Buying a Home

Moving to Boston Suburbs: Town Guide - Peabody, MA

Moving to Boston Suburbs:  Peabody, MA

Moving to the Boston Suburbs and getting to know Peabody, the suburb located on the North Shore. In this video, we will talk about the different areas that make up Peabody and what this great town has to offer from restaurants to schools to greenspace. It’s all here!

Peabody is a town of a little under 55,000 residents according to the last census. Peabody has come a long way from its start as a farming community. Today it is a vibrant community which consists of the regions largest shopping mall, and industrial park that has attracted numerous medical and technology companies. Residents of Peabody will be quick to point out that Peabody is divided between West Peabody, South Peabody and Downtown Peabody. Downtown Peabody is kind of obvious… It’s their downtown and is actually located within close proximity to Salem. West Peabody has mostly become known as a middle to upper class suburb. It is here that you will find Brooksby Farm which is a 275-acre working farm and conservation area that has become a popular destination as well as some other great recreational areas.

Peabody Center is 2 miles from the center of Salem, 15 miles northeast of Boston and 18 miles west-southwest of Gloucester. Peabody is bordered by Middleton to the northwest, Danvers to the North, Salem to the East, Lynn to the South and Lynnfield to the Southwest. Boy… That’s is a mouthful. (More about Peabody Below)

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Most Expensive Towns in MA: South Shore

Most Expensive Towns in MA: Top 3 on the South Shore of Boston

There are a lot of Boston Suburbs. So many that we first split the areas around Boston by regions. We have the North Shore which is North of Boston, Metro West which is the suburbs to the West of Boston and the South Shore which are the suburbs in the South of the city.

Here are the three most expensive suburbs on the South Shore of Boston. Does the most expensive mean that they are the nicest? That is hard to say and really falls to personal opinion. But if you are looking for a nice suburb of Boston, want to be South of the city and have a nice budget… Then here is a short list that may make sense to start with.

Hey, it’s Jeff Chubb. Welcome to the channel. To learn more about real estate then don’t forget to click the subscribe and like button below. And if you want to talk Real Estate mano ye mano… Then find my info in the description below!

Cohasset
The most expensive town on the South Shore is Cohasset. The highest price home that sold last year was $6.75m with an average sales price of $1.5m.

Cohasset is a small town of a little over 8,000 people and is located about 16 miles South of the city of Boston. Cohasset is surrounded by Hull in the North, Hingham in the West and Scituate in the South. What makes Cohasset so unique and desirable is the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the town in the West.

Residents of Cohasset are quick to point out it’s like living on Cape Cod, but with the proximity of Boston. It is the best of both words. Cohasset has two beaches, one harbor that opens directly out to the Atlantic and a “Gold Coast” Coastline.

The community enjoys a commuter rail stop, but also enjoy the close proximity to...

When to Start the Home Buying Process

When to Start the Home Buying Process

We get the question “When should I start the home buying process” all the time. It’s a great question and one that ultimately changes as the market conditions changes. So lets dig in on the question of When to Start the Home Buying Process.

Hey, it’s Jeff Chubb, welcome to the blog! To learn more about real estate then feel free to look around! And if you want to talk Real Estate mano ye mano… Then find my information below!

A lot has changed in the last couple years. At this point, I feel the mental image of me sitting on a porch rocking back and forth in my rocking chair talking about the “good ole days” pretty much sums it up. A couple years ago we could meet with a buyer and go over what they are looking for and turn to the market and find some options… Today that is not the case.

I was talking with a buyer today and she provided me three large towns as a target area… There were 7 houses for sale in all of the price ranges. Seven.

Being a buyer today takes more time, more patience and more preparation. If you are one of those buyers that just run out and start touring houses without coming up with a plan… Then get prepared for a world of frustration… and heart break!

So why is that we are seeing these market dynamics of an extreme seller’s market?

It is a great question and one that there is ultimately no single answer for.

Yes, you will hear about how we can’t build enough and how new build starts are low… But we are a rather mature market with little possibility of major development like you can see in some markets in the South.

