Seller 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.

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?

New Short-Term Rental Laws in Massachusetts

New Short-Term Rental Laws in Massachusetts Q&A


Massachusetts adopted a new law taxing and regulating the short-term rental market. The following information should help Realtors® navigate the short-term rental market under these new laws and regulations. For additional information, see the Department of Revenue's FAQ page.  

What does this new law require? 
The new law expands the state's hotel and motel tax to include the short-term rental of homes (condominiums, single family, multifamily, etc.). Massachusetts is one of the last states to adopt this type of tax. The tax applies to all rentals for a period of 31 days or less, regardless of whether the rental is for recreational, personal, or business use. At the insistence of MAR, the new law only applies to short-term rentals, meaning ordinary tenancies, such as an annual lease or a tenancy-at-will, are not covered by this bill. 

Tax Structure
The short-term rental rate varies by locality and is the total of the following rates: 

  • State: 5.7%
  • Local: up to 6% (Boston 6.5%) Look up your city/town's local tax rate here.
  • Cape Cod & Islands: includes additional 2.75% to fund Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund 
  • A community impact fee of up to 3% may be assessed locally on professionally managed properties (Owners of two or more units in one town).

The law requires regulations to minimize the administrative burden on tax filings for those who only rent their unit five (5) months or less each year. 

Are there any exemptions in the law?
The tax imposed by the new law does not apply to properties rented for fourteen (14) days or less per calendar year. It is important to note that these properties are still subject to the other requirements of the law, such as insurance and registration. 

When will this law take effect? 
Rental contracts that were signed on or after January 1, 2019 for stays on or after July 1, 2019 will be subject to the tax. We anticipate that the Department of Revenue will issue guidance on how to handle the tax on bookings made on or after January 1, 2019. The law exempts from tax any 2019 rental contract that was completed on or before December 31, 2018.  

Does this apply to the units I rent? 
As stated above, the new law applies to all rentals for a period of 31 days or less. Ordinary rentals, such as an annual lease or a tenancy-at-will are not covered. The new law applies regardless of whether the owner rents the property themselves, hires a Realtor® to rent the property, or uses an online platform to facilitate the rental. 

Do I need to collect the tax? 
Most likely, yes. The tax must be paid on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which it is due. DOR will issue regulations to clarify this process. 

Do I need to carry insurance for the listed properties? 
Owners are required to maintain $1 million dollars in liability insurance to cover each short-term rental as of July 1, 2019. The coverage is required to defend and indemnify the owner or operator and any tenants in the building for bodily injury and property damage. 

Do the properties need to be registered with the state or city/town? 
Each rental unit will need to be listed with the state short-term rental registry. Additionally, each city and town is permitted to create a registration requirement for short term rentals. Check with your municipal government office for details. 
 
Are there any inspections required? 
Cities and towns may implement a health and safety inspection requirement and set the frequency of inspections. Short-term rental operators are required to cover the cost of inspections and will likely face a fee to cover registration costs as well. 
 

Thank you to the Masschusetts Association of Realtors for providing this important information.

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 info@WindhillRealty.com. Our team is prepared to answer any questions you 

Full Time RV Living vs. Homeownership

downsizing north of boston north shore real estateThe roads less travelled...thinking about full-time RV living? Imagine yourself downsizing, purging, selling it all and hitting the road? Here's an interesting perspective on which costs more, full-time RV living or home living by Cindy Belt. Here in the Northeast, more specifically the North Shore, the average home cost is double what this article quotes, which suggests RV living would be overall, less expensive, but there's more to consider that just the dollar. Here's 21 questions everyone asks about living in an RV by Heath Padgett. Either way, we are here to help you sort it out. Whether you're dreaming of going mobile and retiring on the road or just simplifying life and downsizing from the empty nest, we can provide you with the accurate sales data and current real estate market conditions & trends to prepare you. Happy trails!

Mortgage Interest Rates on the Rise

There’s no doubt that “the era of ultra-low interest [mortgage] rates is over,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, in a statement. That's the quote that stopped me in my tracks.

I wish I could tell you that lower home prices will offset the rate increase but currently we are still experiencing low inventory and high demand, including multiple offer situations and many frustrated buyers. The article suggests that if you're planning on buying in 2017, act sooner than later; I agree. Get the full article on rising interest rates from realtor.com here

What's Your Real Estate Agent Doing Behind Your Back?

