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Ways to Stay Cool in Your Home Without A/C

Summer’s can be rough if you are not fortunate enough to live in an air-conditioned home. If you are one of those people, you looking for some ways to beat the extreme heat that we have been seeing across the Midwest/east coast.

Here are some ideas on how to cool down your home to avoid overheating during these hot, humid days.

  1. Cover your furniture
    A great way to make your furniture more comfortable is to cover it with smooth, light-colored fabric.  Put a smooth light-colored fabric on your couch. Cover your pillows with satin pillow cases. You want a cool surface against your skin – not cozy knits.
  2. Hang out in your basement (or lowest level of your home)
    Plan activities that take place in the lower level of your home, even if it’s just hanging out or reading. Warm air rises so your coolest place is going to be on the lowest level, closest to the ground.
  3. Suck up cooler air with a fan
    Set up a portable fan so that it sucks up the cooler air from the floor below and blows the hot air towards the ceiling. Another great idea is to purchase a window fan. These usually have inside and outside air exchanges so you can control the direction the air blows. You can also turn on the vent fan on your stove to draw hot air up out of the house.
  4. Close your blinds and curtains
    Block the sun’s heat during the day but keeping all of your blinds and curtains closed. When it cools down at night, open up your windows to let some of the cooler air into your home.
  5. Turn off all sources of heat.
    Try not to use your stove or oven to cook food. Make a cool, crisp salad or a hearty sandwich. Even the microwave can throw off heat so it’s good to try to use that minimally as well. Make sure to turn off your lamps, tv and computer when you’re not using it. You should even unplug your power adapters, as some give off heat as well.

I hope you are all staying cool and that these tips will help you do so. We are supposed to be able to relax and enjoy being in our home, not sweating to
death.

Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend!

-Cheryl

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5 Tips for Real Estate Agents

I always love reading The KCM Crew’s blog and their “quick tips” always make great points. I wanted to share with you their July Quick Tips.

1. Prepare diligently for EVERY appointment.

Most agents prepare well for a listing appointment. They go in with a complete consultation manual ready to show the seller why they should sell now and at
the suggested price. They make sure they have all the tools necessary to have a successful meeting.

What about the buyer consultation appointment?

Or the price-break appointment?

Or the negotiation of offer appointment?

There are four critical appointments in today’s market. We prepare for one of them. We ‘wing’ the other three. We must prepare as thoroughly for the last three as we do for the listing presentation. We must make the most of every opportunity presented from now until the end of the year.

2. Don’t forget the fundamentals; contact listings that expired in June.

History has shown us that the single day of the year that most listings expire is December 31st. The date that comes in second is June 30th. There will be more
opportunity in the first week of July 2011 than perhaps in any other July in history. The number of expiring listings will be staggering. That means opportunity for someone. Hone your listing and pricing skills and approach every expired you can. The inventory of listings you accumulate in the first two weeks of July
could catapult you to success for the rest of the year.

3. Gain knowledge and then get to work.

We have to become better at our craft every day. We must continuously improve our skills. We must become an expert at showing our customers what is taking place in the current housing market. They can then make the right choices for themselves and their families.

It is not good enough to be a student of real estate. We must act on our knowledge. We must plan where we wish to be and then get busy making our way
there. If I could have only one of all the attributes successful people are known to have, I would chose the ability to work hard. It is the most important
and will get you closer to success than any other attribute.

4. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Whether we are taking a listing, consulting a buyer, doing a price adjustment or presenting an offer-to-purchase, we must be able to effectively communicate our customers’ options in the current real estate environment. The use of strong visuals dramatically enhances the chances that the consumer will truly
understand the points we are making. Too many agents are satisfied complaining about the fact that their client just ‘doesn’t get it’ even after they ‘told’
them what is happening.

We must take the time to visually ‘tell a story’ on each point we are making. We must hone that story until it makes our point simple to understand. That is
what differentiates talking at a person from truly educating them. We need to be great educators in this market.

5. Stop hoping the market gets better…Make sure YOU get better.

The best market a true professional can hope for is a market that truly needs the skills of a well-trained expert in the field. Anyone can do the job in a market
that doesn’t require competency, skill and insight. To the great real estate professional, a market’s strength has always been determined by how many people
needed our help. In my 25 years in the business, I have never experienced a market that had more people who need our help in making the right decisions for
themselves and their families.

Are we consistently doing the necessary research to keep abreast of what is happening in today’s rapidly evolving market? Are we taking classes to help us
understand why certain things are taking place? Are we taking the time to sit with our clients and simply and effectively inform them of their options?

“Are we prepared to help?” becomes the question that needs to be answered; not “When will the market no longer require a true professional?”

Aren’t these great tips?! I hope they help you as much as they always help me. Have a great rest of the week and good luck battling the market!

Cheryl

 

5 Reasons to SELL SELL SELL!

The KCM Group posted a great blog giving 5 reasons you should sell now.

If you are thinking about selling you are probably back and forth with the idea debating if now is the right time or not. Well let me tell you…IT IS!