I can’t stand the Covid excuse anymore... But this one isn’t really an excuse. Covid changed the way we live and utilize our houses. We have seen a shift back to where people value more space as where pre-covid we were seeing trends...

Moving to Boston: Neighborhood Guide - Back Bay: Boston, MA

The story of the Back Bay Continued...

The Back Bay is considered one of the crown jewels neighborhoods of Boston. It’s got it all from a premier location to one of the most beautiful city settings one could ask for…

When people think of Boston, they don’t know it, but they generally think of either Beacon Hill or the Back Bay. But the two neighborhoods are very different. The Back Bay used to be just that… a Bay. They started filling in the Bay in 1857 and was filled in 1882. This is important because the Bay it was built on is creating some problems for houses today… Big problems which we will talk about a little later…

What was once planned as only a Residential neighborhood would later be adjusted to allow Commercial property and now today holds some of Boston’s most iconic buildings. These include the Prudential Center, the John Hancock Tower and all of the world-renowned retail on Newbury Street.

Today a little more than 21,000 people call the Back Bay home. These lucky folks are drawn to this neighborhood because of its convenience as a centrally located neighborhood as well as its overall beauty… It’s like living in a Postcard each day with its picturesque tree lined streets and parks.

The Back Bay is different than a lot of other neighborhoods as it doesn’t have neighborhoods within the neighborhoods if you will. You have two sections of the Back Bay… Okay, it’s really three sections. You have the area that is closest to the Public Garden then the area down by Mass Avenue and then the third area is across from Mass Pike. And the affordability of the neighborhood goes in that order as well with the area by Public Gardens being the most premier areas and therefore the costliest.  And by the way… I use the term “affordability” very loosely…

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Breaking Lease When Buying a House

Can you Break a Lease when Buying a house?

Timing a lease ending date and a home purchase perfectly is tough… Real tough. You need to start the process early in today’s market… So what are your options?

The first question I generally get in this situation is “Can I break a lease if I buy a house?”. Now every lease is different, but I have not seen too many leases that give you an easy no penalty out. So generally speaking, the answer here is no… That is unless you get permission from your landlord.

Now breaking lease laws differ by state, so the options and consequences may look different depending on where you live. Even if you can’t legally end a lease, there may be a few other methods that could get you out of your lease.

Honesty is the best policy. And that is also the case when it comes to buying a house. The first thing you want to do is let your landlord or property manager know that you are looking for a new home. Larger buildings will generally have policies that relate to breaking a lease while smaller landlords may just ask for you to work with them in the process. Heck, if you are paying below market rent… Then the landlord may even be excited to get the apartment back and re-rent it!

The first thing you will want to do is look for a Home Buying Clause in your lease. Very few leases have these, but you may be one of the lucky few. If your lease includes a home buying clause, this means that you can terminate your lease early if you have bought a new home. This is provided that you give your landlord proper notice.

If you don’t have a Home Buying Clause, then you can try to buy your way out. Your lease may say that you can terminate your lease by paying an early termination fee. The cost of this fee can vary based on the terms laid out in the lease. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a minimum of 1 to 2 months rent as a penalty for breaking the lease.

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Neighborhood Guide - East Boston: Boston, MA

Getting to know East Boston: Boston, MA
Getting to know East Boston – From talking about the different neighborhoods that make up East Boston and what they have to offer from restaurants to schools to parks.

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Steps to Buying a Home - The 18 Steps of Buying a Home for First Time Home Buyers

The Steps to Buying a Home - The 18 Steps of Buying a Home for First Time Home Buyers

In this episode, we discuss all the steps when it comes to buying a home. Wondering how to buy a house? Well, we have counted and there are 18 steps! Some bigger and more important than others, but all important to know when buying a new home. Whether you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned veteran, this video will give you a rundown on how to buy a home step by step. This is most likely your biggest investment… It can be exciting, but also scary… This video is to help alleviate some of that fear!

About this video: You have decided that you want to buy a new home so what is next? In this video we discuss how to buy a home and walk you through a step-by-step process on what happens and when. We go through it all from the beginning all the way to the end when you are handed the keys to your dream home!

