Buyer Info

My House Failed Title V. What Are My Options?

Here in Ipswich, MA as well as across the north shore, we have a high number of septic systems and Title V is commonly part of most real estate transactions. We make it a priority to be well-informed and current on all changes by having regular sessions with our board of health director and constant information sharing. There are many nuances to managing a transaction with a septic system and I highly recommend you hire an agent who truly understands Title V. Thank you to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors for sharing these important facts: 

Q. I am selling a home that has a failed Title 5 inspection. What are my seller’s options?

A. Aside from very limited circumstances, a property must have a passing Title 5 inspection within 2 years before a transfer takes place. An inspection is not required before a transfer in the following situations:

1.     Refinancing or any situation where no new parties are introduced;

2.     a transfer between spouses;

3.     a transfer between parents and child(ren);

4.     a transfer between full siblings; and

5.     where the property is held in a trust.

A property owner or buyer of a property with a failed inspection may also enter into an enforceable agreement with the Board of Health requiring them to upgrade the system or connect to the public sewer within 2 years following the transfer of title. If a property owner has entered into this type of agreement, they must disclose it to prospective buyers, and it must be binding on subsequent owners.

The most straightforward option available to sellers with a failed Title 5 inspection is to repair or replace the system prior to transfer. However, this may not be a viable option for all sellers because of the expense involved. In these situations, the seller and buyer may negotiate a resolution that satisfies both the requirements of the law as well as the financial well-being of all parties involved.

Mass Housing Down Payment Assistance for Gateway Cities

Have you heard the term "Gateway City" yet? Massachusetts has a relatively short list of cities that have been designated as such. Why is that important? In terms of first-time buyers working hard to break into this tight real estate market, it means they have two new options for down payment assistance. (Mass housing says you do not have to be a first-time buyer if you are purchasing in Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn, North Adams and Somerville.)

Option 1: Qualified buyers who earn up to 100% of the area media income (or 135% of AMI in Boston or a Gateway City*) can get down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less. Eligible properties are single families, condos and 2, 3 and 4 family homes. Down payment assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage loan with a 2% interest rate and a 15 year term. 

Option 2: Qualified buyers who earn up to 80% of the area median income and who buy in Boston or a Gateway City* can get down payment assistance of up to 3% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less. Eligible properties are single families and condos. Down payment assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage loan with a 1% interest rate and a 15 year term. 

I know what your next question is.."Where are the gateway cities in Massachusetts?" *PEABODY, SALEM, LYNN, HAVERHILL, REVERE, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, Worcester.

For more information give us a call at 978-356-8922 and work with one of our north shore real estate specialists in combination with an experienced lender

Boston's Mayor Supports Fee on Real Estate Sales

Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that after months of working with the City Council, he signed a home rule petition that would give Boston the ability to implement a transfer fee of up to two percent on the purchase price of any private real estate sale over $2 million. Read the US News Report here.

If approved, the cost of the fee would be split between the purchaser and seller. The funding generated would go to the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund or would be appropriated through the annual budget process to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the city.

Currently Sellers pay for a mandatory real estate tax stamps at the rate of $4.56 per thousand for all Massachusetts sales with a few counties charging more.

My estimations show that in 2019 with 80,000+ sales in MA this year (not including auction or non-mls) with a volume of $41,581,812,351…Wouldn’t that be $189 million paid in tax stamps in 2019? Where does that money go?

Our Preferred Lenders Know All About Mortgage Secrets

NPR ran a great article recently about mortgage secrets that will save you money. All 7 tips are definitely noteworthy and although number 4 is accurate, it's not for everyone. There's another way to acheive similar results without the commitment to a 15-year. Work with a trusted lender and definitely speak with as many as you need to until you feel comfortable. We have a network of preferred lenders who have proven themselves over the years. 


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Don't Sell Your House Without Reading This First!

This just may be one of the best quotes I've read in my 33 years of being in real estate... “Just because you know a realtor doesn’t mean they’ll do the right job for you,’’ Presti said. “They may not be working full time in the business or have the right experience for selling the type of property you want to sell or they may not be committed enough to put your needs first.’’  "In fact, an experienced agent, if you listen to their counsel, can help you avoid most of these mistakes, save for one: picking the wrong one in the first place."

