The Boston2.com Real Estate Blog

Text Messaging Considered Binding in Cohasset Real Estate Negotiations

real estate negotiations in Cohassette MA

Cohasset MA Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know this Law

Are the days of the written contract coming to an end? As email and texts take over as our primary method of communications in real estate negotiations, it seemed a matter of course that the Massachusetts courts would be faced with the question as to whether and to what extent an email and text constitute a binding and enforceable agreement in the purchase and selling of real estate.

In a ground-breaking case in April 2016, Land Court Justice Robert Foster ruled that in some instances text messages can be used to form a binding contract in Massachusetts real estate negotiations, which of course includes homes for sale in Cohasset.

The ruling determined that even if a formal offer has not been signed by the seller, if certain language is use, that a text message can be used as formal communication to bind one to a real estate contract or agreement. The results of the case was a huge wake-up call for part of the industry who would rather leave text messaging under the category of "informal" and believe that these types of informal, electronic communications should not be legally binding when negotiating real estate contracts.

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Buying a Home? Questions and Answers For First Time Home Buyers

buying a home - questions and answers

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS

Buying a first home, a second one or even a retirement home is an exciting opportunity. It can, however, get complicated if you don't choose carefully.

At any one time there are millions of homes for sale available in the market and it is important to think about what you want so that you can avoid making costly mistakes. Many people, especially if they are buying for the first time, will get so excited that they buy the first home that they come across only to find out later that they don't like it so much. Only then it is too late and they have sunk thousands of dollars in it while owing hundreds of thousands more.

First time buyers should ask the following questions before they commit:  

Do I have enough money saved up?

Your lender will require you to put down a down payment before he can give you the money for the full purchase of the home.  Depending on the type of loan, different down payments are required.  Traditionally, to purchase a home you needed 20% or more for a down payment. 

Today, there are many options.  If you are a veteran, the ...

An Essential Guide To Moving to Quincy MA

Quincy MA

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR MOVING TO QUINCY MA

Quincy is the largest city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. It is considered a suburb of South Boston and is part of the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area. As the 8th-largest city in Massachusetts, Quincy is a historic town and is known as the "City of Presidents" because it is the birthplace of two of our American presidents - John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. It is also the birthplace of John Hancock who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. If you are thinking about moving to Quincy, her is some information that should be of true value:

Buying a Home in Quincy

There are many options when buying a home in Quincy. In fact, the area is blanketed by several historic neighborhoods with traditional brownstones and one to two-story homes. Quincy is known for its tree-lined streets, schools, and fine commercial establishments and restaurants. Quincy real estate also features several apartment buildings and complexes, as well as co-op units, sub-lets and much more.

According to recent real-estate figures and stats, the median home value in Quincy ranges from $420,000 to $490,000. In fact, home values in the area have...

Getting Top Dollar For Your Quincy Home

getting your quincy home sold for top dollar

Selling Your Quincy MA Home

The Quincy real estate market is on fire!  With people moving out of Boston, but wanting to live close enough to commute for work, coupled with Quincy's great schools, has driven the property values in Quincy up and the demand for housing in Quincy is strong.

As of the time of this article, Quincy only had 50 active homes for sale with the average Days on Market being just over 60.  The Median List Price of a home for sale in Quincy is just over $330,000.  When you compare these market statistics to homes in Boston, you can see why the Quincy real estate market is so strong.

Although the demand for housing in Quincy is strong, getting your home sold for top dollar still requires a strategy.  Needless to say, we won't be able to cover every step in getting your home sold,  we will cover some of the basics required for getting your top dollar for your Quincy home.  

Pre-Listing Due Diligence

Prior to listing your home in the MLS - you will want to complete the pre-listing due diligence.  This included looking at a variety of real estate statistics relative to your Quincy home.  This process requires MLS access to get an idea of what similar homes have been selling for as well as...

UPDATED! How Does The New Tax Bill Affect Homeowners?

The New Tax Bill and Home Ownership

For years, the real-estate industry has strongly benefitted from generous tax deductions. These deductions raised home values by making it cost-affordable for people to own properties and become home owners.

The current tax code also allowed them to shoulder their local taxes across the board. However, with the Republican's new tax bill underway in Congress - the real estate industry is deeply worried that the fallout will harm the real estate market by making home ownership less valuable.

Updated! The Tax Bill Has Passed

Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see what the effects of  final versions of the tax bill (currently waiting on the Presidents signature) will have on homeowners.

What will happen to those homeowner deductions that the industry has relied so heavily upon in past decades?   The new tax bill has sent real-estate organizations, such as the National Association of REALTORS, into a frenzy across the nation. So much so that they are calling legislators, lobbying congress and pushing a call to action for their REALTOR members to do the same.  All warning their members, clients and general public about the danger of the current tax bill.  It is also important to note that NAR (National Association of REALTORS) has the single largest PAC (Political Action Committee) in the country. 

Similarly, their supporters and proponents are staging mass protests - in an all out effort to...

Home Appraisals: Who Benefits and What is the Cost?

