Real Estate and *stuff *

Real Estate and *stuff *

A real person helping real people with real estate

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Pride reduction in Southbridge!

July 11, 2018

WardwellSouthbridge

Opportunity for a great return on investment! This multi-family in Southbridge has great potentional at this asking price!  This 3 unit has updated electrical, recent roof, gas heat and parking.  The building will be delivered with 1st and 3rd floors vacant so they are ready for renovations and higher rents! Each unit has 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, living room and eat-in kitchen. Great in-town location for future advertising exposure. Listed for $119,900!

Check out the full listing HERE!

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Price adjustment in in Leicester!

July 10, 2018

RawsonLeicester

Nicely renovated large farm house style colonial on a tree lined country road is now ready for you! Large rooms and high ceilings provide a light and airy flow to this house.  Great outdoor space with a wrap around farmer’s porch, flat yard and 3 bay garage.  Updated kitchen includes granite counters, mud room/pantry, stainless steel appliances and propane cook stove. The living room has newly refinished parquet wood floor, a fireplace with gas insert, beamed wood ceiling and entrance to the deck.  Dining room features newly refinished hardwoods, a pellet stove and is bright with multiple front windows! Master bedroom has a dedicated staircase and cathedral ceilings with decorative window. 2 additional bedrooms are also generously sized.  NEW well!  NEW septic!  Great yard!  Great commuter location! 3 bedrooms, large general living space and over 1700 sq feet! Now listed for just $319,999!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

Renovated farm house in Leicester!

July 9, 2018

RawsonLeicester

Nicely renovated large farm house style colonial on a tree lined country road is now ready for you! Large rooms and high ceilings provide a light and airy flow to this house.  Great outdoor space with a wrap around farmer’s porch, flat yard and 3 bay garage.  Updated kitchen includes granite counters, mud room/pantry, stainless steel appliances and propane cook stove. The living room has newly refinished parquet wood floor, a fireplace with gas insert, beamed wood ceiling and entrance to the deck.  Dining room features newly refinished hardwoods, a pellet stove and is bright with multiple front windows! Master bedroom has a dedicated staircase and cathedral ceilings with decorative window. 2 additional bedrooms are also generously sized.  NEW well!  NEW septic!  Great yard!  Great commuter location! 3 bedrooms, large general living space and over 1700 sq feet! Listed for $334,999!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

New price in Walpole!

July 9, 2018

SpringWalpole

This well improved and maintained cape style home features new roof, windows, doors, update fixtures throughout and so much more! Enjoy the custom built walkout deck to the private fenced yard with new pool and shed.  Four spacious bedrooms with 2 on the main level and 2 on the second level provide the options for a first floor master, home office or larger dining room. This home glistens with beautiful hardwood flooring and tile. Enjoy the completely renovated addition on the main level that allows for a flexible open floor plan and plenty of space for entertaining. Professionally landscaped and maintained for curb appeal! This quiet neighborhood is a commuters dream with the station within walking distance. Quick walk to the center of a Walpole for wonderful restaurants and live entertainment. Close to major routes and shopping. Many extras included which makes this home easy and enjoyable to move right in! Take advantage of the empty nesters relocation! Now listed for $439,999!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

Before You Choose a Mortgage Lender, Read These Tips!

July 6, 2018

By: HouseLogic.com

Someone out there wants to help save you time, stress, and money. Here’s how you find them.

Everyone in the market for a house has different wants — pre-war charm, a lush backyard, a welcoming front door in Pantone Ultra Violet, perhaps — but at the end of the day, they all share a need in common: money. Lots of it.

That’s where your mortgage lender comes in.

The right lender can save you time, anxiety, and loads of cash. And the right loan officer — the professional who represents the lender — can be a powerful ally when you close on a mortgage. As with any potentially life-altering partnership, it’s important to choose wisely.

Only You Know Which Lender Is Your Type:

There are three types of mortgage lenders — retail banks, credit unions, and mortgage banks — as well as mortgage brokers, who compare loan products via a coterie of potential lenders to help you, the client, find the right one. Before you start narrowing down the candidates, you have to know what you’re looking for, and where to find it. Let’s talk about your options.

—Retail Banks:

What they are: These are your Chases and Banks of America, plus your local banks. They do their own underwriting (in a nutshell, investigating your finances), so retail banks, especially the smaller ones, can sometimes offer lower fees and less-stringent credit requirements. If you like to have your accounts all in one place, you may want to use your own bank or credit union.

Who you’ll work with: You’ll be assigned a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus for writing your loan.