Step 1 - Meet with Your Realtor
Step 2 - Commit to Working with one Another
Step 3 - Get Pre-Approved or Pre-Committed
Step 4 - Define Must Haves & Nice to Haves
Step 5 - Narrow Down your Intersted Areas
Step 6 - Tour Homes & Fall in Love with One
Step 7 - Write an Offer
Step 8 - Mutual Acceptance of the Offer
Step 9 - Initial Binding Deposit (Escrow)
Step 10 - Home Inspection & other Due Dilligence
Step 11 - Sign Mutually Agreeable Purchase & Sale Agreement 
Step 11b - Second Deposit Made (Escrow)
Step 12 - Applyling for the Mortgage
Step 13 - Appraisal of the Property
Step 14 - Final Loan Commitment
Step 15 - Final Walk Through
Step 16 - Closing
Step 17 - Go on Record
Step 18 - Move in!

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The Pros/Cons of a Home Sale Contingency for a Buyer

The good & the bad of a home Contingency For buyers.

Most buyers need to sell their existing home in order to purchase a new one. This is especially the case for home buyers that are looking to trade up. The home sale contingency gives buyers the time they need to sell and mitigates their risk to ensure they don't lose their deposit.

In doing this however, it is shouldering the burden of risk on the seller. By accepting a home sale contingency, the seller is losing marketing time and possibly other opportunities in selling their house. It essentially becomes a little of a gamble for the sellers. They are gambling that the buyers house will sell quickly. It’s also a process that the seller’s have very little control over. For instance, the seller can’t make a buyer stage their house a certain way to make it more attractive or force them to reduce the price. They are stuck in a holding pattern doing a little hoping and praying.  

The Pros for Homebuyers are:

  • Avoiding owning 2 Homes & paying 2 Mortgages
  • Being able to "lock'' in the next house so they don't end up homeless
  • No risk to the Buyer’s deposits should they not be able to sell their house.

The Cons for Homebuyers Are:

  • They will still need to move forward & pay for home inspections, Bank fees as well as appraisal fees. Should the deal fall apart, none of those costs are reimbursed to the buyer.
  • A buyer may potentially need to pay more for a property then compared to if they were to make an offer without the Home Sale Contingency. The reason for this is that the seller is taking on more risk of a buyer’s ability to perform. Therefore, they will want to be compensated for that risk.
  • Should it be a multiple offer situation then chances of winning the bid are greatly decreased unless the buyer pays far over and above the next competing offer.
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10% Over Asking Isn’t Enough?

10% Over Asking Isn’t Enough?

This is a crazy market. There is little doubt on that fact.

We are seeing shortages in all walks of our life… From chip shortages which are creating shortages in cars and electronics to shortages in lumber and now even Gasoline! So I guess it’s no surprise that it’s no different with Housing.

But is now offering 10% or more over a seller’s asking price not enough? Is 10% the new minimum for many homes for Sale in Boston?

This last weekend we put four offers in for our clients. They were great offers with relaxed home inspection contingency thresholds between $5,000 to $7,5000, flexible closing dates with Suitable Housing Clauses for the Sellers and all of them were 10% or more over asking price.

On one offer we went 20% over asking price. On this house there were 69 other competing offers. 70 offers in total! We did not win this bid…

Another offer we wrote was a cash offer that was 10% over asking price with a flexible closing date and a $7,500 home inspection contingency threshold. But here is the kicker… This house was directly next door to a sewage treatment plant. We lovingly started referring to this house as the “Poo House”. We confirmed that there were no health hazards living next to a sewer treatment plant. Our client was excited about this house and had no issues with the environment. We figured we had this one in the bag…. Cash offer over 10% above asking with a big home inspection threshold! I mean come on! But no, that wasn’t even enough to win the Poo House bid.

And we were not able to secure the other 2 offers either. So, we went 0 for 4 in getting offers accepted. With all the offers at least 10% above asking price and what would be considered very strong terms for the seller.

So why these stories? Because...

Don’t Get Pre-Approved by These Companies

Don’t Get Pre-Approved by These Companies

The Bank that you get pre-approved with matters.

