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First-Time Home Buyers

Tips On How To Make Your Offers More Desirable to Sellers

If you’re house hunting in a competitive market, you’ve probably had the heartbreaking experience of losing out on a place you thought you would make your own. It can be frustrating and demoralizing to find out your offer was rejected in favor of another buyer. How can you do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Well here are some tips on how to make your offers more desirable to sellers.

When a seller entertains multiple offers, it’s important to understand that many different factors are in play. If you’re an all-cash buyer you tend to have an advantage, as potential financing roadblocks are taken off the table. But if you’re like most people, paying cash for a house simply isn’t an option. What then?

First and foremost, make sure you have 100% of your financial house in order. This means getting pre-approved for a mortgage as well as having proof of funds handy. Being organized and ready to go will help give you a small edge from the start. 

Beyond these factors, there’s another way to boost your offer’s profile: Personalize it.

While most sellers want to go with someone who will pay the most for their home, you should never discount the emotional dynamic to the home selling and buying experience. Though sellers are ready to move on, they often want to feel as though their home is going to someone who genuinely appreciates it and needs it. Here’s how to make your offer personal:

1. Work with your agent to craft a personal letter as to why you love the seller’s home. What features do you love? How will this home help you personally, professionally, or with your family needs?

2. Include a photo of yourself and/or your family. Putting a human face on the offer can transform your offer from one more name in a pile of numbers into a genuine person worthy of living in the seller’s home. Have pets and kids? Bring them into the picture!

3. Have your agent personally deliver the offer to the listing agent. A lot of offers are going to be electronically transferred or dumped into a crowded email inbox. While an electronic offer can be convenient, delivering a beautifully prepared package complete with the personalized letter and picture makes an impact. And, an electronic version of the offer can also be sent to the listing agent to cover all your bases.

Want an agent who will go the extra mile to make your offer stand out? Contact me today via a call or text at (617) 899-3162. Let's get that house!



The Truth Behind Renting vs. Buying a Home

Buying vs Renting

Are you doing the math these days around renting versus buying a home? Trying to decide if you can afford to buy? If so, you’ve probably Googled one of the many “rent versus buy” calculators out there to help you get a handle on your budget. Here's one eye-popping fact to keep in mind while you conduct your research: As of the first of the year, average apartment rent in Greater Boston is $2,955 with one-bedroom apartments going for $2,455 a month on average and two-bedroom apartments renting for an average of $3,062. Ouch.

While online calculators are helpful, and they can also help clue you in to things like insurance expenses and property taxes, they do overlook a number of key factors in the decision.

1. A mortgage is a surefire way to build wealth. Provided you don’t buy more home than you can truly afford, your mortgage is like a mandatory savings account. A portion of your payment each month is going straight into your equity in your home. With renting, it’s your landlord who is building equity, not you.

2. The tax situation has profound implications, especially in expensive markets. Until the laws change (and there’s little probability they will any time soon), your mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on your income taxes. In expensive markets, this can represent  massive deduction. (Also remember: Early on in a traditional mortgage you pay the most in interest and your deduction is the highest.)

3. Renting puts your wallet at the mercy of the market more often than buying. If you have a year-long lease on an apartment, your rent could go up significantly should the rental market heat up. Your rent isn’t likely to stay the same over a long period of time. In most cities, in fact, it will steadily go up. With a standard mortgage, however, your payments are fixed and predictable. It might seem like a lot at first, but if you buy within your means, it’ll seem like less and less of an expense as the years go on.

4. A mortgage gives you more future financial flexibility. The longer you have a mortgage, the more equity you build. The more equity you build, the more options you have to borrow against that equity or use it in ways which may be advantageous for debt and tax purposes. With renting, no such long-term benefit exists.

The key here, of course, is accepting the fact that you must buy a home you can afford which is priced in accordance with the market. Even if you’re not ready today, having a conversation with a Realtor will help you prepare for tomorrow.

How does renting look now? Should we have a conversation? Contact me today so we go over all your options.

Michael A. Pallares, Realtor (617) 899-3162, mpallares55@gmail.com

Top Two Reasons NOT To Buy A Condo

After living in condos for the better part of my life, I can honestly say that I can speak with authority about reasons not to buy a condo. Let’s be clear…there are many reasons that condo ownership is so popular but when considering any home purchase it’s wise to know the pros and cons relating to ownership of any property.

Please understand that I’m not here to dissuade you from condo ownership. As a real estate agent since 2004 my job is to encourage and support your efforts to buy a home but it's only fair to let you know a couple of downsides to condo living, I know what most of my clients have enjoyed and not enjoyed about living as part of condominium association and here are the top two reasons against condo ownership that crop up more often than not.

1.) You Are Not Alone

Owning a condo means that you own your condo outright and a portion of the land on which the property sits. As an owner, you’re also a member of an association of owners that governs the policies of the building; oversees expenses per a set budget; and, most importantly, has voting rights to determine the direction and management of the association. Bottom line? You are not alone in your ownership; you collaborate with a group of owners in order to effectively manage the association and the overall property. For the most part, being part of an association shouldn’t give you much reason to worry but there are cases where associations sometimes have to resort to outside legal assistance to resolve issues.

