Jay Allen's Blog
Where did all the open houses go? For many, this is the last question on their minds as we face bigger, more pressing challenges navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, there is a segment of the population that have plans set in motion which require them to line up housing here in Massachusetts regardless of the Coronavirus outbreak. And for this reason, Governor Baker named Real Estate as an essential service, with real estate professionals encouraged to continue practicing through this medical crisis.
So if real estate has been deemed an essential business, why aren’t sellers holding open houses anymore? Well, the answer is sellers CAN hold open houses, provided they adhere to the principals of social distancing, limiting access to groups of 10 parties or less, encouraging the use of hand sanitizer, etc. However, many sellers have embraced the practice of restricting access to private showings only, and foregoing the public open house entirely.
Open houses are great tools for sellers to market their homes…but the reality is, a significant segment of open house attendees are buyers who are early in their home search, buyers who have not yet aligned with a buyer’s agent, or curious neighbors keeping tabs on home values in their neighborhood. From a seller’s perspective, if they are going to risk exposure, they prefer only serious, ready, willing, & able buyers to have access their home…hence the restriction to private showings only.
Buyers who are ready to get serious about their home search are encouraged to align themselves with a buyer’s agent who can assist with scheduling private showings. With open houses on pause, this is really the best way to gain access to all the homes currently available to them.
Stay safe, my friends.
Ready to acquire your dream home? While you might have already identified your ideal residence, some negotiations may be necessary before you enter into a formal agreement with the seller. In some markets, it may be possible to acquire your new home at a more favorable purchase...while in other markets, you may find yourself negotiating terms that favor the seller in order to make your offer stand out against competing buyers.
Common negotiating points are the purchase price, deposit amounts, deadlines for inspection/financing contingencies, the closing date, appliances, and repairs. Needless to say, negotiating with a seller is a delicate dance that requires some finesse...and if you fail to keep your cool throughout a negotiation, you may miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.
So what does it take to remain calm during a negotiation? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Take Your Emotions Out of the Equation
Don't take it personally if a home seller wants to negotiate. Instead, view it as an opportunity to ensure all parties involved in the transaction get the best results possible.
In many instances, it's easy for buyers and sellers to let their emotions get the best of them. But if you feel overwhelmed by stress and frustration, it is essential to take a step back and assess the situation. That way, you can avoid making any rash decisions that could put your chance to purchase a top-notch house in danger.
Try to maintain a positive outlook throughout the negotiation.
2. Know Your Options
You may invest many hours in a negotiation, and you might even make various concessions along the way. But despite your best efforts, there are no guarantees that your negotiation will be successful. Know when to walk away. If you come to the realization that a "meeting of the minds" is not possible, it may be best to focus your efforts elsewhere.
3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent brings a wealth of experience to the conversation and can be a valuable resource when navigating the sometimes complex process of negotiating with a seller. This real estate expert can respond to any concerns or questions you may have throughout a negotiation and act as a buffer between you and the seller when things get heated. In addition, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make an informed purchase decision.
A prepared homebuyer understands the ins and outs of the real estate market. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to purchase a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.
Becoming prepared homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to get you ready for your house hunt.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
Consider your day-to-day activities as you kick off your home search. If you regularly take the bus or train to work, you may want to consider homes that provide quick, easy access to public transportation. Or if you are a commuter, look for a location in close proximity to the highway. Interested in a particular school for your kids? Make sure to focus on the part of town that feeds into that school.
2. Establish a Price Range
Although you know that you want to buy a home, you may have no idea what it will cost to obtain your dream home. However, if you enter the housing market with a home price range in hand, you'll be off to a good start!
Meet with banks and credit unions in your area. That way, you can learn about myriad home financing options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances. Most importantly, these banks and credit unions can help you estimate your monthly payments at different purchase prices, which is valuable knowledge when creating your budget.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will do everything possible to help you optimize your productivity. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the homebuying process, you can increase the likelihood of getting the best possible results.
A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller's agent on your behalf and help you get the best price on a home. By doing so, this housing market professional will ensure that you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.
Become a prepared homebuyer today – use the aforementioned tips, and you can maximize your readiness to reap the benefits of a quick, efficient homebuying journey.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream home.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. This is a legitimate fear and one should be careful not to put themselves in a precarious financial position.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
When you identify a property that meets your needs, it is worth noting the risks of waiting to place an offer. If the home is well presented and priced correctly, chances are good that other buyers will also take note. If a competing buyer places the home under agreement before you make your decision...well, the decision will be made for you. And that can be heartbreaking.
In an appreciating market it can be costly to delay in make a timely purchase decision. The implications of a lengthy home search when prices are on the rise means you may end up spending more in the end if you pass on good opportunities at the beginning of your search. With interest rates trending upwards, that -combined with a higher purchase price - can translate to a higher monthly payment.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses to ensure a property is a strong long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a seller accepts a buyer's proposal. The inspector will examine a home's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Equally important to obtaining this knowledge, the buyer can also learn some helpful maintenance tips from their home inspector, which should be followed to ensure the home stays in good condition for years to come.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.
Buying a home should be a quick, simple process. However, the homebuying cycle sometimes proves to be a hassle, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.
Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to become a smart homebuyer – here are three tips to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying journey.
1. Check Out a Broad Array of Houses
Purchasing a home can be a fun, exciting journey, especially if you explore a wide range of residences.
Remember, the more residences you check out, the more likely it becomes that you'll find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
When you review houses, be sure to analyze each property's interior and exterior closely. That way, you can identify any problem areas and determine whether these issues are potential deal-breakers.
Also, don't hesitate to check out the same house multiple times. It never hurts to take a second look at a house. And if you find that you enjoy a home after a second walk-through, you may be ready to submit an offer on this residence.
2. Set a Homebuying Budget
Before you make an offer on a house, it is important to consider exactly what you can afford. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend in the hopes of acquiring your dream house.
Many homebuyers get pre-approved for a mortgage – something that may prove to be exceedingly valuable.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will know exactly how much money he or she can spend on a home. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and map out his or her home search accordingly.
Furthermore, consider your monthly expenses prior to submitting a home offer. Electricity and assorted utility expenses can add up quickly, so you'll want to account for these costs. And if you want cable and internet services at your new home, you'll want to evaluate these potential expenses as well.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a housing market professional, and as such, will help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to understand your homebuying needs. He or she then will help you develop a homebuying strategy, one that ensures you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.
With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble acquiring a wonderful residence. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new property listings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will guarantee you can get the best results possible throughout the home selling journey.
Don't leave anything to chance as you kick off your home search. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home shopper in no time at all.