Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS
Sagan REALTORS ® | 781-479-0852 | bob@ownproperty.com


Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 2/19/2018

If you're getting ready to put your house on the market, your real estate agent will create a focused marketing plan that will help attract interested prospects to your home. Although your agent will tap into a variety of resources to make it widely known that your house is for sale, there's information you can provide which will help them present it in its best possible light. Specifically, I'm talking about the things that make prospective buyers perk up, such as HVAC system upgrades, major home improvements, and decorating updates. If you've kept good records about rooms you've remodeled, fixtures you've replaced, and any structural, cosmetic, or mechanical upgrades you've made over the years, it would be helpful to itemize those improvements and share them with your Realtor or real estate agent. Unless your home was newly constructed when you bought it, chances are you've made numerous changes. Here are examples of some of the types of information you'll want to pass along to your agent:

  • The age of the roof: There are a lot of variables, when it comes to the life expectancy of roofing materials. With harsh weather conditions -- including sweltering summer days and annual ice buildups -- Mother Nature subjects your roof to a lot of wear and tear. If it's been more than 20 years since your roof was last replaced, the shingles are probably starting to show visible signs of deterioration. That's definitely not a selling point for prospective buyers. What house hunters do love to hear is that the roof is relatively new and has been replaced within the past five years. Although prices vary and can run higher, roofs typically cost at least $10,000 to replace. Many potential buyers would be turned off by the prospect of having to shell out that kind of money after they close on the house. Others might use that as a bargaining chip to get you to lower your asking price. In either case, an old roof puts you at a disadvantage.
  • Completed remodeling projects: Although some home buyers thrive on the idea of renovating a property themselves, most would prefer an updated home. Recently remodeled bathrooms and kitchens will make your house much more appealing and marketable to would-be buyers. If those closely scrutinized rooms look dated or poorly maintained, you can be sure that will negatively impact the selling price and/or the amount of time your house stays on the market.
  • Mechanical and electrical upgrades: People like to hear about improvements like a new central air conditioning system, a furnace replacement, or an upgraded electrical panel. These can all be major selling points, especially among prospective buyers who have had trouble with any of these vital systems in the past.
  • Miscellaneous: Other features that could help sell your house may include energy-efficient windows, new flooring, lighting, security systems, room additions, a new driveway or walkways, a finished basement or attic, basement waterproofing, new siding, fencing, patios, porches, and landscaping improvements.
While this is not a comprehensive list of all the home improvements you'll want to share with your real estate agent, it includes many of the key items that will be on the minds of prospective buyers.





Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 2/12/2018

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a seller’s market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see what’s out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. You’ll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, you’ll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, you’ll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the “perfect” house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, you’re going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that you’re interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer that’s reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if you’re not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing You’re Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers don’t want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Don’t be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 2/5/2018

If you want to buy a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare to enter the housing market, and ultimately, ensure that you can enjoy a speedy homebuying experience.

1. Focus on Specific Cities and Towns

Consider what you want to find in your dream house. Then, you can fine-tune your dream home criteria and narrow your house search.

For example, if you prefer small town living to life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in various towns in your state of choice. Or, if you want to buy a house near your office in the city, you can browse residences in or near the city itself.

Differentiating your dream home must-haves and wants can make a world of difference too. Because if you know exactly what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can streamline your house search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The process of filling out a mortgage application and getting approval from a bank or credit union can be long and arduous. And if you submit an offer a house without financing in hand, you may face a time crunch to get a mortgage as well.

When it comes to home financing, it pays to be proactive. If you start searching for a mortgage today, you may be able to save time down the line.

For instance, if you meet with a bank or credit union, you can learn about a variety of mortgage options. Next, you can select a mortgage that matches your needs, and this mortgage will allow you to enter the housing market with a budget. With this budget at your disposal, you can narrow your search to houses that fall within your price range.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – few homebuyers have the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive home search. Luckily, real estate agents are available to help you discover your dream house in no time at all.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and find out what you want from your dream house. With this information, a real estate agent can provide you with details about houses that fulfill your criteria.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will do everything possible to help you buy a high-quality residence. He or she will teach you about the housing market and provide extensive insights into real estate patterns and trends. Also, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

For those who want to buy a house, there is no need to wait to enter the housing market. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a quick, stress-free homebuying experience.




