Helpful Advice For Buyers, Sellers, and Real Estate Agents

Love is in the air this February. And that includes falling in love with this roundup of some of the best real estate reads for the month!

What Every Veteran Should Know About VA Mortgages

A VA or Veterans administration mortgage is an excellent resource for US Veterans to get a loan to purchase a home. Specifically, it is a government-backed loan if you should ever default and is designed specifically for veterans.

Luke Skar has provided an article covering 20 of the most important VA mortgage guidelines every veteran should know.

VA loans allow you to put no-money-down, have no Private Mortgage Insurance, relaxed underwriting guidelines, and competitive interest rates. The guidelines for a VA mortgage make it a loan product every veteran should consider.

What Are Closing Costs?

There is nothing worse than buying a house and, just before closing, finding out you have closing costs on top of your downpayment… Or, as a home seller, realize you have to pay thousands in tax stamps to the state on top of a big real estate commission.

So what are closing costs? Closing costs are fees for services and expenses incurred during the closing of a real estate transaction. Both home sellers and home buyers have their own set of closing costs. One big expense for a homebuyer is Title Insurance, and for the home seller, they have Tax Stamps, but then deeds and other documents need to be recorded, payoffs wired or fed exed overnight, title rundowns, etc.….. it all needs to be paid for.

Kevin Vitali points out there is no reason to be surprised. A homebuyer should be receiving an estimate of closing cost shortly after completing a loan application. A home seller should receive a seller’s net sheet of their estimated costs for their REALTOR just before listing a home.

Real Estate February 2021

Real Estate Contingencies You Should Know

A real estate contingency is a clause in a real estate contract stating something needs to happen before the transaction is closed. If it doesn’t happen, if worded correctly, the contract becomes null and void.

A contingency can be added to a contract by either buyer or seller. One of the most common contingencies in a contract is the mortgage contingency. It states the buyer has until a certain date to obtain a mortgage commitment from the lender. If the home buyer does not secure commitment, they can nullify the contract and receive their deposit monies back.

Bill Gasset has provided an article on everything you need to know about real estate contingencies. While contingencies can protect a home buyer or seller, they should be used sparingly. Too many contingencies can complicate the contract, slow down the process and show the other party you may not be fully committed to the transaction.

What to Expect With Real Estate Commission

If you will be selling your home, one of the questions you will probably have is how much you’ll pay in real estate commissions. The amount of money a real estate agent makes can vary from agency to agency and location to location. There are some general guidelines to know about real estate commission.

You can get some tips on what to expect to pay when you’re selling a house in the article.

Rent Vs. Buy in 2021

The real estate market for 2021 is starting strong, and the age-old question remains…. Should I rent or buy my next home?

Chris Highland points out that HISTORICALLY low-interest rates are working to keep home buying affordable. And, in many communities, buying may be a less expensive alternative to renting a home.

While saving money is attractive, there are other points to consider before buying a home. First and foremost, are you ready to be a homeowner and set down some roots somewhere? And, is your employment steady for the foreseeable future? There is much to think about buy buying a home could be a great alternative to continue renting.

Get Your Home De-Cluttered Before it Hits The Market.

One of the most vital things you can do when selling a home is create a presentation a buyer will love. Real Estate agents talk about the importance of staging all of the time and with good reason. Homes where buyers can picture themselves living sell quickly and for more money than those that don’t.

Part of staging a home will entail removing all of the clutter. The keyword here is de-cluttering. By removing all your excess junk and other items not worth keeping, you create the uncluttered look buyers love.

When you have items that will still hold value, one of the better methods of getting your home ready for the market is to have a charity pick up these things. You will be helping a family in need while also getting your property looking its best. It will be a real win-win.

Saving Money During Your Move

You are buying your first home or moving to a new one and have coughed up a lot of money. Now you’re facing the expense of moving. When does it stop!!

Sharon Paxson provides some tips on saving money during a move. Topping the list, of course, is doing some or all of the move yourself. Taking a move on yourself can save a ton of money, and hopefully, you have a lot of strong friends.

Another way to save money is pairing down what you need to move. Often we accumulate so much stuff that just isn’t necessary. Getting rid of some of it can allow you to rent a smaller truck or hire movers and pay for less time moving.

If you start packing early, you can save a bundle by getting free boxes from friends, family, and local businesses. Plus, starting early removes some last-minute stress. You’ll be saving on a moving tip but don’t forget about feeding your friends and providing them with some beverages.

Moving doesn’t need to break the bank.

Home Staging Tips That Get Your House Sold

When it comes time to sell your home, proper preparation and staging can go a long way in increasing your home’s appeal. Michelle Gibson shares 10 home staging tips that will turn your house to SOLD!

Good home staging starts with the basics make it sparkly clean, de-clutter, and depersonalize. Every home should go through these basic steps before listing. But what else can you do?

Think about brightening up the home. A fresh paint job or bring in some extra lighting, or consider getting rid of those heavy drapes can go a long way in going from drab to fab!

Think about pairing down furniture and pay attention to your traffic flows. Less is more when it comes to selling a home.

Staging doesn’t mean you have to spend money. Great home staging can be done with what you already have. You just need to invest some time. One of the worst home selling mistakes is avoiding taking the time to make your property look its very best.

