Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holliston Real Estate 152 Stagecoach Road

I just listed a terrific home in and outstanding Holliston neighborhood at 152 Stagecoach Road. The home has gone through quite a bit of renovating over the last three years including a new striking white cabinet kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and tile flooring. The living room gets loads of natural light and has a beautiful fireplace with marble surround and built-in bookcases.

The family room is quite spacious and also is appointed with a brick fireplace. The list of amenities is long including: Central Air, security system, updated bath, hardwood floors throughout, New windows, New interior doors, Newer heating system, awesome corner lot, and exceptional landscaping.

This Holliston property has three bedrooms, one full bath, 1394 square feet, and a two car attached garage. You can see a terrific marketing vehicle that I use to market all my homes below. Come take a look this Holliston home shows mint!!

You can see some other homes I am marketing with a slide show video presentation at the Metrowest Real Estate shows.

**** Update - This home sold on 12/4/08 for $353,000. ****

Thinking of selling your Holliston Home and want to work with a top producing Realtor that gives you a dominant online presence? Visit Holliston MA Real Estate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hopkinton High School Makes Newsweek Top 500 List

Hopkinton High School has made Newsweeks annual list of top the top 1300 High Schools across the United States. According to the ranking method developed by Jay Mathews, the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2007 are divided by the number of graduating seniors.

All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of public schools measured this way.

Hopkinton actually came in ranked in the Newsweek top 500! Other local schools ranking well in the Metrowest Massachusetts area include Medway, Ashland, Westboro, Holliston, and Framingham.

Hopkinton has also done quite well in the yearly MCAS testing. You can see Hopkinton's MCAS test results here. You can also look at other Massachusetts towns and local MCAS results here.

The Hopkinton schools have had an excellent reputation for many years and are one of the factors that has driven Hopkinton's Real Estate values. The school itself was built in 2001 and is just incredible.

Visit Hopkinton Real Estate for Real Estate information on Hopkinton and other Metrowest towns including market reports, featured homes, and video tours.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good Local Real Estate News Ahead?

The Real Estate market here in Metrowest Massachusetts has been in a slump for a good 3 plus years. The peak in the Real Estate market was in the Spring of 2005. Since then things have been marked by declining home values, extended market times, short sales, foreclosures, and in many areas a rise in housing inventory. Not a lot of fun if you need to sell your home here in Massachusetts.

Is it possible this could all be a distant memory in the near future? According to a news story in Banker and Tradesman it may be. The article suggests that the worst housing market market in the United States since the Great Depression may be nearing an end.

The strongest indicator that the market may be changing is the fact that the pace at which housing values have been dropping has slowed. There are also certain pockets in the US where home values have actually already started to increase.

“Anybody who tells you they know when the housing market will bottom is delusional, but anybody who denies there are some positives out there that could make the housing market bottom fairly soon is equally delusional,” said Karl Case, the co-developer of a widely watched gauge of the housing industry and an economics professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

The Standard & Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices, which case co-developed, has shown a slow down in the downward trend in home prices in recent months.

There is also other data that has shown signs that we could be in for a recovery sooner rather than later.

New housing starts fell to 975,000 in April from a peak of 2.27 million in January of 2006. In the past 35 years, the three other times that housing starts fell from more than 2 million to under 1 million, housing market activity rebounded within a quarter.

One of the states to watch is California which has been battered by foreclosures. The California Real Estate market has taken quite a hit. In fact prices have dropped so much in California that the cost of a mortgage and taxes is the same as rent in many locales. If California starts to recover it is a good bet that the rest of the country will follow suite shortly thereafter if history is any indicator.

While I am the furthest thing from a pessimist and always look to see the bright side of things, it is hard to imagine the Massachusetts Real Estate market recovering in the next 6 months. Unfortunately here in Metrowest Massachusetts we have just started to see more short sales and foreclosures. This will have a further impact on home prices.

There are other factors in place as well that will prevent the Real Estate market here from all of sudden just turning around and heading back up. These factors include:

1.) More people leaving Massachusetts than being transferred in.

2.) A much tighter mortgage market.

3.) Sky high energy costs. (Certainly makes people more conservative).

4.) Inventory levels in some communities that are higher than six months.

