Boston Real Estate Appraisers

This is a central topic in the lending business. Everyone involved in the process, including clients and industry professionals alike, appreciate a fast closing. Nobody likes dealing with the stress and uncertainty that arises when the transaction goes sideways (rather than forward).

Here’s a few thoughts to help keep things moving forward toward a successful closing.

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Boston Real Estate Appraisers

Got your home on the market (or thinking about it)?

There’s a good chance that you’ll be opening escrow this fall. When that happens, you know you’ll be dealing with appraisals, home inspections, and of course, re-inspections as repairs are completed and the transaction moves toward a successful closing.

We put together a few tips here to help you get the best results and experience the least delays due to inspections in getting your home sold. I’ll also include some essential advice for buyers when requesting a home inspection for their upcoming home.

Ordering Your Own Home Inspection

Let’s face it: you need to order a home inspection. It’s worth a few bills to know exactly what’s wrong with your home and what the buyer (or the subsequent inspector or appraiser) is bound to discover. There are so many issues that can arise during an inspection that will throw a cast-iron wrench into your selling plans (a rusty one at that).

There are many expenses involved in selling your home and the cost of an inspection is relatively small. Additionally, inspections and appraisals can be paid out of escrow at closing, minimizing the financing aspect of preparing for a successful sale.

As a buyer, getting that inspection is even more critical. Additionally, if the seller is unwilling to allow an inspection, or the property is not in a sufficient state to be inspected, it may be most practical to consider an alternate property.

Clearing Around the Home

Appraisers and home inspectors will want to walk around the property to examine the condition of the landscaping, exterior siding, sidewalks, and exterior ventilation and drainage points. While extra stuff around the perimeter might be advantageous in hiding leaks or thermal issues, in the long run it’s best to offer inspectors unhindered access. Why bother with surprise repairs (or getting served with papers) down the road?

Going into Fall and Winter as a home buyer can be a tenuous situation, but when you need to move, what else can you do? Play it safe. Pass on the property if the current condition of the lot or building perimeter is cluttered, inaccessible, and likely to pose either a threat to safety or be impractical to remediate during the cold months (unless you’re getting a crazy deal).

Decluttering the Interior

The same is true of the inside as the outside. Not just for the sake of inspectors, but also buyers, it’s a great idea to start a donation pile and let others benefit from all the extra stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. Keeping the interior furnishing as minimal as possible during this period will make the inspector’s job easier and allow buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves at home when they view the property.

Since you’re likely to be doing this anyways when you move, you can save yourself the effort and time after closing by taking care of cleaning and organizing now. Taking these steps will also decrease your risk of liability for injuries that could occur in the process of inspecting or viewing your home. Not just from an aesthetic standpoint, inspections also help identify safety issues including mold, lead, carbon monoxide, and fire prevention.

Take Advantage of the Calm Before Winter Hits

If your home is already on the market or you’re about to take the listing leap, don’t wait to take these steps. It’ll only get more stressful and riskier to the transaction if you wait to prepare for the best results. It’s already cooling off and the days are getting shorter. Act now to reduce your long-term risk and get the best price for your home. As a buyer, use this information to make the most informed and measured purchase decision that will make for a cozy cold spell.

We’re not home inspectors, but if you need an accurate idea of the value of your home to most attractively and profitability price your home, or to make a compelling and advantageous offer, call us for an expedient and accurate investment valuation report just for your current or potential home.

Please click to here to place a convenient order and reach out to us by any means you like with your questions about condition and value.

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Real Estate Appraisers in Massachusetts

If you live in Boston, or nearly any part of Massachusetts, you may qualify for the residential property tax exemption. The abatement program can save you up to $2538.47 (max exemption from last year) on your annual tax assessment.

This has been on my mind since we recently moved and were surprised with a $7,500 tax bill. I had heard something about the program and decided to research further. I’m sure many of you could benefit from the residential exemption, so I decided to share it with you here.

With the increasing cost of living and rising property values, now is the best time to start planning to claim this exemption for the next year.

So how do you get the residential exemption?

You need to visit the website for your city or town to find the specific local application for the residential exemption. You must apply by a specific date to qualify. The deadline for the fiscal year 2019 is February 1st for overvaluation, improper classification, and disproportion reasons, and April 1st for residential, personal, and statutory applications.