10 Top Home Selling Tips To Prepare Your Home For Market

If you’re like most homeowners, you want to get the most amount of money you can get out of your home sale. But, realize a highly successful home sale doesn’t just happen. It will help if you put a little work into properly preparing your home for sale.

Paul Sian provides 10 tips for preparing your home for sale. Preparing your home for sale starts with hiring a great listing agent. They can help prioritize action items of things that are must-do. Or, tell you where not to spend your efforts. An experienced agent is out in the field every day working with buyers. They know what buyers want and what isn’t so important.

Take the time to prepare your home properly. It will save you time, money, and aggravation in the end.

Top Winter Season Home Buying Mistakes

Home buying may not stop for many homebuyers during the winter months. But cold, blustery weather can certainly slow things down. Buying a home during any season should start with hiring a top-notch buyer’s agent to guide you through the buying process.

Kyle Hiscock provides other winter home buying tips as well. One important tip is not to overlook a home’s efficiency and soundness. Harsh winter conditions in parts of the country can pull a lot of money out of your pocket to heat a poorly insulated home or one with inefficient heating systems. On top of that, you want a home that can handle snow loads on the roof to prevent collapse from heavy snow and ice build-up.

Overlook how a home looks and focus on its soundness and energy efficiency to avoid costly mistakes down the road.

The Essence of Home

Lynn Pineda shares some humbling insight with a poem about the essence of a home. While it is not an article about tips on buying or selling, Lynn reminds us of the importance of a home and the security it can provide us.

Covid 19 has kept us from leaving our homes, and this poem reminds us of the importance of having a home, rented, purchased, or otherwise.


Where I go for peace.

Where peace opens the door for me.

Staggeringly, peace may not be at home for many.

Such disharmony is indeed true. Unthinkable

I can’t imagine opening my front door without peace staring me back in the face.

Let yourself be taken to that place of peace. Make a choice. You’ll be content.



Who wouldn’t want a home of their own?

Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles.

I get that desire

Empty thoughts about one’s home. How sad

I love my home.

Selling homes for a living, I do. How lucky am I?!



What makes a home?

Simply any place that you call home

Big, small, or just right

We make it a home

Be proud of your space. Care for your home

This will matter, especially whenever you sell your home. More money!



Why a home?

Oh, where do I begin?!

Touched on and a million more reasons come to mind.

You could answer that, I’m sure.

The comforts. The memories. The security.

What more could you ask for?!


State Taxes Comparison: Are Americans Fleeing High-Tax States in 2021?

Brian Davis provides an insightful insight into low burden tax states are attractive to real estate investors compared to high burden tax states.

He points out some correlation to people leaving high burden tax states to low burden tax states. However, the comparable tax burdens may not be the only correlation. It appears that quality of life and weather can also be a factor in where people land after leaving a high tax burden state.

Certainly, there are opportunities for real estate investors in the states where more people are coming than leaving.

How To Keep Your Vacant Property Safe When Selling

Selling a vacant home provides challenges over an occupied home. One aspect that Danny Margagliano brings attention to is keeping a vacant property safe. If a home is damaged through theft, water damage, etc.… it certainly can ruin a home sale.

The obvious is that physical checks by the owner several times a week is best. But, for some, they have relocated out of the area, which is not physically possible. If that is the case, think about relying on friends.

You can also consider some of today’s smart technology. You have thermostats alerting you of drastic temperature changes and fire alarms that can alert you of fires. Motion-activated cameras can also notify you if there is unwanted activity on your vacant property.

Keeping your vacant property safe is important to protect your investment.

What Does A Property Manager Do?

You may have a vacant home you would like to rent or new to the real estate investment world. You can choose to manage the property yourself or hire a property manager to do the tasks you may not have time for.

Like many services, Joe Boylan points out that you can choose the level of service you would like a property manager to perform. If you want to be hands-off, a property manager can prepare a property for rent, market the home, screen tenants, prepare the paperwork, inspect the property, enforce the rules, maintain the property, collect and disperse rents and handle evictions if necessary.

Consider hiring a property manager if you do not have the time or know-how to handle your rental. Effectively communicating with tenants is a vital part of being a landlord.

What You Need To Know About Offer Review Dates

Much of the US metro areas are in a hot seller’s market. There are more buyers than there are homes for sale. With the hot seller’s market, you see sellers publish offer review dates as a deadline for submitted offers.

The hope is the deadline brings higher and stronger offers to the table as buyers compete for the home.

Conor MacEvilly points out there are pros and cons to an offer review deadline to be considered. As the market starts to flatten, the offer review deadline can backfire, leaving you with no offers and buyers wondering why the house didn’t sell.

An offer review deadline doesn’t guarantee multiple offers. You still need to market your home properly and set a proper list price.

There is a lot to love from these February articles. Stay tuned for more articles coming in March!

Previous Best of Real Estate Articles

See some of the previous months’ real estate roundups featured at Massachusetts Real Estate News.

Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty provides this month’s real estate roundup. Kevin is an experienced agent with 20 years under his belt. Let Kevin put that experience to work for you on the sale or purchase of a new home.