Is it a Good Time to Buy a Home?

June 16th, 2013

We often get asked, “Is It a Good Time to Buy a Home in the Boston Area?” The short answer is that it depends on your personal circumstances. Market prices and interest rates also play an important role. Right now both of those are good.

If you’re in a relatively stable market, as in most communities in the Boston area, and if you expect to be in your new home at least four years, this is probably a great time for you to buy a home. This is especially true for first-time buyers and also for trade-up buyers.

Even if your market took a hit in recent years, it’s still probably a good time for anyone using a mortgage given the relative effect price and interest rates have on monthly payments. If mortgage interest rates climb by just one percent over what you can get today, the price of your new home would have to decline by a full ten percent for you to save one penny on your monthly payment.

Even when someone is smart or lucky enough to have made a killing in the stock market, it’s highly unlikely they bought at the very bottom of the market and sold at the very top. Getting close enough on either end is what matters, and there are probably many more examples of people who regret not pulling the trigger near the bottom before it shot up, or selling near the top before it tumbled. The same is true in real estate, whether you hope to make a killing or just a moderate return.

Prices are currently still relatively low in most areas in and around Boston,..and so are interest rates. All things considered, it is a good time to buy a home in Massachusetts. If you would like detailed market statistics for your particular city or town, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to provide you with information that allows you to make an educated decision about buying.

As home buying advocates it is our job to protect you in the purchase of a home. Our primary job is to get you the home you want for the best possible price. We do our homework, and our buyers are delighted with our results. Give us a call.

Ronn Huth 800-25-BUYER

Lock Box or Assisted Showings?

June 13th, 2013

Assisted showings are when listing agents are at the property during buyer showings. Buyers and sellers, and seller and buyer agents, always have different views about this. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of assisted showings for Boston area real estate listings.

Home Owner Perspectives

Owners for the most part dislike having strangers wander through their residence but they understand it is needed to sell their home. Sellers therefore usually feel more comfortable having someone they trust (their agent) attend showings. Although uncommon, there are situations where articles are taken from a home or a home is not locked up properly after a showing. Sellers also see the benefit of having their agent pass along information on the important characteristics of their home.

Buyer Perspectives

Certain buyers like the opportunity to obtain information from a person familiar with a listing. On the other hand, some do not especially like assisted showings for a few reasons. Primarily, it can make them feel awkward and inattentive. Throughout a showing, buyers like to take their time at properties they like and spend less time at homes they do not like. When the other agent is there, they feel pressured to look through the whole house even if it is immediately clear that they are not interested.

For homes they are interested in, they frequently feel hurried so as not to take up too much time from the listing agent or give any indication that they love the place (as it can affect their bargaining position later on). Sometimes a listing agent initiates too much conversation with a purchaser throughout a viewing, which is also a distraction. Lastly, prospective buyers are not able to talk openly with each other and with their agent when a seller agent is listening.

Seller Agent Perspectives

Many Seller agents see the value in assisted showings. Even though a lot of details may be provided in listing documents, buyers or their agents may misinterpret or overlook important pieces of information. Being present offers seller’s agent the ability to cover those items and any worries or misunderstandings. By merely being at the property, they also also help ensure that people are more respectful of the home and its possessions. However, scheduling a time can be even more challenging and opportunities might be lost when scheduling conflicts occur.

Buyer Agent Perspectives

Some Buyer agents prefer unassisted showings since they are simpler to plan and allow for open discussion with their buyers. It is hard enough arranging the schedules of the buyer’s agent, buyer, and seller. When you compound that with the listing agent, it can make it extremely difficult. This is especially the case when arranging numerous properties for the same viewing trip.

SUMMARY:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Assisted Showings For Boston Area Real Estate Listings

There are both advantages and disadvantages of assisted showings for real estate listings and they may differ according to the different perspectives. Buyers have little to say in the matter because ultimately, the choice rests with the seller.

Sellers should specifically consider the effect that it might have on the number of buyers that can look at their home, and on the feelings that those individuals will have during their visit. The location, type of residence, belongings, and many additional details should also be a factor.

Sellers should discuss this with their agent to come to an arrangement that best safeguards and serves them in the marketing and sale of their property.

Buyers should usually visit homes with their agent to get the professional’s perspective and insights into the property. Open Houses may be an exception. Always make sure your buyer’s agent knows what Open Houses you have attended.

Ronn Huth 800 25 BUYER

HVAC Checklist

June 12th, 2013

Maintaining Comfort in your home summer and winter is important.

