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Metrowest Massachusetts

Picking a Massachusetts Realtor

Selling a Massachusetts home today is not like it used to be back in the middle of this decade. Quite honestly when you needed to sell a home back then it was as easy as convincing a dog that table scraps taste better than what’s in his bowl. Boy has the Real Estate landscape changed!

Back then the 3 P’s of marketing always worked…Put a sign in the yard, put it in MLS and pray:)

When you are selling a home today in Massachusetts you better be darn sure you do your homework on who will be representing your best interests in the sale.

Selecting a great Realtor to market your home should be one of your 1st considerations.

As a Realtor who has been selling Real Estate for almost twenty five years, I can tell you with certainty that the Real Estate agent you select will have the greatest bearing on whether you will be happy a happy camper or not. In the Real Estate industry there are some very good agents and some that have no business holding a license.

One of the things that puzzles me the most about the my business is how lackadaisical people are about selecting a Realtor. When people need a good doctor, lawyer, auto mechanic or a host of other things they do their proper research. Decisions are not made lightly. On many occasions this does not hold true with selecting a Realtor even though you would think it should given a home is often times a persons largest asset.

From being in the business I can tell you with certainty that there are three traits that you most successful agents have mastered.

These include the ability to price a home properly, a well designed marketing plan, and someone with effective communication skills.

Lets face it we all want our homes to sell for the most money. It is human nature. We all think our home is better than the guy that just sold down the street. Many home owners make their biggest mistake by going with the Realtor that gives them the highest price.

Guess what…there are unprofessional agents that know some people make decisions based on emotion and not logic. There are a certain segment of Realtors that will tell you what you want to hear to get your business.

Once the agent has you under contract and the home has been on the market for a while they start to badger you for price reductions or worse say nothing. You may be thinking what is the point of having an overpriced home? Some agents just don’t care because they are using your home as a means of drawing calls from buyers that could lead to  sales elsewhere.

So how do you avoid making a poor decision picking a Massachusetts Realtor?  Here are a few tips:

  • Ask good Realtor interview questions. Look for a Realtor that has a good track record in both seller’s and buyer’s markets. Past success is usually a great indicator of future success. Ask the agent for a few references. I would suggest asking for some of their most recent sales and not from some hand picked list that you know will be giving them glowing reviews.
  • Look over the market evaluation of your home very closely. Do the comparable sales look similar to your property? Remember you need to be looking at this information through the eyes of a buyer. If a similar home down the street had a brand new top of the line kitchen and other updates don’t expect to be getting the same price if you don’t have them.
  • Picking a Realtor based on the price they give you is really double whammy because more often than not you will be stuck with a lousy agent and an overpriced home. Even an outstanding agent will have difficulty selling an improperly priced home. There are countless homes that come up expired each week. The common denominator is most often the wrong list price!

The 2nd trait that most exceptional Real Estate agents have is the ability to market well. What this really means is the ability to market on-line. The days of people finding homes by looking in the classifieds and magazines are over! Almost 90% of all buyers find their homes by doing some kind of on-line search.

As a home seller you should be looking for a agent that has a very strong web presence. By web presence I don’t mean putting it into the Multiple listing service (MLS) and While these things are important they are what every Realtor does.

The Realtor you select should have their own website and it should come up in local Real Estate searches. The ability for the site to come up in searches is of the utmost importance. A Realtor could have a very attractive website but if it does not come up in competitive searches it will not help YOU sell your home.

Massachusetts Real Estate marketing

For example if I am a buyer and I am going to be looking for homes or condos on-line, I am probably going to go to Google and punch in something like:

  • Hopkinton MA Real Estate
  • Holliston MA homes for sale
  • Real Estate Ashland MA

or something similar. A Realtor that can come up on the 1st page of Google for these terms knows what they are doing, as these are the most competitive terms to rank for. All the National Real Estate portals such as,,  Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo Real Estate spend lots of money to make sure their sites are on the 1st page of Google because they know that consumers use these kind of terms to find property. When a Realtor can get their website to the 1st page of Google guess what happens?

Lots of traffic and many more eyes viewing the homes they have listed for sale!

