May has the real estate market in “full bloom.” Many sellers want to list their homes in the spring, and many buyers are hitting the market. Here are some of the best real estate articles over the last month to help kick off the spring real estate market.

Home Staging What Is It? What Is It Not?

Home staging refers to preparing a property for sale to make it more appealing to potential buyers. It involves strategically arranging furniture, decor, and other elements to highlight the property’s best features and create an inviting atmosphere.

Home staging is different from interior decorating or redesigning. While interior decorating focuses on personal preferences and customization, home staging aims to depersonalize the space and create a neutral environment that appeals to many buyers. Home staging is about showcasing the property’s potential and enabling buyers to envision themselves living there.

Kevin Vitali also explains that home staging does not hide flaws or deceive buyers. It is a transparent process that enhances the property’s positive aspects while minimizing limitations. The goal is to create an attractive first impression that encourages potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the space.

Best Real Estate Articles May 2023

Dual Agency is Illegal in Some States, But Not in Massachusetts

Dual agency occurs when a real estate agent represents the buyer and the seller in a transaction. While dual agency is considered illegal in some states due to potential conflicts of interest, it is legal in Massachusetts under specific conditions.

Bill Gassett describes the disclosure requirements and regulations associated with dual agency in Massachusetts. The buyer and the seller must provide informed written consent, acknowledging the agent’s dual representation, before it can be legally established.

There are potential concerns and criticisms related to dual agency, such as the potential for a compromised fiduciary duty and impartiality. It advises buyers and sellers to carefully consider their options and seek legal advice if they have concerns about dual agency.

If you are presented with dual agency, insist you want separate representation and don’t feel obligated to accept dual agency. If you work with designated buyers or seller’s agents to ensure their interests are fully represented during the transaction.

FHA Inspection and Appraisal Guidelines

Did you know that some mortgage loan programs have property condition requirements? It’s true. One of the excellent benefits of an FHA loan is the low 3.5 percent down payment requirement.

However, not every property will work for FHA loans. You will unlikely be able to finance a fixer-upper in awful shape. That’s because FHA loans carry minimum property condition requirements.

See what to know about the condition requirements for FHA loans at Realty Times.

Firing Your Realtor Because Your Home Hasn’t Sold

What if you feel your listing agent isn’t doing their job? A homeowner may consider firing their current listing agent if their property has been on the market for an extended period without success.

Michelle Gibson highlights several factors that could contribute to a home not selling, including pricing, marketing strategies, communication, and the realtor’s expertise.

If a property has been on the market for an extended period with little interest or no offers, it might be time to evaluate whether the current real estate agent is the right person to sell your home.

Homeowners should openly and honestly discuss the situation with their REALTOR. It emphasizes the importance of effective communication and suggests asking for an explanation of the marketing efforts, feedback from potential buyers, and any adjustments that can be made to improve the chances of selling the home.

If the homeowner feels the current REALTOR is not addressing their concerns or making the necessary adjustments, the article suggests other options. This could involve seeking recommendations for a new real estate agent or brokerage with a proven track record of successfully selling properties in the local market.

How To Sell A Home With Solar Panels

Solar panels have increased in popularity and potential benefits, such as energy savings and environmental friendliness. However, selling a house with solar panels can present some unique challenges.

Alex Cappozzola suggests several key steps to sell a house with solar panels effectively. First, gather all the necessary documentation related to the solar panel system, including warranties, installation details, and any relevant permits or agreements. This information will be valuable to potential buyers and can help demonstrate the value and functionality of the system.

It is important to educate potential buyers about the benefits of solar panels, such as reduced energy costs and positive environmental impact. This can be done through informational brochures, online resources, or even arranging for a solar panel expert to provide a presentation or answer questions.

Be prepared to address buyers’ concerns, such as maintenance and ownership transfer. Provide clear information about the maintenance requirements of the solar panels and any transferable warranties or contracts.

Market your house’s solar panels as a unique selling point. This can be done through attractive signage, online listings highlighting the benefits of solar energy, and targeted marketing to environmentally conscious buyers.

What Is a Bully or Pre-emptive Offer in Real Estate?

A buyer makes a bully or pre-emptive offer before the scheduled date set by the seller for accepting offers. Conor MacEvilly explains it is considered a strategic move by the buyer to present an enticing offer to secure the property before other potential buyers can submit their offers.

Pre-emptive or bully offers are typically higher than the asking price and may include attractive terms such as a quick closing or waived contingencies. The purpose of a bully offer is to entice the seller to accept it immediately, potentially avoiding a competitive bidding situation and increasing the buyer’s chances of acquiring the property.