Don’t get too excited yet, as you’ll have to wait to apply until after you’ve received your third-quarter tax bill (typically late December). After you apply, you can expect a response within 3 months. Also keep in mind that the abatement is available only for the current year and can’t be applied to future or past assessments.

Once the tax bills have been issued, the application will be available online and you can conveniently fill it out on the website and submit it in person or by mail. Please see the embedded links for the filing address here in Boston. Take your completed application to Boston City Hall, Assessing Department or the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center.

No matter what happens with the application for the abatement, you’ll have to pay whatever taxes are due by the due date. Also, if the tax board has any questions about your application, or needs supporting details or documentation, you’ll need to respond within 30 days of the date you file, otherwise your application will be automatically declined.

Just how do I qualify for the residential exemption?

The exemption is available for Massachusetts homeowners that live in their property as a primary residence (incidentally, you can only apply for an exemption for one house). The program exempts a certain amount from the property’s value, reducing the next tax bill by thousands. To qualify, you must have purchased and recorded the deed by July 1st of this year to be eligible for an abatement on next year’s taxes. If your application for the exemption is approved, the abatement will be applied to the next third-quarter tax bill (late Dec 2019).

There are also personal exemptions for certain health issues and status as a veteran or survivor of a deceased spouse or parent. Abatements are also available for co-ops occupied as primary residences, although all the members need to apply together. Even if you don’t qualify for the residential exemptions, you may still be able to qualify for an abatement if you hold the property as a charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, or temperance organization.

The other types of abatements include overvaluations based on purported errors by the tax board, placing an excessive value on the property, improperly classifying its usage, or disproportionate assessment relative to neighboring properties. If your abatement application is based on an over valuation by the tax board, we can help you by providing a super-fast and extremely credible appraisal that will support your exemption application and ensure approval.

Please click here to place an immediate order and call us for more information about abatement appraisals.

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Real Estate Appraisers in Massachusetts

If you’re involved in the mortgage business, you may be feeling the recent industry concern regarding the fall in mortgage volume. While volume has made some small rebounds in September, the overall trend is toward a decline with a year-over-year drop in volume of 18%, and 39% for refinances.

Interestingly, according to MortgageOrb, the refinance share of the mortgage market increased to 32%, up from 29% in July. What does that say? We can only speculate that it might mean purchase mortgages may be declining in volume faster than refinance loans (contrary to the prior YoY figure) and/or the September bump in volume was enough to increase REFI marketshare.

Why has refinance volume and purchase mortgage activity declined? There’s no simpler explanation than rising interest rates and the resulting decline in demand due to rising financing costs. According to Freddie Mac, rates are anticipated to rise to over 5% by year end. Other factors include limited housing inventories and bearish investment due to the rising cost of capital and advancement in the market growth cycle.

According to CNBC, the majority of homeowners in the US have existing loans with rates below 4%. Considering this, we can hypothesize that the still limited need for refinance is even less due do the high refinance rates of the recent past that have already served/saturated the majority share of the refinancing market.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that rising rates are deterring homeowners from pursuing refinancing to take cash out or finance renovations. Borrowers are turning to second mortgages and home equity lines of credit to get the funds they need and to avoid refinancing into a higher interest rate on the full balance of their first loans.

So what does all this mean for the mortgage business and the future of REFIs? These cycles are typical and this time around, it’s not likely to be as severe due to consumer protection legislation, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, passed since the Great Recession. Additionally, many of the volatile market conditions such as the excesses in subprime lending and availability of credit aren’t present today to the extreme and detrimental degree as in the period leading up to 2007.

We’ll likely experience continuing rate increases, interspersed with brief periods of cessation where rates decrease slightly and REFI volume makes a short-term rebound. Once the economy cools in the next few years, the FED will cut interest rates and we’ll experience new growth in mortgage lending, especially refinances.

If you’d like to talk with the team and I about what’s happening with the economy and local market, please give us a call or hit the chat button to the right. Btw, that’s not a chat-bot, it’s actually us.

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Real Estate Appraisers in Massachusetts

The entire point of ordering an appraisal is to be more certain of the value of a property. It makes sense that if you’re going to order an appraisal, to look for reports that will reduce your risk. There are some simple things you can do to reduce the potential for claims due to faulty reports.

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