There are a lot of "realtors" with real estate licenses these days but it takes much more than a license to be a REALTOR®.'s article on The Things Home Sellers Do That Can Turn Off a Buyer or Kill a Sale hits the nail on the head! Great read if you're thinking about selling your home now or ever! 

Windhill's real estate advisors are experienced and willing to answer any questions you might have about the home buying or selling process. 

Haunted Houses - Buyer Beware!

Ipswich, Massachusetts is home to 59 houses that were constructed in the First Period, or 1625-1725, of English settlement. Essex County is home to more First Period homes than any where else in the country. That kind of history means your chances of coming across a "haunted house" in your home search are higher. Would you buy a home that was suspect of a poltergeist or that cabin in the woods? Fall in love with a house that looks like the one from Amityville or Beetlejuice? Interestingly, whether or not the property has been the site of an alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon shall not be deemed a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. SO ASK! Sellers are required to answer truthfully IF ASKED! Buyers BEWARE!!!


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Fairway Mortgage Releases Mortgage Program to Give Buyers an Edge

Ask any active home buyer what today's north-of-Boston real estate market is like and I guarantee you will hear some tales of woe; open houses akin to Grand Central Station, bidding wars and rejected offers (depsite the most romantic real estate love letter). It looks like Fairway Mortgage has created something new to give you a leg up. Check out Fairway's 3-2-1 Go Program; it might give you the green light you've been waiting for.


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Writing an Offer (Love) Letter That Will Win the House

  Shopping for a home in this tight real estate market with low inventory can be oh so unromantic. Multiple offers and bidding wars on most listings are a source of frustration and disappointment among ready, willing and able buyers due to simple low supply and high demand. What can you do to get your foot in the door? First: commit to a real estate professional who is committed to you, someone you trust. There are at least 10 ways to get your offer accepted in a seller's market and a seasoned real estate advisor knows how to put this into action. Then: take your agent's advice, put your creative writing cap on and profess your love. Real estate love letters work! Here are some tips on how to write an offer (love) letter that will win the house. There are no guarantees but our goal is to give you the best possible shot at your forever home.


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Thinking About Buying or Selling Real Estate - You Need to Read This.

Thinking about buying or selling? Either way, unless your next step is renting, you will want to read this...

Mortgage rates are at their highest levels in 4+ years and there's potential for further increases this year. The National Association of REALTORS® shared a relatable example of what this could mean for the average mortagee: On a $300,000 house with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 20 percent down payment, the difference between a 4 percent and 5 percent mortgage rate is $142 a month. Calculated over the life of the loan, that is more than an extra $51,000. Read the full article here.

Looking for direction? Reach out to us any time 978-356-8922 Our team is prepared to answer any questions you 

How to Get Your Offer Accepted in a Seller's Market - Real Estate Escalation Clauses

Yes, Boston was one of America's Hottest Markets for Real Estate in 2017. Here on the north shore we concur. The current, extremely tight real estate inventory is causing bidding wars and the result is (too) many disappointed, discouraged and frustrated buyers. If you're actively looking to 'get your foot in the door', literally, we are here to help. This would be a great time for you to be in a 'committed relationship' with a REALTOR® you trust. Ask friends and family for a referral, search online and read some REALTOR® bios, then interview a few real estate professionals (more than 1!). It's a little like dating; you'll know when you've found the right fit. There are at least 10 ways to help get your offer accepted in a seller's market (thank you Inhouse Realty!) and if 'your agent' is working on your behalf you know what I'm talking about. One powerful tool in a real estate professional's repertoire is an escalation clause. An escalation clause is language added to an offer that states that you are willing to out-bid any other offer up to a certain dollar amount, with a cap or maximum of what you are willing to pay. Escalation clauses aren't for everyone but an educated buyer should be fully aware. Our agents are well-versed in how to best compete in the current highly-competetive real estate market. Give us a call or reach out via web/email and put your best foot forward! 

Speaking of committed relationships, have you heard about how the real estate love letter has helped many of our home buyers get their offer accepted? Tune in to next week's blog...


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