Hopkinton MA Real Estate | Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty


If you plan to attend an open house, it usually pays to be prepared. That way, you'll know exactly which questions to ask during an open house and can ensure that you can gain the insights that you need to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Now, let's take a look at three key questions to ask a listing agent during an open house.

1. Why is this home for sale?

Although a home listing provides plenty of information about a residence, it is unlikely to explain why a homeowner is selling his or her house. Thus, you should use an open house to find out exactly why a home is for sale.

In many instances, a listing agent will be honest and forthright about why a homeowner has decided to add his or her residence to the real estate market. Once you receive an answer to your query, you can better understand whether a house matches your expectations.

On the other hand, if a listing agent hesitates or shies away from your question, you should be skeptical. At this point, you should continue to dig for more information about a residence to learn about any potential flaws.

2. Are there any home problems that I need to know about?

An open house enables you to get an up-close look at a residence. Furthermore, the event allows you to find out about a residence's pros and cons from a listing agent.

Ask a listing agent about any home problems – you'll be glad you did. The listing agent should be able to provide you with plenty of insights into a home's condition, ensuring you can make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer.

A listing agent is likely to be honest with you about any problems with a house. By doing so, this agent will reduce the risk of a homebuyer later rescinding an offer after a home inspection.

3. Have there been any offers on the house?

It is important to find out if there is any competition for a house, especially if you discover your dream residence. Thus, during an open house, you should ask a listing agent if any offers have been submitted on a residence.

If a listing agent responds "Yes" to your query, you may want to act fast to submit a competitive offer on a house. Because if you wait too long to make an offer on your dream residence, you risk losing this house to a rival homebuyer.

Lastly, if you need help getting ready for an open house, you should collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide deep insights into a residence before you attend an open house. Therefore, a real estate agent will help you take the guesswork out of getting the most out of any open house, at any time.

Want to optimize the value of an open house? Ask the aforementioned questions, and you can get the information that you need to fully evaluate a residence.


When it comes to moving, how do you pack up food and ensure it will safely make it from Point A to Point B? There are many challenges associated with packing and storing food while you move. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of packing up food so that you can enjoy it once you reach your new home.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly pack your food and transport it to a new address.

1. Get Rid of Any Expired Food Items

Go through your pantry and remove any expired or soon-to-expire food items. That way, you won't have to worry about transporting these items to your new address on moving day.

In addition, you should try to eliminate food waste. For soon-to-expire foods, consume them before it's too late. Or, you can always offer these items to friends or family members.

2. Pack Fragile Food Items Carefully

Flour, sugar and other fragile food items likely require extra attention when you pack. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to pack fragile food items carefully, you can eliminate the risk that these items could leak or spill while you're moving.

Heavy-duty, sealable containers are ideal for storing fragile food items. These containers usually are easy to find at supermarkets and retail outlets and will ensure your food items will remain safe and secure at all times.

Furthermore, don't forget to cover salt and pepper shakers. Place a piece of masking tape over the top of these shakers, and you can prevent the shakers from spilling out.

3. Use Appropriate Moving Boxes

Moving boxes come in many sizes, and when you're packing food items, you'll want to use the right-sized boxes. By doing so, you may be able to store various food items in the same box – something that may help you unpack quickly once you reach your final destination.

In most instances, small and medium-sized moving boxes are perfect for food items. These boxes offer plenty of space. Plus, with the right-sized moving boxes in hand, you may be able to avoid the temptation to stuff too many heavy food items into a single box.

If you need additional support with packing food items or other belongings, you may want to discuss your options with a professional moving company. This business employs friendly, knowledgeable staff members who can help you prepare for moving day.

Lastly, it never hurts to collaborate with a real estate agent, either. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations about moving companies in your area. Therefore, a real estate agent can provide extra help as you search for ways to streamline the moving process.

Simplify the process of moving your food items from one location to the next – use the aforementioned tips, and you can ensure all of your food items will arrive intact at your new address.


After you accept an offer to purchase your house, a buyer and his or her real estate agent likely will want to conduct a property inspection. Although the mere thought of a home inspection may cause a property seller to stress, it is important to understand the importance of an inspection for both sellers and buyers.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller needs to know about home inspections.

1. A home inspection offers valuable insights for both a seller and buyer.

During a home inspection, a buyer, his or her real estate agent and a house inspector will examine a residence both inside and out. The inspection allows a buyer to take a close look at a residence and identify any underlying issues with a house before finalizing a home purchase.

Meanwhile, a seller may learn about assorted home problems following an inspection as well. And if a home has various problems, a seller may need to correct these issues to fulfill a buyer's requests.

2. A home inspection won't necessarily slow down or stop a house sale.

Typically, a home inspection is performed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer to purchase. At this point, a buyer wants to ensure a home matches or exceeds his or her expectations. With an inspection, a buyer can learn about all aspects of a residence and proceed accordingly.