Here are 5 great reasons to justify my feelings:

1.) This is when your house will get the most exposure 

The spring, and particularly the month of May, is when most buyers enter the real estate market. This surge of buyers dramatically increases the exposure for your house. The best chance of getting quality offers (perhaps even multiple offers) is RIGHT NOW!

2.) Foreclosures and short sales will increase in about 90 days

The good news is that the number of people paying their mortgage on time is increasing. This will lead to less distressed property sales later this year and throughout 2012. The not-so-good news is that there is still a large inventory of existing foreclosures and short sales that will still be coming to market.

As an example, LPS reported in their latest Mortgage Monitor that:

  • There are still twice as many loans going 90+ days delinquent as are starting foreclosure
  • There are almost three times the number of foreclosure starts as there are foreclosure sales
  • Distressed property inventory levels are almost 45 times the rate of monthly foreclosure sales 

This means that there is a backlog of properties which will start coming to the market in about 90 days as banks clear up their paperwork challenges. These properties sell at dramatic discounts. They will be your competition. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently discussed the magnitude of this challenge.

3.) Interest rates have risen over the last six months

Interest rates have stabilized recently. However, in the last six months, interest rates have climbed over 1/2%. Every time the rates increase 1/4%, approximately 250,000 buyers are eliminated from qualifying for a mortgage. In an environment of volatile rates, waiting could mean that there will be fewer buyers eligible to purchase your house. It also could mean that you will pay a higher rate on the next home you buy.

4.) Qualifying for a mortgage is about to get even more difficult

Besides increasing rates, there are other factors that will hinder a buyer’s ability to qualify for a mortgage as we move forward. Lending standards have been getting tighter over the last year. And as the government debates the new proposed guidelines (QRM), banks are gearing up for even more stringent standards.

Morgan Stanley recently stated:

“Recent developments in issues such as GSE reform, Dodd-Frank securitization rules, and foreclosure settlement issues suggest a tighter and more expensive environment for mortgage credit.” 

This may impact any potential purchaser for your property and may also impact your next purchase.

5.) It’s time to get on with your life 

Probably the most important reason to sell is so you can get on with your life. You placed your home on the market for a reason. Do not allow a less-than-stellar housing market prevent you from reaching your goals as an individual or as a family. Think about the reasons you decided to move in the first place. Are these reasons still important to you? If you have to take less than you were originally hoping to get for your house, your family has a question to ask each other: Is the dollar difference in sales price worth putting off our plans? Only you and your family know the answer to that question.

Did that give you enough to want to sell now? I believe the reasons above prove that selling now makes more sense than waiting. Contact me today and I will be more than happy to help you full understand your best option!

Cheryl

5 Quick Real Estate Tips for April

1. Be Ready for the Pre-appointment Appointment
In order to best take advantage of the opportunities this year will bring, make sure you are ready to speak real estate at any moment. Whether it is at the food store, the movies, or at your child’s ball game, people are again talking about real estate. Be prepared to intelligently articulate answers to the questions that come up. Ensure this by being very mobile with your information (smart phones, iPads, or tablets).

2. Understand the Advantages of Owning Over Renting
We sell real estate for a living. We must be prepared to be an evangelist for homeownership. Know that owning is less expensive than renting in 72% of the country. Be able to explain all the financial benefits of owning a home and learn the non-financial reasons people buy a home.

3. Know That Today’s Mortgage Opportunities Will Never Exist Again
Today, a buyer can purchase a home with a 5% interest rate guaranteed for 30 years. These low rates will disappear as the economy improves. If the lending reform that many are calling for happens, there is a chance that the 30 year mortgage will also disappear. For more on this point, click here.

4. Realize the Wealthy Are Back in the Market
In 2010, sales of homes under $1 million were down 2.8% from the previous year. Yet, home sales of properties priced over $1 million were up 18.6%. That means that the people who best understand the principle “cost vs. price” best think now is the time to buy real estate.

5. Don’t Forget It’s Still About “Supply and Demand”
There will be a steady supply of buyers purchasing homes this spring. Houses will sell; many houses. Don’t allow this increase in demand to fool you or your homeowners. Home prices will not appreciate on increased demand alone. Price is determined by the ratio between supply and demand. Make sure you know the month’s supply of inventory available for each category of house you have listed. Only then can you give great counsel on pricing.

If Your Goal is to Buy Low, Buy Now

There is a very famous saying which asserts “Sell High, Buy Low”. It is obviously great advice no matter what the investment. Below is a graph showing the cycle of investments. It shows the points of maximum risk and maximum opportunity when purchasing. We want to sell high (point of maximum risk) and buy low (point of maximum opportunity).

The challenge is how to determine when we have hit bottom if you are a purchaser. The only time you can guarantee a bottom is after you pass it.

However, there is more and more evidence that the COST of a home has in fact hit bottom. Notice we have used the word COST. Unless you are an all cash buyer, you must take into consideration the expense of financing a property to determine the true cost of purchasing the home. Interest rates have increased over the last quarter; and the rise in rates has counteracted any fall in prices.

