Massachusetts & Southern NH Real Estate Industry News

Welcome to our blog! The purpose of this real estate blog is to provide some tips for staging your house, simple easy updates, what to do in the areas, all for you to enjoy. We plan to publish this blog monthly, so please subscribe or check back often!

April 15, 2021

Creating a Unique Experience for Clients: It’s Not Just About Buying or Selling a Home




Find a new client. Show client homes. Write as many offers as possible. Finalize the transaction. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get the picture.

Real estate tends to be SUCH an incredibly transactional process for the majority of real estate teams and brokerages. It’s not surprising though, as most are focused on the bottom line and market share.

Seeing Past the Transaction

But what if we were to take a step back and look at clients through a different lens. A lens that actually sees the person behind the house - the family looking for their first home, the 20-year veteran caring for their elderly parent, the widow leaving his home that he shared with his wife of 40 years. 

That’s what we’ve created here at Chinatti Realty.

Our agents are coached from DAY ONE to understand each client and their unique situation and experience. And understand how best to uncover what is driving their need to buy or sell a home, not just as a transaction and a box to check, but to support and guide and mentor them throughout the process.

Here’s an amazing story of how the team at Chinatti Realty looks past the transaction and into the life of an amazing man.

Meet Guy

We first met Guy last Fall when he was selling his home in Groton. His wife had passed several years before and he was ready to downsize and move in with family. His home was in a unique situation in many ways - it was situated across two towns, the septic system needed to be completely updated, and the team had to work with multiple departments in both Groton and Westford. After determining which town the home was deeded in, who would approve the septic, and who could build the system prior to the sale of the home, Guy was ready to put his home on the market. 

The team knew this was going to be a difficult process for Guy, who had lived in the home for 40 years with his wife and had raised his family there. They took extra care in guiding him through the process and taking care of so many of the details so that he didn’t have to, and creating as smooth a process as possible for him. 

Realtor Chelsea Eaton and our listing director, Don Metznik, share their heartfelt story about Guy and the sentiment and token they share with him as he prepared to move on.

Let Us Help You with Your Story

There is always a story behind the transaction, and we always try our best to make that story a positive experience no matter the circumstances. Each story is a new beginning for a family, a veteran, and an amazing gentleman who is starting a new chapter in his life.

 

Let us be a part of your story. Give us a call at (978) 320-3377 and we will introduce you to one of our amazing team members.

 

April 14, 2021

The Home Buying Process in 8 EASY Steps

You want to buy a home...now what? Looking at what is ahead of you in the home buying process can cause a little anxiety (or a lot!!!). There are many moving parts, multiple dependencies, terms you’ve never heard before, and not to mention, it is the biggest financial and emotional transaction of your life.

Whether it’s your first time buying a home or your fifth, being prepared will set you up for success. These 8 easy steps will help prepare you for what is to come. If you’re a first time home buyer, you will definitely learn something new. And if you’ve purchased a home before, a quick brush up on the process doesn’t hurt. 

1. Finalize and discuss what you want in your dream home

Come with your list of must haves and deal breakers. This includes the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want in your new home, but also things you wouldn’t even think about - do you want a pantry off the kitchen, is an island in the kitchen important, do you love the idea of a fireplace in your living room to spend cozy winter evenings. Whatever it is, make sure you come prepared. 

2. Find a mortgage lender so you can move fast when the time is right

One word - PRE-APPROVAL. Make sure you have a pre-approval in hand before you start searching for a home. In most cases, you will not be able to submit an offer on a home if you are not pre-approved for the amount you plan to offer. Don’t miss out on your dream home. Get pre-approved!

3. Gain access to off-market properties

Buying a home off-market has significant advantages to you as a home buyer. You can avoid competition. When that is what is driving up the price of homes, it puts you in a better position financially to afford MORE home, and you don’t have the stress and worry of your offer getting accepted.

4. Understand market trends and how they impact your offer

In the last year, we have seen history made in the real estate space. Historically low interest rates have buyers (and refinancers) out en masse. And the lack of inventory (homes available to buy) has never been lower. Understanding these trends and how they impact the offer you write on your new home is extremely important and could save you hundreds of dollars on your monthly mortgage.

5. Write the BEST offer and negotiate to win

A knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent is going to know what it takes to write the best offer to win your home. Understanding what terms are negotiable - like an inspection or appraisal - and knowing how high to go on your offer are things that your agent will help with.

6. Have a strong agent to manage the entire process of your home purchase

From start to finish, the process should be seamless to you. A strong agent will let you know what to expect at what stage and when, while still being attentive to your needs.

7. Schedule the inspection and final walkthrough 

This step is often the most important. Is your prospective home ready to be handed over to you as the new homeowner? Make sure you are thorough in your walkthrough and don’t be afraid to point out anything that isn’t right. 

