April 9, 2018

When the Unexpected Strikes in a Seller’s Market

If you are selling in this marketplace, you have the upper hand. 

But things happen. Buyers can still surprise you. Deals fall apart. 

Recently, a client of mine with an elegant 3-bedroom townhome close to everything had a deal disappear. Having lost his wife recently, he was moving to North Carolina. His townhome was where he’d spent 17 years with his wife, who loved to play piano in their sunny, warm living room. Having a deal fall through was the last thing he needed. 

Fortunately for him, we had a hundred visitors at two open houses. People loved this place, which the seller had kept in great condition and up-to-date. Three offers came in only four days on the market. Things were looking good.

The seller accepted the offer from a family who wanted to raise their kids in this home. Everything looked like a go until the buyer stopped communicating. The deal seemed to be disappearing into thin air. 

I tend to have clients who know how to handle stress, and when I talked to him about this situation, he was silent for a moment.  Then he said, “Well that’s a hell of a thing! What do we do now?”  He sounded perplexed but not defeated.

It only took two calls to the other two parties who had made offers (which is unusual – it can take more effort than this).  The second agent I contacted was ecstatic.  The buyers wanted to resubmit their offer.  They were excited to have another chance. 

Before we got off the phone he said, “Phew!  Now it’s cocktail hour!” He was going to call his son and tell him all about the roller coaster ride he’d just taken.

I’m sharing this up-and-down story to illustrate that anything can happen in a deal. If you are selling, here are 3 things to keep in mind.

1. Even in a strong market, things can surprise you. Acknowledge that there might be stress involved. Is there something you can do to fortify yourself so that you feel ready? This doesn’t simply have to be something to get through. 

2. Stay in communication with your real estate agent. They are there to smooth out any wrinkles. 

3. Educate yourself on the process. Ask questions. Do some research. This is likely one of the biggest transactions you will ever see, so do your homework, even if you have a great agent. It’s your money, after all!

 

 

Mark Lesses is a Coldwell Banker agent who’s been in business for 22 years. A former builder he focuses on Lexington, Winchester and Arlington 

 

Posted in Selling a home
March 28, 2018

How to Navigate Your Way in a Seller's Market

What is a seller's market? When there are more buyers than homes on the market, it's a good sign that it's a seller's market. It's a great situation for sellers to be in leading to quick sales and over asking price offers.

So what about the buyers during this madness? You’re forced to act fast and bid high. This can be a hard pill to swallow if you’ve just entered the market, and likely, it will take losing out on a few properties to really grasp what you’re up against.

Be prepared.

Make sure to have all of your ducks in a row so when the right property comes on you’re able to jump on it! Send your agent your preapproval, and it’s a good idea to have a few preapprovals with varying amounts depending on the house you find.

Get comfortable.

You’ll need to get comfortable with making a quick decision on one of the largest purchases you’ve ever made. Many buyers struggle with the idea of paying over the asking price for a house, but in many cases if you don’t get onboard, you’ll miss the boat! It is definitely not uncommon to see houses selling over 10% higher than list price!

Improve your odds.

You want to stand out among the crowd of offers, so what can you do? Waiving any or all contingencies makes for a very strong offer. The expression “cash is king” certainly rings true in real estate. Your offer will go straight to the top of the pile. Of course, it isn’t realistic for most people to pay cash for a property, so you could also opt to waive your home inspection.

If you’re uncomfortable waiving the contingencies, you should ensure your financing terms are competitive. Putting down a sizable down payment shows the seller that you are likely to have smooth financing.

Lastly, a personal letter can sometimes do the trick in a multiple offer situation. Depending on the seller, it’s possible your story will pull on some heartstrings and give your offer the push it needs!

Keep your options open.

If you are feeling defeated from this competitive market, consider widening your home search. You’re likely to find the market ease up a bit and so do the prices! If location isn’t flexible, search for homes that have been sitting on the market, even a little higher than your budget. You’re likely to find a motivated seller and won’t have to worry about bidding wars.