For buyers, a bully offer can provide a competitive advantage and potentially secure a desirable property without facing competition. However, there is a risk of overpaying or encountering a counteroffer from the seller.

For sellers, a bully offer can be enticing as it offers the potential for a quick sale at a favorable price. However, accepting a bully offer means bypassing the opportunity for multiple offers and potentially leaving money on the table.

How a Retrospective Appraisal Can Help in the Estate and Tax Planning Process

A retrospective appraisal evaluates a property’s value as of a past date. In contrast with typical appraisals, which assess the current value of a property.

Retrospective appraisals are particularly useful in estate and tax planning, where determining the historical value of a property is often necessary.

Tom Horn highlights several scenarios where a retrospective appraisal can be beneficial. In estate planning, a retrospective appraisal can help establish the value of a property at the time of a person’s passing. This information is crucial for estate settlement, probate, and determining inheritance taxes.

Additionally, retrospective appraisals can be used to establish the value of a property as of a specific date in the past for tax purposes. This includes situations such as establishing the value of a property when it was acquired for tax basis calculations, determining historical property values for estate tax returns, or addressing potential capital gains taxes during the sale of inherited property.

It is essential to hire a qualified appraiser who specializes in retrospective appraisals. These appraisers have the necessary skills and knowledge to accurately determine historical property values and navigate the specific requirements of estate and tax planning.

Common Seller Mistakes That Will Result in an Unsold Home

As real estate markets cool down, it is important to note there are several mistakes that sellers make when trying to sell their homes, which can lead to their property remaining on the market without finding a buyer.

Paul Sian emphasizes the importance of pricing a home correctly. It explains that overpricing is a common mistake that can deter potential buyers and prolong the selling process. Setting a realistic and competitive price is crucial to attract interest and generate offers.

Another mistake is neglecting property preparation. It advises sellers to ensure their homes are clean, well-maintained, and properly staged. First impressions matter; a poorly presented property can turn off buyers and hinder the sale.

High-quality real estate photos, detailed property descriptions, and widespread exposure through online listings and real estate platforms are important. Neglecting to market a property properly can result in limited visibility and fewer potential buyers.

Don’t be inflexible with showing appointments. Sellers who are overly restrictive or unavailable for showings may miss out on potential buyers.

Finally, hire a qualified real estate agent. An experienced agent can provide valuable guidance on pricing, marketing strategies, negotiations, and the overall selling process. Attempting to sell a home without professional assistance may lead to costly mistakes and unsold property.

Landscaping A Sloped Yard

Not everyone can have a perfectly flat yard. Karen Highland gives some great tips on landscaping a sloped yard for maximum potential.

First and foremost, you need to pay attention to drainage and erosion with a sloped yard. Ensure runoff is not directed towards the house, and use lawn and planting to prevent erosion. The right plants with strong roots can help in the prevention of erosion.

Retaining walls can become an important part of landscaping your sloped yard. You can create levels or terraces with flat areas to increase functionality and visual interest. This will help maximize the use of your sloped yard.

Consider using paths or steps to safely navigate the slope and create convenient access to the entire yard.

A sloped yard comes with some challenges, but you can have a yard you love with some planning and creativity.

Questions to Ask When Buying a House

Asking the right questions can be critical to a successful home purchase. Prospective buyers can gather information, make informed decisions, and ensure a smooth home purchase by asking the right questions. Here are a few questions a home buyer should ask when buying a house from Luke Skar.

Property Details: Make sure you understand certain property details. Like age, condition, water penetration, and recent renovations or repairs. Understanding these aspects helps assess the house’s value and potential maintenance needs.

Legal and Disclosure Matters: Ask about property disclosures, warranties, and any legal obligations or restrictions tied to the home. Understanding these matters helps buyers make informed decisions and avoid potential legal issues.

Neighborhood and Location: Questions related to the neighborhood may include inquiries about nearby amenities, schools, transportation, and community dynamics. These questions help buyers determine if the area suits their preferences and lifestyle.

Read Luke’s article to get more questions to ask as a home buyer.

By addressing these questions and seeking relevant information, homebuyers can understand the property comprehensively and make informed decisions throughout the buying process.


Look at some of the excellent advice from previous real estate roundups.

Kevin Vitali


About the Author: Kevin Vitali provides May’s real estate roundup. Kevin is a Massachusetts Realtor with over 21 years of experience in the real estate field. He is an avid blogger and has a variety of articles on real estate-related topics, including home buying, home selling, and financing.