Thursday, August 03, 2017

Are You Qualified to Sell [Your House]?

Are You Qualified to Sell?

Most people think that being qualified is for home buyers and that it means being pre-approved for a mortgage. Being qualified is not just for buyers, sellers also need to be qualified! 

Sure, anyone who owns a property can sell it (assuming there are no legal restrictions) but owning a property does not make for a “qualified” seller. In real estate, the definition of qualified is “ready, willing, and able.” Buyers and sellers both need to be ready, willing, and able; that means financially, logistically and emotionally. 

Here are some questions to answer to determine if you are qualified to sell:
1.   Do you have enough equity in your house to cover closing and moving costs or else have enough cash to bring to the closing table? 

Are you and everyone involved committed to selling? Do your spouse and/or children want to move? Do you have adult children who have their own ideas about the house and what you should be doing? 

Is your house ready to go on the market? Has it been de-cluttered with everything in working condition, fixed or replaced, fresh paint, refinished floors, lighting, landscaping, etc., with updates that will appeal to today’s buyers?

If you plan to sell “as is” and are you willing to reflect that in your list price?

Do you have a place to go when you sell? 

6.    Do you have the money/financing to buy a new property before you close on your current home?

7.   If you need to sell before you can buy, is temporary housing a realistic option for you, your family, pets…until you can find the right home? Inventory is really tight right now, it could take a while.

Are you willing and able to make some compromises/trade-offs?

Do you have a realistic understanding of the current market and will you listen to feedback? 

Are you ready to detach yourself from the memories you made in the house?

Selling your home is a lot of work and can certainly be stressful. Making sure you are qualified/ready, willing and able will make the process easier and result in a better outcome for everyone involved!

Marilyn Messenger is a licensed real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Certified
Luxury Homes Marketing specialist associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company. With 24+ years of experience in Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, Stow and the towns west of Boston, Marilyn will make the selling and/or buying process efficient and cost effective for you. Visit for more.

Sold in Sudbury
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Deer Hedge Run Maynard
Happy Sellers! This Could Be You!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Concord MA - Median Home Prices Up for 2017

Concord MA - Single-family Median Prices - 5 years

As in most towns and cities in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S, the residential real estate market in Concord is setting new records for median home prices!
Here is the latest market data for Concord:
Homes for Sale 7/7/2017: There are 88 single-family properties for sale in Concord; last year at the same time there were 97. List prices on in Concord range from $483,880 to $8,950,000; the median list price is $1,477,450. The median list price last year in Concord was $1,398,000. Luxury home buyers have a variety of options in Concord and with the time on the market in excess of 6 months in many cases, some of these home sellers may be ready to negotiate.  See all of the properties for sale in Concord.

Concord - Listing Units 2017/2016 as of 6-30-17

Condominiums for Sale: Concord offers a variety of condo styles including garden-apartment, townhouses, new construction, duplexes, and detached single-family homes; some are age restricted for seniors over 55. There are currently 9 condominiums units for sale in Concord; last year at this time there were 16. Prices ranges for condominiums in Concord range from $318,000 to $$1,099,000; the median list price is $465,000, last year it was $874,500.

Pending Sales: There are currently 52 single-family homes with sales pending and three that have accepted offers and are being shown until contingencies are met.

June Closed Sales: There were 20 closed sales in June 2017, down from 33 in June 2016. Not surprising, the median sale price of $1,399,475 was higher than in June 2016 when it was $1,249,900.

Concord - 12 Months Activity - Single-family - 6-30-2017

Check out the latest reports as of 6-30-2017 from MLSPIN:
including data year-over-year, and five year comparisons for single-family homes. Please contact me for additional information about condominiums. Remember, every home and every client is different so it is important to understand the similarities and differences when you are planning to sell, buy or both.|
Want to know more? Call me at 508-596-3501 or
Easy home searches
See homes for sale in Concord
Request a free home valuation report
Click here for the latest market reports for Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, and Stow.

About the author: Marilyn Messenger is Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative, a Certified Luxury Homes Marketing Specialist and Million Dollar Guild member associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord MA. She has been representing buyers and sellers in the towns west of Boston since 1993. Click here to see what her clients say.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Permits Matter!