When doing these kind of searches today you will also notice that the agents that really know their way around the web 2.0 have started a Real Estate blog to market their properties.

Google loves blogs because they are not static like websites. The best blogs are updated on a weekly basis and will be used to showcase a homes best attributes. Search engines love fresh Real Estate content!

Besides a website and a blog you want to make sure that your home is found in the places where most people searching for a home visit.  One of the things I am most proud of as an agent is my ability to have my clients homes or condos all over the place on-line. Here is a list of the most visited Massachusetts Real Estate sites for selling a home or condo.

Let me say with great emphasis that there is a big difference between just being in these sites and doing a great job making your home stand out from the competition! What you want to see for your home is multiple photos taken with a high end camera, well thought out descriptions highlighting the best features, and video tour that takes a buyer through the home.

Lastly, you want a Realtor who communicates with you on a consistent basis. Most sellers want to know what is going on with the process of selling their home. Who wouldn’t! Make sure the agent has a plan to keep you informed. Does your Realtor call every agent after the home is shown to see what are the agents/buyers thoughts?

How is this information relayed back to you? One of the things I do for my clients which they really appreciate is a feedback report that can be viewed on-line. We give the client a password to the site and they are the only ones besides us that can see it. It keeps them in the loop on what buyers are saying and they just love it! The feedback helps us as well because if we see a pattern in the comments we can make suggestions to address the issue.

If you find an agent that does these things and you do your part keeping the home clean and making it easy to show, you will have a blueprint for a successful Massachusetts home sale!

Other related Real Estate articles:


About the author: The above Real Estate information on selling a Massachusetts home and picking a Realtor was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Upton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, Worcester and Douglas.



Selling a Massachusetts home in a buyer’s market

Selling a Massachusetts home in a buyer's market

The title of the article really should read buying and selling a home simultaneously in a buyer’s market.

In my daily life as a Massachusetts Realtor I come across lots of folks who do not sell their home even though they want to. The thought process is that they have bought sometime over the last five years or so and know if they put their home on the market they will be taking a loss.

In the Metrowest Massachusetts area the peak of the Real Estate market was in the Spring of 2005 so if you purchased a home after that there is no question you will be taking a loss on that home if you sell today (September of 2010). In this area of Massachusetts depending on the town and the type of home, the peak in values could be down anywhere from 20%-30%.

When people think about the concept of selling their home many can not get past the fact that they will take a loss on their current home. They fail to see the bigger Real Estate picture. If you are going to stay local, selling your home in a buyer’s market is not an issue because you are going to be purchasing a home under the same market conditions!

Here is a simple Real Estate concept that many consumers do not grasp. You bought your home for $500,000 and using a figure of 20% it has dropped in value to $400,000. You have lost $100,000 on paper! This is where the thought process ends for many. People get so caught up thinking about their loss that they forget when you are moving up in the market what used to be an $700,000 home is now worth $560,000 using the same 20% drop in value.

If values had remained flat and there wasn’t a Real Estate correction you would be going from a home valued at $500,000 up to a home worth $700,000. A difference of $200,000. In the present buyers market scenario the difference is $400,000 to $560,000 or a spread of $160,000. If you are moving up you saved yourself $40,000.

What if you are moving down in the market? Lets turn the above example around. You owned an $700,000 home that is now worth $560,000. It is too large for your needs and has become expensive to heat, maintain and pay taxes on. You desire something more manageable and affordable.

Well guess what the home that you planned on buying five years ago for $700,000 is now only going to cost you $560,000. So what has happened is you have lost $40,000 in buying power. A 20% loss on 700k = $140,000. A 20% loss on $500,000 = $100,000. $140,000 – $100,000 = $40,000

So moving down isn’t ideal as moving up but a loss of $40,000 is certainly much different than taking a paper loss of $160,000 especially if it is going to make your payments and cost to maintain the home much more reasonable.

Interest rates Massachusetts mortgages

The biggest differentiating factor in looking at whether or not it makes sense to move often times boils down to what you are trying to accomplish. Is it a lifestyle change, looking to get into better schools for the kids, having a shorter commuting time, etc.

