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Important Notice for Prospective Homebuyers

Not the most exciting topic in real estate, but really important. 

At BHGRE The Shanahan Group, our job is to make sure that the purchase or sale (or both) of your home goes smoothly and that your interests are protected. We have recently become aware of a rising trend in the number of scams or attempted identity theft, at both the national and local levels. In a bustling spring market, it's not a fun topic to blog about but it's something we should all be aware of. Below is a note from our broker/owner, Nan Shanahan outlining these threats and how to protect your identity and your money- even in this crazy spring market!

A Note from Nan

Dear Clients and Friends, 

 

Recently there have been increased reports across the nation of a theft scheme that involves hackers stealing email addresses and sending fraudulent wiring instructions to homebuyers and tenants. Realtors®, lawyers, title agents and buyers could be affected. The criminal scheme has many variations and this notice is not intended to describe each situation. As an actual or prospective buyer or tenant, we want to alert you to the situation so that you can minimize the risk that you could be a victim.

 

We strongly recommend that before you wire any funds to any party (including your own lawyer, real estate broker or title agent whom you know to be involved in your transaction) that you personally call them to verify the wire instructions (you should confirm the ABA routing number or SWIFT code and the credit account number). You should call them at a number that you have obtained on your own (e.g., the sales contract, their website, etc.) and should not use the phone number that is contained in any email - even if the email appears to be from someone you know. A common aspect of the scheme involves the criminal hacking the sender's email (unbeknownst to them) and sending you an email that looks like other legitimate emails you have received from that party. The email contains the criminal's wire instructions and may contain the criminal's phone number and once your funds are wired by your bank to the criminal's account there may be no way to recover those funds.

PLEASE EXERCISE CAUTION BEFORE WIRING FUNDS TO ANY PARTY

 

It's a busy time of year in real estate where transactions happen very quickly and involve many people. Take the time to carefully read emails and documents and contact your agent and your attorney whenever you have a question or if something seems strange along the way.

All the best this spring, 

Nan

 

 

This Important Notice is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.

2015 Homebuyers Seminar: Have questions about buying a home? We have answers.

2015 Home Buying Seminar!

Are you a first-time homebuyer who is confused by the process and wondering how to get started? Are you a second- or third-time homebuyer who wants some insight into today's market?

You have questions. We have answers.

At 6pm on March 4, 2015, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group is hosting a no obligation home buying seminar at the offices of Ligris + Associates, 1280 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge.

 

Real Estate professionals will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

Karen Garrett and Caroline Staudt, Realtors at The Shanahan Group, will provide a brief overview of the home buying experience from start to finish and will address common questions about today's market.

Martha Harvey of Mortgage Network will discuss the mortgage process.

Jeffrey Shargel of Ligris + Associates will review the legal aspects of buying a home.

Ray Jackson of Jackson Home Inspection will walk you through the home inspection and what you can expect.

Following brief presentations from each of our experts, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you still have.

Light snacks will be served. Space is limited.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Caroline Staudt at caroline.staudt@shanahanre.com. We look forward to seeing you on March 4!

 

Can't wait to learn more?

Visit our Buyers page anytime to understand the home buying process and The Shanahan Group's perspective on how to be successful. 

 

 

 

 

Low Housing Inventory Means a Great Time to Sell in Winchester!

It's a great time to sell! Better Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group's Nic Gatto explains why.

 

Low Inventory = Great Time to get Top Dollar for your House

The Winchester real estate market had a very good year in 2014 with average home values rising 6.3% from their 2013 levels, according to Zillow.com. Interest rates remain at record lows, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage currently at 3.86%. Qualified buyers are currently waiting on the sidelines to swoop in and purchase, even over-pay for homes. Winchester’s top rated school system, along with its close proximity and easy commuter rail access to Boston, has potential buyers lining up.

Right now only twelve of twenty-eight total properties for sale in Winchester are priced under $1Million. You don’t have to be Alan Greenspan to understand the principals of supply and demand, it is a very simple concept.

When there are only a few homes for sale and many qualified buyers, prices will inevitably rise. This places homeowners in a great position to sell their homes for the most money possible. 

