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3 Tips to Stay Ahead of the Current Real Estate Market

Do you feel like you are a few steps behind the real estate market? Is every house you inquire on already under agreement?

This is one problem with the large national real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia. These sites were not built with the intention to provide information, so they are not concerned with whether listings are current or accurate. Their intent is to sell leads to real estate agents and, to this end, the sites will withhold certain information to encourage you to contact one of their paying agents.

Our website is updated with the MLS each hour, so you know the information is current. Another benefit we can offer with our website is the ability to save your searches and have the system send you daily email summaries of any properties matching your criteria. The triggers prompting a listing to be added to your daily email alert include a new addition to the market, a price reduction, and status changes, which is helpful when a property goes back on the market after a buyer falls through. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to set up daily email alerts for MLS online casino listings.

You should also be aware every property does not make it to the internet. Some sellers do not want their property online at all, so the property is shopped around within the real estate community. Other properties are shared among agents before going public, so once it does hit the market buyers are already lined up. If you would like to set up a consult, our Realtors would be able to get a good idea of what you are looking for and alert you of any pocket listing matching your search criteria.

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Posted in Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Technology, Real Estate Tips, Real Estate Websites, Realtor, Search Property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Introduction to Our Real Estate Team

Thank You for Visiting Our Real Estate Website

First, we would like to introduce who we are. We are Matthew Gaskill and Alisa Peterson. We are two Realtors who work at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston. We formed Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate in 2011 as a way to better serve our clients through the process of real estate transactions. We complement each other by each coming to the team with different strengths, backgrounds, and philosophies. Among the things we share are the core values of customer service, integrity, honesty, and hard work.

If you are beginning your search or want to get more information on the area and the current real estate market, we are available for a no-obligation consult. Our past clients have found this to be a helpful first step that saved them time and the frustration of working with agents who do not fully understand their clients’ goals. The consult will give you a chance to meet us and ask any questions while allowing us to assess the best approach to your search.

Whether you are buying a home, investing in property, selling property, relocating, or renting out property we are able to offer our insight and help you reach your real estate goals.

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Train with a View: Things to Do in Boston

When thinking of public transportation, the mind can flash to long delays, loud crowds, tight crammed spaces, uncomfortable heat, and odd smells, nothing really to look forward to doing. However there is one small trip on the T that features Boston unlike anywhere else.

Between the Charles/MGH T stop in Beacon Hill and the Kendall Square/MIT T stop in Cambridge, the red line goes above ground and travels over the Longfellow Bridge. If you get on the T at Charles/ MGH and travel west toward Kendall Square/MIT and face south, you will see an incredible view of Boston’s Back Bay with the Charles River simmering before it.

Viking Ship with Boston and Cambridge seals on Longfellow BridgeThe Longfellow Bridge, also known as the Salt and Pepper Shaker Bridge because the of the shape of the towers in the center of the bridge, was constructed in 1900 and connects Boston and Cambridge. The Longfellow Bridge’s design was influenced by the designs of famous bridges in Europe. The towers not only have the seals of Boston and Cambridge, they also have decorative motifs of Viking ships that reference the voyage of the famous historical figure, Leif Eriksson, up the Charles River during the 1st century AD. Along with the red line, cars on Route 3 drive across, pedestrians can go for a stroll on it, and the bridge even has bike lanes. Because you don’t have to watch where you are going while on the train, the smooth and graceful ride on the T is where you can really enjoy the unobstructed view of Boston’s skyline.

Boston has many different things to do and a less than a minute trip on the T is usually not something to go out of your way for, but in this case it is. Any time of year and any time of day it is worth the trip for the view.

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Investment Property: Where to Start

Buying Investment PropertyOne of the biggest misconceptions I’ve heard from clients who are interested in buying investment property, is they are going to make livable income from their investment right away. More people have the desire to take advantage of the low mortgage rates and feel buying investment property is a safer investment than buying stocks. This is can be true, however, investing in real estate should be thought of as a long term commitment and must be done wisely.

Depending on what type of property you invest in you may be able to start a steady cash flow, but when you buy investment property, you should think of it as a way to build wealth not get rich quick.