One of the biggest factors that should never be overlooked in your decision making process is the present cost of money compared to what you are paying right now. In other words what does the current interest rate environment look like. If you can get an even better interest rate than you currently have on your present home it could be the perfect time to find a new home.

Once you have made up your mind to sell your Massachusetts home there are three things that can ensure you will be successful:

  • Price your home properly.
  • Pick a top producing Realtor to work with.
  • Make your home presentable and easy to show.

If you do these three things you can be successful in a buyer’s or seller’s market. There are plenty of Massachusetts homes still selling! The common denominator in most Real Estate sales are these three items.

Related Real Estate articles:


About the author: The above Real Estate information on selling a home in a buyer’s market was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Upton, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.


Rhino Shield A Painting Alternative

Rhino Shield is something you may be reading about more and more in the near future. It is just starting to become popular as an alternative to painting a home.

If you live in Massachusetts or any of the other the New England states you already know that our varied seasons can do a number on a homes exterior appearance. It is not uncommon to have to paint a home every three to six years or so depending on the quality of the paint used, the number of coats applied and the skill level of the painter.

The Rhino Shield system offers an alternative to a traditional paint job. From the company’s website the description of Rhino Shield is as follows “Rhino-Shield Ceramic Coating is a durable, flexible maintenance free wall coating. It is a high build acrylic-urethane-elastomeric formula that waterproofs, insulates, and soundproofs.

Innovative technology combines elastic acrylic resins with urethane resins resulting in a flexible but tough surface. This thick rubber-like membrane actually becomes part of the substrate due to excellent adhesion and bonding. Rhino-Shield Ceramic Coating offers superior mildew resistance, corrosion resistance, and ultra-violet ray reflectivity. This insulating, industrial, maintenance-free coating is long lasting.”

More than likely a home owner would consider using this product when they know that they are going to be in the home for an extended period of time. The cost of a Rhino Shield coating is much more expensive than a typical paint job. A ball park estimate on cost would be similar to what it would be to install vinyl siding.

So the hitch is that you would need to be in the home a while before you would see a return on your investment. Over time however you could see a return on your investment by never having to paint your home again. At least according to what the company expresses through their advertising. Rhino Shield offers a 25 year warranty on their product and claims that it will last a lot longer than that.

According to their website the product can be used on any exterior house surface, including wood, stucco, siding, brick, cement block and concrete. Rhino Shield is waterproof because it incorporates variable sizes of ceramic micro spheres as fillers. This also makes this paint perfect insulation to reduce energy cost.

From everything I have been reading on this product the preparation work prior to application is of the utmost importance. It is critical that before the Rhino Shield product is applied a thorough power washing is done followed by a repair of any necessary areas. All existing paint should be sanded, scraped and then caulked.

Once these steps are taken the wood  is primed using Rhino-Shield Adhesive Primer Sealer. They then finish with the top coat, a Rhino-Shield Ceramic Coating, to all the wood surfaces. The unique properties of Rhino-Shield allow wood to breathe while preventing moisture from permeating. This gives the wood superior protection over typical paint which either suffocates and rots the wood or peels and flakes and allows moisture to damage the wood.

Rhino Shield Ceramic Coating provides superior mildew resistance, corrosion resistance and ultra-violet ray protection. The Rhino Shield product would certainly qualify for the every popular “green movement” as well. Their  ceramic top-coat product is a low-e thermal barrier that may reduce you energy consumption, and because of the mil thickness, Rhino-Shield can be used to encapsulate lead paint. Lastly, any product that extends the life cycle by fifty percent or more beyond the industry average is considered green!

References for Rhino Shield

One of the things that immediately comes to mind about this type of product is those consumers who are “traditionalists” yet hate the fact that clapboard siding and the painting involved is a constant maintenance issue.

There are many including myself who love the look of a clapboard sided home. For many a vinyl sided home does not have the same appeal but they opt for it anyways because they have grown tired of spending the necessary money keeping their home looking good.

In the Massachusetts area anyway, it is fairly uncommon to see million dollars homes with vinyl siding. Using Rhino Shield could end up being a best of both words scenario where you can keep the traditional look of wood but also end up with a low maintenance home at the same time!