—Credit Unions:

What they are: They’re not-for-profit and customer-owned, so they’re not beholden to shareholders like a bank. Because of that and their not-for-profit tax status, they typically offer more personal service and lower fees. The flip side is less convenience: They have fewer branches and ATMs.

And to apply for a loan, you must be a member of the credit union’s community, which could be faith-, employment-, interest-, or union-based, among other things. That said, it’s typically not difficult to become a member; the National Credit Union Administration’s Credit Union Locator is a tool for finding credit unions near you.

Who you’ll work with: As with a bank, you’ll be assigned a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus for writing your loan.

—Mortgage Banks:

What they are: These banks, such as AimLoan and PennyMac, only offer home loans. Many online lenders, like Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, operate as mortgage banks.

Who you’ll work with: A mortgage bank will assign you a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus from the lender’s gross fees for writing your loan. An online lender is going to offer less hand-holding.

—Mortgage Brokers:

What they are: Mortgage brokers are essentially personal home loan shoppers — they act as liaisons between home buyers and mortgage lenders to help people find the lowest rates and the best mortgage terms. They’re able to get home buyers the best mortgage rates because they leverage their existing relationships with lenders — something individual home buyers can’t do. By doing the heavy lifting for the borrower, the idea is that they make loan shopping more convenient — and perhaps a bit faster.

Who you’ll work with: A mortgage broker can be an individual agent or a group of agents, who act as independent contractors. In exchange for their services, mortgage brokers typically charge a 1% to 2% fee of the loan amount, which is either paid by the borrower or the lender at closing.

Now that you’re armed with the basics, you’ll want to give yourself time to weigh the options about which lender, exactly, to work with.

It Pays to Shop Around Before You Commit:

Over the life of the loan, seemingly subtle differences could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. That money belongs to future you and all your dream vacations, renovations, and remodeling #goals.

So before you choose your specific lender…

  • Thoroughly research any retail bank, credit union, mortgage bank, mortgage broker, or online option you’re considering. Make sure you’re clear on what they can offer you. About one in five (21%) home buyers said they regret their choice of mortgage lender, according to a recent J.D. Power survey. You’re doing your homework so that won’t be you.
  • Interview lenders. You’re aiming for a shortlist of three. (You’ll see why it’s three in a minute.) If you’re thinking about selecting an online lender, make sure you take into account these tips and tricks.
  • Don’t be shy about seeking advice. Survey your family, friends, and coworkers —  especially the ones who are nerdy about money.
  • Ask your real estate agent for a second opinion. They have experience with reputable lenders, particularly in your city or town.

Now, let’s say you’ve narrowed your list of potential lenders to at least three candidates. The next step? Finding out whether they will give you a loan.

You Should Seek Out a Lender’s (Pre-)Approval, Too:

There’s a world of difference between being pre-qualified for a loan and being pre-approved. Pre-approval means you’ve got skin in the game. It means you’re a boss. And it’s proof that you can buy.

Besides being the grown-up thing to do, pre-approval puts you in a better position when you make an offer. Everyone takes you more seriously. Pre-approval provides evidence to your real estate agent and the seller (or seller’s agent) that a trusted financial institution is willing to finance the purchase.

In most housing markets, sellers are going to expect your to be pre-approved when you make your offer. And when you’re pre-approved, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted — or at least, you won’t lose out on a bid because you have to go back to the bank to get approved for a loan.

As for pre-qualification, it’s an approximation and not necessary unless you have no clue about your creditworthiness and just want a snapshot.

By contrast, with a pre-approval, a lender typically goes deeper and tells you more specifically how big a loan you can get. Caution here: Just because the lender says you can take out a loan for an amount, doesn’t mean you should. Consider your lifestyle and monthly budget to decide on the responsible loan amount for you.

To get pre-approved, you must also authorize a lender to pull your credit.

  • Borrowers with credit scores of 760 or higher can typically qualify for the lowest interest rates.
  • Borrowers with credit scores below 650 may need to apply for a non-conventional mortgage, such as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan — a government-backed loan that requires a minimum credit score of 580 but lets borrowers make as low as a 3.5% down payment.
  • Borrowers with credit scores below 580 can still qualify for FHA loans, but they’ll have to make at least a 10% down payment. The lower the score, the tighter the requirements become.

When you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a Loan Estimate. This three-page document is about to be your new best friend.