We know these times are tough for buyers, especially in the Greater Boston area. If we can help you in any way, give us a call at 617-974-9275.

Feb. 27, 2018

Your Spring Selling Checklist

The Spring market is upon us and is already heating up! Not only are houses selling in days, but we're seeing well over 100 people each weekend at our open houses. Inventory is still low, so for any of you out there thinking about selling this Spring, you should be thinking about getting your home ready now.

While inventory is definitely low, you don't want to leave any money on the table when it comes time to sell. We've compiled this list to help your home stand out among the competition and to sell high and fast!

Basic Repairs

Time to fix that broken closet door, replace all dead lightbulbs, fill in any cracks and touch up any chipped paint. If you leave things looking sloppy, then buyers will wonder what else in your home has been neglected. 

Simplify your belongings

You’ll need to declutter as much as possible to avoid distracting the potential buyers of your home. Remove family photos and minimize your furniture in each room. Removing excess furniture will give the illusion that the room is actually larger.

Fresh paint and linens

Light neutral colors will really brighten up a room! If you have any loud colors on the walls, consider repainting. Busy bedding will also distract buyers, so now is a good time to grab an inexpensive white or solid color comforter. If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets are dated, consider painting them as an affordable way to make them new again.

Budget-friendly updates

A few ways to make your home more modern without a major renovation is changing out all of the existing hardware in your bathrooms and kitchen. Consider a sleek brushed nickel knob or pull to replace any existing brass or dated hardware. Lighting is also a quick fix that can really catch a buyer’s eye so consider replacing your old with new and contemporary fixtures.

Flooring

If you have hardwoods that are in rough shape, we highly recommend refinishing them before your home goes on the market. It’s relatively short money and you’ll see a return in a good real estate market. If you don’t have hardwoods, steam clean your carpets or if they’re too stained, consider replacing them. Now there are several affordable options that actually look like hardwood but are actually vinyl or laminate.

We know that many people don’t want to put more money into their homes if they’re just going to sell them, but you really will get a higher price and less days on market if you allow your home to give a good first impression to potential buyers.

If you have any questions, or would like to speak with us more about this or selling your home, give us a call at 617-974-9275.

Jan. 23, 2018

New Year, New Ideas for Sprucing up your Home

The New Year is upon us, and for many, that means changes are coming in one way or another. We thought we'd help think of small ways to update your living space that won't break the bank!

Pop some color on the walls

A surefire way to give your house a new look is with a fresh coat of paint! Now is the time to get creative with bold colors or funky accent walls. Berry colored walls are very in this year...think Blueberry, Raspberry, Cranberry! This trend is very versatile and adds some pizzazz to your space! 

If you want a more dramatic change, consider adding some texture to the wall. Wallpaper has come a long way now and there are some seriously fantastic options out there! How about creating your own exposed brick wall? The options are endless for your blank canvas!

Kitchen Facelift

Don’t have the budget for new cabinets? Give them a new look with some paint! It gives the kitchen a fresh look and adds life to the cabinets so you can delay that big kitchen reno a few more years! 

Another way to liven things up is to add a new backsplash! There are many DIY options at your local home improvement store to choose from. 

If you have a little money to play with, consider splurging on new stainless steel appliances. They’ll really spruce up your kitchen!

Storage Spaces

If your basement or garage is overcrowded and you’re ready to tackle some organization, add shelving and peg boards to reduce the clutter on the floor. You’ll be able to hang tools on hooks and stack storage bins nicely on your new shelves. If you’re feeling really ambitious, clean out the space entirely and use an epoxy paint on the floors which will not only make the space look much nicer, but also is extremely durable and offers a protective layer against moisture damage! 

Add a little more YOU to your home and you’re happy place will feel a little more happier in 2018! If you’re looking for a complete change and are looking for a new home, give the Mark Lesses Group a call at 617-974-9275.

Posted in HAPPINESS
Dec. 12, 2017

Thank You, All!