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Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/29/2018

Want to relocate to a condo? Buying a condo can be an uphill climb, particularly for homebuyers who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who will allocate the necessary time and resources to ensure you can find a top-notch condo in no time at all.

Ultimately, hiring the right real estate agent to assist you during your condo search can be easy. Here are three questions that you should ask a real estate agent before you hire him or her to guide you during your condo search:

1. How have you helped condo buyers in the past?

Ask a real estate agent about his or her past experience with condo buyers – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional collaborates with condo buyers to help them achieve their goals.

A real estate agent should be a good communicator, i.e. someone who keeps condo buyers informed at each stage of the condo buying journey. That way, this real estate professional will keep you up to date about new condos as they become available and ensure you can find a great condo at a budget-friendly price.

When in doubt, be sure to ask for client referrals too. By doing so, you can reach out to a real estate agent's past clients to learn about their condo buying experiences.

2. How do you approach difficult situations?

Unfortunately, the condo buying journey sometimes can be filled with roadblocks along the way. For real estate agents, it is important to remain calm, cool and collected in these situations and do everything possible to limit their impact.

Ask a real estate agent to share details about past condo buying experiences that did not necessarily go according to plan. This will provide you with insights into how a real estate agent approaches unforeseen circumstances and whether he or she can thrive under pressure.

A real estate professional with condo buying experience should do whatever it takes to help his or her client get the best results possible. With this real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble securing your dream condo, regardless of the challenges that you encounter along the way.

3. Why should I hire you?

There is no right or wrong answer as to why you should hire a real estate agent to help you find a condo. For many condo buyers, it is a gut feeling. Meanwhile, other property buyers will choose a real estate professional based solely on his or her education and past successes.

As a condo buyer, it is important to employ a real estate agent who you will feel comfortable working with at all times. This real estate professional should be happy to help you in any way possible and respond to your condo buying concerns and queries. In addition, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure you can buy a terrific condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.




Tags: Buying a home   buyer tips   Condo  
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Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/22/2018

While they have become ubiquitous with the emergence of suburban neighborhoods and townhouses, homeowners associations (HOA, for short) are a relatively new phenomenon.

In modern America, there are many ways to live: apartments, condominiums, houses, townhouses, and now even “tiny houses” are gaining traction. But it wasn’t until the late 1900s that property owners began to experiment with alternative ways of living that revolved around share, “common spaces.”

What constitutes a common area?

Whether you live in an apartment, a house, or in your RV you likely experience common areas every day that are owned by the government. Roads, bridges, and parks are all common areas in that they are used by multiple people and their upkeep is paid for with taxes.

If you take that analogy and apply it to the greenways and lobbies of a condominium, or the streets and sidewalks of a gated community, there are few differences.

What is a homeowners association?

When a developer plans a new community they will often create a homeowners association that will be managed by the people who move into the houses or condominiums. Once a certain number of people have moved into the development and joined the HOA the developer will typically hand over ownership to the HOA and relinquish their legal rights and responsibilities of the land. From there, the HOA typically has complete control over management. Though it should be noted that states have their own HOA related laws with varying levels of oversight.

What does an HOA do?

The most common thing we associate with HOAs is fees and rules. People who move into a community governed by a homeowners association are typically required to join the HOA and are therefore obligated to pay fees and adhere to the guidelines set down by the HOA board.

The fees you pay will go towards maintenance and development of the common areas of your community. That usually amounts to landscaping, maintaining pools and fitness complexes. Fees can range from anywhere between $200 and $450 per month depending on where you live.

HOAs also enforce regulations that homeowners must follow. These vary depending on the community but often include building restrictions for things like fences and additions, as well as other ways that homeowners can customize their homes such as paint and vinyl color. Some homeowners associations go so far as to regulate whether or not a homeowner may fly the flag on their favorite sports team over their door.

Advantages and disadvantages

So what are the advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you belong to a homeowners association? Let’s start with the clear disadvantages. If you are a tinkerer or someone who relishes the freedom to do what they want with their property, living in an HOA-run community might not be right for you. If your salary isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, the cost of living in an HOA neighborhood, along with the monthly fees, might be a bit more than you’re comfortable with.

What about the advantages? First, you can expect that the neighborhood will be well-maintained. This brings about another advantage in that you can expect your property value to grow or at least remain stable thanks to the quality of the neighborhood being carefully managed.




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Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS