Real Estate News

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.

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

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

 

Or visit us on our social networks:

 
 
 
 

Today's Homebuyer: Who, What and Where?

From hyperlocal to big picture: Understanding our market

At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group, we love our local market. We spend lots of time looking at data on Winchester, Reading, Medford and our other surrounding communities. We believe that's where the really valuable information is and how we can track the real estate market real-time. There is value, however, in picking our heads up and looking at a broader picture of how our market compares to other areas of the country. Every year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) prepares a report of Homebuyers and Homesellers. We dig through this report every year for a national picture of consumer trends.

 

Homebuyers: Who, what and where?

Below is a subset of that report, focused on Homebuyers by region of the U.S. This piece of the report is a really interesting look at buyers by region, breaking down buyers by age, type of property etc. Here are some of the things we found interesting:
  • New England's percentage of first time homebuyers is the highest at 45%, with the Mountain region being the lowest at 29%
  • The Mountain region saw the highest percentage of buyers purchasing multi-generational homes (17%), with New England and the North Central region having the lowest multi-generational home purchases (11%)
  • Single female homebuyers represent 19% of purchasers in the North Central region (highest) and only 13% in the Mountain region

Check out the full report here: Presentation: Profile of Home Buyers in Sub-Regions

 

BREAKING NEWS: National Recognition for The Shanahan Group!

...And the PAIGE award goes to...The Shanahan Group!

PAIGE_Logo

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group announced today that it has received the brands national PAIGE Award. The distinction is bestowed to a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brokerage for above and beyond demonstration of the national brands core values through their commitment to passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence. While these values are nothing new at The Shanahan Group, we are so honored to be recognized on a national level for our commitment to our business and our integrity to each other and our clients. Thank you to our amazing group of agents and staff that make our work fun and exciting. We especially thank our clients who expect the best from their real estate professionals and drive us to be better every day. No honor could be more important to us than one that recognizes our commitment to our values of passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence. A final thank you to our Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate national colleagues for this recognition and continuous support of our business. PAIGE photo For more news from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group, visit us here.

Dear Seller: Love Letters and Our Market

At The Shanahan Group, we have been talking as a group and to our clients about the competitiveness of todays real estate market. Whether as buyer or seller, its critical that you have a team of trusted advisors (REALTOR, attorney, mortgage professional etc) to help navigate the process this spring. As we prepare for the busy spring season, we will be posting insights from our agents, industry professionals and more to shed some light on our market today. Enjoy this weeks post! If you are a buyer in the real estate market today, you know how competitive things can be. If you arent in the market, ask a buyer or your favorite real estate agent- they will tell you. Bottom line: Given our historically low inventory levels, its a very competitive time to be buying a house where a well priced home in good condition doesnt last long and usually sells in multiple offers. According to the Wall Street Journal, (Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please? WSJ 1/10/2013), we are not alone in this kind of market. Silicon Valley, Washington DC, Chicago and Seattle are all experiencing a market where homes are selling very quickly and in multiple offers, given very tight inventory levels. According to the National Association of Realtors, there were just 2.14 million homes for sale at the end of 2012- thats a decrease of 22% and the lowest level in a decade. Locally, that number varies by community, but most have seen even more dramatic decreases in inventory since the previous year. So what is a buyer to do? To separate from the pack of buyers, we have seen a resurgence of a tactic that was popular in the boom years - the love letter. If you arent familiar with it, the love letter is just that, only its to a seller of a property that you would like to purchase. Also called the buyer pitch letter, it should connect the property to you as a buyer. The intent is to give the seller a sense for who you are, what you love most about the property, how you would live in the house etc. In the last year, we have had several clients write a letter in a multiple offer situation, most with great success. These are presented by your REALTOR with the Offer to Purchase and can be a handwritten note or a typed letter. It seems silly on the surface, but its a real way to distinguish yourself from other buyers and can be the key to winning the house. At the end of the day, sellers need to make a decision that it best for them and their situation, but when terms of an offer are similar, the love letter can personalize the process and distinguish one buyer from another. The video below is a recap of the article from the Wall Street Journal about Love Letters. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/85qb0kBw8UY

