Blog :: 2017

Selling Agent vs Listing Agent

When it comes to buying or selling a home you will need to contact a Realtor in Waltham, MA. As you look through the real estate market, you will find the house of your dreams if you are looking buy, or find a buyer as you sell your home. Whether you are looking to buy a home or sell your home, you will encounter either a selling agent or a listing agent. As both agents are similar, they do perform certain tasks depending on what you are trying to do in the real estate market. I will be discussing what each agent will bring to the table in your real estate journey in Waltham, MA.

Listing Agent

This listing agent is sometimes referred to as the seller’s agent, which is an agent that is going to work exclusively with the seller of a house. If you decide that you want to put your home on the market, you will need to contact a listing agent to let them know you want to sell your home. Once you set up your meeting with the agent, they will evaluate the property, run a market analysis on the home and will provide the seller with information needed to start the selling process. The type of information that is given to the seller by the agent is a range of the home’s value in which the sellers will have to come to an agreement on how much to list that property for.

The agent will then market the house for the seller in the real estate market and post on all listing websites. Listing agents specialize in this area so it is a great route to take to get the best listing, value, and lead generation while you are trying to sell your home. The listing agent will also conduct open houses on your property to allow people to visualize themselves in the home to sell it faster.

Selling Agent

The selling agent, which sometimes goes hand in hand with the listing agent, but is also referred to as the buyer’s agent. This is because the selling agent represents the buyer when one is looking to purchase a property. Once you find an agent to your liking, you will tell them everything you are looking for to find your dream home and they will do what they can to find you exactly what you are looking for. If you find a home you are interested in, then the agent will set up a showing for you to look through the home. The agent will then get in contact with the listing agent who has the home on the MLS to get all the information on the property as needed. If you ultimately decide to move forward with the home in question then the selling agent will take your offer to the listing agent. From there you will begin the closing process if your offer is accepted.


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    Pros & Cons of Investing in a Fixer Upper

    When it comes to purchasing homes in Waltham, MA, one of the popular and more cost-effective routes to take is investing in a fixer upper. A fixer upper is a home that needs either minor or significant rehabilitation before it can be used as intended. These types of properties are often purchased by those who have the intention of “flipping” the home. While fixer uppers save you money initially, they can also have risks and turn into a money pit rather than an investment. Before deciding on buying a fixer upper home, you should consider the pros and cons of this type of investment.


    Less Competition

    In the real estate market, finding a good, nice, and essentially “perfect” home can be tough since nearly every other buyer is looking for the same qualities. Homebuyers want to purchase a property that is move-in ready, not a project they have to work on before moving in. This is true for both single and multifamily properties as investors do not want to buy a liability. This is where fixer uppers become a popular path as you will be dealing with a sliver of the real estate market population. Instead of competing with 100 percent of the market you will only be dealing with about 10 percent of those who are willing to look at fixer upper homes.

    Forced Appreciation

    Appreciation is the concept that properties tend to gain value over time. With fixer uppers, you can change the period of the property’s appreciation. This can be done by the effect of the rehabilitation on the house. This is where the “investing” aspect of fixer uppers comes into play. Say you buy a fixer upper home for $262,000 that needs flooring, painting, foundation, and other expenses. This could run you an additional $40,000 dollars. You now have a home that has $302,000 invested into it, which could look bad. When it comes time to sell your Waltham, MA home, you could sell it at a much higher rate than what you initially purchased it as. You can then sell the $262,000 house for $432,000 or more, giving you a very good profit margin. The more you put into your fixer upper, the more you will potentially get in return.

    Potentially More Cash Flow

    As mentioned earlier, buying a fixer upper home allows you to buy a property for far less than other homes on the real estate market. If you purchase a home at full value, you will pay a mortgage that will constitute the full price of the home. This can diminish the amount of cash flow you have for other necessities of your life. However, with a fixer upper home, you will only be paying a mortgage for the property that you bought. Going back to the earlier example, you will have more cash flow as you will have a home worth $432,000 but only be paying the mortgage of the $262,000 you originally purchased. The same applies for those looking to rent out a home. You would rent it for what a $432,000 house would rent for but only be paying the mortgage of a $262,000 home.


    Hidden Expenses

    With fixer upper homes, you go in knowing that there will be some maintenance or rehabilitation that will need to be done. This is where preparation and planning come into play as you can plan the expenses you will need to have to form the home of your dream. However, when it comes to doing the work needed to spruce up the place, you may encounter more problems than you had originally thought there was. It is hard to accurately estimate the totally rehab cost of a project. You may find out that while redoing the kitchen the whole house needs new electrical work. When considering a fixer upper home, you should be prepared for any unexpected expenses to occur.