Some people refer to the heating and air conditioning systems as the “comfort systems.” If you’ve ever had to be without one in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort may be an understatement. Simple maintenance with a HVAC checklist is something that every homeowner can perform.

Periodically you need to:
* Change your filter every 90 days; every 30 days if you have shedding pets.
* Maintain at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
* Don’t allow leaves, grass clippings, lint or other things to block circulation of coils.
* Inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into house monthly and replace if missing or damaged.

Annually you should:

* Confirm that outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps are on level pads.
* Pour bleach in the air conditioner’s condensation drain to clear mold and algae which can cause a clog.
* Avoid closing more than 20% of a home’s registers to keep from overworking the system.
* Replace the battery in the home’s carbon monoxide detector.
* Even with the attention that perfoming this list will provide, it is recommended that you have your units serviced annually by a licensed contractor. * * Furnaces can be inspected for carbon monoxide leaks and preventative maintenance may help avoid costly repairs.

Call us if you’d like a recommendation.

Ronn Huth 800 252-8937

Refinancing

February 28th, 2013

Home owners are constantly bombarded by lenders to refinance their mortgage under a variety of programs. The volume of offers can almost make you numb to the rational consideration.

There are common rules of thumbs that homeowners and agents use such as not refinancing more often than every two years or there must be at least 2% savings from your previous mortgage rate may not always be accurate.

The reality is that if you can refinance for a lower rate and you’ll be in the home long enough to recapture the cost of refinancing, it should be considered. The costs of previous refinancing that haven’t been recaptured by monthly savings may need to be added to the costs of the new refinance.

According to Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates are lower today than they were in January of 2012 and for the ten years before that.

Refinancing may save you a substantial amount of money, especially if you’re going to be in your home for a long time. It is definitely worth investigating. To get a quick idea of what your savings could be, use the calculator on our website.

Ronn Huth (800) 25 Buyer

Is Your FICO Score Accurate?

February 27th, 2013

Investigators from the Federal Trade Commission determined that at least one out of five consumers have a material error on at least one of their credit reports. These mistakes can negatively effect your credit score.

While the industry argues that their files are generally very accurate, critics say they are woefully lacking in accuracy, particularly for an industry raking in $4,000,000,000 a year while spending too little time and money preventing or fixing inaccuracies. The three big ones, of course, are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Inaccuracies can occurs if you provide inaccurate data when applying for a loan or if the creditor who furnished the information to the credit bureau inaccurately inputs the data. Inaccuracies can occur when the bureaus match information about a consumer from a particular date furnisher to the wrong individual consumer’s file. They can come from other simple errors or when consumers become victims of identity theft or fraud.

Consumers also have the right to obtain a copy of their credit file and to receive notice of adverse actions involving credit reports with a resultant right to a free disclosure. These disclosures are one way for consumers to dispute information in their file they believe is not accurate or complete.

The Federal Trade Commission found that 79% of consumers who filed disputes had their files modified.

The government has started keeping closer track of the ratings agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun monitoring the files as well as the creditors who fill their files with information about their customers.

These agencies’ work should help the public monitor the progress. But no one cares more about the rating than you, so make sure you stay on top of your FICO score.

Ronn Huth 800 25 BUYER

Is Your FICO Score Accurate?

February 27th, 2013

Investigators from the Federal Trade Commission determined that at least one out of five consumers have a material error on at least one of their credit reports. These mistakes can negatively effect your credit score.

While the industry argues that their files are generally very accurate, critics say they are woefully lacking in accuracy, particularly for an industry raking in $4,000,000,000 a year while spending too little time and money preventing or fixing inaccuracies. The three big ones, of course, are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Inaccuracies can occurs if you provide inaccurate data when applying for a loan or if the creditor who furnished the information to the credit bureau inaccurately inputs the data. Inaccuracies can occur when the bureaus match information about a consumer from a particular date furnisher to the wrong individual consumer’s file. They can come from other simple errors or when consumers become victims of identity theft or fraud.

Consumers also have the right to obtain a copy of their credit file and to receive notice of adverse actions involving credit reports with a resultant right to a free disclosure. These disclosures are one way for consumers to dispute information in their file they believe is not accurate or complete.

The Federal Trade Commission found that 79% of consumers who filed disputes had their files modified.

The government has started keeping closer track of the ratings agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun monitoring the files as well as the creditors who fill their files with information about their customers.

These agencies’ work should help the public monitor the progress. But no one cares more about the rating than you, so make sure you stay on top of your FICO score.

Ronn Huth 800 25 BUYER