Nov. 4, 2018

Buy a Pie for Thanksgiving & Give Back!

Posted in thanksgiving
Sept. 30, 2018

Navigating the Fall Real Estate Market

If you've been looking at houses since the Spring, you're likely feeling defeated from the intense real estate market. You've probably been outbid or watched a house sell before you even had the chance to go inside. If you're ready to throw in the towel and take a few months off, we advise you to reconsider! 

Your Competition

While it is still a seller's market, there is a shift in the Fall real estate market, especially with your competition, other buyers.

Homebuyers with children are likely to put their plans on hold now that school has begun. Life becomes more hectic and it is unlikely that parents will want to switch schools mid year unless it is absolutely necessary. That certainly eliminates a large pool of buyers, making your odds better to get the house you want.

Tis' the season!

While you may not be ready to think about the holiday season which is around the corner now, home sellers certainly have it at the top of their mind. Fall is the last opportunity to get their home sold before the end of the year. Once Thanksgiving comes people become too overwhelmed with the holiday hoopla and don’t have the time to look for a home. For this reason, you’ll also notice several price reductions before November to generate as much activity as possible.

All in all, the Fall is a better time to negotiate with a seller to get the home you want for the price and terms you want. Don’t give up! If The Mark Lesses Group can help, give us a call at 617-974-9275.

Aug. 27, 2018

How much should you spend on your next home?

It may sound cut and dry, but it's really not a one size fits all situation. If you’re going to start the home buying process, you should start by getting a grasp on your budget. Here are some things to think about that will help guide you:

Current Spending Habits

This is important! List your current expenses to come up with a monthly total. Be sure to include everything from cable/internet to gas and groceries. Don’t forget entertainment costs as well! This will help determine how much you can afford as a monthly payment for your mortgage.

Other Costs in Your Mortgage

Your monthly mortgage amount is composed of more than just the amount borrowed (purchase price – down payment). Your mortgage is comprised of your principal (amount borrowed) plus interest, tax and insurance.

Don’t Forget Your Debt  

Once you talk to a lender about getting preapproved, you’ll hear them mention your debt to income ratio. This is where all of your debt gets examined and factored into an equation that determines how much of a loan you will qualify for.  Credit cards, student loans and car payments are all examples of debts that will be taken into consideration.

Closing Costs, etc…

Ask your lender for estimated closing costs so you can factor this into how much you are able put down as a down payment. You’ll also want to consider the cost of legal fees, home inspections and any other home buying related expenses.

Now that you’ve done your homework, talk to your local real estate agent about your budget and start looking at some houses! If we can help you get started, give us a call at 617-974-9275.

Posted in Buying a home
July 29, 2018

Is the Housing Market Slowing Down?

Not that we know of. And, certainly not in the Greater Boston area!

Interest Rates

Yep, they are going up. But, it’s not by much thus far. The rates are still very good when compared to years ago. It makes a lot of sense to talk with your lender now to find out how you can get the best rate for your purchase.

Last Year vs. This Year

So how is real estate market pricing? Definitely up! We ran some reports to see how the communities we sell in are looking and found that Arlington single family sales prices are up 13.6% over last year! Wow! We checked out Winchester too and found a 10% sales price increase and Lexington is up by roughly 1%.

Here’s a glimpse at what we found.

Should you sell now?

If you’ve been thinking about selling, it is definitely the time! You’ll get top dollar for you home…what’s better than that?

Curious how your community compares? Give us a call at 617-974-9275 or email Mark@MarkLesses.com and we’ll let you know!

June 28, 2018

Why You Should Buy Your Home This Summer

 

The sun is shining and the days are getting longer, so what better time to look for your new home? If you can take the heat of a little competition, then now’s the time to get moving…and here’s why!

Inventory

The summer real estate market offers buyers many choices with many new listings to see each week. New to market listings begin to dwindle when the weather gets colder toward the end of the year, so now is a good time to see a variety of different houses that may be your next home. You'll have more opportunities to find a few specific items on your checklist than you will as winter approaches. This also should give you a little peace of mind that if you miss out on a good property due to a bidding war, you're likely to find a new property to hit the market that meets your needs.

School's out!

As a parent, you want to minimize the disruption for your kids, which makes the summer an excellent time for a move. Not only will you be able to bring your children to showings to get their approval (if that's important to you), but you'll also be to coordinate your move-in while they’re out of school, making for a less stressful move on all of you.

If you’re moving to a new school district, you’ll want to get in before the start of the year to avoid having the kids switch schools mid-year.

Curb Appeal

This is prime time for curb appeal! With trees and flowers in bloom, you are getting the best possible first impression from your potential new home. Also, the warm weather brings the neighbors outside! Take advantage of this to get a sense of the neighborhood and don’t hesitate to ask the neighbors any questions.

Selling your current home

If you need to sell to buy, this is a great time of year to get a good price on your home and quickly if it's priced right. The market is hot during the summer so you should be able to avoid carrying two mortgages if you time everything properly.

Each season comes with the good and the bad, but overall the summer is a great time to be out there looking for your new home. If we can help you in any way or if you would like more information, please contact us at mark@marklesses.com or 617-974-9275.

 

Posted in Buying a home
May 23, 2018

Spring Maintenance for Summer Fun!

The warm weather is upon us! Say goodbye to the snow and cranking up the heat, and hello to fresh air and yard work!

Tis' the season to get your summer home maintenance in check so you're not scrambling in a month or two when you notice some problem areas around the house. We've compiled a list of some pre-summer home maintenance items to check off your list:

Air Conditioning - You don't want to schedule your test run for the day it hits 90 degrees, so run you’re A/C before the try humidity kicks in so you’ll have time for repairs. Check your filters and if necessary, schedule any servicing.

Gutters and drain spouts - All the sludge of winter can really clog gutters, so now is a good time to clean, repair, or replace gutters and spouts to avoid roof leaks during summer rainstorms.

Windows and doors -  It’s time to swap out storm doors and windows for screens. Double check those screens to make sure they are still intact before the mosquitoes and other pesky summer guests sneak their way in.

Siding, foundation, and roof - Now is a good time to inspect everything for chips, cracks, holes, or other winter damage. If you find any areas of concern, make sure to schedule repairs as soon as possible.

Spring cleaning – Put a little elbow grease into making your home sparkle. It’s time for a deep cleaning and decluttering! Consider renting a dumpster to get rid of any junk and a cleaning company for a deep cleaning.

Lawn care - It's time to gas up the lawnmower and dust off the weed whacker. Getting outdoors, even for yard work, feels pretty good this year. Make sure to call any lawn care companies you typically use (irrigation system, mosquito/tick spraying, fertilization, etc…) Spend some time on your landscaping so you can really enjoy your lawn, patio, and garden this summer!

While these tasks really just sound like a long chore list, you’ll be sure to appreciate the work you put into it over the next few months! Plus, you can enjoy the warm fresh air!

If you have any questions or if we can help, give the Mark Lesses Group a call at 617-974-9275!

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