MA real estate agent

Bigger Ads Don’t Make Dumber Buyers


Top Newton, MA. Realtors, Sotheby’s Newton, MA. OMG I love this post!  KCM Crew you took the words right out of my mouth!

Bigger Ads Don’t Make Dumber Buyers Posted: 05 Aug 2014 04:00 AM PDTbyKCM Crew

Bigger Ads Don't Make Dumber Buyers | Keeping Current Matters Being ‘in and around’ the real estate business for over 30 years, we are still confused about the importance both sellers and real estate agents put on advertising.  Decades ago, advertising a home was important to attract a buyer because there was no other way for an individual real estate office to announce to the world that a house was now on the market. But times have changed.  With the development of the Multiple Listing Systems (MLS), as soon as a listing is taken the entire agent population of that area or region is informed. Instantly! Every agent working every buyer is put on notice that a new opportunity to sell a home is here. In many cases, through new technologies, the buyers are directly informed of the new listing before the agent can even reach out to them. Buyers already in the market will know the home is up for sale immediately. No ad is required to do this. You may ask – what about the buyer who is not yet actively engaging an agent in search of a home? Those future buyers are searching the internet months before they are ready to commit. In most areas, once a home is placed on the MLS system, the listing populates a plethora of real estate internet sites where a buyer can easily find it. Why are no buyers looking at the house? I will argue that it is probably not because they are unaware of the listing. In 99% of the cases, it is about pricing. They know of it and, for some reason, have decided it is not worth seeing. The value was not there for them.

Look at the Price

You may think there are just no buyers in the market for your type of home at the present time. Well, let’s take a step back and ask a question. Would someone buy it at $1? How about $100?  $1,000?  $10,000?  $100,000? Of course!! But, that proves our point. There is a price that buyers will pay for each and every home that is for sale today. You must decide if you are willing to take what the current value of your property is. That is entirely your decision. But, let’s not believe the house hasn’t sold because it wasn’t advertised more aggressively. You could put it on the front page of your large, regional paper for the next 365 straight days. If it is not priced right, a buyer will not buy it. Does that mean that you don’t need an agent to sell your home? Actually, we are saying the exact opposite. You need a well-informed real estate professional who knows the proper price for your house and has the courage to tell you the truth. It was great to see that a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the number one benefit a seller wants from their agent is assistance in setting a competitive price. That truly is the most important thing an agent can deliver to a seller in this market.

Bottom Line

Get a great agent. Price your home appropriately. And don’t believe that running more ads will create a group of buyers that don’t understand value!!

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%


Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%
Newton, MA. Top Realtors,  Newton, MA. Listing Agent
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The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 5.5 percent in June, according to preliminary data released by the state this morning.

The state said Massachusetts added 3,700 jobs in June and the rate is the lowest since August 2008.

By sector:

  • Education and Health Services gained 6,000 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 20,700 (+2.8%) jobs.
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 10,000 (+1.8%) jobs.
  • Financial Activities had no change in its jobs level over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities added 1,100 (+0.5%) jobs.
  • Manufacturing lost 1,100 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing lost 1,600 (-0.6%) jobs.
  • Construction lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has added 800 (+0.7%) jobs.
  • Leisure and Hospitality lost 900 (-0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality added 1,900 (+0.6%) jobs.
  • Other Services lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services jobs are up 2,300 (+1.9%) jobs.
  • Information lost 100 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information gained 4,300 (+5.0%) jobs.
  • Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 100 (0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 9,800 (+1.9%) jobs.
  • Government added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government lost 500 (-0.1%) jobs.

Here’s the full release from the state.

Meanwhile, here are some headlines, with links, about companies hiring, or planning to hire soon, in Greater Boston:

Looking back a little farther:

Here are recent companies hiring in Massachusetts:

The Dreaded Best and Final Offers…


The Dreaded Best and Final Offers, Newton, MA.

