WORCESTER – Welcome to the inaugural Real Estate column of TWiW. As a near life-long resident of Worcester and practicing Realtor for many years I am excited to be with you every Saturday sharing market news, interesting properties, and open-houses.
Every other week I’ll discuss Real Estate trends, market-watch insights, useful ‘apps’ and tips for buying and selling in our great City. I run the photo-blog “Beautiful Worcester” on Facebook and serve on the board of Preservation Worcester. I’m currently employed by ERA Key Realty Services as Manager of their Worcester office.
I am very lucky to work with my peers across the Worcester real estate community. Listing the great Realtors’ I’ve encountered would absorb the remainder of this column so I’ll extend a simple but broad heartfelt thank-you for your professionalism and diligence.
In discussing Real Estate and helping our readers understand the market, tools and best-practices some of the material we could cover may be… as ‘dry as toast’ not to put too fine a point on my practice. Part of our job is to keep you from dealing with the painfully dry minutia involved in a real estate transaction.
Let’s dive right in with some legal know-how! As we all know Massachusetts is a progressive place and consequently we have some strong laws regarding consumer protection. Real Estate laws are strict, and consumer protection paramount. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) contracts protect buyers and sellers in many ways from ensuring deposits are returned, allowing for necessary inspections, due-diligence, and timelines for performance. Agency law in the matter of buyer(s) and seller(s) dictates that Realtor’s proactively work on behalf of a specific buyer or seller client(s). These laws guide people in my business, while the Realtor Code of Ethics ensures ethical behavior toward our clients and mitigates any potential confluence between Realtors in a transaction. As the manager of a Realtor-member office and practicing Realtor I see examples of these protections daily and I am thankful for it.
What a ‘hot’ market we find ourselves in! Inventory is lower than usual and well-qualified buyers are clamoring over each other; fighting for homes with all they’ve got. If a home is well-priced and appealing, a seller today can expect multiple offers. In Worcester, anything in the mid 200’s to low 300’s that is ‘nice’ and appropriately priced sits in this sweet-spot and typically these homes sell quickly and many wind up in multiple offer situations. Luckily for the buying public many homes in Worcester’s various neighborhoods fall into this price point due to the City’s size and sales are steady.
According to our Multiple Listing Service Worcester as a city moved roughly $31m in home-sales in the last 30 days. The sweet-spot bracket has hovered between $250,000 to $350,000 with average days to offer being about 15. Homes in this bracket had an average listing versus sold price ratio over 100% meaning they typically went for just over asking. While a smaller segment of home sales in the city; houses in $400,000 to $500,000 range average about two to three weeks before accepting an offer for around list price. These sales absolutely continue to bolster neighborhood values. As you know spending a half-million in Worcester gets you a rather tremendous home in Worcester.
Wrap-Up: Some Quick Home Buying Tips!
Always use a Realtor! Don’t use someone else’s Realtor and what I mean by that is loyalty to your Realtor will ensure a smoother transaction. I am a firm believer that each party in a transaction should have unique representation. Part of our duty as a buyer-agent is to ensure a clean accounting of the fair market value, assess for wear and tear in that price both external and internal (think roof or floors) and help you put your best foot forward in making an offer. Should that offer get accepted, our job is not done as we now walk you through the process making sure you don’t step in anything…
Some properties may require a bit of TLC, or updating of systems like plumbing, electric, windows or roof. If able, gather as much due-diligence work prior to making an offer as possible. Don’t extend this into a two-to-three-week ordeal as you’ll likely ‘miss the boat.’ If you can, try to look at the house with your Realtor, a contractor, or any professional necessary to help formulate a concrete plan of attack in making an educated real-world offer on the property. Sometimes the numbers may be lower than you expected, and you can offer more. Conversely it might save you a lot of headache, and time wasted on all accounts. A keen Realtor can potentially save you a few hundred dollars by identifying problems ahead of an offer and inspection by bringing in experts to validate concerns in a second showing, or help formulate those concerns in an offer ahead of time. Here’s another pro-tip: if you are looking at an older home view it after it’s rained for a couple days. Attics and basements will tell you almost everything you and your Realtor need to know.
Lead photo credit: https://precondo.ca/