Thursday, January 03, 2019

10 Questions to Find Out if You're Qualified to Sell Your House

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?

2.   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?

3.    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?

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

5.   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 extremely low right now, it could take a while.

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

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

10.   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, Accredited Buyer Representative, and Certified Luxury Homes Marketing Specialist/Million Dollar Guild Member associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company, Concord. With 25+ 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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

4478 Reasons to List Your House For Sale Over the Holidays

Holiday Season is a Great Time to Sell!
The holiday season is such a hectic time for people. Getting together with family and friends, traveling, shopping, decorating, company parties, charity events... 

So why would a home-seller keep their house on the market and even more, why would anyone list their house for sale during this busy time? A lot of real estate agents (who don't work over the holidays) will tell you that no one buys houses over the holidays anyway and you'll get more money if you wait until Spring like everyone else does, right?

Well actually, there are 4478 reasons why! That is the number of single-family and condominium home sellers in Middlesex County who accepted offers on their houses last year between Thanksgiving and January 2. That includes 6 in Sudbury, 14 in Wayland, 17 in Concord, and 8 in Maynard. In Weston, there were 14, 10 in Hudson, and in Acton there were 14.

Sale prices for the properties that accepted offers during the holidays ranged from $160,000 for a condominium in Acton to $5,345,000 for a luxury estate in Weston; and all prices ranges in between. 

So why do houses sell over the holidays? Because:
  • Buyers have time to look; unused vacation days; companies give their employees extra time for shopping.
  • Holiday/year-end bonuses.
  • Pay-raises.
  • Motivated buyers who missed out or were out-bid in the Spring, Summer and Fall markets.
  • New jobs - companies hire for the new year. Relocating buyers need to make decisions soon.
  • People get engaged, married, combine households and need more space.
  • Visiting family brings out the nesting instinct.
  • Down-payment holiday gifts - click here to out how your family can give money tax-free.
  • Good deals; buyers are seeing price reductions from sellers who are ready to move.
  • People are in the mood to shop and there's nothing better than buying a house!
As for selling for more money in the Spring, if you are selling your house you are most likely going to buy another place to live. If prices are higher in the Spring, then you will also pay more for your next house. You may sell for less at this time of year but you will also pay less. If your end-goal is to buy another house, then understand that selling is just a step n the process toward buying. You will be ready to act as soon as houses come on the market while other buyers are waiting to sell.

So if your house is currently on the market, hang in there; the inconvenience can be worth it. If you are planning to sell, do it now. You'll be ahead of the competition and be ready to move forward.
If you are ready to buy or sell in Concord, Wayland, Sudbury, or any of the towns west of Boston - call Marilyn at 508-596-3501 or visit to see homes for sale in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Down-Payment Gifts Save Taxes!

Down-Payment Gifts Save Taxes!

What could be a better gift than tax-free help with a down-payment on a home?

Did you know that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even friends can start to pass along/gifting their estates while reducing inheritance taxes and getting to see their family enjoy the benefits of their gifts? 

NOTE: The following information was provided by a loan officer and a accountant, however you should always talk
with a tax expert and financial adviser about your specific goals and financial situation.

Gifts are involved in approximately 25% of all of the mortgage loans that are transacted. Gifts from

family members and relatives are allowed under IRS and lending guidelines but lenders do not report the parties involved to the IRS.

Under current IRS guidelines (please consult your accountant for tax advice and ramifications) each parent or relative can give up to $15,000 (up from $14,000 last year) to each child or relative every year. That would mean that a mother and father can each give $15,000 a year to each son, daughter, and/or grandchild that would amount to $30,000 a year in total. 

If both sets of parents want to help with the down-payment on a house; each of the parents can give each borrower a gift of $15,000 per year. That would add up to $60,000 for both of you! That is a significant amount of tax-free money to help you buy a home for your family! Of course, a gift can also be less than $15,000, so give what you can.

That amount is per calendar year and not based on every twelve months. That would mean that they could give $60,000 (or more) in December 2018 and an additional $60,000 (or more) in January 2019. With only a couple of monts left in 2018, this is the time to bring up the subject with your family. What could make them happier than helping you buy a house and saving money on taxes?

For most types of mortgage loans, you will need to have 5% of the amount of the down-payment on your own, however, there are exceptions. To find out the exceptions and details about how gift money can be applied to your down-payment contact a reputable mortgage broker.

Visit to see homes for sale, get the latest real estate market reports, and learn about having your own buyer agent on your side. 

About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a licensed real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative, and Certified Luxury Homes Marketing Specialist is  associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord has been representing home buyers and sellers in Wayland, Sudbury, Maynard, Stow, and Concord MA since 1993. for more. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Columbus Day Sales in Full Swing - Houses Too!

Yes, retail stores are starting their holiday sales on Columbus Day! Too soon? Well, maybe, but not for homeowners who want to sell their houses and homebuyers who want move before the holidays or at least before the winter...who wants to be moving in the snow and ice?

Serious sellers who are putting their houses on the market now need to make sure they are pricing their homes realistically and those who have been on the market for a while and over estimated what buyers would be willing to pay need to reduce their prices; and many are doing that. We're seeing price reductions everyday in towns where you may not expect it - Concord, Weston, Newton, Arlington, Wayland, etc.. Luxury home buyers have some especially good opportunities right now. If you are planning to buy a house and want to be in for the holidays or soon after, Columbus Day is the day to get going!

Unlike shopping for clothing, electronics, mattresses, or even a car where you can get same day
pickup or take possession within a couple of days, it takes time to close on a house. If you're selling you need to get the house ready and your agent needs time to market the property in order to secure the right buyer. If you are buying, you need to contract with a buyer agent, decide on a property, do your due diligence, have your home inspection, have your attorney review documents and have your mortgage approved and cleared to close.

 The timeline from offer acceptance to closing on a home is generally 45 to 60 days. Some lenders can get everything done in 30 days if all of your paperwork is in order and the appraisal can be completed quickly, but that is too stressful for most buyers and most offer 45 to 60 days. Even cash deals can take a couple of weeks - title searches and paperwork still need to be completed by attorneys, etc.

The Fall real estate market is in process and if you want to be home for the holidays, take a page from retailers and start now. Oh and about those great retail sales, it's a good idea to hold off on your purchases and not run up debt on your credit cards. Lenders don't like to see a lot of new debt when they are reviewing your eligibility for a mortgage. They'll be plenty of bargains, especially on home-goods, after the holidays... and you'll have a great time filling your new home! Check out homes for sale and contact me if you'd like to be home for the holidays -

About Marilyn -

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer Surprises! What Really Happened in Real Estate...

More Sales and More Price Changes in Sudbury
There were lots of headlines and news stories during the summer about fewer homes sales and higher prices.

While that is true for most places, all real estate is local and you may be surprised that Y-T-D through 7/31, there were actually more sales and either flat or lower sale prices in some of the towns west of Boston. The other data that is not reported are price reductions; even in the hot seller's market, there were price reductions. Reading headlines can be misleading and there were home-sellers who thought they could list their houses for whatever price they wanted and after a while on the market realized that correct pricing matters in any market. 

Contact me anytime if you are interested in information about other towns or specific properties.
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