Historically, sellers have placed their properties on the market at the start of spring, as that is the time of year buyers begin looking for new homes. Low inventory has thrown conventional thinking out the window. The laws of supply and demand dictate that getting your home on the market now is your best bet to get top dollar. In the past six months, sixty-seven properties have sold under 1 million dollars in Winchester, over 46% of them sold over asking price - and over 67% had an accepted offer that resulted in a sale in less than 30 days! If you have been considering selling your home, don’t hesitate. Now may be the best time in years to get top dollar for your home.

According to a recent report on WCVB.com, 2015 will be the biggest year in home sales in ten years. They state many reasons - from continuing low interest rates to pent up buyer demand, and the strength of the overall economy. Another factor indicated is that home owners’ equity has increased nearly 20% in Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 2011. This provides a lot of flexibility to home owners.

The Redfin Research Center in late December 2014 stated that the percentage of buyers who feel now is a good time to purchase a home, is up 6% from only this past summer. Furthermore, those buyers surveyed identified some of the top home characteristics they are looking for. The top two being-36% chose short commutes and close proximity to amenities (such as coffee shops), and 21.2% stated a highly rated school district as most crucial to their move. Winchester offers buyers both of these characteristics, therefore illustrating why Winchester is such a hot market.

 

My family has been in the real estate business since the 1940’s in the greater Boston area. I represent the third generation of real estate experts helping people buy and sell real estate. I am well-acquainted with Winchester. I grew up in town, and currently live here with my wife and our three children.

As in most professions, teamwork is essential in providing the best service, which is why you should choose Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group. We bring the highest level of professionalism and service to our clients. We have helped people buy and sell property in Winchester with a collected value over $47 Million in 2014.

Call or email me today to get your home in the “just sold” category for 2015. 

Nic Gatto

On your mark, get set, go! The 2014 Turkey Trot is tomorrow!!

 

On your mark, get set, go! The 2014 Turkey Trot is tomorrow!!

The weather is going to clear up and we are ready for an awesome morning to benefit a great cause. The kids run a quick dash (the length of Lincoln School field), get medals and munchkins and just have fun for an hour before the holiday kicks off. All to benefit a great local charity! Registration is at the event and begins at 8AM. 

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group and FAN are proud to announce The 4th Annual Turkey Trot for Kids!

On Thanksgiving morning get bundled up in your hats and mittens to support a great cause. The Turkey Trot is back and better than ever! Children ages 3-9 are invited to the race to raise money for The Bridget Brigade. Coffee and cocoa will be served to help warm your bones and your spirt as we watch the little ones race, and rest assured everyone goes home a winner. Registration is only $5 per racer, and what a wonderful way to start Thanksgiving. A great opportunity to teach our little ones about supporting charities, and a small way to show how thankful we are for our healthy rambunctious children.

The Bridget Brigade is a Winchester-based non-profit founded in the memory of Bridget Marie Dobbins, which raises funds to provide support to families from Massachusetts with a critically-ill child. http://www.bridgetbrigade.org/

For pre-registration visit http://www.shanahanre.com/ or in person at The Shanahan Group offices at 41 Thompson St in Winchester Center. Registration is also available at the event, beginning at 8 AM Thanksgiving morning.

New this year! We will also be collecting new, unwrapped toys for The Bridget Brigade Toy Drive!

Buyer's Agent? Why do I need one? And is it a good time to buy?

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group presents this post from our own Nic Gatto. Buyer agency is a topic we talk about all the time at the office and Nic does a great job summarizing. Thanks, Nic! 

I speak with many people every day looking to purchase real estate, and I'm always surprised when they say "I don't need a Buyer's agent." Now, I understand that most people view Buyer's agents as basically keys with arms and legs. Merely the gatekeeper to view a property assuming that is about all they are good for, but a Buyer's agent is your advocate in the buying process!

The Seller has hired a real estate professional to list and market their property. The listing agent has spent a lot of time researching the property understanding the area, and all of the features that make up the property. They have signed a contract with the owner of the property, and have many fiduciary responsibilities to them. They work to get the owner every penny that they can for said property.

As a Buyer you want a real estate professional on your side. Someone who is also familiar with the property, understands the process of negotiating and crafting an offer that protects your interests. A Buyer's agent has fiduciary responsibility to you the Buyer. The agent owes the buyer undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality, and accountability. The agent must put the buyer's interest first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the buyer.