    Home improvement projects, to some, can be peaceful getaways but for most they are stressful but necessary jobs that need to be done. From the first swing of the hammer to the final change of locks, the stress that can come from rehabbing a home can be overwhelming. If you plan to do the work yourself, then you will need to prepare for cuts, bruises and a lot of time and stress put into project. Outsourcing the work can be just as stressful as contractors will say one thing and do another, miss deadlines, and sometimes produce low quality work.

    More Out-Of-Pocket Costs

    Budgeting while rehabbing a home is difficult and can throw your analysis of the overall project out the window. This happens as you spend more money than intended as well as different aspects of the rehab taking longer than expected. Depending on your situation, you can go from an investment to a money pit.


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      Final Walk Through Check List Before Closing

      When it comes around to the closing time during the home buying process, you will want to have a final walk through. A lot of the time, due to time constraints, home buyers will skip this step-in order to just get the house. This is not recommended as you should always have a final walk through for many reasons. What makes a final walk through crucial is the fact that anything can happen between the days you agreed on the house to the actual closing day.

      The purpose of the final walk through is to make sure that the property is in the condition you agreed to buy are still in place. Such conditions include any repairs you requested be made before the sale of the house. In addition, it is a way to notice anything that may not have been present at the initial walk through of the house.

      At many times, previous homeowners will move out before closing to move into their new home and to make sure the moving-in process for the new owners is as easy as possible. While being a good gesture, leaving a house vacant for a period could run the risk of problems arising. For instance, if there was a plumbing blockage until the new owners arrived and not everything was removed when they moved in, the house that was just bought could be flooded. Causing a slew of payments and repairs to be had at the start of a new chapter in the new homeowner’s life.

      Here is a Check List to Review When Performing the Final Walk Through

      • Turn on and off every light fixture.
      • Run water & look under sinks for leaks.
      • Test all appliances.
      • Check garage door openers.
      • Open and close all doors.
      • Flush toilets.
      • Inspect ceilings, wall, and floors.
      • Run garbage disposal and exhaust fans.
      • Test heating and air conditioning.
      • Open and close windows.
      • Make sure all debris is removed from the home.


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        6 Errors to Avoid When Having an Open House

        6 Errors to Avoid When Having an Open House

        When it comes to the big decision to move, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. You need to collaborate with a Realtor who can help sell your home and assist with purchasing a new property. When it comes to selling your home, in addition to competing with other homes prices, you want to get the best value for your home.

        With an experienced Waltham Realtor, you will get the best price for your home based on the true worth of your home. One of the most important parts of the selling process is the open house. This is where that ever-so-important first impression is made, as potential buyers walk through your home envisioning their family residing in the house. When you are ready to have open houses, there are some things you will want to avoid. Below are six errors to avoid when having an open house when selling your house in Waltham, MA.

        Don’t Leave Your Home Dirty or Cluttered

        Even though it seems like common sense when having an open house, you will be surprised by some of the clutter homeowners forget to clean before a showing. Having a cluttered and dirty home for a showing is the biggest mistake you can make and will ensure a lack of sale for your home. Some people think buyers will overlook your clutter and focus on the potential of the home with their vision. However, this is an assumption you should avoid making. Things that tend to be overlooked by homeowners in Waltham, MA are beds, closets and small amounts of clutter that may not seem significant.

        They may not seem to be major areas to clean but they should not be overlooked. If there seems to be uncleanliness in the house, they may be turned away. Make sure your bed is made before the showing, your closets are uncluttered and cleaned out, and picking up any pile of clutter on the ground is critical.

        The Exterior Matters

        When people think of open houses they think of only looking at the inside of a house. This mindset has them making the interior of their home looking spotless, while forgetting about the outside of the house. You should take into consideration that potential buyers will be outside and that people like to have a good-looking house inside and out.

        To prep for this, plant some flowers along the house or in a garden. Clear up your driveway and make it look welcoming, get rid of any items on your roof or in your backyard. You can also trim shrubs and bushes around your house if you have them, especially if they are blocking windows. Essentially you will want to remove anything you may think will turn a potential home buyer away from your house.

        Plan Something the Day of Your Open House

        Some homeowners ask to be present during an open house. They feel like they can answer questions about the home since they previously lived there, promote the house and to make sure all goes smoothly. However, by being at your own open house you are just hindering your chances of selling the property more than helping them. This is because buyers will not say what they are truly thinking because they know the owner is there. They may feel pressured to only say nice things without being true to themselves.