If you buy an investment property in an established neighborhood, this would be considered a low risk investment. In Boston an example would be Back Bay or Beacon Hill. A possible drawback would be the prices would be higher to buy an investment property. However, the positive side is in Boston, where the rents are only going up, the tenant’s rent would cover most is not all of your operating costs, which include mortgage, condo fees, maintenance, and taxes. Little to nothing will be left over for shopping, but after your mortgage is paid off (by someone else), the investment property is now worth a lot more than you originally paid. The goal in these established areas is a safe investment with appreciation and key metric is appreciation rate.

If you buy an investment property in an area that doesn’t have the demand as the established neighborhoods, the risk is higher. In Boston an example could be areas of Roxbury or areas of Dorchester. The drawback would be that you wouldn’t be able to charge as high for rent but the buy in would be less and the money you do collect from rent would more than cover your mortgage and leave some extra cash on hand. Your investment property may not be worth much more than you paid for but the capital of your mortgage would be paid off quicker and you would be able to generate a profit quicker. The goal in riskier areas that do not offer the same appreciation rate as the most established areas is cash flow and the key metric in determining cash flow potential is cap rate (or capitalization rate if you aren’t into the whole brevity thing).

Buying either type of investment property should not be rushed into. Once you buy a property, you are still responsible for maintaining it. If your only experience with how to be a landlord comes from The Ropers on reruns of Three’s Company, we can help. For more information about buying investment property, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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The Home Buying Process Simplified

Condo on Boston's Real Estate Sales MarketBuying a home can be the biggest purchase a person can make in their lifetime. For first-time home buyers this can be the most overwhelming and stressful experience they could go through. Here is a general breakdown of the steps you need to take to buy your home.

The first step is to figure out how much can you afford. The most common formula used to figure out how much to spend on your home purchase is equal 3x your annual income. Keep in mind, your mortgage payments together with your other monthly bills should not exceed more that 36% of you monthly income.

Next, you will want to save for a down payment. Depending on the loan you qualify for, you will need anywhere between 3%-30% for the down payment.

Once you have your price in mind and a down payment saved, get a pre-approval letter. This is incredibly important to have before you start your home search. You can get a pre-approval letter from any bank, but you are not locked into an agreement to get your mortgage from that bank. Having the letter can mean the difference between getting your dream home or getting lost in a pile of other offers.

Understand that not only will you need the down payment for your mortgage but closing costs and the other costs that come up in buying a home such as lawyer fees, inspection costs, etc.

Once you have the price and monies ready, begin a list of wants verses needs for you home. Do you really need walk-in closets? How important is a fireplace? Is size or location the top priority?

Now you will want to start talking to Realtors. Make it clear to your Realtor what your price range is and what you want and need in your new home. There are many different reasons to choose a Realtor: their experience, your past relationship with them, accessibility, etc. The most important factor is an understanding of what you want and for you to understand what your real estate agent will do for you.

Now that you have your priorities and a Realtor to help you navigate the real estate market, start seeing places in person that fit your criteria. Don’t feel discouraged if or when your lists of wants and needs change. You may go into this process with one idea of what you want and then you end up with something completely different.

Buying Property and signing PaperworkOnce you find the home for you, talk to your Realtor about making an offer. Your Realtor will explain what is the best price to offer based on a comparative market analysis. This will show you what comparable properties have recently sold for. Whether it is a buyer’s market or seller’s market, listen to your Realtor and make sure you understand the data they are presenting you. The comparative sales indicate market value for the given property which will dictate the best amount to offer. Your Realtor will help guide you through the contingency addendum. The contingency addendum protects the buyer’s interest and deposit money and allows the buyer to re-negotiate or withdrawal the offer based on the results of inspections preformed during the due diligence period. It’s important to do your due diligence about the house you are trying to buy but the more unnecessary contingencies you put in your offer, the less attractive your offer becomes to a seller. If you check off any contingency, you are not only costing yourself more money by having these tests done, but you are inadvertently telling the seller that you want as many ways out of buying the property as you can get. Many sellers would prefer to go with another buyer or even leave the property on the market instead of accepting an offer they think will fall through.

After your offer is accepted this is where the paperwork starts and lawyers become involved. This is when you actually preform your due diligence and have your potential home inspected and tested. If everything comes back to your satisfaction, time to sign the Purchase and Sale (P&S) agreement and to start choosing paint colors and furniture placement.