 

The definition of a Best and Final offer in real estate is a buyer’s last and highest offer.  A best and final is typical in response to a bidding war.  A seller who has received several offers will usually ask top bidders to submit a best and final offer.  This type of offer induces STRESS for the buyer and their agent.  As an agent I will do an analysis of the property to determine fair market value.  In a bidding war fair market value is determined by the person with the most potential to pay for the property and actually close the deal.  The buyer with the highest offer does not necessarily mean the best offer.  In the past 6 months prices in the under 1 million dollar market have sky-rocketed to the point of crazy.  When I have a buyer in a bidding war situation and there are no comps to justify an inflated price I kind of cringe.  What usually happens is a review of the comps and I speak frankly about the possibility of overpaying.  My advice is to offer a number that means you  don’t care if you don’t get the house for only $1.00 more, either because you can’t afford to pay more or you can’t justify paying more.  That number must come from the buyer…Agents cannot change a buyers finances or their view of a dream home. As a listing agent it makes me sort of smile.  My job as a listing agent is to close the deal at the highest price.  The “close the deal” is key.

I recently listed a house below 1 million dollars, the sellers did everything we told them, de-cluttered, put items in storage, cleared out baby things, went away for the weekend with their two very young children so we could accommodate any showings.   We had an open house on Saturday and Sunday and many private showings before or after the open house along with Friday and Monday showings.  Offers were due by 4 on Monday.  Realtors always know when the price is right…you phone rings — constantly! We had 100’s of prospective buyers view the home.  Monday afternoon rolled around and we had 6 offers, I actually expected more but I should note the amount of buyer fatigue we heard.  “I only have 20% to put down, I was out-bid on 3 other properties, I can’t waive my mortgage contingency, should I give up my inspection contingency?”  No never do that. We reviewed the offers and presented them to the seller: basically you lay out the offers on the dining room table.  This is the lowest, the middle and the highest.  But wait the highest offer doesn’t have great financing but the next highest offer has incredible financing.  It is easy to eliminate the low offers, not so easy to eliminate the fab financing offers.  Closing dates, dates for inspections all come into play.  In this particular case the highest offer also had the best financing.  Lots of money to put down and a considerable offer amount above the next competing bid.  Shortly after we left we had the unpleasant job of calling the agents or buyers themselves to relay the bad news.  Buyers who make offers without an agent typically make dumb offers.  Crazy high offers with 500 contingencies, low offers that would have made no sense 5 years ago and of course the ASK…”I am not using an agent so the seller only has to pay 1/2 the commission.”  UGH, that’s a post for another day.

We did not go back for the best and final in this case.  The offer was more than the seller had dreamed of, the financing was perfect, the buyers were seasoned and seemed reasonable while viewing the house.  We felt that these were the right buyers.  If we went back for best and final there is risk of annoying the buyer who stepped up to the plate from the beginning and feels he is not treated fairly and decides to walk. Or you can have a buyer increase their offer in the heat of the moment only to wake up with buyer’s remorse.  They may regret their decision and then try to “renegotiate” the price based on some little inspection issue.  In the end you want the seller to go to the closing table.  Most often the seller is purchasing another home and the timing of this closing must coincide with the closing of the new home.

Buyers — put your best foot forward, DON’T panic, and let the chips fall where they may.  There will be another house for you.  Sellers –DON’T get greedy, the most successful deals happen when each party leaves a little something on the table for the other guy.

Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’


Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’

The millennial generation is showing differing housing tastes than their parents’ generation. For example, millennials say they prefer smaller, functional homes than sprawling “McMansions,” and they’re not interested in “cookie cutter” homes that look like everything else on the block. Instead, this generation of do-it-yourselfers wants to put their individual stamp on their home and make sure it reflects them and their tech-driven lifestyle.

I agree they millennials don’t want a home like their parents, they don’t want superfluous rooms, they don’t even want a living room.  I have not seen a DYI mentality in the western suburbs of Boston at all. In fact I see a reluctance to do any work, painting seems overwhelming to many.

