This winter has posed many challenges in real estate. All the cold and snow have not only dissuaded potential buyers from pulling the trigger in purchasing a home during this time, but have also created serious problems for those buyers who have decided to make the move. For buyers that are under contract, the cold and snow have created many problems scheduling home inspections, appraisals, and the final walk through. Sellers have had to deal with removing large amounts of snow to allow potential buyers to access the property while also ensuring there are no water leaks entering the home.
The biggest issue for homeowners this winter has been ice dams. An ice dam is ice buildup on a roof that prevents melted snow from running off the roof and into the gutters. The melting snow from the roof then gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up on the roof, travels under the shingles and eventually leaks into the home. A permanent fix to this problem is proper insulation, sealing and ventilation in the attic. This could prove costly to the homeowner and it may not be feasible to rectify the issue during the present winter season. However, there is a simple way to diminish the damage after an ice dam has formed to prevent further damage until a more permanent solution can be put in place for next season. This could save not only the home from water penetration, but more importantly, a sale.
Instructions: Fill a leg of discarded pair of panty hose with calcium chloride ice melt. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for the water to flow down into the gutters from the roof.
By tackling an ice dam immediately when your home is under agreement, it will certainly make the process go a lot smoother during this winter season. If you need assistance with preventing your home from having any ice dams either this season or next, contact an agent at RE/MAX Legacy for a licensed contractor that will be able to help with this problem.
About the Author: James A. Juliano is one of the founding partners of Scafidi Juliano, LLP managing the Woburn office located in Downtown Woburn Center. He currently serves on the Woburn Conservation Commission where he has sat for almost two (2) years. Mr. Juliano is very active in his community and also serves as the President of the Woburn Baseball Diamond Club which supports Woburn High School Baseball and is on the Board of Directors for the Woburn Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Juliano is also a Director of the Friends of the Tri-Community Greenway, Inc. which is a non-profit corporation responsible for the formation and organization of the 6.63 mile bike path and park that will stretch through Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester.
How Agents Are Trying To Get Your Business
People looking for properties go to many sites on the internet. RE/MAX has agreed with a few of these companies to automatically post listings from MLS. I always go onto every site that I am allowed and tweak my listings assuring that the information is accurate and presented in a way that satisfies me. Call me a perfectionist but I want to be sure that my seller is always happy with all the website information presented. We as Realtors have to be sure that our currently-on-the-market listings are posted in as many places as possible so that we don’t miss out on that one buyer who may be the one who purchase our sellers’ home.
Zillow and Trulia are two of the most well-known sites that buyers and sellers go to in advance of their future real estate transaction.
Zillow was actually one my first affiliations. It’s important to have a web presence, especially where the potential clients are going. More recently I have signed on with Trulia. I’m hoping for similar results and exposure.
One recent experience shows me that buyers and sellers have to understand what happens when an inquiry is made at one of these sites. I received one seller lead and when I phoned the person, she didn’t seem very happy. I sense she didn’t understand that once she provided her information on Trulia for a market analysis, she should have expected local agents who received that lead would be in touch with her immediately.
Both Zillow and Trulia are sites that most people find easily and are comfortable following the sites on a regular basis. Personally I’m always checking to see if I have gotten any reviews that I asked my buyers and sellers alike to post for me. When a buyer or seller is looking for an agent online, these reviews are important and help the potential client locate an agent based on the number and favorability of the reviews.
Other sites for potential clients to visit are Realtor.com and Boston.com. Once again having a presence on these sites will contribute to an agent’s visibility and overall success.
About the author: Linda Dube is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and is excited to help you with your next move. You can contact her on her website at www.LindaListsAndSells.Com
Category: Zillow, Trulia, Home Buyer, Home Seller, Liinda Dube, RE/MAX, Burlington, MA
Tags: buyers, sellers
Considering that Halloween is behind us and the holidays are around the corner, we are now approaching 2014 year end. According to Zillow, Massachusetts home prices have gone up 4.7% over the past year. The latest from the National Association of Realtors is that pending home sales rose slightly in September and are now above year-over-year levels for the first time in 11 months.