If you have any questions or are ready to start the process of buying a home, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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How to write professional & unique essay, basic steps

Essay writers and other copywriter

Before sitting down to write article, a copywriter needs to carefully deal with the set topic. For information, he goes to the library or "shakes" literature from the Internet. Also, the author can be an expert in this field (it is possible that he had engaged in the activity, the theme of which is set to the writing of the text). In General, one goal – to obtain from authentic sources of information, process it and based on what I understood to write an article revealing the essence of the question posed in the assignment copywriting.

What not to do copywriter, despite the fact that it is there all the time? What do budding copywriters as well as many of those advertising texts etc in narrow circles as an authoritative master of words? Moreover, these pseudomaster up to the top of your nose, instruct newcomers such tips:

"You must take a minimum of three articles on the same topic (although the more the better).

[...]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to write professional & unique essay, basic steps

Essay writers and other copywriter

Before sitting down to write article, a copywriter needs to carefully deal with the set topic. For information, he goes to the library or "shakes" literature from the Internet. Also, the author can be an expert in this field (it is possible that he had engaged in the activity, the theme of which is set to the writing of the text). In General, one goal – to obtain from authentic sources of information, process it and based on what I understood to write an article revealing the essence of the question posed in the assignment copywriting.

What not to do copywriter, despite the fact that it is there all the time? What do budding copywriters as well as many of those advertising texts etc in narrow circles as an authoritative master of words? Moreover, these pseudomaster up to the top of your nose, instruct newcomers such tips:

"You must take a minimum of three articles on the same topic (although the more the better).

[...]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mapparium: A Jewel in Boston’s Back Bay

Faneuil Hall, Fenway Park, The Public Gardens, Museum of Fine Arts, The State House, etc… these are just some of the many highlights that Boston has to offer. But there are countless gems that may not show up in the guide books.

The Mary Baker Eddy Library and Church of Christ ScientistOne gem is hidden in The Mary Baker Eddy Library at The Christian Science Plaza in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Built in 1935 to celebrate the success of the Christian Science Monitor is the Mapparium. The Mapparium is a 3 story stained glass globe with a 30ft glass bridge connecting the ends of the world as it was in 1935.

The architect was Chester Lindsay Churchill and his inspiration came from the spinning globe inside the lobby of the New York Daily News building. There are 608 glass panels held in a bronze frame and it took over a year to build. Over the first four months of its debut in June 1935, over 50,000 people came to visit. People were able to see the world in a new way and make connections they never could before. For example, most of the world’s land masses are above the equator or the magnetic North Pole and the actual North Pole are not the same thing or in the same place.

The most amazing feature of this structure even took it’s designers by surprise. Because the entire globe is curved glass and glass does not absorb sound, the acoustics inside the globe create magic. If a person stands in the center of the globe and speaks, their voice is heard in surround sound. If two people stand at either end of the bridge and whispers to the other, they will hear it as if it was being whispered directly in their ear.

Churchill knew the world would be changing with the talk of war and he designed the Mapparium in panels so changing his glass globe would be possible. However, after committee discussions in 1939, 1958, and 1966 it was decided that the cost to create and change the panels was too great and the Mapparium held more value as a world frozen in time.

In 1998, the Mapparium was shut down for a 4 year renovation. When it opened again in 2002, a new sound and light show was added to illustrate how much the world has changed from 1935.

The Mapparium is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm and located at 200 Massachusetts Ave. Visit their website for more information about the Mapparium and The Mary Baker Eddy Library. Be aware that photography inside the Mapparium is not allowed.

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Should I Rent or Should I Buy Now?

The real estate market has been dynamic over the last few years to say the least. The dramatic highs and lows have left many wondering if they should rent an apartment or buy a home. Each option has its own merits and drawbacks and it is important to figure out what is the best option for you right now. Consider these arguments during your internal rent vs buy debate.

 

Should I Rent?

 

Renting is a great option for those that are still trying to figure out what their plan is. Many cities have wonderful neighborhoods with distinct flavors and personalities. Renting gives someone the option to try out different neighborhoods and find which is the best fit for his or her lifestyle. Buying is an investment synonymous with putting down roots and many people want to know their surroundings before choosing where to settle.

Renting offers short-term commitment. The most common lease contract is for a year-long commitment and there are also short-term leases that can be from 3 months to 6 months and Tenancy-at-Will contracts which are just month-to-month commitments.