It Makes Good Sense to Get Pre-Approved by at Least Three Lenders:

A Loan Estimate spells out a future loan’s terms, including:

  • The interest rate
  • The length of the loan
  • Estimated costs of taxes and insurance
  • How interest rates and payments might change over time
  • Other important financials

By comparing loan estimates, you can effectively size up your loan options and decide which lender is best for you — and your future. (If you need help navigating the details, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a sample Loan Estimate with helpful tips and definitions.)

Getting pre-approval early in the process also gives you an edge over other buyers. Here’s why:

  • The amount you’re approved for can help you determine your price range, and thus save time and frustration when shopping.
  • It sends a signal to your agent and sellers that you’re serious about buying a home.
  • It’ll help you move quickly to make an offer when you see a home you like.

And it’s an excuse to celebrate! You now have everything you need to move ahead with that one special lender — and, at the same time, connect with an officer or broker who can help you select the home loan product that’s best for you.

So have a cocktail. Do a dance. Lay back and relax in one of those fancy sheet masks. You’re a (huge) step closer to getting a new house.

Here’s How You’ll Know You’ve Found the Right Agent!

July 4, 2018

By: HouseLogic.com

A great real estate agent is like an Oprah for living your best real estate life.

For every journey, there is a guide. To explore the West, Lewis and Clark had Sacagawea. To navigate his magical powers, Harry Potter had Dumbledore. And to discover our best lives, America has Oprah.

Then there’s the all-too-real journey of buying a home. For that, you have an Oprah of your own: your real estate agent — a licensed professional who’s familiar with local home values and neighborhood perks, understands real estate trends, can write an offer on your behalf, and who negotiates with home sellers so you don’t have to.

Think of your agent as a therapist/consultant for your home search. A collaborator. A co-conspirator. A mentor. Someone who amps up your confidence and counsels you through big decisions (teamwork makes the dream work, after all). And, someone who wants you to find a house you can be happy in because they’re invested in your happiness.

If the housing market doesn’t line up with your needs and budget, your agent will go back to the drawing board with you. They interpret raw housing data through the filter of your unique search, then tell you what’s important and why. They help you map the path to your goal, and connect you with trusted experts who can get you into your dream home. (Cue selfie of you drinking wine in your new living room. First like on Instagram? Probably your agent.)

That’s a lot of responsibility. And a lot of pressure. There’s obviously a lot at stake: money and time, of course, but also your happiness. So reach out to an agent sooner in the process rather than later, and you’ll be on the fast track to picking out paint swatches for your new kitchen.

Agents, Brokers, and REALTORS®: What’s the Difference?

“Agent” is a catchall phrase that is used, in casual conversation, to describe the three types of professionals who buy and sell real estate: agents, brokers, and REALTORS®.

No, they’re not really the same. Yes, you should care about what makes them different. Here’s a breakdown:

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps people buy, sell, rent, or invest in homes. To become an agent, a person must take pre-licensing training from a certified institution (these vary from state to state) and pass their state’s real estate licensing exam. Once they have their license, an agent must affiliate themselves with a real estate brokerage.

Some agents specialize in representing buyers, some specialize in representing sellers. Some do both. An agent who represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction is called a dual agent. By law, a dual agent must disclose dual agency to both parties. (If an agent is seeing other people, you obviously need to know.)

A real estate broker is a professional who has additional education beyond the agent level, as required by state law, and who has passed a broker’s exam. In some cases, brokers also have more years of experience than agents. The biggest difference between a broker and an agent is that a broker may work independently. An agent must be overseen by a broker.

A REALTOR® is a broker or agent who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the largest trade group in the country. (Full disclosure: NAR publishes HouseLogic.com). A REALTOR® commits to following a strict Code of Ethics intended to protect buyers and sellers; for example, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. Agents and brokers who are not NAR members can’t call themselves REALTORS®. There are more than 1 million REALTORS® in the United States. You can use realtor.com®’s Find a REALTOR® tool to connect with one in your area.

In most cases, using an agent, broker, or REALTOR® won’t cost you a penny because the seller typically pays both the listing agent and buyer’s agent’s commissions. However, some buyers’ agents request a representation fee from the buyer. That’s rare.

The Best Agent for You Depends on … You:

Before you seriously partner with anyone, you’ll probably survey family, friends, and trusted acquaintances for at least some input. Finding a real estate agent is no different: A great starting point is to ask your inner circle and neighbors for recommendations. According to recent NAR research, 52% of buyers 36 and younger found their real estate agent through a referral.

Then there’s the internet.