Upon signing a Listing Contract an owner of a property agrees to pay a percentage of the sale price to the listing agent, and when they sign the contract they also agree to compensate the Buyer's agent. For example a Seller would agree to pay a 5% commission on the sale price, with 2.5% going to the listing agent, and 2.5% going to the buyer's agent. As a Buyer you can contact the listing agent without a Buyer's agent, in most cases this does not alter the contract, and will typically put you in what Massachusetts calls "Dual Agent" where the listing agent represents both the Buyer and the Seller, and is supposed to remain neutral in the transaction. Dual agency is like going to court and hiring the prosecutor to also act as you defense attorney.

At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, The Shanahan Group, where I am an agent, we do not practice Dual Agency where one agent is representing both the buyer and the seller. If a potential buyer approaches the listing agent, they will match them up with another agent in our office to represent them in a possible transaction. The idea is to make sure everyone has a qualified professional fighting to protect their interests in any transaction. 

If you are going to purchase real estate, make sure you find the right Buyer's agent for you. Don't settle for a real estate agent who only unlocks the door and asks you what you think. Find an agent that does their homework, and has the right connections to real estate attorneys, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and other professionals you may need along the way.

 

Now, is it a good time to buy?

When considering if it is a good time to purchase real estate, it's important to think about many factors.

1. Are home values increasing, or decreasing in the communities I am considering a purchase?

Here is a chart of communities, the median home value and the percentage they have increased in the past year.

Town

Median Home Value

12 month increase

Winchester

$813,300

5.7%

Lexington

$780,500

3.2%

Woburn

$375,700

5.1%

Stoneham

$407,500

3.8%

Melrose

$458,600

7.7%

Medford

$409,600

7.5%

Bedford

$583,400

3.5%

Sudbury

$669,700

2.2%

Concord

$775,100

4.8%

Arlington

$561,800

7.4%

Reading

$479,600

5.5%

***Numbers provided by Zillow.com***

 

2. How is the overall economy? How has an indicator such as The Dow Jones Industrial Average been performing?

The stock market is at an all-time high. Below is a chart showing the last 10 years of the Dow Jones Industrial average.

3. What kind of interest rates should I expect to get on a mortgage?

Interest rates are still low. Below are Bank of America's rates on 11/3/2014 for Massachusetts.

Mortgage type

Rate

APR

Points

 

30-year fixed

3.875%

4.036%

0.815

 

15-year fixed

3.000%

3.333%

1.238

 

 

4. How competitive is the market?

 The time of year favors buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors one time to find a good deal is between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, when other home buyers may be put off by the inclement weather and busy with the holidays. Generally, home prices are also at a 12-month low in December and the owner of a house on the market in the lead up to Christmas may be willing to negotiate on the price.

If you are able- buy now, you have a good chance of finding a home that you like for less than it would cost you another time of year. Additionally, during this period of low demand, mortgage lenders are sometimes willing to forego some of their fees in order to win customers, so you may be able to pick up a good deal on your mortgage.

In conclusion- home values are rising, the stock market is at an all-time high, and interest rates are still low. Right now, all is aligned for the best deal. Call or email me today and let me work as your Buyer's agent in finding you the best property specifically tailored for you! 

Announcing The Crossing at Bedford!

Better Homes and Gardens RE The Shanahan Group is pleased and excited to announce the marketing and sale of The Crossing at Bedford, 54 Loomis Street, Bedford. The complex will be a Mixed use Condominium Development offering 19 modern residential units in one bedroom, two bedroom, and two bedroom townhome offerings. The Crossing at Bedford will also offer 2,800 square feet of boutique retail space fronting Loomis Street.

This superior location sits at the entrance of three of the regions’ most well known bikepaths: The Minuteman Bike Path, the Narrow-Guage Rail-Trail, and the Bedford Reformatory Branch Trail connecting you to Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Concord. A short stroll to downtown Bedford and its dining and shopping!

The layouts have been carefully designed to meet today’s active lifestyle. These light filled units featuring modern finishes, low condo fees, and pricing starting at just $259,900 offer an impressive price point in one of the most desirable communities in Massachusetts.

 

Our sales team is excited to speak with you and offer more information with floor plans, completion dates, and finishes. Please contact us directly:

Mary Savage             mary.savage@shanahanre.com              

Stephanie Walsh        stephanie.walsh@shanahanre.com

June O’Keefe Burt      june.burt@shanahanre.com

 

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