may know that it’s a strong buyers market. In response they offer a much smaller amount for your home than it is worth. You are not obligated to accept these low ball offers. However, if you are in need of selling now, every offer warrants consideration or a counter offer.
In the end, you must accept an offer that works for you. You may be willing to accept a lower amount in exchange for a faster closing date. Or you may wish to hold out for the highest dollar amount.

Written by Carla Hill, RealtyTimes

Buying Home Direct

Why Direct Deals Are Bad for the Seller?

Ooh, a direct deal. That’s when the home buyer is not represented by an agent so the listing agent works directly with the buyer. Every agent wants a direct deal so they can keep double the commission. And sellers like it because often, without a co-broke, the commission will be cut (say from 5% to 4%).

Buying Home DirectListing agent makes more money while seller pays less commission, so what is the problem?

I don’t like direct deals and I think they are a rotten situation for sellers!

This unconventional piece of wisdom comes from years of experience, and has recently been reenforced during a condo sale.

At an open house I hosted two weeks ago a buyer came to me and wanted to write the offer directly with me. The next day We met, sat down, wrote the offer….well, most of it.

First, by law, I had to disclose to the buyer that I work for the seller. With this in mind, we started the money conversation.

Buyer wanted to offer well under the asking price. As I discuss the price with her, she listens, she nods, and she says (I paraphrase), “You work for the seller, why should I listen to you?”

As someone representing the seller, I do not have the authority to represent any price but the full asking price. I am not free to negotiate money which is not mine. Which is besides the fact I thought the asking price was reasonable.

As I asked her to sign the offer, she hesitates, “You know, maybe I should have my own agent review this.”

I asked her if she knew anyone, she does, she calls and books an appointment with this other agent immediately.

Two hours later, I received an offer from this buyer through her buyer’s agent. It was a much higher, much better offer. It reflected a buyer who understood the market and the process.

Seems to defy logic, that a buyer’s agent will write a much better offer than the seller’s agent?

The fact is, as long as my ficuciary obligation is to the seller, nothing I say to a buyer carries much weight. I may be giving excellent and honest advice, but none of it can be contrary to my clients best interests, or what they tell me to represent.

A buyer knows there is a choice to be represented, and once she is aware of the fact she is not, hesitation sets in. Buying a condo is a bit complex and expensive.

By seeking reprentation, the buyer agent is there through the whole transaction to explain everyting, and ensure the buyer understands it. The buyer receives advice congruent with her interests, and thus she is a more informed and eager.

Financially my client is ahead because the home buyer trusted her agent’s advice – a trust I can’t instill as someone representing the seller.

An educated, well represented buyer will make stronger offers, take the transaction more seriously, and is much more likely to close.

Isn’t that the goal?

Three Most Important Contingencies When Buying a Condo

Are you working with a Realtor on your home purchase in Boston? I certainly hope so!  If you are going at it alone, you may overlook the most important contingencies when buying a condo.  In Massachusetts there are two contingencies written into the offer to purchase paperwork.  But what’s not in the standard offer is the most important when buying a condo.  Row of brick houses in Boston

Here are the three contingencies you must have in your offer to buy a condo:

1. Inspection Contingency.  Conduct an inspection with a licensed inspector who comes highly recommended.  You will have 7-10 days (including weekends) to conduct this inspection. Ensure you receive the report in a timely manner, and if you need more time, file for an contingency extension.

2. Financing / Mortgage Contingency.  Unless you are paying cash, you will probably have a mortgage contingency in your offer.  The standard paperwork has it built into the offer.  Usually, roughly a month to six weeks after the offer is accepted.  If you are closing quickly, you’ll have to get it done sooner.  Don’t forget to submit your completed mortgage application in accordance with the deadline in the offer.  If you read carefully through the paperwork, you’ll find the buyer’s obligation to file an application by a specified day.  If not done on time you jeopardize the validity of the mortgage contingency.

3. Condominium Documents Review.  Although not included in the standard paperwork, the condo document review is in my opinion the most important contingency when buying a condo.  It allows you time to read through the condominium documents and financial statements, and pass them on to your attorney to look for anything out of the ordinary.

Why is this so important?  You will learn about the financial health of the building, rules and regulations, and a lot more detail about how the condo association functions.      If the building is in a dismal financial situation and poorly run, expect the value of the condo to deteriorate or the association to have large expenses in the near term.  Furthermore, the mortgage company may reject your application if the building has low owner occupancy or lack of funds.

When including the condominium documents review contingency, don’t forget to specify the documents will be provided within two business days.  The listing broker should have them ready before the condo goes on market, so this should not be a problem.

Writing an offer to purchase a condo requires thought and preparation. Learn the contingencies and don’t depend on standard paperwork alone to protect your interests.

 

buying a home

Three Signs Your Buyer Agent is Not Very Good

Stop your home search, start your buyer agent search!  If you are not getting results, find a better agent.

In the seller’s market, working with a hard working competent buyers agent is necessary in order to buy a property at the right price.

buying a home

Is Your Real Estate Agent Asleep At The Wheel?