Each of the major property listing websites — realtor.com®, Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia — has an agent-finder tool that lets you search for agents in your area. These property sites also collect reviews and ratings from an agent’s past clients, which gives you insight into an agent’s reputation. Keep in mind, though, that the sites vary in their policies about whether agents can edit or remove reviews. (Like with Yelp, use your own discretion.)

The sites also show an agent’s sales history, so you can see how many homes a person has sold. In general, it’s best to choose an agent who has a large number of sales under his or her belt (a sign they’re committed to real estate work). Perhaps even more important: an agent who has sold homes at the price point and in the neighborhood where you’re looking to buy — a sign they understand the local market.

Whatever you do, don’t rely on online listings alone. Always interview prospective agents — at least three — in person. A meet-and-greet will give you the perspective you need on the agent’s personality and style. Is this someone you’ll like working with? Who has a sense of humor? Who has your back? Who communicates in the ways you want to be communicated with? Best to find out in person.

How to Know If An Agent Is Knowledgeable:

Once you’ve gathered all the information, listen to your gut: It won’t steer you wrong about who’s the best agent for you.

But, that said, there are a few qualities you’ll want to look for in any agent (your gut would agree):

  • Local expertise. Does this person know their stuff about neighborhood home value trends, shops and restaurants, schools, commute times, and geographic factors such as floodplains? These things are important, especially if you’re looking for a home in a new city or town. If the agent seems lost or like they’re winging it, keep looking.
  • Responsiveness. You’ll have a lot of questions, and will be asked to produce documents at certain steps during the buying process. Think about how available you want your agent to be, and how quickly you want him or her to respond. One way to figure that out? Contact a prospective agent online or by phone and see how long it takes them to reply. If you don’t hear back within a timeframe that works for you, it’s probably best to move on.
  • Reputation. This is when to consult your inner circle again. The agent-finder tool mentioned above can also help. In addition, you’ll want to verify the agent’s license; search “[state] real estate license lookup” to find a resource for your state. If you want to confirm whether an agent is a REALTOR®, you can call NAR at 1-800-874-6500.

There are a number of professional designations that indicate an agent has obtained additional education beyond their licensing work. An accredited buyer’s representative (ABR®), for instance, is someone who specializes in working with home buyers and has taken a course on buyer-client relationships. You can search the different types of designations here.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask a Lot of Questions:

Congratulations! You now have a list of agents you like based on their stats, and you’re ready to get to know the finalists. Binge a few episodes of “The Bachelor” for pointers — just kidding, don’t do that.

What to really do: Schedule interviews with the top three agents, at least. During each conversation, your goal is to understand the agent’s experience, personality, and working style.

Here are 13 questions that will help the vetting:

  • How many years have you been in the business? Having more experience doesn’t guarantee that someone is a great real estate agent, but a lot of the business is learned on the job.
  • How many homes have you sold in the last year? Volume isn’t the most important factor when choosing an agent, but you want someone who is active in the industry. Also, the more transactions an agent has under their belt, the more adept the person should be at solving complicated problems that can crop up during a home sale. Remember: Your transaction is unique.
  • How will you help me determine my needs and priorities? The agent’s first task is to help you identify your list of “musts” and “wants” — the home features that you need, versus the features that you’d like to have but can live without.
  • Is your real estate license in good standing? You can also check with your state’s Real Estate Commission to confirm the agent has no disciplinary actions.
  • How will you stay in touch with me? Your agent’s communication style should align with yours. If you prefer to be contacted via text when new listings crop up, make sure your agent is able to do that.
  • What neighborhoods do you specialize in? You want an agent who’s intimately familiar with the neighborhood(s) you’re interested in. Another way of framing this question is to ask, “How many homes have you sold in this neighborhood in the last year?”
  • What price range do you typically work in? In addition to being a neighborhood expert, your agent should do a large portion of their business with home buyers in your price range. It’s important because challenges and negotiation strategies can vary based on what type of home you’re buying.
  • How many other clients are you working with? You want someone who can give you quality, when you buy your first home. If the agent seems spread thin, it’s probably because they are.
  • How are you a good agent for first-time buyers? First-time home buyers face specific challenges. Every buyer has a unique transaction. Good agents can explain what you should expect and how they’re going to help you navigate your special circumstances.
  • How will you find homes that match my criteria? Seasoned real estate agents don’t just use the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — a regional database of registered property listings — to help home buyers find homes. They also keep track of listings through colleagues, door-knocking, and canvassing neighborhoods to find the right properties for their buyers. They’ll also work their industry connections.
  • Have you ever recommended that a buyer not buy a property? Why? An agent should work in your best interest, which means being honest with you about when to pass on a house that will not meet your needs — even if you’re starry-eyed about it. It’s your choice, obvs, but they should empower you to make a sound decision.
  • Do you have a list of recommended vendors who can help me get a mortgage, inspect a home, and so on? To buy a home, you’re going to need other important players on your team — specifically a mortgage lender, home inspector, settlement/title company, and attorney. An experienced agent has already developed relationships with reputable pros, and should provide you with several references for each; though it’s ultimately your decision to choose who you want to work with.
  • Can you provide contact information for your three most recent buyers? Past clients can offer valuable insight into an agent’s skills. Don’t just ask an agent for references, or you’ll get three pre-vetted clients who are guaranteed to sing their praises. Instead, ask for phone numbers and email addresses of the agent’s three most recent buyers. Contact those people directly to learn about their experiences.