Home Appraisals and How they Work

When you are refinancing your old mortgage, purchasing a home in Quincy or anywhere else with a mortgage, or even selling your home to someone who is not an all-cash buyer, home appraisal becomes one of the most crucial parts of such a transaction.

It doesn't matter who you are; owner, buyer, or seller, it is very important to understand how the process of appraisal operates and what methods the appraiser uses to come up with the value of the home.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal can be defined as an unswayed approximation of the fair market or real value of what a house is worth. During the process of a aquiring a mortgage mortgage, all lenders are supposed to order an appraisal on the subject property. This is done to create an objective means of assessing the market value of a home and make sure that the amount of money that the borrower has requested is appropriate.

A house appraisal contains a number of things, but key in them are the latest sales information of other properties in the area that are similar, the property's location, the current state of the house, and other insights that affect the value of the property.

The Difference Between Home Appraisal and Home Inspection

Home inspections have been confused with home appraisals for a long time even though they aren't related, an appraiser and an inspector seem to be doing similar duties. Both of them will walk around...

How Real Estate Commission Works - Selling Your Home

Listing Your Home to SELL

You have decided to list your Boston home with an agent of your choosing, and they are recommending a “commission” fee of 6-7%.  The “commission” is what REALTOR’s® consider the “Marketing Fee” to list the property. As the seller, you want to net as much as possible at closing, so the Marketing Fee is important for you to factor in.  Keep in mind, you get what you pay for.

The Legality of Negotiating

There are several reasons why the Marketing Fee is negotiable.  The most important reason, is this it is illegal for real estate brokerages to collude together and charge a "standard" commission rate.  This is to protect the consumer.

Each Market is Different

Your REALTOR®   will know the market standard.  An important factor in listing a property is not to go below the Marketing Fee average for the area.  Each area surrounding Boston will have some sort of an average.  Those averages may differ if you are selling your home in HinghamCohasset or Weymouth...

Zillow in Boston MA

Zillow for Boston MA

How Accurate is Zillow for the Greater Boston Area

The internet has changed the way home buyers find homes for sale. On average, people buy or sell their real estate in Boston about every 8 years. The length of time between real estate transactions coupled with the rapid changes in online real estate creates a lot of misinformation on how real estate listings get displayed online. It's easy to understand how many people looking to see all of the homes for sale in Boston think they need to go to a 3rd party real estate website such as Zillow. Truth is, even by Zillow’s own statistics, there Zestimate is off by more that 5% more than 50% of the time in Suffolk County.

Zillow for Boston MA

Zillow has used their huge marketing budget to position themselves as the dominant authority in online real estate. Although Zillow comes up on page one of Google for the terms “Boston homes for sale” and “Boston real estate” Does that mean they are the best way to find all of the homes for sale in Boston MA?

  • Does Zillow show all of the current Active and Sold listings in Boston MA?
  • Are the Zestimates provided by Zillow on Boston properties accurate?
  • Should you be using Zillow to search for homes for sale in Boston MA

Sell your home in 29 days or its FREE...

Hingham MA Real Estate Market Update

The Real Estate Market in Hingham MA

With the year coming to a close it’s easy to see how the Hingham real estate market has fared. And year to date, it has been a great one!

As of the end of the 3rd quarter there were 99 single family homes on the market with an average asking price of $1.273m. This is an increase in the supply by 10 houses over last year at the same time with a decrease in the average sale price over the same period of time. The single family homes on the market at the end of September in 2016 had an average asking price of $1.317m.

In the first 3 quarters in 2017 there were 191 houses sold. A figures which is nearly unchanged from the 190 homes in Hingham that were sold by this time in 2016. There was a 14.2% year over year increase in the average home sales price which is currently at $959,032 in 2017 vs. $823,652 in the first 9 months of 2016.

Market Trends in Hingham

Current market trends for 2017 put seller’s average asking price at $993,873 vs. the $850,276 in 2016. The average days on market saw a drastic decrease from 83 days on market in 2016 to 65 days on the market for the first 3 quarters of 2017. The list to sale price ratio saw a slight decrease to 96.49% in 2017 vs. the 96.86% in 2016.

Hingham Real Estate Statistics

Hingham Real Estate Statistics...

Back Bay Brownstones For Sale

Back Bay Brownstones for Sale in the Greater Boston Area

boston - back bay brownstones for sale

Brownstones are essentially townhomes found in the New York City and Boston real estate markets. These lavish and elegant properties can also be found across New England and other urban areas.

Known for their reddish-brownish brick exteriors, Boston brownstones offer a combination of fine home and apartment living. The units are considered row houses - and are constructed from brownstone and other durable materials.

Each brownstone townhome features shared walls and a uniform outside appearance. They are almost always multiple stories tall - but rarely go higher than four stories.

Brownstones also have flat roofs - which may or may not include gardens and decks. The property line for most brownstones usually goes up as close to the street as well.