To our friends, clients and family,

The holiday season gives us time to sit back and reflect on the year that is soon coming to a close. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the holiday hoopla and forget to thank our valued friends and family. You have all helped contribute to the great year we've had and we owe it to you to take this moment to tell you just how grateful we are to have you in our lives.  

We are thankful for our oldest and dearest friends, clients and family, along with the new friends we've made along 2017's journey. We've developed many new relationships this year and have helped many new friends buy or sell their homes. Real estate is our livelihood, but it is such a bonus to be able to work with such great people who make what we do enjoyable and exciting. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you with one of the most important aspects of your life. We've truly enjoyed being a part of the journey with you and we're here if you need any help or have any questions in the future.

With a fantastic year behind us, we're now looking forward to an exciting and busy year ahead. And so we wish you all a very Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

From our hearts to yours, thank you!

Mark Lesses & Team

Nov. 5, 2017

What are you bringing to the table?

What's Better than a Pie for a Great Cause?

From now through November 18, I will be selling pies for Pie in the Sky! Help support Community Servings, which prepares and delivers hearty and medically-tailored meals to men, women, and children who struggle with life-threatening illnesses. For $30, the cost of a pie, Community Servings is able to feed a client for an entire week! These people are homebound individuals and families struggling with HIV/AIDS, cancer. and other life-threatening illnesses and who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Your help is greatly appreciated and will help so many deserving people!

There are 60 pie pick-up sites available in Boston and the surrounding communities.  You are able to pick up your pie the day before Thanksgiving at a pre-selected location.  150 of Boston's best chefs, bakers and caterers donate their time, talent and resources to provide delicious Thanksgiving pies to you!

The last day to purchase a pie online is Saturday, November 18th.

As you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, please remember that a sick neighbor is also eating today, thanks to you!

Buy a Pie Here:

http://pieinthesky.org/marklesses

Posted in thanksgiving
Oct. 16, 2017

Your Post Move-In Checklist

Ah, take a deep breath! You've gotten through your move! Now is time to think about a few things that will make life a little easier as time goes on.

1. All those boxes!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Unless you're planning to move in the next year or 2, chances are these will just sit in your basement or garage collecting dust. Years down the road you'll end up junking them anyway, so rather than take up space, break them down and recycle them. Some moving companies even offer a buyback program which will give you a portion of your money back for your returned boxes.

2. School registration

Contact your new school department to let them know you’ve moved to the town and find out how to enroll your children.

3. Mail forwarding

Hopefully you set up your mail forwarding ahead of your move. If you have, and you notice that your mailbox still seems a bit light, send yourself a letter to your previous address to confirm it goes to your new one.

4. Update your address with the DMV

Good news is if you’ve moved within the same state, you can take care of this online and avoid waiting in line at the DMV. You have 30 days to report your new address.

5. Register to vote

While you’re at your computer updating your address with the DMV, it’s also a good time to register to vote with your new address too! Your voter registration does not move with you, so you’ll need to update this even if you’ve moved within the same county.

6. Change your address with your bank, credit cards, etc…

You can slow play this as time goes on, but certainly start with changing your address with your bank and as you have time with other places such as credit card companies, etc…

7. Local wellness professionals

Find a local physician, veterinarian and any other health/wellness professionals that you will need to switch to now that you’ve moved. This expands to a new gym, hair salon, community pool, etc…

Now that all of these tedious tasks are out of the way, it’s time for some fun! Once your new home is furnished and decorated to your liking, you can plan your housewarming party! 

Sept. 13, 2017

Buying/Selling a Home During a Natural Disaster

In light of the recent Hurricanes that drastically effected so many areas in our nation, we thought it would make sense to advise you on what to do if a natural disaster strikes while you are under contract on a property (either your own or one you are purchasing). 

Communication

  • First and foremost is the health and safety of all parties. 
  • Be patient during this trying time as people try to make sense of what occurred and what to do next. 
  • Once you’ve taken a breath and have let it all soak in, you and your agent should discuss the status of your property and any concerns you have. 
  • Don’t panic! You and all others involved will figure it out together.

