Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hot Times for Condos!

Everyone has heard by now that the real estate market is as hot as the weather this summer! The demand for condominiums, including townhouses, detached single-family, duplex, and high-rise and mid-rise apartment-styles is especially high. This is partly due to the lack of supply of single-family homes for sale but also because condominiums offer the easy life-style that is attractive to first-time buyers, down-sizers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of home-ownership without a lot of the work.

The Regency at Stow, still under construction, is sold out!
New communities that are being built for active adults/55+ are selling out faster than they can be completed. The Regency at Stow, a 66 unit development is sold out. Highcrest at Meadow Walk near the Whole Foods in Sudbury is also moving fast with 13 units already under contract. There have also been resales at Mohoney Farms and Dudley Brook in Sudbury; and at WestRidge in Hudson. 

SOLD at WestRidge - Single family condo - $595,000
As the supply of non-age restricted condominiums continues to remain low, prices are continuing to rise!

Year-to-date, the median sale price of $454,950 for all styles of condominiums in Middlesex County is up 7.05% over last year and the average price of $510,365.42 increased by 5.60%.

Good news for sellers but tough times for buyers who need to be prepared to step up and in many cases be willing to compete, especially for units that are completely updated and move-in ready. For buyers who are willing to do some updating on their own, competition is a bit less fierce.

If you are looking for easy living in a great location near Concord, Acton, and Sudbury, here is an excellent opportunity at Deer Hedge Run in Maynard that's listed for $290,000 with 3 finished levels plus a full basement, 2016 furnace and a/c, an eat-in kitchen, open-concept living/dining room, and parking directly in front of the unit. Click for details.


Homes for sale at www.marilynmessenger.com
Contact Marilyn

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Price Reductions in a Hot Market

Everyone knows the real estate market is hot, right? Low inventory, multiple offers, homes selling at
prices thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars over asking...all good for home sellers! There's never been a better time to sell! Ask the price you want, put a few photos on the Internet, have an open house and voila, SOLD!

With all the hype, it's easy for a seller to over-estimate what buyers will pay and they are surprised to find out that even in the hottest market, an incorrectly/over-priced house will not meet market expectations and it will languish, become stale and buyers pass it by instead of making an offer. Or else if someone does make an offer it may be so much lower that the seller gets upset and refuses to negotiate.

A lot of home sellers are reluctant to acknowledge that their house is not priced correctly. After all, who likes to admit that they made a mistake or that the value of their home just isn't as much as they thought or wanted? So instead they try offering a credit, advertise that they will fix or replace something, take new photos, and insist that their real estate agent provide the "special marketing" to find the one buyer who will be willing to overpay. They will do anything other than what they know they need to do to fix the problem - change the price!

The reality is that sooner or later home sellers who really want to sell (motivation matters), will come around to the fact if they want to sell, they must reduce the price. But who would have thought that is be happening in Concord and Sudbury, two of the most desirable towns west of Boston? Well, it is! In Concord there have been 87 price reductions during the past 12 months and 22 during the month of May - as of 5/18. In Sudbury, there have been 75 price reductions Y-T-D and 36 month-to-date in May. And, it's happening in other places too! Pricing matters in any market, in any location!

Price reductions may not be what sellers want, but getting the house sold is the goal and reducing the price increases the opportunity to get a house listing in front of the right audience, stimulate interest and accomplish the intended goal. 

And of course for buyers, seeing a price reduction might mean you can finally go after the house you've been waiting for! Keep in mind though, if you've been hoping for a price reduction on a particular house, chances are someone else has too. You still need to be prepared to step up and with the right help an experienced buyer broker to negotiate on your behalf, you can make it happen!
Find your next home at www.marilynmessenger.com - and don't forget to sign up for daily updates so you don't miss out on any new listings and price reductions.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Buying New Construction - Common Misconceptions

New Homes for Active Adults/55+
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 on a local Planning Board, Zoning Board, and board member of an HOA has been especially helpful to her new construction clients. Visit www.marilynmessenger.com for more.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Enough Shoveling? The Solution is Easy...

Had Enough?

Four Nor'easters in as many weeks! Had enough snow-shoveling? And if cleaning up after the snow isn't enough, wait there's more... Then comes the continuous cycle of wood repairs, roof repairs, gutter cleaning, painting, yard work/all those fallen tree branches, lawn maintenance... Are you ready for an easier life-style where you can relax and enjoy the comfort, convenience, and all the amenities you deserve without all the work?

If the answer is yes, here are a couple of options for easy living where you can have all the amenities and conveniences without all the work!

Listed for $619,000: Single-family home at WestRidge in Hudson, a condominium development for active adults over 55. Click here for information about WestRidge and to see an interactive floor, photos and details for this beautiful home. Contact marilynmessenger@realtor.com to schedule an appointment.