Great article from Realtor.com and it's not what you might think! Almost 30 years in this business, I've been asked the question many times: "What makes a great real estate agent?" My response would be, "What does 'great real estate agent' mean?" Makes the most money? Provides the best customer service? Accomplishes both of those goals with refined ethics?" 

Ideally, you would have a skill set that included not only a psychology degree but be as gifted as one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, have legal experience equivalant to one of the most influential laywers in the world, possess the most powerful secrets of super negotiators, be in the top 500 for marketing & advertising, globally. And let us not forget patience; you would have to have the patience of Job.

Of course, I'm speaking dramatically and quite sarcastically, but seriously, none of the necessary skills required to be GREAT in this profession are magically granted upon passing the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson License Exam. NONE. Anyone can attend the required hours and pass the test; many, who do, never go on to be great. Furthermore, we all measure "success" in our own way. I'm a big proponent of ethics, maybe because I like to sleep at night. I can say the same for my team.

Take a peek at this list of what your real estate agent SHOULD be doing behind your back. This is just a snapshot of what you should expect, in the least, when hiring a real estate PROFESSIONAL. Ask about experience, not how long they've had their license, ask how many transactions they've completed in the last year, 2 years, 5 years, etc. Ask for testimonials. Speaking of testimonials, here's a long list of the kind of service you can expect from Windhill Realty. Do your research. Your REALTOR® is your professional partner in one of the most important and largest business transactions of your financial history. Not getting the answers you need to make your decision? Call me. I'm not in sales. My job is to help people and that includes you!

TRID Rules Expected to Delay Closings? New Law as of October 3, 2015

There's a new law in town, effective October 3, 2015. Welcome to TRID (TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure)! The new law will create a rippling effect across the industry, buyers and sellers included. Like every other big change, it's designed for the protection of the consumer. We spent the morning with Attorney Rick Carter and Ron Peck & Victoria Davis of Salem Five Bank, getting the facts. The new rules are a bit complicated so make sure you're working with a professional REALTOR® who has taken the time to educate themselves on the entire process and what will be required.

  

 

Top Home Listing Dates of 2014

 

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This is where the term 'Spring Market' comes from. Inventory tends to peak during the months of April and May. Spring arrives in 10 days! What do you suppose will happen with real estate inventory this year? I predict a post blizzard flood here in Essex County; of inventory that is. Folks are just waiting for the 'great melt' to do repairs and and make their move. Basic economics tells us that when supply goes up, price goes down. Don't let that happen to you! Here's a great look back at 2014's most popular listing dates from the National Association of Realtors, posted in Economist Commentaries by Danielle Hale, Director of Housing Statistics. Don't wait for your competition to mount! We have a list of clients ready and waiting to buy...NOW!

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Forbes Magazine's Test When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

How to Vet a Real Estate Agent:  10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring

There are a lot of real estate professionals out there today. Chances are you may already know one from within your own social circle. You can get referrals from neighbors, friends, family members and you might even look to Google to help you find an agent.

But one word of caution is this: Don't pick someone so close to you that you can't have a serious "straight talk" business conversation. You need someone with whom you are not uncomfortable disagreeing. And keep in mind that this person will at some point become quite intimate with your entire financial picture.

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So choose the most qualified person for the job that you think you'll work well with. The ideal person for you is an experienced professional who knows your market, acts in an ethical manner, answers all of your questions, addresses your concerns and, most important, will listen to you and be your teammate throughout the entire process.

Here are 10 questions that you ask your real estate agent or broker before you hire them to help you with your home search:

  1. What percentage of your clients are buyers (vs. sellers)?
  2. In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?
  3. Will I be working with you directly or handed off to anyone else other than you? In other words, will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but you want to make sure you can connect with your agent regularly.
  4. Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?
  5. How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?
  6. How many other buyers are you representing now? How many sellers?
  7. Is your license in good standing? You should check an agent's certification yourself with your state's Department of Real Estate. Many states provide this information online.
  8. How many years of education and experience do you have? Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents. (And it doesn't hurt to ask if they own their own home. A new Trulia Trends study shows that 85% of brokers and agents are homeowners).
  9. Are you also a broker and/or a Realtor or an agent? (Hint: a real estate license does NOT make an agent a REALTOR®)
  10. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references? Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level.

    Picking a Real Estate pro is a very key decision in the home-buying or selling process and I want to see you do it right. There are so many great real estate professionals out there willing to work hard for you, so consider the advice above as you make your selection.

Thank you Forbes for your wisdom! Excellent advice and we agree!

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