When is the best time to buy a home? When is the opportunity right?

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you were going to take out a $200,000 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage in November of 2010. At that time, interest rates were 4.17% (as per Freddie Mac). Your principle and interest payment would have come to $974.54. According to the most recent report from Case Shiller house prices fell 3.9% in the 4th quarter of 2010. The most recent report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows a 0.8% fall in prices. Let’s use the larger percentage decrease: 3.9%.

For the sake of keeping the math simple, we will now say you can get the same house with a $192,000 mortgage (4% discount from November price). Interest rates are now 4.95% (as per Freddie Mac).

Your principle and interest payment would now be $1,067.54.

By waiting to pay less for the PRICE of the house, the COST increased $93 a month. That adds up to $1,116 a year and over $33,000 over the life of the loan.

We realize that there are other things to consider (ex. the mortgage tax deduction, etc.). This example is just a simple way to show that there is a difference between COST and PRICE.

Bottom Line
If you want to buy low, buy now. It appears COST has hit its lowest point.

Cheryl Walsh
C. Walsh Realty
www.CWalshRealty.com
www.CWalshConstructionLLC.com

Search for Homes in North Attleboro, Attleboro and the Attleboro areas.

Housing Price Conspiracy??

North Attleboro Real Estate prices. Cheryl Walsh, North Attelboro real estate agent, real estate homes for sale.We believe that things are usually as they seem. We are not the type of organization that believes in conspiracies. However, there is something interesting in some of the housing price studies we are seeing in our research. It seems that some of the groups making the predictions are the same ones that have the greatest power to affect the prices they are projecting.

Most housing analysts warn that the heaviest downward pressure on prices will be created by distressed properties and the speed at which they will be released to the market. Research shows that ‘short sales’ sell at a 20% discount and foreclosures sell at a whopping 40% discount. Obviously, when and how much discounted real estate enters the market will have a major impact on prices of surrounding properties.

Back to our research:
We are now seeing that a certain segment of those projecting future pricing have two things in common:

– They believe prices will fall rather dramatically in the first half of 2011
– They have control of the flow of discounted properties to the market
– Predictions for the first half of 2011 by firms that fall in the above category:

Bank of America projects that prices will fall 3.7%
Fannie Mae predicts that median prices will drop $12,500
Wells Fargo reported that they feel home prices will drop 8%
Not a coincidence.

We are beginning to realize this is not a coincidence. The organizations which should best know when the surge of foreclosures will be released are saying house prices will be hit the hardest in the first half of the year. We are not asserting that there is anything devious in what we have found. We are just reporting that those who have control over the flow of distressed properties must think/know that inventory is about to be released. Why else would so many of them be predicting a sharp decline in home values in the next 120 days?

Bottom Line
If you currently have your house on the market and are hoping that you will see a better price after the snow melts or the temperature warms up (aka Spring), BE CAREFUL! Those in the know are warning you the best price might be attained TODAY! 

Note from North Attelboro Real Estate Experts:
These reports are very helpful but not necessarily the way the market will develop for you. You should always consult an expert before moving ahead with anything like this! 

Cheryl Walsh
C. Walsh Realty
C. Walsh Construction, Inc.
Cheryl @ CWalshRealty.com
Direct:  508.695.3500 X 201

by The KCM Crew on January 12, 2011

What’s the Deal with Interest Rates?

It has been an up and down ride for the economy and the North Attleboro real estate market. You remember what it was like. There was the housing boom where home values rose and anyone could get a loan for a new home. Many experts said it would end. Many said it would end badly. Well they were right. In 2010, Americans faced the most foreclosures in history. You may have known someone or maybe it was you. With the econonmy taking a downturn, many people lost their jobs. The loss of a job affects more than just income. Loss of jobs also health care, family life, bills and mortgage. This had a negative impact on the North Attleboro market. We have seen an increase in the number of foreclosures and short sales in the Attelboros.

The current market consists of many foreclosure properties and many homes that are priced to sell. It’s a buyer’s market and interest rates remain low. It’s still a great time to buy. Lower interest rates mean you could qualify for more house than you expected to buy. It also means there are many more houses on the market to choose from. This gives you a great deal more flexibility to find the perfect house.

Take a look at this graph that indicates what the differnece in your interest rate makes on your mortgage payment:

 But this also creates opportunities for sellers. You may not get the same price for your home that you may have gotten two or three years ago, but sellers can also take advantage of the lower interest rates. Now may be the time to move up to a new home. Don’t forget that you can get more house for less money, the inventory of homes is greater and you can be more picky. Your home will sell if you price it right. Don’t go it alone. Find an expert to help you list and market your home. Price it right the first time and it will sell!

I would be happy to help you find a mortgage or with the buying and selling of your home!

Cheryl Walsh
C. Walsh Realty
Ph:  508-695-3500
www.CWalshRealty.com