I don't pretend to have a crystal ball but logic and the fact that I see what is going on the Real Estate market everyday leads me to come to this conclusion.

So for now if you are thinking of selling your home make sure you price it properly and work with a Realtor that will create an online presence for your home. These two factors will go a long way in determining how successful your are.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Short Sale Scammers We Buy Houses

Have you ever seen the signs posted on telephone poles in the Metrowest area that says something to the effect "We buy houses". The headline usually reads do you need to sell your home quick? Are you in financial trouble? Do you need cash fast?

These companies are almost always looking to buy your home at 50 cents on the dollar. They are not going to give you anywhere close to the fair market value of your home!

Well there is a new twist to this predatory business that you really need to be on the look out for. There is a group in the Metrowest area that has been preying on people who call them to sell their home.

The Real Estate market in Massachusetts has been on the down turn for the last three plus years. Most recently there have been more and more short sales coming on the market. A short sale occurs when the value of the property is less than the mortgage balance and the lender agrees to let the home close for less than the mortgage balance owed. (Click the link for a complete explanation).

So here is what I just ran into. A client of mine who lives in Milford Massachusetts had gotten herself into financial difficulty and was having trouble making her mortgage payments. I had actually spoken to her about doing a Short sale but she did not act on my advice. She ended up seeing one of those We Buy Houses signs and decided to call them. What a mistake!

These people had her sign an agreement that locks her into being involved with them for a year.
To make a long story short these people had her sign an option contract. They then proceeded to act on their OWN behalf to submit a short sale offer to the bank.

The value of this property is in the low 200's. These predators submitted an offer to the bank for $131,000!!!. You can probably already see this picture very clearly. God knows if they get the bank to accept an offer like that the home will be right back on the market and these people will have put some good money in their pocket.

The bank did not except their offer but this story continues to get worse. The owner never signed a listing agreement with these people but now her house is on the market and listed with an affiliate of this company!

The home was listed for $240,000 in the Greater Boston multiple listing service. The owner discovered the home was listed and questioned these people and they said - why do you care you need to sell the home anyway. The owner never authorized this company to sell the home. She did not sign a listing contract. Her expectation was they would be buying it.

A few weeks later the property was reduced to $225,000 with out the owners consent! No price reduction signed. Nothing...not even a verbal request for a reduction. It was just reduced period.

One of the terms of the agreement that the home owner signed says " I have agreed to sell the property to the buyer and am now bound by the terms and conditions described in this agreement. I further understand that can not continue to market the property to any other party, except as provided herein.

So as it stands this home owner is locked into an agreement whereby this entity does not care for what the home sells for and is working on their own behalf to get the home as cheap as possible for their own benefit. It makes me sick!!!

The listing company who is affiliated with these people has it in MLS has 2 pictures. The Real Estate company sure looks like they are going to be giving it their best effort (laughs).

Sounds like the attorney general would like to hear about this. I have told this woman to contact her attorney immediately.

This is the perfect example of why you should have an attorney look over important Real Estate documents. The fine print and terms of this agreement have completely locked the seller into a terrible situation.

Another short sale situation that has become quite common lately is short sale investor fraud. If you need to do a Massachusetts short sale I would encourage you to read this article. The last thing you want to have happen to you is be involved in a short sale scam where you end up in foreclosure. There are lots of people preying on others misfortune! Don't get caught with your pants down.

I would encourage you to read a few articles I have written about short sales. The 1st link is a complete overview of numerous short sale articles that cover everything you need to know about completing a successful short sale transaction.
Massachusetts short sales

Avoiding foreclosure through a short sale
Short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure

If you are listing your home as a short sale in Metrowest Massachusetts make sure you hire a Realtor who has knowledge of short sales and has the experience to get the job done. I am doing successful short sale packages . I work with a local attorney who has success getting short sale approval. Call me at 508-435-5356 to find out more about Metrowest Massachusetts Short Sales. You will get honest advice from someone who cares.

I cover Real Estate Sales in the following towns: Hopkinton, Milford, Ashland, Holliston, Westboro, Southboro, Medway, Upton, Mendon, Bellingham,Northboro, Shrewsbury, Natick, Framingham, Grafton, Douglas, Northbridge, Hopedale, and Uxbridge.