If problems are discovered during a home inspection, there is no need for a seller to worry. Oftentimes, a buyer will request a seller fix any problems with a home, or he or she may ask for a price reduction. As a seller, you may be able to negotiate with a buyer to find common ground relative to the costs of myriad home repairs too.

3. A home inspection generally does not take long to complete.

In many instances, a home inspection takes just hours to complete, and a buyer will receive a house inspection report within a few days of the evaluation. After a buyer reviews the home inspection report results, he or she can choose to move forward with a home purchase. Or, a buyer can rescind his or her offer to purchase or request home repairs or a reduced purchase price.

A seller will find out how a buyer wants to proceed within days of a home inspection. If a buyer and seller can come to terms after an inspection, both parties can proceed with a home transaction. On the other hand, if a buyer and seller cannot reach an agreement following an inspection, both parties can reenter the housing market.

Lastly, when it comes to selling a home, it often helps to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach a seller about home inspections, as well as what to expect at each stage of the property selling journey. That way, a seller can prepare for any potential home selling hurdles and take the necessary steps to overcome such problems before they get out of hand.


A condo can be a great resource in expanding your property search for a home. Condos allow the same benefits of traditional single family home ownership with slightly less hassle. If you have been juggling the idea of buying a condo versus a traditional home, you may be in luck. The first thing you should worry about is whether or not your needs will actually be met by condo living. Do you want a big yard? Are you comfortable having neighbors super close by? Most importantly, you need to make an informed decision that will help you to find the kind of property that’s right for you.


The Advantages


If you want a secure space and living that provides you with easy upkeep, a condo is really a great option. Condos provide many advantages that people may have not even thought of until now. 


Great Amenities


Condo living has different perks than that of traditional homes. Your condominium complex can include things like a swimming pool, a clubhouse, community events, tennis courts, fitness centers, and more. You won’t get all of these little extras living in a single family home. It can be a great environment for both single people and families alike.    


Security


Condos often offer either a gated community or security staff on the premises. These features allow you to feel a lot more secure in your home environment. Security will keep rowdy kids from roaming the property and only allow owners and their visitors. This feature alone may be worth it for many home buyers when shopping for a place to live.   


No Maintenance


If you’re the type of person who doesn’t enjoy yard work and is not a DIYer, condo living could be for you. Included with your condo fees is the ability to have different things in and around your home taken care of. Although the fees include different extras from place to place, Living in a condo is definitely less work as far as home care goes than a traditional house.


Price


Although condos do include additional fees, the price point of most condos is much lower than that of a traditional home. If you are just starting out, a condo is a great way to ease into homeownership without needing to save up an exorbitant amount of money for a downpayment.


The Disadvantages


While condo living has many different advantages, they do carry some disadvantages for people. These include:


  • HOA Fees
  • Lack of privacy
  • A difficult sell if you want to move
  • You live under management rules



These points can be deal breakers for some buyers. While many relish their freedom from maintenance responsibility, others just want to do as they please with their yard without needing approval. A condo could be a great choice for you in your own situation, you just need to step back and look at the pros and cons.


In a competitive housing market--like the one we have today--sellers are fielding numerous offers, especially in desirable urban and suburban hubs.

If you’re hoping to buy your first or second home, it can be tough to make offer after offer with no success.

However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your time house hunting is well-spent and to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to win a bidding war on your dream home.

All-cash offer

The most effective way to ensure that your offer is accepted is to make it in all cash. Cash offers drastically simplify the real estate transaction process, making things easier on the seller.

Most buyers, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to make an all-cash offer on a home. However, people who are downsizing after their children moved out or are buying a retirement home may find themselves in the ideal financial situation to be able to leverage a cash offer.

If that sounds like you, consider a cash offer as part of your bidding strategy.

Waive the financing contingency

If you’re new to real estate contracts, you might be wondering what a contingency is. Essentially, a contingency is an action that needs to be completed before the contract becomes valid and the sale becomes final.

There are a number of different contingencies that can be found in a real estate contract. However, the most popular are for inspections, appraisals, and financing.

If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage to purchase the home, a financing contingency protects you in case you aren’t able to secure the mortgage in time. In other words, you’re not on the hook for a home you can’t pay for.

In some special situations, buyers might decide to waive the financing contingency, signaling to the sellers that there won’t be any hang-ups or delays from the buyer regarding financing the home.

Waiving this contingency comes with risks (namely, being responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the home). However, there are ways to safely waive a contingency.

The most common approach is to get a fully pre-approved letter from a lender. The important distinction here is that your mortgage needs to be pre-approved and underwritten (not just pre-qualified), otherwise you again risk getting denied the mortgage in the last moments before buying your home.

Crafting a personal letter

Sometimes all it takes to win a bidding war is to be the seller’s favorite candidate. Take the time to write them a personalized letter. Explain what you love about their home and why it’s perfect for your family.

Avoid talking about big changes you’ll make. Remember that they probably put a lot of time and money into the home, making it exactly the way they want it, and won’t appreciate you making huge plans to undo their work as soon as they’re out the door.


Using one, or a combination of, these three techniques, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge over the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.




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