This year has been unbelievable with sellers who are not sure they want to list and buyers bidding way over the asking price in order to be sure they are getting the house they want to purchase. This has created a hot little market!
I had one home that sounded like it was going to have eight offers but because of a bidding war, several buyers decided not to put their bid in because they knew that they were not approved high enough for what would be needed to purchase this particular house. I believe the price my seller and I had agreed on was a good buy in many aspects especially since their basement was done over recently, it was at a dead end street AND it showed beautifully!
Another home I had in Burlington was very, very crowded at the open houses but because of its age and small yard, buyers were bidding below the price until Burlington’s single family inventory was lower than low. My sellers were very pleased when we had two offers on the table at the same time and ended up getting the asking price.
I also listed a gorgeous home which was in a beautiful neighborhood. This home was located on the town line of Chelmsford/Lowell. This made things a little tricky. Buyers would call me and ask about the house, but before I could speak with them about the price, details, etc., they would explain which town they wanted the home to be in.
As a Real Estate agent, it never ceases to amaze me. Every day is different, every month is crazy at times and just when you think you have all your ducks in a row a change will happen. Always expect the unexpected!
It is reported that more than 100,000 houses were sold between 1908 and 1940 through Sears’s Modern Homes program. Entire homes would arrive by railroad, from precut lumber, to carved staircases, down to the nails and varnish. Sears even offered the financing, for homeowners to build their own houses. The official tally exists of the number of Sears’ mail-order houses that still survive today, which is in the thousands.
By 1911, Modern Homes catalogs included illustrations of house interiors, which provided homeowners with blueprints for furnishing the houses with Sears’ appliances and fixtures.
It is difficult to appreciate just how important the Modern Homes program and others like it were to homebuyers in the first half of the twentieth century. Cities were getting more crowded. The United States was experiencing a great economic boom, and millions of immigrants were pouring into America’s big cities.
People and factories were moving from city to suburbs. Stately, expensive Victorian-style homes were not options for any but the upper class of homeowners. Affordable, mail-order homes proved to be just the answer to such dilemmas.
With Sears’ prebuilt components, construction hours were reduced by approximately 40%, a real savings to budget-conscious first-time homeowners
The Sears homes remaining today stand as testaments to the pride of homes built by more than 100,000 Sears’ customers.
Everyone has different pallets and tastes when it comes to foods. When I first found the original recipe for my chocolate chip cookies, the ingredients seemed overwhelming to me. So after the first time baking and tasting, I knew it needed an adjustment. Texture is one of my important issues when baking. I’m not happy with a cookie that you can hit against the kitchen table and it makes a loud sound.
The holiday season is my busiest time of the year because of the importance of my cookies to family and friends. I would say it started over 30 years ago when I came upon a recipe that sounded delicious. Once I tweaked it to what I consider, perfecto, well, you know the rest!
So I’m doing a blog in order to let all of you try baking my recipe to see if your family and friends like it as well as mine. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 Cups Butter
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
Stir together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Stir ingredients by hand. Do not use an electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla and set aside.
MIX in Separate Large Bowl
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Baking Powder
4 Cups Flour
5 Cups Oatmeal (powderize your five cups of oatmeal)
12 Ounces of Chocolate Chips
Mix salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour in large bowl. Blend in your powderized oatmeal. Pour small bowl into large bowl, and stir by hand until blended. Add your chocolate chips.
Form cookie dough into golf-ball size and placed on a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and cook in the oven at 350° for 13-15 minutes depending on your oven. Don’t let cookies brown or they may be overcooked. If you make the golf-ball size cookies, you should get approximately 48 cookies out of the batch.
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. He was born into what most would consider a middle class family. But like most children of the era, he was expected to begin preparing for a career at an early age. In his later writings, Columbus claimed he first went to sea at the age of 10.
Three hundred years passed between Columbus’s discovery of the Americas In 1492 and the first known celebration of that discovery. In 1792, a group called the Columbian Order organized a ceremony in New York City to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the new world. After the Civil War, a group of Italian immigrants in New York organized the first real celebration of that discovery. In the years that followed, other groups of Italian immigrants did likewise.
Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco in 1869. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s landing in the Bahamas. Harrison did not, however, make the day a national holiday. The first state-wide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907. Colorado became the first state to designate October 12th as a holiday. In later years, other states did the same. Then, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared October 12th a federal legal holiday (the date Columbus first landed in the Bahamas.). It remained such until 1971, when Congress moved the official observance to the second Monday of October, the same day as Thanksgiving in Canada.
There are many local events to celebrate Columbus Day, but the one I like best is the Columbus Day Parade which goes through the North End of Boston. In odd numbered years (including 2013) the parade kicks off in Boston and winds up going through the North End’s streets, including Atlantic Ave, Hanover Street and Endicott Street. Other events I look forward to are fall foliage tours, (http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/fall-foliage-tours.html),Boston Duck Tours (http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/boston-duck-tours.html) and the many entertainers in Christopher Columbus Park. What are some of your favorite events?
About the author: Linda Dube is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy in Woburn and has compiled this helpful information about Columbus Day from various web sources. You can learn more about Linda on her website www.lindalistsandsells.com
No one can deny that we are in an awkward stage in real estate right now. With homes selling well above asking price due to low inventory and high demand, it is impossible to know the true value of a home at the inception of the listing. Unfortunately, those days of relying on previous comparable sales are out the window and such homes are only used as a mere gauge when listing a property. As a result of such pricing flux, appraisals are often and frequently conflicting. This can sometimes pose a problem for both parties in the transaction.
In a typical transaction where the Buyer is seeking financing from an institutional lender, the Buyer’s lender sends an appraiser out to the property in order to set a value to the home. Said value is based on several factors including but not limited to: the home’s physical makeup (square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, amenities, etc.), where it is located, and most importantly, what other comparable homes in the area sold for in the last few months. The last factor poses the biggest problem when determining a home’s value. Because homes have only recently been selling higher than their actual values, there are not enough, if any, comparable homes that have sold within the past few months that reflect such pricing increase. The end result…the home appraises for lower than the agreed upon price.
From a Buyer’s standpoint, this means that the lender will probably deny financing because the lender will not loan money for a property that is worth less than the agreed upon price. If the Buyer’s lender will allow the Buyer to borrow money, it will usually require the Buyer putting more money down if they choose. This result would usually allow the Buyer to contractually get out of the agreement and receive a full refund on all their deposits. From a Seller’s perspective, a decision must be made: either drop the purchase price to the appraised value, or find another Buyer. Either situation is not ideal to a Seller.
Other scenarios however, can pose more complex situations and results. In the case where a Buyer is paying cash and they opt to do an independent appraisal, the appraisal could come in lower than the agreed upon purchase price, which would alarm the Buyer that they may be overpaying for a home. In another case where the Buyer is only financing a small amount of money where there is plenty of equity for the lender to finance the desired amount, it could be seen that the Buyer is overpaying for the home as well. In these situations, it is always best to put a separate contingency in the Contract to Purchase and the Purchase and Sales Agreement which states something to the effect of “This Agreement is subject to the property appraising at or exceeding the purchase price, failing which all deposits given by Buyer shall be forthwith refunded and this agreement shall be null and void without any recourse to the Parties hereto.”This will allow the Buyer the option of either backing out of the contract if the property does not appraise for the contract price or purchasing the property despite the appraised value being lower, hoping that the home’s appraised value will eventually increase. On the Seller’s end, a way to ensure that a Buyer will purchase the property despite a low appraisal is to insert a clause in the Contract to Purchase and the Purchase and Sales Agreement which states something like “In the event the appraisal is lower than the agreed upon purchase price, Buyer agrees that it shall not be the cause of termination of this agreement and shall be obligated to purchase the subject property subject to the terms of this agreement.”
Because of what is going on in the market, it is vital to always seek guidance from a knowledgeable and reputable real estate agent and attorney. The days of cookie cutter transactions are no longer with us and it is vital to have people in your corner during these times.
Mr. Juliano’s present areas of practice include residential and commercial real estate transactions, residential and commercial lending, land use and zoning, and Landlord/Tenant law. Mr. Juliano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 781-210-4710, Ext. 102.