Yet many buyers are failing at securing a home, and buyers are getting caught up in the stressful and intense market.

Here are three signs your buyers agent may not be your ideal advocate, and perhaps it’s time to switch.

1. Your agent is waiting to see what comes up on MLS.  If this is the only strategy employed to find a home, that’s not enough in the hot real estate markets such as Brookline and Newton.  Whether working with property investors or home buyers, a buyer’s agent can do other things to look for the right property, including networking and sending mailings to neighborhoods.

2. Your agent is not asking hard questions.  Your agent should ask you questions that force you to examine your price range, timing and every possible angle of the home buying decisions.  An experienced agent knows buyers don’t always buy what they say they will.  Such an agent thinks outside the criteria you have, finding alternatives, and presenting options and possibilities.

3. Your agent does not prepare you for the market and set expectations.  You should know what to expect when you are ready to make an offer, and be prepared for rejections.  When you choose a home you like is NOT the time for your primary real estate education.  You must be ready to go.  Finding the right home is the last step of the home search process, not the first.

Don’t get stuck with a buyers agent who isn’t servicing you.  If buying a home is important, do it right or expect it will go terribly wrong.

contingency to sell home

Contingency to Sell Home: Selling a Condo and Buying a House in Boston

contingency to sell home

Caught Between Two Properties?

If you need to sell your condo in order to buy a house in Brookline, Newton and the Greater Boston area, you are not alone. With housing so expensive, not many can manage to keep both mortgages, or pay for the house without the proceeds from the condo.

A contingency to sell your home is a common way to protect you in this situation. You make an offer with a contingency on an accepted offer, purchase and sale, or closing of the condo you are selling.

Sounds like a plan, right? WRONG!

In today’s market you are competing with other buyers, and a contingency to sell a home is a great way to RUIN your chances of securing the property of your choice. Put your home-seller thinking cap for prospective for a moment.

An offer with a contingency to sell a home is a high risk offer. Regardless of the type of property to sell or how easily it will sell, it is far removed from the seller and the seller’s agent. Furthermore, such an offer is likely to have delays and it comes with too many unknowns. Why accept such an offer when there are better ones on the table, or will be coming?

It is worth it for the seller to wait for another offer while you work on selling your condo. From the seller’s point of view, you can come back after you sold and your offer will be accepted then. Why risk taking the home off market now?

So what do you do when selling a condo and buying a house in the Boston area, with our current market conditions?

1. HIRE AN AGENT who has done this several times and knows how to protect your interests while securing a property.
2. Work on selling first and prepare to buy quickly once you have a P&S in hand.
3. Sell first, with a flexible closing so you have time to find your new home.
4. Work with your agent and mortgage broker. You may be able to take a bit of risk and make an offer without selling and without a contingency. Learn all the facts and how it may work.
5. Present an offer with a very long closing giving you time to sell the condo first

The bottom line is that you will have to stay flexible. You may or may not have to take financial risk – it depends on the properties, finances and closing dates. Most importantly, hire a real estate agent who knows how to work under pressure and protect your interests.

Feel free to schedule a free consultation to learn how to best manage your risk while buying and selling a home.

Cleveland Circle Condo with Parking

Recently Sold Condos in Brighton MA

The Brighton MA condo market is hot and getting hotter!  Homes recently sold in Cleveland Circle and near Wholefoods were on market for little time and many sold for over asking.  Here are a few recent condo sales, I represented the sellers on all of these.

Cleveland Circle Condo with Parking

8 Kinross Road Unit #A

Asking Price: $239,00   Sale Price: $241,500  Sale Date: March 14th 2013   Days on market: 2     Number of offers: 2

Basement unit, huge 786 sf one bedroom condo with parking in a high owner occupancy building with a pet loving policy.  Located near Cleveland Circle.

 

Cleveland Circle Condo for Sale

137 A Sutherland Road

Asking Price: $260,00  Sale Price: $265,500  Sale Date: January 28th 2013  Days on market: 6     Number of offers: 5

First floor of a two family house near Cleveland Circle.  Large open one bedroom with exposed brick, private deck and in-unit laundry.

 

Brighton Townhouse for Sale

 22 Abby Road #3

Asking Price: $439,000  Sale Price: $452,000  Sale Date: February 28th 2013  Days on market: 5     Number of offers: 7

Not your typical condo, this Brighton Mills townhouse was built in 2006 and features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  Minutes to Harvard Square!

If you want a complete list of recently sold condos in Brighton MA, feel free to complete the form below or call me at 617.807.0471.

How Can I help?

Ask your real estate questions and I'll get back to you as fast as I can. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*
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Brighton Townhouse for Sale

Townhouse in Brighton MA: 22 Abbey Road #3

Brighton Townhouse for Sale22 Abbey Road #3 is a young Brighton townhouse for sale, offering a rare opportunity minutes from Harvard Square!

SOLD $452,000.  Brighton MA is often overlooked by home buyers searching for a condo in Cambridge MA.  Sometimes we forget how Brighton and Allston border Cambridge separated only by the Charles River.  Some people don’t know Brighton used to part of of Cambridge until the late 19th century.  Bostonians (like myself) choose to forget Brighton used to be called Little Cambridge.