We recently had a client that got pre-approved with a not to be named internet bank. She started the pre-approval process before we had initially talked. She found a home that she loved and extended a very competitive offer that was far over asking price. It turns out another offer was close and she ultimately lost out… The swaying factor, the bank on her pre-approval.

So why do these banks have such a negative perception? For many reasons… And some are deserved. Some are reputations of a long time ago that are still haunting them. Some might not even be deserved, but that doesn’t matter. Perception is reality.

One of these banks that have a negative reputation provided a loan commitment and told the buyer she was all set to close. But two days before closing they called the soon to be home buyer saying that in final underwriting there was an issue and she needed to bring an additional $20,000 to the closing table. $20,000 is a lot… Let alone 2 days before closing. And them doing this after the mortgage commitment meant that she would lose her deposit. CRAZY

Another bank that you should not get a pre-approval from is known for their delays in underwriting and having to push out closing beyond planned closing dates.

Another Bank is known for their quick pre-approval. And their pre-approvals in the industry are known to be worth less than the TP you wipe your backside with.

We recently had a local Mortgage Broker who disappeared during the loan process. Promised the moon. Let the loan commitment lapse. When it came down to bras tax, they still did not deliver on their promises. Their inability to perform cost that mortgage broker $2,500 and cost our client nearly their entire deposit. Not to...

You Are an Idiot if You Don’t Buy a House

You Are an Idiot if You Don’t Buy a House

The Real Estate vs. Stock Market Return on Investment

Historically, over the long run your ROI on your house will be higher than the Stock Market. Plus owning a house has one more BIG advantage… YOU can’t live in Stock Certificates.

Let’s take a look at the average return of the Stock Market for the last 20 years…

(Hyperventilating in a bag) Look at all those swings. Up and down. Up and down. With swings like that, make sure to keep your therapist on speed dial!

The average return from 2000 to 2019 was 7.68% for the S&P 500.

So, $50,000 invested in the year 2000 would have been worth $162,066 at the end of 2020.

THAT’S NOT BAD! That is a respectable return! And if you already own a home, then I think everyone would agree that it is smart to diversify…

But that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the people who rent because they think they are better off financially…

Let’s look at the Home price appreciation over the same time period.

From 2000 to 2020, we have seen a Median Appreciation Rate of 3.85% for homes throughout the United States.

Please do keep in mind that this will vary from Market to Market. For instance in Boston we have seen a 10.5% increase from $222,000 to $690,000 in that same time period.

But let’s stick with this average 3.85% yearly return figure to show why investing in the stock market over buying a personal resistance that you can reside in is dumb.

It’s important to realize that a house appreciates off of the full asset value. Not how much you put down as a down payment. This is one of the major differences between stocks and real estate. Stocks you have to pay for the entire position up front. Real Estate you can leverage...

What Happens if Appraisal Comes in High?

What Happens if Appraisal Comes in High?

So what happens when an appraisal comes in higher?

Essentially nothing. It's a good thing in essentially the buyer has already created equity in the property, but it doesn't really impact the deal.

It doesn't effect the financing because a bank will take the lower of the appraised upon value or the agreed upon price.

Questions people sometimes ask and that we answer:
With the higher appraisal, do I get extra money or can I finance more?
Does the seller find out about the higher appraisal?
Can the seller charge me more?

Transcript of Conversation:

- What happens when an appraisal comes in higher? Hi, I'm Jeff Chubb with the eXp Realty and we're here with Jason Bonarrigo of RMS Mortgage talking to you about what happens when that appraisal comes in higher and make sure you stick around to find out at the end of the video what we're doing with a thousand dollars. So, Jason, tell me first off, what is an appraisal?

- Well, an appraisal is a way that the lenders essentially certify the market value of the property. We don't always put in exact numbers of the purchase and sale. So we have an independent third-party go out there and see what the market analysis is.

- Okay. So we get the appraisal. So comes back, what happens if that appraisal, that third-party opinion of the value, actually comes in higher than agreed upon price?

- So let's just say agreed upon price is 500,000

- mhmm

- and that appraisal comes back 520.

