Blog :: 02-2010

Market Shows Vast Improvement

Boston Globe reported Tuesday that the local housing market shows vast improvement. We had our staff meeting like we do every Tuesday and part of our regular agenda is to round table every one's recent activity. We all reported an uptick in incoming business. The good word about Windhill is spreading. Customers are contacting our advisors and saying things like, "We know Windhill sells in our town." We had one report of a customer visiting an open house not to view the property but to meet a Windhill advisor! She had no interest in the house at all. She simply had heard so many good things about our company, she wanted to personally meet a Windhill advisor. Apparently she liked what she saw because she made an appointment with that advisor to possibly put her home on the market. With the increase in booked business, we all agreed with the Globe's report that inventory is way down and could potentially drive prices up. This is a great time to put your house on the market. Are you on the fence? Maybe you just need some solid advice. Our Windhill advisors are qualified to do exactly that, even if you decide you don't want to sell. We want you to be well informed before you make any decisions. We do this for free and are proud to offer that service to our community. So give us a call. Visit our website. Have you seen the Windhill movie yet? Check it out.

"Buying a House is NOTHING Like Buying a Car!"

Sitting in my local bagel shop enjoying the irrisistable delight of sesame and scallion, I couldn't help but overhear  the  conversation at the next table. Two gentlemen, most likely father and son conversed or should I say, the son did all the talking and the father responded with the occasional "been there, done that" grunt in between lettuce-dripping,  roast beef bagel sandwich. Does the grunting constitute an actual exchange? Well evidently, the son was in the process of purchasing a new construction townhouse in Western Massachusetts and was astonished, not to mention completely distressed,  by the amount of work and energy it required and his exact words were, "buying a house is NOTHING like buying a car." (NO KIDDING!) I wanted to turn around and hand him my Windhill card and explain that if he was working with the right advisor, he would not be so exhausted by the process. I'm proud of my team of advisors. They do a great job of alleviating the pressures a real estate transaction can often times produce, "spreading out the cream cheese" nice and smooth so all the client has to do is sit back, sip their coffee, enjoy their bagel and wax poetic about their new home and when the first barbecue will be.
Here's what it takes...don't go it alone. Hire a Windhill Advisor for a smooth transaction.
 
Instructions                                        Level of Difficulty:    Challenging

  1. Step 1

    Decide if it makes sense for you to buy a house or keep renting. If your job keeps you on the move, it may not be worth it. You may need to stay put for at least three years to recoup your closing costs. If your desire to own a home is based on wanting to create stability, keeping control over your living situation, building equity and investing in your future, go for it.

  2. Step 2

    Strengthen your credit: Pay off credit cards, resolve any credit disputes or delinquencies, and cancel unused cards. Your credit rating takes into account both how you use the credit you have available and whether your available credit is too high for your income. Call a credit reporting agency and request a copy of your credit report, which may cost around $20.

  3. Step 3

    Decide what sort of home you want. A single-family home in good condition offers instant livability. While it's more work than a condominium, and likely more expensive up front, you don't have to share ownership or pay condo fees (that only increase over time). Or build equity quickly if you have the skills and ample time by purchasing a fixer-upper and making it livable. Spec homes (new homes constructed by a builder that don't have a buyer yet) can also be a good deal if the builder is eager to get its money out of the project. Multi-families can be an excellent way to generate income, by occupying one unit and renting the other(s).

  4. Step 4

    Simplify your search by defining the area you'd like to live in. Scout out what's available in the vicinity. Look at prices, home design, proximity to shopping, schools and other amenities.

  5. Step 5

    Visit a few open houses to gauge what's on the market and to see firsthand what you want, such as overall layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen amenities, and storage.

  6. Step 6

    Use a mortgage calculator  to determine how much house you can afford, whether renting or buying is more advantageous for you right now, and how much you'll likely be able to borrow. However, take these figures with a grain of salt; some are inaccurate. Get pre-qualified to get the actual amount you can pay.  Most lenders allow you to put up to 28 percent of your gross income or 36 percent of your net toward a house payment.

  7. Step 7

    Be ready to hand over a substantial down payment. Most mortgages are based on the buyer putting down 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price. Putting down less up front often requires you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which increases your monthly housing cost.

  8. Step 8

    Shop for a home on your own only if you understand the tradeoffs. When you walk into an open house without representation, that agent running the open house represents and is working on behalf of the seller of that property. The agent is obligated to treat you fair and honest but still represents the seller.

  9. Step 9

    Shop for a real estate agent who will search for suitable properties, represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf. A buyer's representative can evaluate the properties you view, do a market analysis to determine its value in the marketplace, select an appropriate price to begin negotiations and advise you in writing the contract.

  10. Step 10

    Go into exhaustive detail when describing to your agent what you want in a home: number of bathrooms and bedrooms, attached garage, land and anything else that may be important, like good light or a big enough yard for the kids. Find an agent who listens attentively.

  11. Step 11

    Shop aggressively. Unless you're under the gun time-wise, look at as many homes as possible to get a sense of what's available. Don't rush into buying if you don't have to.

  12. Step 12

    Look beyond the home to the neighborhood and the condition of nearby homes to make sure you aren't buying the only gem in sight. The area in which your home is located is sometimes a bigger consideration than the home itself, since it has a major impact on your home's resale value. Buying a fixer-upper in the right neighborhood can be a great investment, and being able to identify up-and-coming communities--where more people want to live--can lead you to a bargain property that will only appreciate in value.

  13. Step 13

    Visit properties you're seriously interested in at various times of the day to check traffic and congestion, available parking, noise levels and general activities. What may seem like a peaceful neighborhood at lunch can become a loud shortcut during rush hour, and you'd never know it if you drove by only once.