        If you are working with a good real estate agent in Waltham, MA you will want to have them handle the open house. They are the professionals after all, with knowledge of how to close deals and make sure buyers are pulled in the right direction.

        No Kids & No Pets

        Children and pets are adorable and put a smile on everyone’s face, but they should not be around during an open house. You do not want to be in a situation where you are showing a house and there is an accident that happens that could distract buyers. Having a dog barking while providing vital information to buyers during a showing could be annoying. Avoid that worst-case scenario all together by having any pets out of the house.

        During a showing, you want the full attention of buyers to be on the house and the agent providing the information. Not to have the buyer’s attention be on your cute children or pets.

        Remove Photos & Religious/Political Accessories

        The purpose of a showing is to attract a buyer to agree to purchase your house for sale in Waltham, MA. To do that, they need to picture their family inside of the house and not yours. By having too many photos around the house of your family, you are defeating the purpose of them picturing their family when all they can see is yours.

        Another thing to consider is if you have anything around your house that signifies your political or religious beliefs. A neutral atmosphere is the best kind of atmosphere for your house to have when there is an open house. Buyers do not care for your beliefs, so get rid of anything that could be a distraction and takes away from the value of the home.

        Have No Limitations

        Everyone knows that a house should look its best during a showing to sell your home. Do whatever you can to make every room in your house inviting, clutter free and clean. You do not want to limit your buyers to the amount of rooms they can see. It could potentially be their house one day, so there shouldn’t be a room they cannot enter during an open house. Take the time to fully clean every room top to bottom if you are looking to sell your home.


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          Five Mistakes to Avoid For First-Time Home Buyers Part 2

          Earlier we discussed the first five mistakes to avoid when buying a house in Waltham, MA. Below are five more additional mistakes to avoid if you are a first-time home buyer on the hunt.

          1. Not Getting Pre-Approved For A Loan – If you want to be taken seriously when you are looking for a home to buy it is good to have a pre-approved letter from a lender. This ensures the seller that a lender has looked over your financial situation and is comfortable with giving you the rest of the money you need to pay off the house.
          2. Paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – When buying a house, you will have to put down at least 20%, if not, then you will have to pay PMI. It is always better to not go this route which is why realtors advise to save enough money for the down payment. A lot of first-time buyers do pay this insurance so if you do, let your lender know when you pay down your mortgage and owe just 80% of the home’s value. The lender will then automatically cancel your PMI when you owe 78%, that way you aren’t paying a month more than you should.
          3. Not Checking the Homeowner’s Insurance Price – If you are looking for a beach home then you want to make sure you can afford the insurance of that home. Beach homes and homes located near a fault line, have a pool and other factors may have higher insurance rates. Before settling on your dream home, make sure that it fits your financial budget.
          4. Not Checking Your Credit Score – To buy a home, you need to have a good credit score. One of the worst feelings is finding your dream home but not being able to buy a house in Waltham, MA because of your credit score. Sometimes, credit reports contain errors that can show that you have late payments when you don’t which could hurt your score and chances of landing your home. Make sure to check your credit at least three months prior to starting the house hunting process. That way you can find any errors, contact the credit bureau, and get the errors fixed.
          5. Not Getting a Home Inspection – When looking for a home to buy, you want to make sure to get the home inspected. Regardless, if the home is new or not, an inspection is something you want to do. Some home buyers skip this step as they are so emotionally attached that they want it regardless. If your home of interest has issues, you’ll want the seller to fix those issues before the sale or ask for a lower price. A lot of first-time home buyers may be afraid to ask about fixing issues but the reality is the buyers who ask for more often get more.


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            Five Mistakes to Avoid for First Time Home Buyers Part 1

            If you’re a first-time home buyer, buying a house can be an overwhelming process. With an agent by your side, you will have amazing knowledge of the community and real estate market to help guide you to your dream home. Realtors can help immensely when you are buying a house in Waltham, MA as there are many amazing homes to choose from. Below are five common first-time home buyer mistakes to try to avoid when looking for a home to buy in Waltham, MA.

