Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/25/2012

You have decided to sell. But before you put the sign in the yard there are some things you will want to make sure you have done. Time spent doing research and setting the right price will most likely yield you a better return in the end. A home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Track your neighborhood values Find out what homes similar to yours are selling for in your neighborhood so you will have a good idea what your home is worth. Buyer or seller market You need to judge whether it's a sellers' market or a buyers' market in your neighborhood. Remember that all real estate is local. You will want to research things like interest rates, home inventory, job forecasts, and even time of year. Research inventory How many homes are for sale? If you live in a desirable neighborhood and there aren't many homes for sale, you will have a clear edge here. However, if you see lots of homes on the market and they're not selling very quickly, you might have to reduce the price you had in mind. Know the average days on the market Review the homes in your neighborhood and their days on market sometimes referred to as DOM. Look at trends for the past year and assess whether homes were appreciating or depreciating. Monitor the job market Is a big company relocating workers to your area? Or are they moving out and shutting the doors? The job market has a lot to do with the real estate market. Attend nearby open houses Observe how other properties are showing and compare them to your home. At an open house you can often feel the "mood" of potential buyers. Get a professional opinion A real estate professional will be able to help you gather all of the above information and come up with a CMA or comparable market analysis to determine the best price range for you home.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/14/2012

The news has been bombarded with negative stories about the real estate market over the past few years, but the tides are turning and inventory is now lower than ever. There are still many opportunities for buyers as prices still remain low. For savvy homebuyers looking to buy in the high-end or luxury marketplace there is tremendous opportunity. If you’ve always dreamed about buying a luxury property but considered it just out of reach, today’s market may has put downward pressure on the prices of higher-end homes making them more affordable than ever. To buy your dream home you will want to have a strategy. 1. Choose your agent wisely. Your agent is your advocate. You will need an agent who is experienced and successful in the luxury home market. Agents who deal in luxury property have the right knowledge to help you locate and negotiate an offer on a high-end home. 2. Take the time necessary. The high-end home search may take more time and patience. The supply of luxury homes may be smaller, you may even need to expand your search or rely or your agent to find homes that may not be currently up for sale. The home will be bigger, have more features and thus there will be more to consider in the purchase decision. 3. Prepare the perfect offer. Cash is king in today’s market. According to the May 2011 REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, 30 percent of all purchases between mid-April and mid-May of last year were financed with cash. The number was even higher for luxury properties. Even though many luxury sellers may also be in a distressed property situation they are typically more particular about who was buying their property as well as the final selling price. Use your agent to carefully craft the perfect offer.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/24/2012

Child-Proofing Your Home. Unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of death in children under 14. That should be enough to make any parent shudder. Child-proofing a new or existing home can be quite the headache, but it's an incredibly neccessary step in making sure your home is safe for all members of your family. Luckily, by following a simple checklist, you can rest easy knowing that you've covered most, if not all of your bases. While there are extra steps that may need to be taken on a house-by-house basis, most of these steps are applicable to just about every kind of residence. Smoke Detectors - While this may seem like an obvious step, you'd be surprised how many people don't follow through with their fire alert system. Low batteries, improper placement, and broken detectors can all spell potential tragedy for you and your family. Pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions. You should have at least one smoke detector per level of your home, including the basement and attic. One very important step you can take these days is to purchase batteries that are designated for electronic devices. Carbon Monoxide Detectors - These need to be placed near sleeping areas, and at least 15 feet away from any fuel-burning appliances. Anti-Scalding Devices for your faucets - Contact your local plumber to get an estimate. Door Stops and Door Holders - If your home already comes equipped with these, then make sure they are all in good working order. Outlet Covers and Plates - Ensure that covers and plates aren't easily removable. Edge and Corner Bumpers - These come in a variety of styles, and are easily installed on the sharp edges and corners of your home. Pay special attention to the corners in your kitchen, as many child injuries take place here. Safety Latches and Locks - These need to be installed in cabinets that would be accessible at your child's level. These will prevent your child from gaining access to areas that hazardous cleaning materials are stored, like under your sinks. Doorknob Covers and Door Locks - Use these on rooms that aren't child-proofed. If you can prevent unsupervised access to a room, you don't have to worry about keeping it in perfect working order in regard to child proofing. Child Gates - Stair-related accidents can be avoided by implementing a gate system. Pay special attention to the types of gates used.....Pet gates are NOT the same product, and may lack the level of protection needed to ensure proper safety of your child. Childen are resourceful individuals, and can breach many systems that your family pets cannot.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/17/2012

It is a great time to be a real-estate investor. If you are looking to jump in the investor market low home prices and low interest rates make this a great time. According to Zillow.com. the real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up. While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase. Consider your options. Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate. Partner with experience. Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord. Location, location, location. If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters. Have capital lined up. Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market. Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 4/8/2012

Preparing a will is probably one of the most important things on the to do list but often it gets overlooked. There are many ways you can create a will; from inexpensive software packages to hiring an attorney. No matter how it is prepared, it is money well spent. There are many things to consider when creating a will. According to Caring.com, here are the key points you should consider. 1. Name a personal representative or executor. In an individual will, your parent can name a person or institution to act as personal representative, called an executor in some states, who will be responsible for making sure that the will is carried out as written and that the property is divvied up and distributed as directed. It's also wise to name an alternate in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to act. 2. Name beneficiaries to get specific property. Your parent's will can specify separate gifts of property -- called specific bequests -- including cash, personal property, or real estate. Likely beneficiaries for such bequests are children and other relatives, but they may also include friends, business associates, charities, or other organizations. 3. Specify alternate beneficiaries. In fashioning their wills, most people assume that the beneficiaries they name will survive to take the property they've specified for them. The most thoughtful wills provide for what should happen if those beneficiaries don't survive -- either by naming a backup recipient or indicating that the person's spouse or children should take the property instead. 4. Name someone to take all remaining property. If your parent has opted to make specific bequests of property, a will is also the place to name people or organizations to take whatever property is left over. This property is usually called a "residuary estate." 5. Give directions on dividing personal assests. If your parent wants assets divided among children, charities, or other beneficiaries, the will should note precisely what property is included in that pool. It should also specify whether assets are to go directly to beneficiaries or whether they're to be sold and the value divided among the beneficiaries, either equally or according to stated percentages. 6. Give directions for allocating business assests. Business assets are often separate from personal assets -- and most business owners have very specific ideas about what should be done with them after their deaths. If your parents don't have a written plan covering the windup of their business, encourage them to see an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that their wishes are clearly indicated in each of their wills. 7. Specify how debts, expenses, and taxes should be paid. The will should spell out your parent's wishes regarding how to settle debts and final expenses, such as funeral and probate costs, as well as any estate and inheritance taxes. Usually a specific source, such as a bank account, will be tagged to cover these costs. 8. Cancel debts others owe. A nice added touch is that people making wills can use the documents to relieve those who owed them money from the responsibility of paying that debt -- along with any interest that accumulated on it -- to them or their survivors. 9. Indicate special instructions for maintaining real estate. If your parents name someone to keep their house, they should list any specific instructions for its care and upkeep in each will. 10. Provide a caretaker for pets. Since the law considers pets to be property, the best way for your parents to assure a good home for theirs is to leave the animal to someone named in each will who has agreed to give it a good home. Many people also leave that person an amount of money to help cover the caretaking expenses.