Mllennials are the next big demographic of home buyers emerging in real estate.

“It’s critical that real estate professionals understand what embodies a quintessential home for the millennial generation, which vastly differs from the traditional norms of generations before them,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens recently conducted a survey of 1,000 adults aged 18-35, known as “Generation Y” or the millennial generation. “Understanding technologies to communicate with this generation is now only one piece of the puzzle for agents; smart technological capabilities must now be ingrained into the home itself.”  The search for the home is online and a possible drive by, more likely satellite imagery will be used.

I currently have a relocation buyer that knows what every home/building within a few blocks of any house he will be looking at by using google walk.  If he can’t figure it out I get a text to see whats what. 

About 30 percent of millennials surveyed say they prefer a “fixer-upper” home rather than a home that needs only a few repairs.

I am sure there are some out there, but I haven’t seen them especially in the higher price points.  

They desire homes where they can entertain, and they don’t necessarily need all the upgrades. Fifty-nine percent said they prefer extra space in the kitchen for a TV rather than having a second oven.

They’re also technology driven and they want their homes to reflect that too. Forty-one percent of Millennials surveyed say they are more likely to brag to a friend about a home automation system rather than a newly renovated kitchen. Seventy-seven percent say they want a home with technology capabilities.

This seems a bit overstated, millennials want renovated kitchens AND smart home capabilities.

They also want each room in their home to have a purpose. One in five of Millennials surveyed said they’d prefer the name “home office” be used for their dining room since that’s how they would usually use it. Forty-three percent said they’d like to change their living room into a home theatre, according to the survey.

This is an absolute, younger buyers want a kitchen, family room as one huge room and possibly an office on the first floor.  Gone are the days of the dining room.  I understand the living room being wasted space but a dining room?  One day they might want it.  I’ve seen a definite preference for a tricked out basement rather than living room home theatre, but they want the living room to be anything other than another under utilized space; perhaps that home office.

Rethinking The 55+ Real Estate Market


Rethinking the 55+ Market

 

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:00 AM PDT

I am excited to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today. Nikki  is considered a leading authority on seniors real estate and housing. – 

Many Seniors here in the Boston Suburbs are active and fit.  I rarely see an under 60 person looking to move to an over 55 community.  I do see many people in their 70’s and 80’s looking to stay in Newton and Brookline but there is nowhere for them to move.  Many of these Senior’s live in very large big old Victorians and the thought of moving into a 2 bedroom condo or small house is not feasible.  There is a huge market for townhouses with first floor master bedrooms with 2 beds and a bath upstairs.  These Seniors are engaged with their children and grandchildren and want room for them to stay.  They don’t want a retirement community or an over 55+ community.  They would like to live in a neighborhood with all age types.  I find that it’s not until Seniors are in their late 70’s and have had at least one health scare do they even consider an over 55+.  We just moved my 87-year-old mother in law into an Independent Living Community in NJ.  I can tell you she was scared to death to be with all those “old” people, she now loves it!  But what about the rest?  Where are the late 60’s to early 70’s going to go?  They no longer want to hassle with home maintenance and repairs, they don’t want to hire the landscapers or the snow plowing, or the exterior painter.

Many sellers also just don’t know where to begin.  We have people to help you with that.  Check out Laurie Norman’s website Next Stage Associates.  Laurie’s services are unrivaled and her prices are extremely competitive.

Builders, decide what the next big thing is…it’s here.  Townhouse with first floor master bedrooms or flats that are large, in a community that appeals to young, middle-aged and older.

 

Mature Couple at ParkSomeone said to me recently, “Sixty-five is the new forty-five.” We chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself in full agreement.

With more and more people working beyond traditional retirement age and the advances in modern medicine, the lines between middle and late adulthood are becoming a bit blurred.

What makes this relevant in the world of real estate?

As our population ages, we will see more and more organizations dedicating their marketing efforts toward the “senior” demographic. You have read previous KCM blogs about the various designations agents can earn for this specific purpose, and undoubtedly you have already seen real estate professionals in your market professing to “specialize”.

Reality check — not all seniors are the same.

Just as with using any label, we run the risk of putting people into a category when they may or may not actually belong there. This is especially true of the senior segment.

Despite the label of “senior,” there are 3 distinct types of moves you may encounter as a real estate professional —  all three involve seniors, but they aren’t based necessarily on age. You see, age is not a good predictor of relocation. Instead, people generally make changes in residence based on life circumstances.

Listed below are the three primary types of moves made by those labeled as seniors:

Move #1: Amenity-based

These individuals and/or couples are seeking a certain type of lifestyle and their home is only one component of a much larger picture. When looking to sell, they are usually transferring their equity from one home to the next and can usually either pay cash or put a significant down payment towards their purchase. Depending upon employment status, they may be moving across the country for more appealing climates or seeking a place near an airport making it easier to commute. Some are moving closer to kids and grandkids, while others are moving to destination locations where the family can enjoy visiting.

Social engagement, including quality family and friend connectedness, are key decision-making elements.

Move #2:  Anticipatory / Planning

As people age, they may begin to experience changes in personal health status or become the caregiver of a spouse requiring additional care. When this occurs, people may find their current home unmanageable or no longer suited for their current situation. Moving means simplifying and making preparations for future care needs and support. With this type of move, seniors are typically looking to either buy or lease a property with minimal maintenance, accessibility features, and in close proximity to quality healthcare. Family members and adult children may be called upon at this stage to assist, and will often have some influence in the relocation process.

Access to formal and informal support, as well as low maintenance and accessibility features, are primary decision-making factors. 

Move #3: Needs-based

While most people intend to live independently until they die, unfortunately, this reality isn’t always possible. As health declines to the point where more support is needed than can be provided for within the person’s home and community, relocation is necessary. This move may involve selling the personal residence and relocating to a senior living community or into the home of a family member. In many cases, needs-based moves involve caregivers and/or family members as additional decision makers. Late-life moves involving frail elderly or those experiencing illnesses or disease processes can be highly emotionally charged and necessitate a level of empathy in addition to real estate competency.

Timing, health status, and caregiver support are keys to decision-making.

As you can see from these various different types of moves, not all seniors share the same housing needs and goals. And while specializing in the 55+ housing market appeals to many, there are actually many sub-niche opportunities within the senior segment worth exploring.

Regardless of whether you choose to make working with mature home buyers and sellers a part of your overall business plan, with at least 1 in 4 home sellers over the age of 65, there is little doubt you will work with older adults in the course of your general real estate practice.  When encountering these opportunities, it will serve you well to consider the three types of moves listed here and evaluate your value proposition accordingly, so that you can be the very best agent possible for your mature clients.

6 Habits of Great Connectors


6 Habits of Great Connectors

 

Is is really so hard to smile?  Most of you who read my Blog know that I am not Polly Anna but please at least once a day there must be something to smile about?  If you meet someone new look them in the eye and smile, engage, smile, engage.  I think if we all concentrated on being open, having a dialogue, start a conversation the world will be a better place.  We would be happier and smile more!
Entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore shares the traits that the best networkers he’s met have in common.

The second part of the 1936 Dale Carnegie classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is called “Six Ways to Make People Like You.”

All these years later, connecting with new people remains a vital skill for any entrepreneur hoping to grow her network. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially for introverts. Not long ago entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore formed a list of the habits he’s observed in skillful connectors. In the spirit of Carnegie’s “Six Ways,” here are six habits from Dinsmore’s list, supplemented with timeless tidbits from How to Win Friends.