The ability to test out an area with little commitment makes renting seem ideal until you realize renting also means you are throwing your money away. Renting does not build credit or equity. In fact, by paying your rent, you are paying someone else’s mortgage and building someone else’s equity and credit.

The tax breaks for renters are limited. In Massachusetts, renters can only deduct 50% of the rent they paid in a calendar year with the maximum deduction for rent being $3000. Meaning if your rent is more than $500, you are not going to see any difference.

Another drawback is rent is always going up! Especially in high demand cities with low vacancy rates. What you could spend to get a one bed in the suburbs could maybe get you a closet in the city. Then there are also the upfront costs.  Unless you are moving into a rental complex that only wants first month’s rent, most owners want at least first and last month’s rent. Some will ask for a security deposit and if you are using a broker you will need to pay for a fee. To rent an apartment, you need to have 2-4 months rent saved at lease signing. Then there is the expense of actually moving: the boxes, the moving truck, movers, etc.

After you have an apartment, the landlord can be an issue. With thousands of landlords and even more tenants, each with a unique personality, it’s not possible for every tenant to get along with every landlord. Some will be great and others not so great and there is no way to tell which one you are going to get until after you are already in your lease. In the worst case scenario, this can make for a very long year.

 

Rent vs Buy: Which Best Fits My Lifestyle?

 

Should I Buy?

 

Buying a home can be scary at first. With all the horror stories throughout the nation (foreclosures, short sales, underwater mortgages, money pits, the inability to sell, etc.), it is easy to think that renting is safer than buying. Buying can be scary because it brings responsibility and commitment. Basically, it means becoming a grown-up.

Fortunately there are more reasons to buy than there are not to!

Sales prices have fallen and mortgage rates are at an all time low. The combination makes housing affordability as low as we have seen in a decade and possibly as low as we will see for the next decade.

There are more tax deductions for homeowners than renters. Homeowners can deduct their mortgage interest, property taxes, and certain home improvements also qualify for deductions.

When you are paying for your own property, you are putting your money toward building your own equity and credit. You are paying off your own mortgage rather than seeing your money go to someone else’s pocket.

If you buy your property as a long term investment, it is like putting money into the bank. The more equity you build, the more you can borrow for future purchases, such as renovations  to your home or your child’s college tuition.

If it is the responsibility and commitment that is scary, then buy a condo. The size won’t be overwhelming. Plenty of condos are located in professionally-managed buildings or buildings that have property managers to handle repairs and maintenance. In a few years, if you decide to move onto something bigger, you can sell the property but you could also rent it out and have someone else pay the mortgage and build your equity.

To learn more about buying or renting property, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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Posted in Apartments, Buy Property, Condo, First Home, House, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Tips, Rent vs Buy, Rental Property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Real Estate Tips: Fire Safety Regulations for BBQ Grills

Legal Grill on Roof Deck in BostonRecently there was a roof deck fire in Boston’s South End neighborhood on Wellington St. off of Columbus Ave before Massachusetts Ave. This fire started on the roof deck at 20 Wellington St. and eventually spread to the 4th floor deck of 18 Wellington St. This hit a little too close to home for me since I had a client move into an apartment earlier this summer that is two doors down from the fire. Fortunately, both he and his apartment are fine. My client was on his deck when the fire started and was able to warn some of his neighbors.

After hearing about this fire, I learned there was another fire only a few days prior. This fire was in Roslindale and left 18 people displaced. Both fires were caused by propane grills.

To better understand what is legal and illegal regarding grills on decks, read the rules and regulations from the City of Boston, but here are the basics:

  • Charcoal grills are not allowed on or within a building structure. The only place charcoal grills are permitted would be on an unenclosed ground level patio.
  • Propane gas grills are not allowed on decks or patios above the first floor and are only permitted in an enclosed area.
  • Piped-in natural gas grills are allowed as long as they have been professionally installed. Of course, before anyone does installations for grills, check the condo docs for any language regarding grills and get approval from the condo association.

It is hard for me to stress the rules to clients whenI am on a showing, out on the deck on a gorgeous day standing next to the current occupant’s illegal bbq grill. It’s even harder when the clients are pointing out all the other grills on the decks of multiple neighbors. This is a testament to how many people think this can’t happen to them. After seeing all the damage a fire from a simple bbq can cause, I will continue to stress that it is not allowed and not worth the risk.

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