- Yeah. Nothing. No, I mean, essentially it doesn't really impact, it's certainly not a negative thing for the buyer.

- Right. Good thing

- it's a good thing. They, you know, essentially tactically could have picked up maybe 20 grand in equity.

- A hypothetical extra 20,000...

What Happens If Appraisal Comes in Low?

What Happens If Appraisal Comes in Low?

Is the deal completely dead if the value of an appraisal comes in below the agreed upon price?

No, it’s not dead. There are still some options and ways to keep the deal alive.

The first option is for the seller to agree to reduce the price of the agreement to the appraised price.

This is the simplest avenue, but not all sellers are agreeable. We see sellers become even less agreeable in hot seller markets.

The second option is for the buyer to make up the appraisal difference.

A buyer could make up the difference by bringing additional funds to closing, but can sometimes also be able to adjust the percentage the buyer is putting down without requiring them to bring additional funds to closing.

The third option is a mix between the two where the seller agrees to reduce the sales price and the buyer brings additional funds to closing. As an example, if there was a $20,000 difference between the agreed upon value and the appraisal then the seller would agree to reduce the price by $10,000 while the buyer brought an additional $10,000 to closing.

The fourth option is terminating the deal and all parties moving on. If this is the case and the buyer had a mortgage contingency and all dates were met in the mortgage contingency then the buyer would (most likely) get their deposit back.

Transcript of Conversation:
- What happens when an appraisal comes in below agreed-upon value? Hi, I'm Jeff Chubb with EXP Realty. We're here with Jason Bonarrigo of RMS mortgage and make sure that you stick around to the end...

What Is An Appraisal?

What is An Appraisal?

An Appraisal is an independent 3rd party professional that certifies the value of a property.

An appraiser does this valuation to ensure that the market value and the agreed upon purchase price match.

The lender orders the appraisal; however, they do not do it. It is an independent party that is not tied to the buyer, seller or lender.

The bank will pay for the appraisal up front; however, they will collect this fee from the buyer eventually.

The point of the appraisal is to make sure that the deal is above board and that the buyer is not over paying for the property. These appraisals can create issues; however, they are in the best interest of not only the bank, but the buyer as well.

The appraisal is a way to qualify the real property if you will.

The bank secures the mortgage against the asset (the house). The bank needs to know that should a buyer not be able to pay back the loan, that the asset will be able to cover the loss.

An appraisal will look at comparable houses within a one-to-two-mile radius. They specifically look for recent sales within the last 6 months. There are exceptions that can be made in more rural areas where there are no recent sales.

The appraisal happens once the Purchase & Sale Agreement has been signed.

There can be appraisal delays based on how busy the marketplace is. Generally, this should not be an issue that holds up closing, but can hold up the mortgage commitment.

Other Blogs & Videos May Interest You:
What Happens if Appraisal Comes in Low
What Happens if Appraisal Comes...

Buying a House With No Down Payment

BUYING A HOUSE WITHOUT SAVING FOR A DEPOSIT

Haven’t saved for a down payment to buy a house? Or need a little more in order to make your dream of buying a home possible? You may still have options.

Don’t be sidelined from the real estate market continuing to stash small amounts away in the form of savings for a down payment.

You have options of receiving a Gift or borrowing against your 401k.

A buyer can receive a gift from a person that the buyer has a strong relationship with (this is for most programs). Gifts are not acceptable for all programs so this is something that you would want to reach out to a mortgage banker to discuss more with.

A gift of cash (actual dollar bills!) can difficult the gift process. This is an example where the funds would need to be seasoned.

In most cases a buyer can pull from their 401k. This is something where the buyer will want to check with their provider or HR department to see what the plan offers. A lot of times this is an interest free loan that is in most cases have no tax implications.

Saving 20% for a down payment is near impossible for a lot of first-time home buyers… Especially those located in expensive markets! It’s important to know that you always have options!

Transcript of Video:

- Can I still buy a house without saving for a down payment? Hi, I'm Jeff Chubb. We got Jason Bonarrigo here today. Today we're talking about down payment options with 401ks and gifts. And be sure you stick to the end of the video in order to figure out what we're gonna do with this thousand dollars with your help. So Jason, do I have to save for a down payment in the traditional sense? Do I have other options?