Whew, you made it through the interviews. (Are you thirsty? We could use a glass of water.)

By now, there’s likely one agent left standing. Someone you can trust. Someone who listens. Someone who knows more about real estate than you, but who also really cares about finding your house.

Now that you’ve got a partner in buying a home, it won’t be long before you own it.

Renovated farm house in Leicester!

July 2, 2018

RawsonLeicester

Nicely renovated large farm house style colonial on a tree lined country road is now ready for you! Large rooms and high ceilings provide a light and airy flow to this house.  Great outdoor space with a wrap around farmer’s porch, flat yard and 3 bay garage.  Updated kitchen includes granite counters, mud room/pantry, stainless steel appliances and propane cook stove. The living room has newly refinished parquet wood floor, a fireplace with gas insert, beamed wood ceiling and entrance to the deck.  Dining room features newly refinished hardwoods, a pellet stove and is bright with multiple front windows! Master bedroom has a dedicated staircase and cathedral ceilings with decorative window. 2 additional bedrooms are also generously sized.  NEW well!  NEW septic!  Great yard!  Great commuter location! 3 bedrooms, large general living space and over 1700 sq feet! Listed for $334,999!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

New price in Walpole!

July 2, 2018

SpringWalpole

This well improved and maintained cape style home features new roof, windows, doors, update fixtures throughout and so much more! Enjoy the custom built walkout deck to the private fenced yard with new pool and shed.  Four spacious bedrooms with 2 on the main level and 2 on the second level provide the options for a first floor master, home office or larger dining room. This home glistens with beautiful hardwood flooring and tile. Enjoy the completely renovated addition on the main level that allows for a flexible open floor plan and plenty of space for entertaining. Professionally landscaped and maintained for curb appeal! This quiet neighborhood is a commuters dream with the station within walking distance. Quick walk to the center of a Walpole for wonderful restaurants and live entertainment. Close to major routes and shopping. Many extras included which makes this home easy and enjoyable to move right in! Take advantage of the empty nesters relocation! Now listed for $439,999!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

Open house in Walpole tomorrow!

June 30, 2018

SpringWalpole

This well improved and maintained cape style home features new roof, windows, doors, update fixtures throughout and so much more! Enjoy the custom built walkout deck to the private fenced yard with new pool and shed.  Four spacious bedrooms with 2 on the main level and 2 on the second level provide the options for a first floor master, home office or larger dining room. This home glistens with beautiful hardwood flooring and tile. Enjoy the completely renovated addition on the main level that allows for a flexible open floor plan and plenty of space for entertaining. Professionally landscaped and maintained for curb appeal! This quiet neighborhood is a commuters dream with the station within walking distance. Quick walk to the center of a Walpole for wonderful restaurants and live entertainment. Close to major routes and shopping. Many extras included which makes this home easy and enjoyable to move right in! Take advantage of the empty nesters relocation! Now listed for $439,999! Open house on Sunday 7/1 from 11am-1pm!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!

New price in Walpole!

June 29, 2018

SpringWalpole

This adorable cape in Walpole has been very well maintained and updated which makes it a GREAT house to call home! Flexible layout with 2 full bedrooms upstairs and 2 full bedrooms on the main level you can enjoy the extra space with a first floor Master or home office. The sun room addition creates an open floor plan with the kitchen and living room and is the perfect room to relax in. Step right out to the new deck and pool in the private fenced in yard.  Front yard professionally landscaped for beautiful curb appeal! Excellent commuter location with quick access to commuter rail and 1A.  Walking distance to down town area.  Passing Title V and MANY updates and upgrades! Now listed for $439,999! Open house on Sunday 7/1 from 11am-1pm!

Check out the full listing HERE!

Check out the 3D tour HERE!