8. Close on your home and get your keys!

You are a new homeowner! See how easy that was? Proper planning and preparedness has gotten you to this point. After the final walkthrough and all of the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys to your new home. Enjoy!

Bottom Line

While the home buying process can be stressful and take you out of your comfort zone, it is one of the best experiences you will have in your lifetime. Taking the time to prepare what you need, identify what you want, and understand how the market impacts your purchase will set you on the right path. And by the way, ALL of these steps are things your real estate should guide you through. The best ones will!

 

Posted in Buying a Home
April 8, 2021

5 Myths about Selling Your Home in Today’s Market

 

 

 

When the real estate market is experiencing historically low inventory levels and mortgage rates as it has the last year, it isn’t surprising that there are many misconceptions in the market. If you’ve given even just slight consideration to selling your home this year, you’ve surely encountered these misconceptions and have been misguided by them. But don’t worry, once you have the right information, you can make informed decisions about how to move forward.

 

Myth #1

It’s a “seller’s market” so you don’t need help selling your house.

This is a huge misconception. Regardless of the favorability of the market - for buyers or sellers - having a trusted real estate agent on your side throughout the process is critical. FSBO (for sale by owner) properties tend to see less offers overall, and sell for less than asking price and under market value. When FSBO properties don’t sell, owners will engage with a realtor, but it is often too late with the majority getting only 98% of the original list price of the home. Your best bet - seek out an experienced real estate agent at the beginning of the process.

 

Myth #2

After selling your house, you will have to be out in 45 days.

It’s important to remember that you are in control of the terms in the sale of your home. It’s normal to feel a little pressure, as the homebuyers are eager to get into their new home, but don’t let that pressure force you into a situation where you feel rushed. In today’s market, buyer’s are likely to forgo the typical terms - including appraisals and inspections - and more often than not allow ample time for you as a seller to look for your next home. The competitiveness of the market allows for this, so take advantage.

 

Myth #3 

Renovating your house will net more money when you sell.

Some minor renovations could be necessary, but there’s no need to complete major work on your home before selling it. A trusted real estate agent will advise you on what is important to fix before you sell and what is not. Small repairs, cosmetic updates and proper staging of your home will show your home in the best light and position you to make the most on your investment.

 

Myth #4

You’re not going to find a home to move to once you sell yours.

This is one of the main reasons homeowners are hesitant to sell their home - where will we go if inventory is so low and the market is so competitive? There are plenty of homes on the market for you to find a home. And with the terms being in your favor, you are likely to have a contingency built into the offer on your home that gives you ample time to find a new place to live.

 

Myth #5

Pricing your house higher is better.

In a market that favors sellers with low inventory and low mortgage rates, and has lots of potential home buyers, it is not surprising that sellers want to capitalize and get the most money for their home. Before getting greedy, consider that competitively priced homes will likely sell faster, attract more buyers, deliver more offers, and sell faster. So while your first instinct may be to price your home as high as you can, consult with your real estate agent to ensure you are being competitive and not pricing yourself out of the market.

 

Bottom Line

Knowledge is power, and the more informed you are about the market, the better decisions you are able to make about what is right for you. Find a reputable, experienced realtor who will guide you through the process and help you make sense of this unprecedented market.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 26, 2021

The Real Deal on Off-Market Properties: A Home Buyer Perspective

So, you’re in the market to buy a home. You scroll through new homes online, you have saved searches and alerts set up thinking that in some miraculous way you will be the first person to see anything new that comes on the market. 

You book an appointment to see the home, you love it, submit an AMAZING offer and it is accepted. You’re so excited. (We’re so happy for you!)

However, the reality is that the scenario described above is so hard to come by in today’s market. And you’ve probably already experienced some disappointment in your home search to date.

 

Does it have to be this way? Absolutely not

 

There are ways to make it easier AND better. Yes, it’s true!

 

The Elephant in the Room: This Crazy Market

The current real estate market is one of immense opportunity. Interest rates at historic lows and that is having a significant impact on buying power - lower rates equals more money in the average person’s pockets. A typical home buyer can afford to pay more for a home, there are more people looking for homes, and there are less homes on the market than ever before. 

 

This is creating one of the biggest obstacles that all home buyers are navigating right now - almost every property on the market is getting multiple offers and bidding wars are driving up the price of homes.

 

But...what if a home never goes ON the market. This is what we call an “off-market property”

 

What is an Off-Market Property

In this scenario, a homeowner has committed to selling their home and working with an experienced real estate team, however they are not making their property available to the public. 

 

This could be for a number of reasons: they need time to make updates to their home and prepare it for sale, they need to find somewhere to live and feel more comfortable waiting until that is complete, or simply because they are not comfortable showing their home publicly online or in person. 