- You always have options. A lot of times clients don't know that, but...

Biggest Mistake Buyers Make in a Hot Market

Biggest Mistake Buyers Make in a Hot Market

A Seller's market is where there is more demand for houses then supply. This creates an imbalance where a seller has pricing power.

This imbalance is making it where many houses are going far above a seller's initial asking price.

If a house is marketed at $500,000 but really sells for $575,000 then the true market value of that house is $575,000.

So the biggest mistake a buyer is making is looking at houses that initially seem to be at the top of their price range when in reality they are not really in their price range.

The issue with looking at a house that is above your price range is that you become attached to areas or finishes of the more expensive houses. It's natural for a buyer to compare one house to another house. If a buyer is constantly looking at houses that are out of their price range then this will create a level of disappointment for the buyer.

In this market, a buyer doesn't necessarily want to look at the brand new listings at the high end of their price range. They should wait until after the weekend to view the property to ensure that it hasn't received multiple offers with the bid price going above the seller's initial marketing price.

Transcript of Conversation:

- Biggest mistake when searching for a house in a hot real estate market. Hi, I'm Jeff Chubb. We got Jason Bonarrigo with us today. And make sure you stick around for the end of the video to find out what we're gonna do with this $1,000. So...

- Jeff, talk to me, what is a hot market? What's going on right now?

- So a hot market, a hot sellers market, is basically where sellers have all pricing power, all the advantages of a hot market place, if you will. So, and that's really what we're seeing...

What Happens to the Deposit When Buying a House?

What Happens to the Deposit When Buying a House?

Know that all deposits are negotiable. Many will say that the required deposit is 5% and this is not true. If you are putting 3% down or 0% for a VA loan, then most likely a buyer wouldn’t have 5% to put in deposits. Another example is a home buyer who is selling their house and utilizing the equity in their current home for the next purchase. They may not have the large lump sum available.

Massacbhusetts Home Sellers like to see 5% of the purchase price in deposits, but again this is not a requirement. This is negotiable.

How/When Do the Deposits Work?

Normally there are two deposits throughout the offer process. The number of deposits however is also negotiable. Recently we put a property under agreement where the buyer had three deposits with the third being when his current house sold. We have also put properties under agreement with just the initial deposit. Everyone’s situation is different.

To the Massachusetts Home Seller, the deposit is what ensures that the buyer will perform in the transaction. The deposit is what holds a buyer’s feet to the fire. If they don’t perform or decide to walk away, then they could lose the deposit.

The first deposit is due at the time of the acceptance of the offer. This is called the binder. In order for an offer to be valid there must be some type of consideration to "bind" the agreement. It could be $1, but generally when buying a house in Masscahusetts, we see this initial deposit as a $1,000.

In most transactions, the second deposit comes at the time of the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. This is generally about two weeks after the initial offer has been signed and after a home inspection has been performed with any inspection issues having been negotiated.

In a successful transaction, the deposit...

Can You Use Cash For a House Deposit?

Is a Cash Deposit Bad When Purchasing a Home?

This is really about the Seasoning of Funds for the deposit. Seasoning of Funds means the time of which the money has been in your possession in your bank account.

Cash isn’t necessarily bad when buying a home, but it can make things a lot more difficult when not dealt with properly. It comes to a documentation of the cash.

If you are planning on using mattress money to buy a new home, then it’s best to start planning before you find a place to buy. If you can start depositing the money in bank accounts before it will save you a lot of hassle. Speak with your mortgage banker as you start the process for some best practices.

A mortgage lender will not be able to verify cash, however they will need an explanation as to where it came from. The rule of thumb is that any cash deposits that are over half of a person’s normal pay will be flagged for needed explanation.

A mortgage lender will ask for bank statements for the two prior months. If the cash is already in the account and has been “seasoned” then no questions will be asked.

Companies like Venmo are turning out to be a huge benefit to this process as people become more used to electronic transfers over cash payments to friends, family members and vendors.

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