Back Bay Brownstones in Boston

Back Bay Brownstones in Boston continue to soar in popularity. In fact, these neighborhoods are some of the most desirable areas across the nation. With traditional and vintage to contemporary doors, Boston Brownstones feature unique architectural elements and highly visible windows.

back bay brownstones for sale

Nearly all Boston brownstones also have cozy fireplaces, spacious closets and ample storage room. These units...

Thinking of Buying a Home in Hingham? Get The Inside Scoop HERE

About Hingham MA

Hingham, MA provides a convenient location for those looking to live in the Boston area, but not in the big city. It's a small town with a quaint feel and plenty of history. There are plenty of things to do, places to see and the shopping is some of the best in the South Shore area. Living here provides the opportunity to enjoy the big city amenities with a small town, quiet atmosphere to call home.

Get To Know Hingham MA

As a part of the metropolitan Greater Boston area, Hingham is located on the South Shore in Plymouth County. It's home to around 23,000 residents and provides a deep colonial history.

Hingham MA is found along the Boston Harbor and Hingham Bay leads to a harbor, as well. Weir River separates the town from Hull and many other rivers and ponds are found throughout. The town also includes a public beach along the harbor and a marina along Weymouth Back River.

One of the main features of the area is Wampatuck State Park, which actually spreads into Norwell, Cohasset and Scituate. Many other conservation areas are also found throughout Hingham including a portion of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area including Langlee Island, Sarah Island, Bumpkin Island, Button Island and Ragged Island.

History of Hingham MA

Known as Bare Cove when it was first settled, Hingham was colonized by the English back in 1633. Two years later it was incorporated and became the town of Hingham. Until 1803, the town was a part of Suffolk County, but became a part of Plymouth County in 1803. In 1770, the eastern portion of the town split off and is...

Buying a Home? What You NEED To Know About Homeowner's Insurance

homeowners insurance

Everything You Need To Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

So you’re either looking at buying a home, or you have just purchased one. If you’re going through a mortgage company, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to be required to get homeowner’s insurance coverage for the full value of your home in order to be approved for the mortgage.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

So what exactly is it? Homeowner’s insurance protects you in the instance of damage to the interior and exterior of your home, as well as the loss or damage of your personal possessions. Homeowner’s insurance can also cover personal liability for damage or injuries caused by your or your household.

Types of Homeowners Coverage

In the United States, there are eight standard types of homeowner’s insurance, from HO-1 to HO-8. These types of insurance offer different levels of protections, and homeowner’s choose which based on the type of home and what they need.

Insurance typically covers three levels:

  • Actual cash value
  • Replacement cost
  • Extended replacement cost

Actual cash value is the standard, it covers the value of the house and your belongings after depreciation. Replacement cost is the next level up—you get actual cash value without deducting the depreciation. Extended replacement cost is comprehensive, which covers the entire cost of repairing or rebuilding up to a maximum (usually 20% over your policy limit).

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Things To Do In Cohasset

Things To Do In Cohasset MA

Cohasset MA is known for their beaches and beautiful homes.  But what else is there in Cohasset?  Where is the best place to eat?  What churches are available? How about the schools?

Dining in Cohasset

The Town of Cohasset provides many great dining options. A variety of cuisine is found throughout the area including American, French, Italian, Mexican, Seafood, Chinese, Barbecue, Asian and more. Here are some of the top dining options for residents of Cohasset to enjoy.

Atlantica Restaurant - 44 Border Street

Atlantica restaurant is known as one of the most popular landmarks of the South Shore. It has been around for more than 60 years and was once the site of Hugo's Lighthouse. The restaurant shares the location with The Olde Salt House, which overlooks the Cohasset Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.

Residents enjoy amazing waterfront dining at Atlantica Restaurant for many occasions. They serve some of the freshest seafood in the area, along with other sustainable and organic ingredients. The restaurant also features an amazing wine list with plenty of great choices.

French Memories Bakery - 60 South Main Street

Owned by French Expats, the French Memories Bakery is a popular place for coffee and pastries. They are most known for great croissants, especially the almond croissant. Often, there is a line out the door on weekends.

Ava Cucina - 107 Ripley Road

Ava Cucina opened in 2010 as a family restaurant. The menu is varied and offers many classic Italian dishes, along with pizza and more. They have received many very positive reviews on...

Boston Neighborhoods

Boston Neighborhoods

The Neighborhoods of Boston

Boston real estate is made up of neighborhoods - each with it’s own unique feel and character. From architecture and culture to food and shopping, you can find what you are looking for here.

The City of Boston

Boston is considered a city of culture and, has somewhat of an intellectual reputation. Mark Twain once wrote

"In New York, they ask, 'How much money does he have?' In Philadelphia, they ask, 'Who were his parents?' In Boston they ask, 'How much does he know?"

There is no one best neighborhood in Boston to live in. The neighborhood you choose will really depend on your budget, where you will be employed, do you have a growing family, are you retired and, what you like to do for entertainment.

The Neighborhoods of Boston in a Nutshell

The neighborhoods of Boston are Allston/Brighton, Back Bay, Beacon HillWest End, Charlestown, Chinatown, ...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?

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Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers will become delinquent...

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid paying...