  14. Step 14

    Determine whether you need to sell your current home in order to afford a new one.  If so, any offer to buy that you make will be contingent on that sale. Contingent offers are more risky and less desirable for the seller, since the sale can't be completed until the buyer's house is sold. You may want to put your current house on the market first.

  15. Step 15

    Try not to fall in love with one particular property. It's great to find exactly what you need, but if you get your heart set on one home, you may end up paying more than it's worth because you're emotionally invested. The deal may also fall apart.

  16. Step 16

    Work with your agent to present an offer. In this market, inventory is down and multiple offer situations are quite possible; your agent should help you craft a competitive bid that makes the most of your financial assets. He or she can help you determine how close to the asking price you should be and, if your offer's turned down, how to counteroffer.

  17. Step 17

    Make sure final acceptance is predicated on a suitable home inspection.

  18. Step 18

    Include earnest money with your offer. Your agent can assist in arriving at a suitable amount--usually $1,000 to $5,000. Once you sign an offer, you are officially in escrow, which means you are committed to buy the house or lose your deposit, unless you do not get final mortgage approval. During escrow (typically 30 to 90 days), your lender arranges for purchase financing and finalizes your mortgage. This is also when all inspections must be completed.

  19. Step 19

    Request the following surveys and reports: inspection, pests, dry rot, radon, hazardous materials, landslides, flood plains, earthquake faults and crime statistics.

  20. Step 20

    Close escrow. This final step in buying a home, usually conducted in a title office, involves signing documents related to the property and your mortgage arrangements. The packet of papers includes the deed, proving you now own the house, and the title, which shows that no one else has any claim to it or lien against it. If any issues remain, money may be set aside in escrow until they are resolved, which acts as an incentive for the seller to quickly remedy any problem areas in order to receive all that is owed.

The Windhill Building is Starting to Look Like Home!

I toured our new building the other day and was very excited to see everything taking shape. The plaster and recessed lights make such a difference when trying to visualize the space. The windows let in beautiful light, even on the day a Northeaster faked out the Northeast. My new office is the perfect size and now I can think about paint colors, nantucket grey or weston flax...I can't decide. 

Thinking of buying or selling?  Thinking about a renovation? Considering refinancing? Wondering what your next move should be? Take advantage of our 200+ years of experience. The Windhill team wants to help.

 

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood? January Sales - Ipswich, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
33 Allen Ln, Ipswich, MA 3 1&2 $327,500 $327,000
30 Allen Ln, Ipswich, MA 3 1.5 $359,900 $347,000
112 Little Neck Rd, Ipswich, MA 4 1 $370,000 $330,000
21 Farley Ave, Ipswich, MA 4 2 $409,900 $396,000
19 Arrowhead Trl, Ipswich, MA 4 2.5 $469,900 $455,000
         
Condo        
23 South Main St #3, Ipswich, MA 1 1 $164,900 $164,900
23 South Main St #6, Ipswich, MA 1 1 $194,900 $194,900
6 Essex Rd #3, Ipswich, MA 3 3.5 $459,900 $445,000
6 Essex Rd #1, Ipswich, MA 2 3.5 $499,900 $495,000

 

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood? January Sales - Hamilton, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
230 Highland St, Hamilton, MA 3 2 $199,900 $190,000
40 Lois St, Hamilton, MA 3 2.5 $549,000 $545,000

 

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood? January Sales - Wenham, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
No closed transactions in January         

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood? January Sales - Rowley, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
28 Lebel Way, Rowley, MA 2 2 $350,000 $340,000
75 Wilson Pond Rd, Rowley, MA 4 2.5 $464,000 $450,000
27 Arrowhead Cir, Rowley, MA 4 2.5 $499,900 $501,100

 

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood? January Sales - Danvers, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
         
Single Family        
66 Green St, Danvers, MA 2 1 $289,000 $280,000
29 Sherwood Ave, Danvers, MA 3 1.5 $289,900 $289,900
163 Holten St, Danvers, MA 3 1.5 $296,500 $285,000
10 Palmer Ave, Danvers, MA 3 1.5 $299,999 $283,000
2 Grapevine Rd, Danvers, MA 4 3 $314,999 $317,000
61 Liberty St, Danvers, MA 3 1.5 $324,900 $315,000
39 Coolidge Rd, Danvers, MA 3 1.5 $334,900 $327,500
12 Stone St, Danvers, MA 4 2 $344,700 $338,200
5 Doty Ave, Danvers, MA 3 2 $385,000 $365,000
2 Puritan Rd, Danvers, MA 4 1.5 $409,900 $401,000
8 Delaware Ave, Danvers, MA 5 4 $457,900 $432,500
4 Sylvan St, Danvers, MA 4 3&2 $524,900 $519,500
33 Neal Rd, Danvers, MA 4 2.5 $569,000 $555,000
         
Condo        
31 Highland Meadows#1, Danvers, MA 2 1.5 $229,000 $245,001
22 Collins St #54, Danvers, MA 2 1.5 $269,000 $258,000
100 Kirkbride Dr #216, Danvers, MA 2 2.5 $449,000 $449,350
         
Multi Family        
5 River St, Danvers, MA 2 Units $333,900 $315,000
327 Maple St, Danvers, MA 2 Units $385,900 $373,000

 

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

Agent Experience is Key.

My team of select advisors has 200+ years of combined experience. We've focused hard on quality vs. quantity.  It's no wonder we are enjoying success in this market! Inman News is a real estate resource I visit regularly. Read what they are saying about how experience trumps brand.  They are right on the money with that article. We are seeing local downsizing of the big brands while we continue to grow and thrive.  This just affirms our mission of good old fashioned customer service combined with amazing technology!