Why You Should Consider an Off-Market Property

Buying a home off-market has significant advantages to you as a home buyer. First of all, you avoid competition. When that is what is driving up the price of homes, it puts you in a better position financially to afford MORE home, and you don’t have the stress and worry of your offer getting accepted.

 

Equally as important is controlling the timeline of the home buying process and working collaboratively with the seller of the home to negotiate the process, the price and the commitment.

 

It also means that you can book a showing for a home prior to it going on the market and secure the home, before most even know it is available. 

 

Finding Off-Market Homes for Sale
If you want to find an off-market opportunity, there are a few options, but the most important one is finding a real estate agent that can help you gain access to these homes. There are several key factors to consider when looking for the right team.

 

Larger Office

A large office means that a team can cover more areas for you. They usually have a large network and have access to a larger number of available properties. 

 

Deep Roots in Local Communities

The most successful teams have great connections within the local communities. They hear of homes that may be going on the market because of these connections, and are a great asset in your home search.

 

Good Reputation and Past Success

It’s smart to do your homework. Finding a team that has a great reputation (read their reviews!) and deep expertise and success in real estate.

 

Buyer’s Agents AND Listing Agents

The right team is not only going to be great at helping home buyers with their search, they are also working with home sellers. A team that talks with home sellers every day has their hand on the pulse of the market.


Off-Market Properties: Final Thoughts

As a home buyer, off-market properties are not the only venue you should explore as part of your home search, but they are 100% a reliable option if you want to avoid the heavy competition, bidding wars, and possible disappointment.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 15, 2021

Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House

Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

The housing market made an incredible recovery in 2020 and is now positioned for an even stronger year in 2021. Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor in this continued momentum, with average rates hovering at historic all-time lows.

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is incredibly strong. That’s not the case, however, on the supply side. Seller traffic is simply not keeping up. Here’s a breakdown by state:Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

As the maps show, buyer traffic is high, but seller traffic is low. With so few homes for sale right now, record-low inventory is creating a mismatch between supply and demand.

NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Additionally, inventory is at an all-time low with 2.3 months supply available at the current sales pace. In a normal market, that number would be 6.0 months of inventory – significantly higher than it is today.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, they must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home since bidding wars are more common when so few houses are available for sale.

Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market, though. With such high buyer demand and such a low supply, now is the perfect time to sell a house on optimal terms.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 7, 2021

Why You Should Not Wait Until Spring to Make a Move

Why Not to Wait Until Spring to Make a Move | MyKCM

The housing market recovery coming into the new year has been nothing short of remarkable. Many experts agree the turnaround from the nation’s economic pause is playing out extremely well for real estate, and the current market conditions are truly making this winter an ideal time to make a move. Here’s a dive into some of the biggest wins for homebuyers this season.

1. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low

In 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows 16 times. Continued low rates have set buyers up for significant long-term gains. In fact, realtor.com notes:

“Given this, homes could cost potentially tens of thousands
less over the lifetime of the loan.”

Essentially, it’s less expensive to borrow money for a home loan today than it has been in years past. Although mortgage rates are expected to remain relatively low in 2021, even the slightest increase can make a big difference in your payments over the lifetime of a home loan. So, this is a huge opportunity to capitalize on right now before mortgage rates start to rise.

2. Equity Is Growing

According to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity, and 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear.

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity homeowners gained since last year is $17,000. That’s a tremendous amount of forced savings for homeowners, and an opportunity to use this increasing equity to make a move into a home that fits your changing needs this season.

3. Home Prices Are Appreciating

According to leading experts, home prices are forecasted to continue appreciating. Today, many experts are projecting more moderate home price growth than last year, but still moving in an upward direction through 2021.

Knowing home values are increasing while mortgage rates are so low should help you feel confident that buying a home before prices rise even higher is a strong long-term investment.

4. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale

With today’s low inventory of homes on the market, which is contributing to this home price appreciation, sellers are in the driver’s seat. The competition is high among buyers, so homes are selling quickly.

Making a move while so many buyers are looking for homes to purchase may mean your house rises to the top of the buyer pool. Selling your house before more listings come to the market in the traditionally busy spring market might be your best chance to shine.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering making a move, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates and limited inventory. Let’s connect to get you set up for homebuying success in the new year.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 5, 2021

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year

 

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.

When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.

1. Price Your Home Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCM

This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help you need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 25, 2019

Things to Do in Spring in Merrimack Valley

 

I am probably just like you and want to get out and about now that the weather is better, here are some things to do and places to go.

 

Great Brook State Farm

 

This is a wonderful local park to take your kids to year round. It has 20 miles of trails and over 1,000 acres of land. In the summer, it has homemade ice cream stand and a farm with a robotic milking system. You can see the animals and they give tours of milking the cows. 