1. Smile. “Smiles are contagious and the simple act makes people feel better,” writes Dinsmore. Carnegie goes one step further: “The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” Carnegie even cites an old training program that phone companies provided to teach selling over the phone. “They suggest you smile when talking on the phone,” he writes. “Your ‘smile’ comes through in your voice.”

2. Make friends. “Ask, ‘How would I treat this person if they were my close friend or someone I’d want to be a close friend?'” explains Dinsmore. Carnegie stresses the practice of empathy. He tells the story of a Philadelphia fuel salesman named C.M. Knaphle who hated the advent of chain stores because a chain in Philadelphia bought its fuel from out-of-town dealers, instead of him. At Carnegie’s behest, Knaphle agreed to debate other students in Carnegie’s courses about whether chain stores were good or bad. The catch? Knaphle had to defend the chain stores. He went back to the store that wasn’t buying his fuel and asked the buyer for advice that could help him in the debate. “I must confess that he opened my eyes to things I had never even dreamed of,” wrote Knaphle. The buyer grew to like Knaphle personally–and ultimately became a customer.

3. Pay attention. “People want to tell their story. Be the person excited to hear it,” notes Dinsmore. Carnegie tells the story of meeting a woman at a party who’d just returned from a trip to Africa with her husband. “Africa!” Carnegie exclaimed. “How interesting. I’ve always wanted to see Africa.” He asked the women a quick series of questions. The woman wound up talking to him for 45 straight minutes.

4. See friends, not strangers. “When you walk into a room, see the new faces not as strangers but as friends you have yet to meet,” writes Dinsmore. Carnegie describes how Jim Farley, former chaiman of the Democratic National Committee, had a method for morphing strangers into friends. Whenever he met someone new, Farley found out their full names, their family situations, and a few business or political opinions. By soliciting these specifics, he was in a better position–when he met someone for the second time–“to shake hands, inquire about the family, and ask about the hollyhocks in the backyard.”

5. Contribute. “Meeting people is about making their lives better….Give like crazy, embrace generosity and make others more successful,” writes Dinsmore. For Carnegie, aiding others became both a sales technique and a method of persuasion. Once, when a storekeeper couldn’t pay him in cash, Carnegie accepted payment in shoes. He sold the shoes to the railroad men he’d befriended traveling throughout his territories, then forwarded the receipts to his employer. Later, when Carnegie was trying to persuade YMCAs to host his classes, he faced an uphill battle. YMCAs were incredulous that anyone could “make orators out of business people.” So Carnegie agreed to teach on a commission basis and only take his pay as a percentage of the profits. The YMCAs agreed to host his classes.

6. Be open to conversation. “Embrace conversation with those around you. Everyone has something to offer–your server or the guy next to you on a park bench or plane flight,” notes Dinsmore. Of course, being open to conversation isn’t easy, if you’re the shy type. But the only way to get better is to make an effort–even if it’s a fruitless effort. Carnegie certainly felt this way. The best method for overcoming fears, he believed, was “to do the thing you fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”

Read more: http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/6-habits-connectors.html#ixzz30TDZq45B

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy


Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy Newton, MA.  Real Estate

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

We have never hid our belief in homeownership. That does not mean we think EVERYONE should run out and buy a house. However, if a person or family is readywilling and able to purchase a home, we believe that owning is much better than renting. And we believe that now is a great time to buy.

We are not the only ones that think owning has massive benefits or that now is a sensational time to plunge into owning your own home. Here are a few others:

Benefits of Owning

Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord…Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

The Federal Reserve

“Renters have much lower median and mean net worth than homeowners in any survey year.”

Benefits of Buying Now

Trulia

“Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros… Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally.”

Freddie Mac

“One thing seems certain: we are not likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012…Yes, rates are higher than they were a year ago – and certainly higher than two years ago. But if you look at the averages over the last four decades, today’s rates remain historically low.”

True real estate professionals have information like this at their fingertips.  Call me at 617-921-6860 or margaretszerlip@gmail.com