2.) Familiarity Breeds Contempt

If you’re the sort that likes to keep to herself, mind your own business and enjoys quiet and solitude, then be forewarned. More often than not you will be sharing a wall (as in the case of side-by-side townhomes) or have your neighbors on the floor above or below you. Needless to say, not much can happen in your neighbor’s home that you won’t be aware of. Crying babies, parties, piano lessons, running dogs and loud radios are just a few of the annoyances that you’d have to endure. On the plus side, many condo owners actually like knowing that a neighbor is just a few steps away in case of an emergency or simply to have friends in the making sharing home ownership responsibilities with you.

As I’ve already mentioned, the majority of condo owners love living in condos. You get to share expenses of home ownership; the affordability of a condo vs a single-family house; most condos tend to be built in desirable urban neighborhoods; and, knowing that for the most part your neighbors are as interested as you are in maintaining the property in good shape.

If you are considering the purchase of a condo, I’d suggest speaking with a Realtor with condo-buying experience. A good agent is there to help you navigate through the entire home-buying process and one with condo experience can answer all your questions before your take that big step towards condo living.


THINKING OF BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME?  Email me today at mpallares55@gmail.com or

call or text me at 617-899-3162. I’m happy to answer all your questions.


Smart First-Time Home Buyers Don't Search On Their Own

first-time home buyersWith the fall season practically at our doorstep, it’s time for many first-time home buyers to start thinking about reigniting their house-hunting efforts. Best tip for you guys? Don’t go it alone. Hire someone who can represent your best interests and guide you through the sometimes convoluted real estate process.

Do yourself a favor and hire an ABR®.

Realtors with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation understand buyers’ specific needs and local market conditions as well as how to navigate the real estate transaction successfully. With an ABR®, you can find the house that will be your home.

I’ve been an ABR® since 2004 when I first began my real estate career. Since then I’ve put my skills to work to help first-time home buyers successfully get through every stage of the buying process – from the home inspection right to the closing table. Here’s a great video that demonstrates clearly why you should work with an ABR: http://youtu.be/Qvlur2WHnu8

Text or call me today about working together to find the house that will be your home! You can always reach me at (617) 899-3162 or via email at mpallares55@gmail.com. I look forward to working with you.

Top 5 Tips for Visiting Open Houses

Making the most of your time when visiting Open Houses.Even the most ardent home buyers took a break this summer from their searches but now with the season coming to an end soon, many house hunters will be back to visiting Open Houses again in full force. If you want to make the most of your search, check out my “Top 5 Tips for Visiting Open Houses.” 

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep. It may seem like an easy task to visit Open Houses but once you’ve explored half a dozen homes and navigated all the crowds, you’ll find yourself wishing you had had a better night’s sleep the day before. Being well rested will help you stay focused and not running out of steam too soon in the day.
  2. Wear “Double Duty” Shoes. I tell my home buyers to make sure to wear the proper shoes when attending Open Houses. They should both be comfortable AND easy to take on and off. Comfy shoes make sense since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and climbing but many homeowners ask that you take your shoes off before entering. Wearing slip-off shoes saves time when you want to hit a lot of homes in the same day.
  3. Look Beyond the Four Walls. Keep in mind that you’re not only at the Open House to check out the specific home but you also want to get a good sense of the neighborhood. Are the other yards well-maintained? Is there a market close by? How far is the nearest bus stop? Where would I go for coffee? How easy is it to get to a major highway? If you see one of the local residents outside tending their garden, introduce yourself and ask them some of these questions. This is a great way to meet one of your potential neighbors as well.
  4. Be Prepared to Act Fast. Have all your paperwork ready in case you want to make an offer quickly. In a hot market where properties aren’t for sale very long, it’s best to be able to act fast when you need to. Be pre-approved for a loan. Have your checkbook handy. Know how much you can comfortably afford. Have a real estate attorney and home inspector on speed dial. The savvy buyer must be prepared to act fast when the occasion calls for it.
  5. Get a Sense of the Homeowners. Sometimes it makes sense to include a personal letter along with your offer. That extra effort will definitely help you stand out from the competition. With that in mind, see if you can glean a bit about the sellers during the Open House. A lot of cookbooks? They enjoy time in their kitchen. Beautiful garden? They enjoy tending their yard. Everything’s clean and tidy? They’re proud of their home. Being able to customize your letter to the sellers will make a good impression when the time comes.

As a home buyer in a seller’s market, it’s often the small details that not only make searching easier but also gives you a leg up when there are multiple offers. Buying your home is a major endeavor and it’s best to be as well-prepared as possible. In the end, you want to look back on this process and know that you came to your decision to buy a home in a thoughtful and organized manner.


Michael A. Pallares

at Andrew Mitchell & Company

617-899-3162 | mpallares55@gmail.com Offices in Concord & Marion, Ma