There are many meaningful ways to observe and learn about Memorial Day, and to honor those who have died in our nations service as well as tragedies. Many Americans visit memorials and cemeteries, placing flowers and U.S. flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. For most Americans, Memorial Day means barbecues, boating, fishing, and other relaxing activities with friends and family during a welcomed three-day weekend. In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act, which moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.
I want to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone in regards to this years Marathon in Boston. I myself will never understand how any kind of hurtfulness could even enter into a persons mind. As I heard the President say Boston is a tough and resilient town and that Americans will stand by us every single step of the way.
CNN PRODUCER NOTE photogomz spotted this pair of running shoes at the makeshift memorial in Boston. He shot this image in color and changed it to black and white to illustrate the message.
Whenever there is tragedy, you always seem to remember exactly where you were at the time of the incident. Back when 9/11 happened, I was actually on Hanscom Air Force Base as a contractor and after hearing the first plane run into the Trade Center, I thought, wow how did that happen? I thought it was some kind of a freak accident. Then I heard that another plane did the same thing within minutes and my mind couldnt even fathom what was actually happening in New York.
The atmosphere changed in a split second. Very shortly Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta became a part of my life. I believe the base was now on Charlie and it could move up to Delta. The next thing I knew, I had a Lieutenant come up to my desk very firmly and military-like and barked MaAm, you are dismissed. Being a contractor, this was not in my normal every day life but I knew it was time for me to go home to my family.
So I left immediately and my home was about 25 minutes away. When I arrived on my street, a number of people were outside talking so I joined them. All of a sudden, a fighter jet flew right over our neighborhood. I found out later that all planes were grounded and somehow this fighter jet found a plane that had to be forced down!
9/11 was unforgettable and so was our 2013 Boston Marathon. Appreciation for First Responders, our military, policemen, etc. is so important. After Boston Mayor, Tom Menino said that we captured the terrorist, I was happy to hear that Watertown residents poured out of their homes and lined the streets to cheer police vehicles as they rolled away from the scene.
In closing, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. Take a few moments to reflect and remember our deceased relatives, friends, and all the brave people who have given their lives for our country.
About the Author: Linda Dube is a Real Estate Agent at RE/MAX Legacy with over 11 years of experience. You can contact Linda directly through her website at www.lindalistsandsells.com.
You know the old saying "Fall back, Spring forward.". As a Realtor, Spring Forward is
very valuable to me. When clients wish to see a property after business hours, the longer
we have our sunshine, the better it is for showing homes to potential buyers.
When the new year begins, our business can be slow depending on whats happening in
the market and/or weather. This year, the market is hot even with our snow storms that
keep hitting on the weekends (which is usually when we conduct our open houses). I was
amazed today when I stopped at a brokers open house to find they had received five
offers on their property. Because there is not enough inventory, buyers are having bidding
wars and the seller is getting more than they expected for their homes. So because the
market is hot for the sellers, now is the time to list!
Recently I learned something new about changing our clocks. It's called daylight saving
time, not daylight savings time. Most people, including myself, put that extra "s" on the
word saving. In 2013, Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 10th. Don't
forget to move your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night.
Yes, moving the clocks ahead does mean we all lose an hour of sleep, but in return it will
be light longer which is wonderful in my estimation. Anyway, I believe that Saturday
night is the best time to lose that hour because you can just sleep in a bit on Sunday
before getting up and starting your day. Or, in a Realtors case, before you begin your
day of open houses!
Our fire department encourages us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and
C02 detectors when we change our clocks because Daylight Saving Time is definitely
a convenient reminder. And, because my refrigerator has a water filter, my husband
believes that we should change that filter along with the smoke detector and the C02
detector batteries. If that happens to apply to you as well, change your water filter too or
anything else that you think applies to your personal circumstances.
Be sure to change your clocks one hour ahead on Saturday, March 9th before you retire!
About the Author: Linda Dube, is a Real Estate Agent at RE/MAX Legacy with
over 10 years of experience. You can contact Linda directly through her website at
Category: Seasonal, Spring
Tags: Linda Dube, real estate, spring, time change, daylight savings time, daylight
saving time, batteries