As with any product I would highly recommend you do your research. Rhino Shield may or may not be right for you. My recommendation would be to speak to a few people who have used the application and get their perspective. Better to hear it from the horses mouth than a biased company rep telling you how wonderful the product is.

To get an estimate from a Rhino Shield representative for your home you can call 1- 888-90-RHINO or check out the Rhino Shield of New England Blog. Also for a better understanding of Rhino Shield you can watch the video below.


If you end up deciding that painting is something you would rather do, I would highly recommend you check out Duration Paint by Sherwin Williams. I had my home painted with this product three years ago and it still looks outstanding. Duration paint is much more expensive than traditional paints but will last far longer. It is considered a superior painting product!

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Rhino Shield an exterior painting alternative was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Upton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, Worcester and Douglas.


Septic system deed restriction

In Massachusetts the law governing septic system installation and maintenance is known as Title V. Whenever a home owner is going to be selling their home they will need to get what is called a Title V inspection done.

In order to close on a property in Massachusetts you will need to have a passing title V.

If a Title V test reveals that the septic system has failed a seller has two options in order to get to the closing table. They can either replace the system prior to closing or they can put an appropriate amount of money in escrow guaranteeing the system will be fixed. A third option could be to get the buyer to pay for the septic system although this is less likely to occur unless the buyer is desperate for the property.

Most lenders will accept funds to be held in escrow, however they are going to generally ask for 1.5 times the cost of the estimated amount to install a new system. For example if a septic installer gives a quote of $20,ooo for the installation of a new system, the lender is going to ask for $30,000 to be held in escrow.

One of the things a Title V inspection will reveal is what is known as the septic systems “capacity”.  A septic system is “rated” according to it’s bedroom count. For example if a septic system has the capacity for four bedrooms it will say as much in the report.

One of the subjects I have written about in the past is bedroom count misrepresentation with septic systems. The are many Realtors that don’t even know this law exists and have put homes on the market stating there are more bedrooms than the septic system capacity allows for.

In other words if the septic system is only rated for three bedrooms you can not market your home as a four bedroom regardless if you have a room that qualifies as one. This is an easy way to get sued. Don’t make this mistake as it could be a costly one!

By the way, the qualifications of a bedroom must be a room providing privacy primarily used for sleeping purposes, have at least one electrical outlet, ventilation, at least one window, and have minimum dimensional criteria. There are also some towns where you need to have a closet as well although some also will accept space to house clothing such as a bureau.

One of the things that I made mention of in the article about septic system misrepresentation is how a home owner could potentially add an addition to their home that could be construed as a bedroom. It could meet all the criteria of a bedroom but not necessarily be used as such.

Deed restriction for septic system and room countUsing a bedroom count deed restriction

One of the things I have seen become more common place over the last couple of years is towns forcing home owners to put deed restrictions on their properties. This can happen because of the bedroom issue as well as another little know Title V rule.

When calculating bedroom count one of the rules of calculation is to take the number of rooms in the home and divide that by two.

For example, a proposed “game room” addition to a nine room, 4-bedroom house will create the tenth room of a house. Per Title 5, the number of bedrooms is calculated as: 10 rooms divide by 2 equals 5-bedrooms.

A deed restriction can be used so that a building permit may be issued for homes that exceed the approved septic design flow based on the total room count. The intention of the deed restriction is to resolve the possible conflicting Title 5 definition of a bedroom to the actual bedroom count.

This deed restriction is not intended for construction that will actually increase the bedroom count beyond the approved design. If  sometime in the future the septic system is upgraded to meet additional bedroom flow capacity, or the house becomes connected to public sewer, the owner may request the Board of Health for a release of the deed restriction. This release  also gets recorded at the Registry of Deeds.

A deed restriction is also not something that has to be done although the alternative to a deed restriction would be to seek approval from the Board of Health to upgrade the septic system in order to meet the proposed design capacity.

What I have found interesting about these Title V bedroom count deed restrictions is that some towns are fairly rigid with them and others are not. I know in my home town of Hopkinton MA the board of health regularly puts deed restrictions on properties using the room count divided by two formula.

Related Real Estate home selling articles:


About the author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts Title 5 bedroom count deed restriction was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Upton, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.


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