Archive for Real Estate

March Madness 2013 in Real Estate

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It’s no secret at a certain price point ( under $400k)  in many Essex county communities (Gloucester, Rockport, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, Essex, Ipswich and Peabody), buying a home  has become quite  competitive.  Purchasing real estate in 2013 has its own  level of “March Madness“. There are 20, 40 or 60+ people viewing well priced properties at open house(s). There are multiple offers and yes people are paying above asking price. Every house? No, just  homes priced appropriately for their age, condition, location and size. Buyers are not offering crazy amounts of money because we all know at the end of the day it must appraise, since most purchases are contingent on buyers receiving a mortgage.

So what will tip the scales in the favor of your offer being accepted, if you are a buyer ? There are four practices I use with consistent success when I know there is a  chance that there will be multiple offers.

1) View the house and make the offer ASAP. The early bird gets the worm. Yes it may be inconvenient and you may have to cancel a previous appointment to go view a house. Sorry, this is  about getting the house you want, not living a balanced life.

2) Offer asking price at a minimum. If you know potentially there will be multiple offers, forget about “stealing” a property. You like the house, you want it, now get it! Offer above asking to a level your agent or lender feels it will appraise at (and you are pre approved for).

3) Have your agent write the “magic letter”. People like to do business with people they know and like. Share with the buyers how much you like their house. Compliment them about their decorating or cleanliness. Find out what is motivating the sellers to sell and speak to that. Be real and be personal. Don’t laugh this works, I have had several clients achieve their home in a competitive situation because the sellers felt like they knew them and liked them after reading the “magic letter”.

4) Last but not least, always ask the sellers agent for a final and last opportunity to submit a final bid if there are multiple offers. Don’t assume that the list agent will automatically give everyone a chance to rebid; they may not. If a buyer does not want to offer more, they don’t have to, but at least they have the opportunity to make up their own mind about their final bid.

The “other” March Madness? All the way with Syracuse for me!



Condition, condition, condition is the new location, location, location

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Location, location location is the age old axiom of advice when purchasing real estate. It is still excellent advice.  But condition, condition, condition is definitely giving it a run for the money and I do mean money. Todays buyers are placing a premium on the condition of a property for many reasons:

1. Buyers may not have excess cash for renovations/updates.

2. Buyers can be overwhelmed by the thought of finding reputable contractors.

3. Buyers may not have the time and patience for home projects (general contracting).

4. Not all buyers have vision when renovations are required.

Todays buyers are placing a premium on the condition of the property. When sellers are preparing their home to go on the market I encourage them to “tie up all the loose ends”; no project or detail should be left undone. Clean as though there is no tomorrow if you want people to purchase your property at top dollar. People just plain like the way clean smells, never mind the way it looks!

Think about it this way if you are wondering what to do when preparing your home for sale.  A home is most people’s largest ever purchase; it requires most of us to be employed at a job in order to make this purchase possible. So to most buyers it doesn’t make sense to purchase a new home that is itself a “project” or a “job”.  At the end of the day, most people only want one job and not one they have to pay a mortgage on!  No they are not overlooking the location, but good condition, condition condition can be a very strong persuader and can overcome other objections a buyer may have.

What is a “Walk Score” ?

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Walk score is becoming a new way that people evaluate a property’s location. It is a value from 1 to 100 and the higher the number the more conveniences or things there are to do within about a 15 minute stroll 0r a quarter mile. More and more people have come to value the healthy aspects of walking as exercise. Dogs which require frequent walking have become a bigger part of family and singles (!) lifestyle.  Americans are happily parking their cars, saving money by not purchasing gas and supporting small neighborhood businesses that are in their own neighborhood. As more and more people return to an urban setting  or a neighborhood style of living, local business creativity is booming especially in the eateries and coffee shop arenas. It is no secret that commuting is no fun, drinking and driving is not an option and most of us would prefer to remain in our own towns or neighborhoods. The more people interact with each other and become familiar with their neighbors the safer and more pleasant an area becomes! Passers by and acquaintances become friends. Nods become smiles. and before you know it a street or 2 or 3 is a neighborhood full of familiar faces! If  this sounds like something you value when you home hunt be sure and evaluate the “walk score” as you consider, location, location, location!

Walk score can be found for any (?) address in America at It is also included in the information that provides on their website.

Pick of the Litter Wednesdays!

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9 reasons to fall in love with

Tax tip for property owners in Gloucester MA

Rounding up tax info?  It always seems I have most of the information but not all of it…:) The Gloucester MA city site: is a great resource to view & gather information on your total property taxes and sewer/water costs (for landlords).  In case you are like me and can’t always find this information easily in my own home, the city website has it all neatly filed in one location. Once you are on the city site:

City of Gloucester Website - Home page

“click” on the tab (left side of page) that says “online services”.  That will bring you to this page:

City of Gloucester Website - Online services page

The property tax records and water/sewer bills can all be accessed by “clicking” on the highlighted type.

The next page will then ask you for your address or parcel ID number.

City of Gloucester address page for online tax records

If you are unfamiliar with your parcel ID number, it can be found in the “assessors” records online , on a tax or water bill or by calling our helpful Gloucester assessors office. Fill in the address and voila the computer does what computers do and you have your annual records in front of you!

Has the real estate market hit bottom? Yes!!!

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In Housing Market, Uncertainty Reigns


In recent days, we’ve been a hit by flurry of reports about an increasingly weak housing market and falling home prices in the Boston area. Just Tuesday, a new forecast projected a drop in Massachusetts home prices by as much as 6.5 percent.

So how bad is it? Are we heading toward a double-dip? Or has the market hit bottom? Some analysts say we can expect the market to begin to recover in the coming months. Are they right?

As the spring home sale season heats up, many prospective buyers and sellers are caught in the middle of a market in transition. Is it a good time to buy? Should owners be looking to sell?

We speak with housing experts on the state of the market.

Do you have a question about the housing market in Massachusetts? Are you looking to buy or sell a home? Do you rent because you’re too scared to buy?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments or on our Facebook page.


  • Scott Van Voorhis, real estate blogger and columnist,
  • Karl Case, retired Wellesley College economist; co-founder, Case-Shiller Index
  • Patty Knaggs, real estate agent based in Beverly
  • Curt Nickisch, business & technology reporter, WBUR


How NOT to stage a house for sale …

I just came from an open house here in Gloucester. Nice property, expensive, great ocean views. But someone forgot to tell the seller that a huge “no no” is displaying any of the following:
  • Clowns
  • Dolls
  • Shrunken heads
  • Stuffed game, birds or pets
  • Guns
  • Any clown, doll, shrunken head or stuffed animal HOLDING a gun.

If you’re selling, it’s a good idea to hire an agent that uses a professional stager. Then take the stager’s advice and remove the things that could turn off a potential buyer. In this market, you can’t afford to offend anyone.

Two Very Sexy Real Estate Web Sites

Sexy Real Estate gets my vote for the most seductive web site I’ve seen in a long while. I love home design both exterior and interior. Getting a great idea and excecuting it to meet my wallet and specific needs is a challenge I truely savor. This website is so “deep” with pictures (dare I say unlimited?) and ways to use the site, it has been a pleasure being snowed in! Anyone else find any neat sites this past week waiting for the plow to pass by? is another one I was introduced to this week, but I’m not sure how useful the information is…being a lot more like a People magazine for the real estate world. That being said, it does grab me whenever I go there for a visit!

We get asked this ? all the time …

  • Should You Move or Remodel?

    When your house no longer suits you, you can move or remodel. Find out which big change is the right investment of your housing dollars. Read

Visit for more articles like this.