            1. Getting Emotionally Attached – Getting emotionally attached to one house is not best practice when house hunting. This is because there will be more aggressive buyers, and there are a lot of houses to choose from. If your first choice doesn’t work out, it is always good to have a few houses you are optimistic about.
            2. Finding The Home Yourself – Relying solely on your own research when buying a home in Waltham, MA is another mistake to avoid. Think of it like you are giving yourself a self-diagnosis, you aren’t the expert so you could be looking at houses that may look good online but not in person. An established real estate agent can help find you the best homes in Waltham, MA as well as finding homes that may not be on the market. The agent can also tell you anything and everything about the home in question to make your search easier.
            3. Go Directly To The Listing Agent – If you are thinking of going to a listing agent when you buy a house in Waltham, MA you may want to consider otherwise. This is because they represent the seller and not you. Knowing this, the agent may not always look for what fits your needs because they are focusing on making the sale for the seller.
            4. Assuming You Have No Rules To Follow – One of the benefits of owning your home is the feeling of freedom, freedom from getting out of someone else’s roof and having a place of your own. However, some homes do have deed restrictions that come with conditions you need to abide by. Make sure to check with your agent to see if the home in question has any deed restrictions. If so, get a copy and read them to see if there are any pet restrictions, if the neighbors are paying assessments and more.
            5. Not Saving Enough – Finally closing on a house but not having enough money saved up is a horrible a feeling. Make sure to save up more than just the down payment. Realtors advise having about two to three months’ worth of mortgage payments saved up in addition to your down payment. In addition to house payments, you want to make sure you save up enough money for appliances, tools, and other necessities you will need after buying your new home in Waltham, MA.



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              7 Ways to Cut Costs This Summer

              New England weather is recognized for being all over the place and anything but constant, especially in the summer. The temperature can look consistent but with the added humidity, the weather could feel like it’s ten times hotter than it is. This will tempt homeowners to turn their thermostats down and cool the house. However, the additional cost of cooling your home in the summer can dig into your savings over time. To fix this, here are seven ways to cut costs while still staying cool in the summer.

              1. Keep Windows Closed & Covered During the Day – If your home has a lot of windows then light and warmth can enter your home easily. This is perfect for the winter but not so much in the summer. During the day, it’s a good idea to block the heat and light by closing and covering your windows. This allows your room to stay dark and cool during the humid, summer months.
              2. Open Windows at Night – Everyone knows that the temperature drops throughout the night. Knowing this, opening your windows at night to let the cool breeze in your room is a great way to cut costs.
              3. Use A Ceiling Fan – A ceiling fan is another wonderful alternative to keep your home ventilated and circulated throughout the year. In the summer, set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise as the breeze will make your room feel about eight degrees cooler.
              4. Don’t Use Heat Generating Appliances – If you want to cut costs and prevent added heat in your home, try not to use your oven, stove or other appliances that will emit heat. If this is something that cannot happen, utilizing the laundry room fan or hood fan of your stove is a good way to cool off the area after using the appliance.
              5. Use Less A/C – If using the above tips work but you still need to run the A/C daily, try running it only when you’re home as you won’t be wasting energy or money by cooling your home when you are out of the house.
              6. Use A Smart Thermostat – Most modern heating and cooling units have programmable thermostats, so consider purchasing one if your thermostat is not programmable. These smart thermostats enable the user to remotely increase or decrease the temperature. In addition, these thermostats will learn your habits and adjust your home’s temperature accordingly, such as shutting off during certain hours you are not home. These devices have been known to save homeowners up to 15 percent in annual heating and cooling costs.
              7. Get An Energy Use Inspection – Whether you are a homeowner or are renting, power companies will come to your home and conduct free energy use inspections. These inspections can tell you where your money is going as well as give you recommendations on ways to cut your bills.


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                Benefits of Buying a House in Waltham, MA

                Moving is a major process and step in your life, and one of the biggest decisions you make is what town you want to move to. With this decision, many factors come into mind when deciding on a home town such as demographics, school systems, public transportation and much more. Another factor is how close a town or city is to the main city or capital of a state. For Massachusetts, Boston is a very attractive place for those ready to move. However, rent can be expensive as well as the area being over crowded. Homeowners often look to surrounding towns such as Waltham, MA when getting closer to the city of Boston. The city already has a base of families but it is now becoming an attractive location for young professionals as apartments are being built in Waltham, MA.

                Waltham, MA Attractions

                Waltham’s prime location on the Charles River splits the amenities of the city right down the middle. The northern part of the city is where you will find the lovely shops and buildings of Waltham Center. To the south you have many dining opportunities along the renowned Moody Street. Just like with Boston, Waltham is evolving into a more modern city with luxury apartments and contemporary homes being constructed. A quarter of Waltham residents were born outside of the U.S., which influences the many restaurants and eateries in the area. From Italian cuisine to Spanish tapas to Irish pubs, there are a slew of delicious restaurants to choose from.