True story - my client is in the process of buying a home, no easy feat in this crazy spring market, and just as the attorneys were putting the finishing touches on the Purchase and Sale agreement (MA is an attorney state), the buyer called the town building department to make sure permits were on file for all of the nice improvements the seller had made to the house.

Guess what? The 2015 roof did not have one, and the signing of the documents had to be delayed. While it will be taken care of, who needs the extra stress of a delay?

Whether you're doing some renovating or adding an addition or deck, replacing appliances or systems, make sure the contractor pulls a permit and that the inspector from the town signs off after the work is done. It's very easy to find out if one is needed; towns have the information about permits on their web sites or you can call the building inspector.

Most people don't think about it. They assume that their contractor will take care of everything and especially because most include the cost of a permit in their quote.
Unfortunately, contractors often do not follow through with applying for the permit(s) and scheduling the inspection after. Whether it's a lack of time, or someone just forgets to do their job, the bottom line is that permits are important for your protection, protection of the town, and the protection of future owners.

When you sell your house, if a home inspector sees a problem and there is no permit on file, even though it's not your fault, it raises suspicion that will ultimately cost you; buyers will question what else is wrong or missing and start looking for reasons to reduce the price! This has happened to many of my clients who paid top dollar to reputable contractors who never followed through on the permit.

Advice to homeowners and sellers: ask the contractor when the inspector from the town will be coming by to sign off on the work done. If they can't answer, make sure you follow up with the contractor. Or, you can call the inspector yourself then you know it will be done. It will save you money and stress. Enjoy your new home improvements!
About the author: Marilyn Messenger, CRS has been representing buyers and sellers west of Boston for 23 years. Having attended 100s of home inspections, she knows first-hand how important building permits are to the home buying and selling process. You can reach Marilyn at 508-596-3501 or visit for buyer and seller information, free home searches, and market conditions reports for Concord, Maynard, Wayland, Sudbury, and the towns west of Boston.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Townhouse in Maynard MA - 11 Oak Ridge Drive Unit 6


Perfect for first-time home-buyers, down-sizers, or anyone looking for easy living in a great location! You'll love the private location and move-in ready condition of this 4-level townhouse at Oak Ridge. Open first-floor layout includes a maple/stainless kitchen and adjacent dining room with sliders to a deck where you'll enjoy beautiful wooded views, afternoon sun. The second floor has two spacious bedrooms with generous closets, a linen closet and a full bath with cherry cabinetry, double-sinks. The finished third floor loft with a wood-burning fireplace is perfect for an office, playroom, or private getaway space. Semi-finished lower-level walk-out is ready for your completion. Trane brand gas furnace and air-conditioning, replacement windows, 2015 roof.  MORE...

Bordered by Concord, Sudbury, Acton, and Stow, Maynard is located approx. 25 NW of Boston; an easy commuter location to Waltham, Cambridge, Boston, and west to Route 495. The variety of specialty shops and restaurants, the Fine Arts Place movie theater, library, Art Space, community theater, parks, walking track, farmer's market, Erickson's Ice Cream, golf club, the Assebet River Rail Trail, and the newly designated Maynard Cultural District make Maynard the place you'll want to call home. 

If you haven't been to Maynard, come see what you're missing! And, if you would like to live in Maynard, check out homes for sale at or contact me to arrange a time to talk

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Construction - Common Misconceptions

Everyone Loves New Construction!
Builder confidence is up! New single-family homes and condominiums are finally being built again and what’s better than having everything shiny and new, built with state-of-the art materials, energy efficient systems and appliances, and everything to fit the way you live, work, and play?

Given the choice, a lot of home buyers would prefer to purchase a new home than a house that someone else has lived in; especially buyers who don’t have the time, interest, or money for repairing or renovating a house that someone has lived in.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, moving-up, down-sizing/right-sizing, or someone who has bought and sold multiple times, if you have not purchased new construction before or you did it along time ago, you may have some misconceptions about buying new construction. Here are a few common misconceptions about new construction.

The biggest misconception about new construction is that because it’s new, it will be perfect! New houses are built by people and we all know that people are never perfect. A new house can have defects just like a resale. While home buyers expect and even look for things to be wrong with an older house that has been lived in, they don’t expect any issues in new house. Realistic expectations are important when buying any house so remember, there is no such thing as perfect!