Visit my website at Metrowest Massachusetts Short Sales.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Real Estate Listing Agents and What Not To Do

I recently was working as a buyers agent showing property in Franklin Massachusetts. I have been working with this particular buyer for a while as I sold their condo at Indianbrook in Hopkinton back in the winter. They have been renting since then, waiting for a good home that fits their needs to come on the market.

Well I found these buyers a home and wanted to explain the listing agents mistake in negotiations.

The buyers looked at a number of homes and found one that matched their criteria and decided to make an offer. As Murphy's law goes, when I called the listing agent to let him know that I would be submitting an offer he informed me that there was already another offer on the table that he had been negotiating for the past two days. He told me they were close to putting it together so I needed to act right away.

I explained the situation to my buyers and told them that if they really wanted to get this home they would probably need to start a little higher than they had planned to. This particular home had value range pricing of $489,900-$539,900. Value range pricing is a range in which the seller will consider offers. I am not a big fan of this marketing concept but won't get into those details here.

We submitted an offer for $500,000. The listing agent told me he would speak with the seller about the offer and get back to me. The agent called me back later in the day and asked me if my clients were 1st time buyers. I explained to the agent that they had sold their condo in Hopkinton and had been renting. He wanted to make sure that the buyers were not going to "nickel and dime" the sellers after the home inspection. He futher went on to say the "offers were very close" and the seller was weighing everything carefully.

This was the agents 1st mistake. As a listing agent, you never ever reveal any information about a competing offer on a property. The fact I knew the offers were close would completely change our negotiating strategy. Fortunately for the buyer and myself the agent made mistake #2 which was even bigger.

He called back and said the seller accepted our offer! What? Did I hear that correctly? No counter offer?

Here is the big mistake - We were in a multiple offer situation. The correct course of action on the listing brokers part would have been to tell me he was giving both buyers the opportunity to come back with their best offer. This did not happen and by doing so the listing agent cost his seller client about $10,000.

My buyers fully expected to come up at least 5-10k from their initial offer of $500,000. It is hard to imagine what the listing broker was telling the seller behind the scenes but it could not have been good advice. My buyers really wanted this home and in the end got it for less than they expected to because of the agents careless actions.

A good seller's agent will always be looking out for the best interest of their clients. Of course a large part of that is getting them the most money possible!

Although I will work with some buyers, most of my work is with sellers. I enjoy the marketing aspect of being a listing broker. This is done in large part through the internet and creating an "online presence for my seller clients.

Monday, August 4, 2008

RE/MAX Executive Realty Dominates Hopkinton Market Share Through July

Through July of 2008, RE/MAX Executive Realty continues to dominate the Hopkinton Massachusetts Real Estate market share. By clicking the small graph above you will see a blown up readable version of the chart.

These statistics are taken from The MLS Property Information Network. The statistics include market data of homes, condos, multi family's, and land sold. When you look at the chart you will notice at the top that there are three categories of transactions. Listed & sold - meaning the company was involved as both the listing broker and selling broker. This by the way is the goal of every Realtor but happens much more often with a RE/MAX company. For an understanding of why this is the case see RE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton The other two categories are listed but sold by another company, and sold another companies listing.

You will notice by that in all three categories RE/MAX Executive Realty is the leader. We are almost double the number of units sold as our nearest competitor, Century 21 Commonwealth. We are double in the number of transaction sides. (There are two in every sale...the listing side and selling side.)

The market share drops off dramatically after the top two companies with Star Realty only capturing 6.55% of the market share.

The Real Estate market in Massachusetts has become very challenging. While selecting a good company with market share is important, selecting a good Realtor to represent you is vital.

One of the more important factors today in selecting a Realtor is how well they market online. You want to have an agent that will create an online presence for your home. Over 85% of all buyers find their home online and the number is growing!

When considering who to choose to represent you in your home sale try using Google as a tool. Google the agents name you are considering. If you don't see pages and pages of results, you have found yourself a Realtor with very little to no internet presence.

I would ask yourself this question: If a Realtor does not know how to promote themselves online how could you possibly expect them to promote your home well?