2013 Time to Better your Homes Interior

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Thank you toBH&G The Shanahan Group's, Jacqui Curtin for contributing to this week's blog. Its the middle of January and the holidays are over! Whether its de-cluttering, organizing or just freshening up paint, theres no better time to re-think your homes interior. OUTBOX outbox You can start by creating an outbox. Find a place in your home thats easily accessible to collect items that you dont need, things to donate, or just throw away. By having an outbox you have an ongoing project at your fingertips. By the end of the month youll be amazed at how much stuff youve eliminated from your everyday household! SHELVES shelves Another idea for revamping your homes interior is to de-clutter by using vertical wall space. By creating new shelving space for storage, you can take your everyday stuff off the floor or furniture and give it a permanent home. Youd be amazed at how much wall space is ignored and what a difference in makes in giving your home a more simple, organized look. PAINT paint wheel Refresh your home space with new paint colors. Remember the two paint families; warm colors (red, orange, yellow) and cool colors (blue, green, purple). Try and stay within one family of color for each floor of living. Warm colors are generally better in more social, active areas of the home, while cool colors are best for more calming areas such as a bedroom or study. A few simple ideas that can really make your home a BETTER place to live in 2013!

Behind the scenes: An exciting week at The Shanahan Group!

Paula Sughrue at Launch Day
Life really has changed for us at The Shanahan Group over the last 7 days! Last Thursday, we announced our partnership with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and things have been moving at a fast pace ever since. Before last Thursday though, the big news was a big- and very difficult secret- to keep!
New Better Homes and Gardens Signs

The new signs in their "super secret" hiding spot, before Launch Day.

For the past several weeks, Karen and Nan have been hard at work with our new BH&G friends putting the pieces together and building our new, refreshed brand, while learning all of the new tools and meeting the new faces that would be our new friends in real estate. There were conference calls, webinars, meetings to train on all of our tools for our agents and design new marketing materials for buyers and sellers. All this, so that on Launch Day, it was all in our hands and ready to go. That meant everything from signs (open house signs, yard signs, name riders), office supplies like letterhead, memo pads and even pens. It also meant new office signs and a new look to our workspace. Oh, and then there was our website, our blog and Facebook and Twitter and...well, you get the picture. We were ready to launch on Tuesday October 30th. That would be the day that Hurricane Sandy hit. Our BH&G friends are mostly located in the NY/NJ area, so we needed to postpone and were very grateful that everyone weathered the storm safely. Given Election Day, our new Launch Date was set for Thursday November 8th. And even though NJ was getting hit with another storm, our BH&G friends were here and we were moving forward! We met as a group at the Griffin Center in Winchester on a very rainy, cold day, in a side room in the museum. Our agents thought they were seeing a presentation from our web company and were eager to know what was inside the main room, behind closed doors. We gathered as a group as Nan finally told everyone the big news. We talked about our start as a company five years ago and the really special team we have created since. We are a group of team players and good people, with high standards for ourselves and our clients. We were looking for a partner that shared these values and could compliment our core services with cutting edge technology and tools for us to use and contemporary marketing that could reach a broader audience. We found that partner in Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. On the other side of the doors, a new opportunity was waiting. All the pieces were ready and in place. As we were learning about our new brand and all the tools at our fingertips, there were "elves" transforming our office (thank you Lauren Dean, Judy Parsons and Chasse Home Maintenance!). There was a lot of change that day and since, but our core services and values remain. We are still The Shanahan Group...we just got Better!

Thanks to a little help from our friends, we transformed the lobby at our office while the Launch was happening!

Price Reduced to $599,000 - Open House - 10/21 - 1-2:30pm at 124 Arlington Street, Winchester

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Just reduced. There is no better value on Winchester's Westside than 124 Arlington Street. Check it out at tomorrow's open house from 1-2:30pm.

Best Value for Winchester's Westside

Charming Custom Westside Cape in desirable Ambrose School neighborhood. Four spacious bedrooms with two bedrooms on each floor or room for office, High ceilings and pretty paneled fireplace Living Room. Family Room off kitchen has wood stove and lovely views of private garden and patio. Potential to develop additional gardens with attractive tiered yard.Great floor plan and ease of living in this attractive home.