Selections and Upgrades

One of the most fun things about buying a new home is that you get to pick out flooring, cabinets, counter-tops, appliances, tile, fixtures, etc. and have everything color-coordinated, up-to-date and just the way you want it. With so many choices it’s easy to get carried away with making selections that are so trendy that you may grow tired of them in a short-time. And, it’s also easy to pay for extra for upgrades that you may not need and that really don’t add value.

While it’s nice to have everything done at the same time by the builder, sometimes waiting and getting things done later on your own can be a better and more cost effective choice. If you decide to buy upgrades, buy for own enjoyment and don’t expect that you will get your money back when you sell. What you sell for will depend on the market at the time and as soon as you move-in, your new home becomes used! Buy what you like, don’t over-personalize and don’t do anything because you think it will be a money-maker later especially if you are buying in a large development of similar homes.

Home Inspections

A lot of people have the misconception that they don’t need to do a home inspection when buying new construction because everything is new, under warranty, and you’ll do a final walk-through and prepare a punch-list of items that the builder will fix.

Having a home inspection is just as important for a new house as for a resale. Remember, new is not perfect and there may be items that weren’t installed or not connected properly, etc. A walk-through is not the same as a thorough inspection by a professional home inspector. Buying a home is a big investment; don’t be “penny-wise and pound foolish.” Also, make sure you know exactly what items are under warranty and for how long!

That builders/developers don’t negotiate is another misconception about buying new construction. This is something that home buyers are led to believe by the on-site salesperson who represents the builder, and while most buyers would never accept that premise if they were buying a resale property, for some reason they believe it about new builds.

Builders are like every other seller and whether or not they will negotiate depends on a number of variables – the market, the size of the development, how far along the project is, how qualified you are, which items you want to negotiate about – price, terms, features, etc. Like every other seller, some builders are easier and friendlier and more financially stable than others; some are good business people and know when it pays to be flexible and others just dig in.

On-Site Sales

Another great thing about about buying new construction is that builders make it so easy to buy by building sales models and having an on-site agent/salesperson to help you.

The most important misconception that buyers have about new construction is that they cannot have or don't need a buyer agent/broker on their side. While the majority of home-buyers know that it makes sense to have their own buyer agent represent them and they want a professional whose fiduciary responsibility is to work on their behalf to get them the best deal, help them understand their options in the local market, help them do their due diligence, and negotiate on their behalf when they are buying a resale, many still think that when buying a new home it's OK to go directly to the on-site agent/salesperson and do whatever that seller's agent tells them to.

Unfortunately, too many buyers don't even think about getting their own representation until they've already been to the site, talked with the on-site seller's rep, given up a lot of personal and financial information, and decided to buy. And by then, it's too late!

Yes, you can have your own buyer agent and buying a new house does not take away your right to representation. The majority of new homes are listed on MLS (multiple listing service) just like resale listings, and the listings include an offer of cooperation and compensation to buyer agents. The builder will pay your agent's fee out of the proceeds of the sale, the same as any other seller!

BUT, some new construction seller agents will often include a note on the MLS that buyers do not see that stipulates "buyer agent MUST be present at the first showing." There's the catch! They know that buyers drive around and will often stop at a model home "just to look" and the next thing they decide to buy. On-site agents do not want buyers to have a buyer agent on their side; the seller's agent want to control the buying so they can maximize profits for the builder (and themselves!) I have had buyers tell me that they were told that they could not have a buyer agent because they came to the site without their agent.

Take away

If you already have an agreement with a buyer agent to represent you, make sure you do not go to any new construction sites without your agent.

If you are thinking about buying new construction and do not have a buyer agent, get one before you visit any new construction sites and before you talk with anyone on-site. That way when you decide to buy, you will have a agent on your side! By the way, make sure your agent knows the area and has experience as a buyer agent for new construction.

About the author: Marilyn Messenger is a licensed broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative, associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord MA. She has been representing new construction home-buyers in Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, Stow, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. Her clients have purchased new single-family homes, luxury properties and condominiums from both local and national builders. Her experience experience on a local Planning Board, Zoning Board, and board member of an HOA has been especially helpful to her new construction clients. Visit for more.

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