Contracts

  • Your attorney will best advise you on what to do next.
  • Purchase and Sales Agreements typically have language addressing damages that occur in situations like this (“Acts of God” clause)
  • Sellers and buyers should work together to come to agreeable terms if any changes are required (new closing date, extension on financing, repairs, walking away, etc…)

Insurance

  • Sellers should file a homeowner’s insurance claim ASAP (if necessary)
  • Document all damages in writing, photos and video
  • Keep receipts of all repair costs

Financing

  • Buyers should contact their lenders ASAP to inform them of the situation 
  • A new appraisal is likely going to be required post repairs

Rebuilding can be a long and expensive process, so open and honest communication between all parties is the key to holding the sale together or choosing to go your separate ways. 

Our thoughts are with all of the people impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

Aug. 8, 2017

Where Should I Move?

There are a number of reasons why people choose to move -- recent empty nesters, divorce, job opportunities, growing family and the list could go on and on. Depending on your reason, you'll have to make the decision whether it’s time to find a bigger home or downsize.

First and foremost, location.

When it comes to a move, location is no doubt the most important factor to consider. Depending on your lifestyle, you may be looking to live in the heart of the city or choose a quieter life in a small town. If you already know the town(s) on your list, you'll want to look at the proximity to highways, restaurants, your office, and anywhere else that will be important in your daily life.

Upsize or Downsize

If your family is growing and you're going to need more space, it certainly is a good time to consider upsizing. However, if your children are grown and living outside of your home, it may make sense to move to a smaller home with less empty space. Be sure to consider how often you may have guests before moving to a home that is too small to accommodate. Things you can expect to enjoy with downsizing (depending on your location) are lower mortgage payments, less home maintenance and lower utility costs!

Property Style

If you're looking for low maintenance, you may want to consider an "attached" home like a condo or townhouse. In this style home, you'll share walls and common areas with other owners and likely pay monthly Homeowner's Association (HOA) fees. You won't have to worry about landscaping and other common expenses. If the building requires repairs, you can expect to be hit with a special assessment if there are not enough funds in the Association's account. Be sure to research the HOA and request copies of meeting minutes to get a sense of upcoming projects. Of course if you’re looking for more privacy and don’t mind the upkeep required with owning a home, then a single family home is your best bet.

Still trying to figure out where you should move? Give us a call, 617-974-9275, and we’ll be happy to help guide you. 

Posted in Buying a home
July 17, 2017

How to Downsize Your Home

Are you thinking of downsizing? It's time to get started and organized as soon as possible! Here are some tips to help you get ready for this move.

1. Get an early start

You'll want to take at least a few months to begin this process. Take some time each day leading up to the move to clean out each room (drawer by drawer, closet by closet). Don't underestimate how long this will take, as deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can take a while and be a very emotional process.

2. Document your belongings.

It's a good idea to take pictures and make a list of your belongings when trying to decide what to keep and what not to keep. It's also a good idea if you're hiring movers so you can keep inventory of what will be moving with you and to make sure there is no damage done during your move.

3. Make your "must keep" list

There will be immediate items that come to mind that you know you'll keep during your downsizing and certainly items you know will not be going with you. Create a list to jot down what you will definitely keep and what you will throw out, give away or sell. It's always easiest to organize your most cherished items first and then decide what isn't going to make the cut.

4. Measure!

Make sure you have all of the measurements for your new home so you can correctly identify what furniture you will have room for and what needs to go. You don't want to get to your new place with a couch that doesn't fit in your living room! You may even want to measure the closets and cabinet space as well to get a full picture of how much storage space you will have.

5. Enlist the help of others.

Here's your time to call in favors from friends and family to help you pack and make the tough decisions you are struggling with. Your best friend won't have as hard of a time telling you that it's time to get rid of any miscellaneous items you’ve saved throughout the years.

Downsizing is certainly a big undertaking and can be overwhelming, but if you start early and follow some of our tips above, you will reduce your stress during this process! If you need any help with making a move, please give us a call at 617-974-9275.