                Waltham Life

                When you buy a house in Waltham, MA you are not only getting a remarkable home but you are getting the amazing Waltham lifestyle. The position of the city and the Charles Rivers gives residents access to walking and bike trails that run directly into Boston. During the summer, you will see many fishermen waiting for their big catch, runners, cyclists, and rowing clubs making the best of the great summer weather of Waltham, MA. If you are looking for a more formal way of getting into the city, Waltham has many bus routes, highways, and train stations that will connect you with Boston and other surrounding suburbs.

                For those looking to start a family in Waltham, you can rest assure that your child will be well-educated due to the town’s impeccable school system. In fact, Waltham schools are ranked among the state’s middle-tier and continues to trend upwards. Waltham is also home to two prestigious universities – Bentley University and Brandeis University.


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                  The Importance of Having Your Home Tested For Radon During a Real Estate Transaction

                  Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that cannot be detected without a radon test. The EPA strongly urges homeowners and other property owners to test for radon and to install a radon mitigation system if radon levels are at or over 4 pCi/L. When inhaling this much radon, overtime, you could potentially develop lung cancer.

                  I Had Low Levels of Radon Two Years Ago, is This Necessary?

                  The short answer, yes. Two years ago, your radon level could have been 2 pCi/L, last month it could have reached 4.5 pCi/L, and today your home could have a radon level of 6.1 pCi/L. Radon isn’t a static measurement, rather, it tends to fluctuate depending on changes in the outdoor environment, renovations to your home, and other factors.

                  If you’re ready to sell your home and think your radon level is fine, you really need to update your knowledge. Of course, you can always leave this in the hands of the buyers when they have a home inspection. But why wait? If you’re a home seller, you’ll want to fix up your home to prepare it for sale, so why not test the home for radon prior to listing the property?

                  Why It’s Such a Smart Move to Test Your Home Before Listing

                  Nothing is more frustrating than finding the home of your dreams only to hit a stumbling block during the home inspection, such as finding out it has a serious radon problem. So, if you don’t want this to occur for potential buyers of your home, go ahead and get your house tested and mitigated, if necessary. Even though taking care of radon is often a quick and relatively inexpensive fix with the right radon contractor, you really want to avoid having home buyers back out of the deal when you could have made radon a nonissue.

                  I Found High Levels of Radon – Now What?

                  Radonaway logoIf your radon test results show a radon level at or over 4 pCi/L, get in touch with RadonAway for a referral to an expert radon mitigation contractor. RadonAway has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and has compiled a network of the best radon contractors in the country. Each radon mitigator has undergone extensive training and is fully certified. These radon professionals will work with you to make you feel comfortable about the mitigation process.

                  Fill out their contact form to get in touch with a radon contractor in MA today.


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                    Choosing The Right Realtor In Waltham, MA Does Make A Difference

                    When you're looking to hire a Realtor in Waltham Massachusetts, sometimes it's hard to know where to even begin. Buying or selling a home is not something to be done lightly, and having the right professional in your corner will make all the difference when it comes to giving you options you didn't even know you were missing. Of course, you want a Realtor with experience and expertise, but we'd like to tell you a few more things to consider before settling on your real estate representative.

                    The first thing to consider is whether you are hiring a real estate agent or a registered Realtor. Believe it or not, there is a difference. A real estate agent is anyone who earns a real estate license by taking a certain number of classes required by their state. A Realtor however, is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

                    Another aspect to consider is whether they work full time or only part time. Jumping on the perfect deal usually requires a constant eye on the market. If your Realtor has another job, or is only active on the weekends, for example, chances are they you'd be missing prime opportunities in their off time. As a client, feel free to look as far ahead as you can and even ask them to lay out exactly what their marketing plan is. The dedicated Realtors are the ones that are going to be constantly putting themselves out there for you and your family's needs.

                    One of the other important factors is how familiar the Realtor is with your area. Make sure they understand the local market, and feel free to verify that they know what they are talking about by asking plenty of questions. You want a Realtor that knows the area they work in, or lives in the town they serve. You need an agent that knows their area inside and out and can answer your questions about school, local restaurants or who can provide local services. It's also always a good idea to search for references, and see what others say about the agent in question.

                    Try to find out their listing to sold ratio. Especially these days, it is easy to find reviews and information on a Realtor. Which brings us to the next thing to make sure your Realtor has; a strong web presence and use of today's modern tools. Ask about what networks your potential Realtor has access to, in order to ensure that your home is actually being seen, and that you see absolutely everything available in the area you are looking for.

                    Finally, the most important thing is to find a Realtor that you trust. It's tempting to go with someone you know or are related to and sometimes that works out just fine, but your priority should first be to find the right person to get you the most that you can. And when you find the right person for the job, you'll know because you'll feel relaxed knowing that your future is secure.


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