 

Lots of people run or ride their horses on the trails, they have cross country meets here as well.  In the winter when there is snow you can rent cross country skis or snow shoes or bring your own and enjoy some outdoor time and some exercise.  It does cost $2 to park there. 

 

NARA Park in Acton 

 

This park is open year round but is only manned in the summer. In the summer, you can enjoy the beach with lifeguards for a fee  or you can enjoy a concert at the amphitheater, check out the website for a calendar of events. http://www.acton-ma.gov/312/NARA-Park . In July they have a fantastic 4th of July show but you need to get there early as it does get crowded. 

 

Manning State Park Billerica MA

 

This fun park is great picnic areas, hiking, a splash pad, fitness trail and fire pits.

 

Heart Pond Chelmsford

 

This is a small pretty beach on the rail trail. The beach is open from dawn until dusk.

 

Brush Art Gallery and Studios Lowell MA

 

Artists occupy studio spaces to interact with and educate the public on a weekly basis. Currently, nine studio artists produce paintings, illustration, photography, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, quilts, and handwoven items.

 

Bobby’s Ranch Westford MA

 

Have fun and go on a western trail ride, all levels welcome.

 

Kimball Farm Westford MA

 

Mini golf clubs are swinging, the zipline is soaring, the bumper boats are splashing, and lots more! With a variety of activities for all ages

 

 

 

Parlee Farm Tyngsboro MA

 

PARLEE FARMS was named one of the 1000 GREAT PLACES TO VISIT IN MASSACHUSETTS! What an honor – thank you! Parlee Farms is a family owned farm that specializes in growing fruit.

 

LeLacheur Park Lowell MA

 

Home to the Lowell Spinners

 

 

 

Lowell Heritage State Park Lowell MA 

 

Enjoy canal rides at this fun park that is connected to the bigger Lowell Historical Park.  It has a bike path and many exhibits on the trail.  There is a pretty Victorian garden in the heart of the downtown area, and over two miles of landscaped esplanade which allows for summer concerts.  Swimming and boating in the Merrimack River are offered as well as a boat ramp so you can bring your own.

 

 

 

Walden Pond Concord 

 

Home to Henry David Thoreau this park include 102 feet deep kettle hole ideal for swimming and fishing on 335 acres of wooded land, has lots of trails around the pond and in the summer they do interpretive guided walks. 

 

 

 

 Minuteman National Historic Park Concord and Lexington        

 

The Old North Bridge in Concord is just one of the highlights on this park system.  Battle Road is a five mile trail with houses along the way that are open to the public in the summer for tours. This is a beautiful and fun day to spend exploring both Concord and Lexington and there are many activities in the park.

 

 

 

So go out and explore and enjoy these parks, spend some quality time outdoors and remind ourselves to stop and admire what is around us.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Spring
April 5, 2019

Taxes

 

It’s time for taxes! I just sold my home do I have to pay taxes? If you owned and lived in the home for 2-5 years prior to selling that up to $250,000 is tax free. And if you are married and filing jointly then it is $500,000.  This only works on a primary residence and not on a vacation home. Anything over that amounts needs to be reported as capital gains on Schedule D.  You will need to pinpoint how much you originally paid for the house, this can be adjusted by improvements you have made, just make sure you have the information to back all of it up

 

 

 

If you sold for a loss you cannot take the deduction for that loss.

 

 

 

Hope that helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Taxes
March 28, 2019

So Its Spring: Home Maintenance Tips

So its spring! Finally. Time to take a look around your home and do some spring home maintenance as part of your spring cleaning!  It’s called Spring Fever. I already started cleaning windows and washing curtains.

 

Time to make a spring cleaning list that includes things to do like cleaning the gutters and downspouts between snow and leaves, it can get clogged and cause some home damage, so get this one off the list.  Take a look at your roof to see if there are missing shingles or damaged shingles from the winter storms and get them fixed!  No need for leaks next year. While you are at it check the flashing for skylights, vents and chimneys as these are areas that the seal can break down over time and cause leaks.

 

My favorite one is to check your irrigation system, I always have a head that is no longer working and I need to fix.  They easily crack with weather. Check those faucets as well to see if they froze. Any easy way to see is if you turn on the faucet and you can stop the flow with just your thumb, if that happens you may need to have a plumber check the pipes inside the home for damage. And check the hoses for dry rot and you may need to replace one or two.

 

Start up all the lawn equipment and power tools to see what works and what needs to be fixed!

 

If you have air conditioning, make sure to get the AC unit serviced now that winter is over.

 

And of course, time to power wash the decks, driveways, fences and whatever other outside surfaces you have to get rid of mold and mildew so it’s ready for use!