If you are priced out of your search of a Harvard Square condo for sale, it’s hard to believe you can find a beautiful young townhouse with all the amenities you can fathom, and stay within your budget.  22 Abbey Road #3 in Brighton offers you the incredibly rare combination of luxury, convenience and affordability.

This home is ideal for commuting into Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, and Arlington.  It has easy access to Storrow Drive and the Mass Pike.  From Abbey Road, you are minutes away from the Arsenal Mall and even closer to the Brighton Mills shopping area.   I timed a six minute drive to Harvard Square in heavy traffic!

22 Abbey Road #3 feature:

  • 2006 Construction
  • 1515 Square feet
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2.5 baths
  • Full basement easily finished
  • Private deck and large shared yard
  • Two parking space
  • End unit with plenty of sunshine
  • Cathedral ceilings in the master suite
  • Open floor plan
  • Stainless steel & granite kitchen
The Neighborhood:
Brighton Mills and Lower Allston have enjoyed a revival as Harvard University expands into Boston.  The Charlesview Residences are being rebuilt along with parks and 14,000 square feet of retail space.

 

[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=203959189595710566430.0004d35e5ba28ba374ac1&msa=0&ll=42.367074,-71.141496&spn=0.024542,0.061798 width=600 height=300 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

 

22 Abbey Road #3 in Brighton in one of few townhouses available in the area.  On market Thursday 1/17/2013 and showings start Saturday.   Price: $439,000.

Call or write with questions, or feel free to leave comments below if you want to learn more. Don’t delay.

Banish the Boston Condo Search Overwhelm!

Are you totally overwhelmed by the idea of looking for a condo in Boston?  Are you curious, and just don’t know how to start looking?  If you are regularly thinking about becoming a first time homebuyer, but don’t know what to expect, t
his post is for you.

When prospective first time homebuyers are curious about Boston area condos, I suggest the following steps to overcome homebuyer overwhelm and make sense of the idea of becoming a condo owner.

First, choose some areas you think you’ll enjoy.  Condos in Boston greatly very  in prices and styles so narrowing down your search to specific neighborhoods is important.  If you’ve been searching  on Zillow or Trulia for condos in Boston , Cambridge, or Somerville, no wonder you are overwhelmed.  Just narrowing the search by price range will not be enough.

Second, go look at condos during Sunday open houses with absolutely no expectations to buy.  Open houses serve such a purpose for buyers, while you have an opportunity to meet real estate agents who may be eager to be helpful.  Focus on one or two areas per weekend to make good use of your time.  You’ll learn the area, different types of homes, and start developing a sense of home values.

Third, hire a real estate agent.  We are here to help, even in you very early stages of the search.  In fact, we can make the search a bit easier for you by focusing your efforts, and giving you step-by-step input and advice.  Hire someone you like and trust, and fire someone who is not doing her job.

Do not try and make sense of the real estate market online.  The web is a great resource for information about homes and for open house schedules.  But to learn what your Boston neighborhood has to offer, you’ll have to go do some offline searching.

Even if you feel you are far from buying, and just browsing, I’d love to see you at any of my open houses!

Customize you home search here.

 

Cleveland Circle Condos

Accepted Offer, Open House and Annoyed Buyers

Cleveland Circle CondosI annoyed many people on Sunday.  After an offer was accepted, I went ahead and hosted an open house.  Why would I host an open house if I have an accepted offer?  Isn’t it a waste of time for me and the prospective buyers?
Before you go huffing and puffing because you came to a condo too late, let me suggest to you this open house wasn’t wasteful for the buyers or the seller.
Why isn’t an open house after an offer was accepted a waste of time for buyers?
First, as a buyer, looking at property is never a waste of time!  Every property you see makes you wiser about the market.  How can that be bad?  Several buyers learned the nature of the market, and the necessity to move quickly on properties.  Don’t wait for an open house if you are serious about buying a home.
Not all buyers will like the property.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of prospective buyers coming through an open house are not a match to the property.  This is true of every open house everywhere.  Going to open houses helps buyers shape the criteria list, narrow down the search and become more focused.  It is likely you wouldn’t have bought it anyway.
Several times I was asked some version of the question, “What is the purpose of this open house?”
Remember, I work for the seller.  It is my job to generate as much interest for her condo as possible.  Even if we accepted an offer, who’s to say the buyers and sellers won’t have a falling out.  These days, transactions are falling apart and often don’t close.  This is why backup offers are commonplace.   Another buyer can put an offer on the property,  ready to be accepted by the seller, should the previous offer fall through.  Between inspection, tight credit, and human indecisiveness, deals are fragile.
Lastly, and most importantly, wouldn’t you rather have a friendly face greet you at the property than a sign on the door that says, “open house canceled?”  It was a pleasure greeting every single person who walked through the doors today.  That’s what being a real estate agent is all about.
Learn your market, and don’t wait for open houses when you are ready to buy a home.  If you want to learn about my listings before they debut on Multiple Listing Service, follow me on twitter @bostonruth or better yet, come join the fun at G+.