Cul-de-sac location; Beautiful Meadow View!
While a lot of communities are age restricted to people who are over 55, there are communities that welcome people of all ages and these communities can be a great option for first-time home buyers or really anyone who wants the benefits of homeownership but is too busy or not interested in doing a lot of maintenance.

Coming on the market in April!
All ages welcome at this Deer Hedge Run townhouse in Maynard, located near Acton, Concord, and Sudbury, has 3 finished levels, plus a full basement for storage, an open floor, parking for 2, and updated systems. Residents enjoy the heated pool, tennis court, clubhouse, and fitness room. Call 508-596-3501 for more information.
Townhouse at Deer Hedge Run
A condominium is a form of ownership and they include many styles - multi-family apartments, single-family, attached townhouses, converted 2/3 family houses, and duplex styles. If you would like to know more about options for condominium living in Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard and the towns west of Boston, please contact me anytime. As a condominium owner and resident, I have helped dozens of buyers and sellers in the area over the past 25 years and I would be happy to help you! You can also visit marilynmesenger.com and click on the Condo tap.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Golden Rule for Home Buyers

Buying a home is an emotional experience that can bring out the best and sometimes the worst in people. Even people who are generally considerate sometimes forget how to behave when they are looking for a house. After-all it’s not something people do every day, it’s a big purchase and it’s at least a little scary for most people.

When there’s more than one person involved they may not agree, the kids are cranky from driving around, and everyone is concerned about making the right decision. All of these stress factors can cause people to act in ways they never would otherwise.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you through the process:

1. When you contact a real estate agent or call an office be prepared to give some basic information – name, address, phone number, and if you are pre-approved for a mortgage.

2. If you are not pre-approved for a mortgage, don’t be offended if an agent won’t show you a house. Instead, ask who you can contact to get pre-approved. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and agents have a responsibility to show homes only to qualified buyers. If you’re not ready to get pre-approved, then you’re not ready to look at houses!

3. If you go to an open house be prepared to sign-in and give correct information. If you are under contract with a buyer agent make sure you write that on the sign-in sheet. If you don’t want the agent at house to contact you just write please do not contact next to your information. Refusing to sign-in is rude and sets a tone of distrust – what if you really like the house? You’ve already gotten off on the wrong foot. Giving false information is never OK. Remember, you’re in someone’s home!

4. Houses are shown by appointment, so plan ahead. If someone is living there, they need some notice to pick up and get out – very few people can keep their house ready for visitors with a moment’s notice – can you? Even new construction is shown by appointment – there might be workers at the house, etc.

5. Real estate agents and home sellers have schedules. It is not realistic to call an agent or an office from in front of a house and expect an agent come right out to meet you.
Imagine calling your accountant, hair-dresser, plumber, mechanic, financial planner, or anyone else and expecting on the spot service!

6. Set up a meeting with an agent so you can talk about your needs and get to know each other. Buying a home is a big investment and can take several months – don’t you owe it to yourself to invest an house upfront?

7. Buying a home involves the whole family, so it’s OK to bring the kids (although, you will certainly be able to focus better without them…) If you bring them, make sure they understand that they are visiting someone’s home. Keep them by your side at all times, especially in new construction where things are unfinished and may be dangerous. It’s for their safety and for the safety of the homeowners’ possessions – wouldn’t you feel awful if they broke something? And please don’t let them play with the home-owners’ kids toys – they wouldn’t want anyone playing with their things.

8. Treat the house with respect. Of course, you need to look in closets and cabinets, etc. but dresser drawers, medicine cabinets, personal belongings are off limits. Never sit on someone’s bed or use the master bath – sellers know they give up some privacy when their homes are on the market but again, put yourself in their shoes!'

9. Relationships are about trust and mutual respect - loyalty matters. If you are under contract with a real estate agent, always contact that agent when you need information. People can get impatient sometimes or they don’t want to “bother” their agent so they start calling offices or listing agents demanding information or pretending that they are going to be clients.

Call your agent – he/she will call you back. If your agent doesn’t return calls and give you the information you need then find another agent. If you can’t stop yourself from calling an office or listing agent directly, make sure that you disclose that you are working with an agent right away and that you would appreciate some information.

10. The Golden Rule – as with everything else, if you treat people (real estate agents) and property the way you want to be treated, the home-buying process will be efficient, and the transaction will be a lot easier. If you’re not sure what the protocol is, just ask – we’re here to help.


Marilyn Messenger, a Certified Residential Specialist and an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) and associated with Andrew Mitchell & Company, has been representing buyers and sellers in Sudbury, Maynard, Wayland, Stow, Acton, and west of Boston MA since 1993. See what clients say.

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