New tools to help Buyers through challenging times
Happy fall, everyone. Hope you all had a fabulous summer, once it finally showed up. Market conditions over the last few months have changed dramatically over the beginning of the year. We are still seeing multiple over full price bids on many homes, but only those that fall into one of two categories – (a) properties that are absolutely cream-puff homes, in great condition, properly staged and priced right, and (b) properties of normal desirability that are properly priced reflective of the current market conditions. When either of those two stars align, the result can be incredibly dramatic – and often shocking to Buyers new to the market who had thought that with all they had heard about the so-called “Buyers’ market” they could walk in and buy any home they wanted for 80 cents on the dollar. The key, as I always tell my Sellers, is to spend the extra time and money getting the home into picture perfect condition, before the first Buyer ever walks through the door. To help with this, I’ve put together a nice team of people who can handle painting, carpet, handyman repairs, plumbing – basically anything we could possibly need. They’re trained to approach every job from the standpoint of finding the most cost efficient means of getting things ready for the market, while always ensuring a high quality job. Most importantly, since they work for me so often, they actually show up … which puts them light years ahead of many others. If you’re in that line of work, and want to be considered for our team, please e-mail me at steve@stevelevine. com and we can chat about it.
Okay, so I wanted to let you loyal readers of mine know first about a HOT NEW PROGRAM that we’re going to be rolling out in the next few weeks. This should prove to be a benefit to Sellers and Buyers alike, and may help take some of the pressure off your shoulders in these challenging economic times. I’m talking about being one of the only agents in Massachusetts to be able to offer “Job Loss Insurance” (JLI) to home Buyers who are working with me on a purchase. This JLI policy will provide the peace of mind that all Buyers need, in times when employment is so incredibly volatile – and will kick in and pay your mortgage should you become involuntarily unemployed. Now don’t get me wrong … if your company just announced a round of layoffs, you really shouldn’t be buying a house until things stabilize. That said, if things on the job front are looking okay, this type of benefit may be just what you need to provide a little peace of mind to allow you to take advantage of this great time to buy. JLI policies can be paid for by either the Buyer, as a safety net to make them feel good, or could be purchased by a Seller to make their home stand out above the crowd. They will come in a variety of different benefit packages, based on how long they will pay the mortgage, when they will kick in following a severance, and the level of mortgage that they will pay. How’s that for a bit of “value added service” for our Buyers and Sellers?
If you’re interested in learning more about the program, send me an e-mail and I’ll forward you a package of information just as soon as we finalize the various package options that will be available.
The year 2009 is also seeing a strong resurgence in the use of Home Warranty programs, both purchased by Buyers, for their own benefit, and being offered by Sellers as an incentive for purchasers to consider their home. These policies were big in the late 1990s and then seemed to disappear off the radar screen until recently. Everyone I know who has purchased one of these policies over the years has sworn by it and told me that they’ve gotten their money’s worth time and time again. They are unbelievably inexpensive and cover a wide array of different home repairs that may come up during the first year of home ownership. At times when money is tight, having someone else pick up the tab for a repair is a huge benefit. We’re going to be offering a selection of these policies from the most respected home warranty provider for our Buyers and Sellers starting Oct. 1.
Lastly, but perhaps the most importantly, what we’re going to be working heavily on in the month of October is putting together packages with local portfolio lenders in our community, to bypass some of the draconian policies being implemented by the national lenders, which have made it incredibly difficult for Buyers in Worcester County in the >$400K range, with less than 20 percent down. Our intent is to develop a more consistent plan of action with a local lender who is willing to work with loans that “make sense” in the community – and make homeownership a real possibility for Buyers who’ve been getting shut out over the last six months. If you’re operating in the Middlesex/Worcester County marketplace, and willing to issue loans that truly make sense, let’s meet and see if we can work together to make the dream of home ownership a reality for deserving families right here in our area.
Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent for REMAX First Choice. He’s been recognized as the #1 REMAX Agent in New England, and one of the Top 100 agents in the world since 1999. He can be reached on the web at his website, www. stevelevine.com, by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 508-735-HOME (4663).
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