FREE MLS Training. Wednesday, January 7. Noon to 2:00 PM

FREE MLS Training. Wednesday, January 7, 2015. Noon to 2:00 PM

mlsPlease join us for FREE MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Training with Michele Benson of CT Real. 

Michele will discuss recent software changes to MLS. MLS has changed theirmls 2 operating system which effects how Realtors add, edit, search and pull comparable market analyses.

The training will be held in the Norcom Mortgage Training Room, 38 Security Drive, Avon, CT on Wednesday, January 7 from Noon to 2:00 pm.

It’s FREE and all Realtors are invited to attend. Lunch will be served.
RSVP to  by Friday, January 2, 2015


Why An Experienced REALTOR® Is An Asset for Seniors

seniorsSelling the family home is an emotional experience for Seniors.
I remember that it took my widowed Mom several years to clear the “ghost” of memories and finally decide to downsize. My mother-in-law too finally realized that she no longer had the energy to maintain the empty nest that harbored so many loving memories.
Thankfully an empathetic REALTOR® knew what they were going through. Not only had they worked with older adults in the past, but they also had some tips and tricks to help these seniors through the process

Experienced agents know what you’re going through
Making the decision to change homes can be one of the most emotional moments of a senior’s life, but enlisting the assistance of family, friends and a trustworthy real estate agent may be the best way for older adults to make this transition as seamless as possible.
A professional  REALTOR®  places seniors’ emotional needs and emotions first, dedicating set periods of time to understanding why they’re selling, what they would like to get from the transaction and how to best move forward with seniors’ best interests at the forefront of the selling process.

Some agents go the extra mile to provide for Seniors
Quality real estate agents may go beyond the general requirements of selling a house to help seniors transition to their new homes. Yes, they will help sell your property, but they might also help make the move a lot easier by providing information about the next home; referring you to professionals who can assist with financial planning for the future; even arranging for help in cleaning out the clutter that has accumulated over the years. Additionally, these agents may have information regarding community groups, organizations and recreational clubs for seniors in the area of the new home that can make the transition a little easier.

Are you thinking about moving out of the homestead?
Call Me for referrals to an Experienced REALTOR®who can help.

Why Won’t My Real Estate Agent Answer My Questions?

Home buyers and sellers may sometimes feel that real estate agents or brokers don’t answer their perfectly reasonable questions and concerns. They’re totally justified for feeling this way because, frankly, it’s true.

Buyers and SellersIt may appear that your Real Estate Agent Won’t Answer Your Questions.  It’s not that they don’t know the answer or are giving you the run-around. The fact of the matter is agents MUST be very careful about what they say because there are many Fair Housing Laws that protect the rights of all interested parties.
It’s no secret … real estate agents can’t be forthcoming with some information sought by consumers, even when this information might be critical to their decision process because it’s the law.

Here Are 10 Topics Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Discuss With You:

1.  I won’t answer your questions about other people.  Not the race, color, national origin, religion, familiar status, disability, age, or sexual orientation of neighbors or other principals in the transaction. This would violate federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
2.  I won’t discuss my clients with you.  Not their motivation, urgency for buying or selling, financial situation, or willingness to negotiate. I am required by law and my Code of Ethics to “maintain the confidentiality of clients.”
3.  I won’t disclose my client’s opinion of your home because it may violate my obligation regarding confidentiality. If you or your agent request feedback, however, I will seek permission from my clients to share their opinion of your property with your listing agent, and follow the instructions of my client.
4.  I won’t offer my opinion on legal, tax, or structural matters because I’m licensed real estate agent. I’m NOT an attorney, accountant, or property inspector.  If requested, I will provide you with contact information for licensed attorneys, accountants, or home inspectors that have earned rave reviews from my past clients.
5.  I won’t answer your questions about real estate in another state because I’m licensed only in this state. I will, however, refer you to an agent in that state who can help you.
6.  I won’t discuss your property or its value if I have a present or contemplated interest in the property, unless this interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.home inspection
7.  I won’t disclose details about the property condition of my listing unless there are any “material defects,” that I and and the seller are required by law to disclose. That’s what a home inspection is for.
8.  I won’t answer your questions about neighborhood safety because my response may be interpreted as “steering” you toward or away from a neighborhood, which violates Fair Housing Laws. I can refer you to online resources for information on this topic.
9.  I won’t discuss local schools with you for two reasons: 1) Anything I say may inadvertently violate Fair Housing Laws and 2) Information about school boundaries, policies, or programs may change without notice. I can direct you to various websites that do contain factual information about local schools including public, private, and parochial schools, daycare centers, and nearby colleges and universities.
10. I won’t tell you the contract price for a listing that is “under contract,” but not yet settled. In addition to my obligation to maintain the seller’s confidentiality, there is another very practical reason: If the contract fails to close, public knowledge of the previous contract terms could negatively impact my client in future negotiations.

If you feel that your agent is giving you a runaround, don’t be too quick to judge. Tell the agent how you feel and ask WHY he or she won’t tell you what you want to know.


Hidden Gems in Real Estate-What’s Not Included in the Listing Price

Pricing a home for sale is more of an art than it is a science.

dreamHome buyers should get beyond the standard information they search for on-line like square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen design, etc. They should be on the look out for those hidden gems that may be undervalued (or not even included) in the listing price.

As real estate professionals, the ActiveRain Community sees a lot more homes get priced and sold than any other community on the internet. This makes us uniquely qualified to share with you what are some of the best Hidden Gems in Real Estate, those things that often get missed in the listing price but that can add tremendous value for a buyer looking for their next place to call home.

I joined over 1500 other professionals in our community who were asked what we thought were some of these Hidden Gems in Real Estate. It’s no surprise that some of us thought certain features in a home were a “waste of money” while others thought the same feature was “worth every penny.”

But at the end of the day, everyone was in agreement that certain hidden gems in a home that have the potential to add long term value for a buyer and my not actually be reflected in the selling price.

The results of the survey are displayed in the graphic below which allows a home buyer to look beyond the obvious things that affect price and identify those hidden gems that could add value to their new home.





10 Tips On How To Chose a Good Real Estate Agent

home shopping
The Spring 2014 Home Buying Season is coming soon. Here’s a follow-up to my previous blog on How to Chose A Good Real Estate Agent. Choosing the right real estate agent will make your home buying experience a whole lot easier. Not all home buyers are alike nor do they look for the exact same things in a new home or in a relationship. Here are some factors to consider when looking for a real estate agent to assist you in your home buying process:

1. Check for Recommendations – There’s no limit to the amount of information you can get on the internet and referrals from past clients is one of them. Friends and family are a good resource for the name of an agent, but testimonials to the level of service they provided to previous buyers is what really counts.
All agents have a link to their listings. However the absence of a broader on-line presence might indicate a lack of experience or the savvy to keep abreast with the dynamics of the marketplaceNational Association of Realtors.
2. Look up Licensing – State and regional Boards of Realtors control the licensing, education and disciplining of local agents. Check with these supervisory agencies to verify that your agent is licensed and if he has ever encountered any problems in the past.
internet3. Make sure your agent has a solid online presence – Statistics show that 85% of all home buyers claim to have seen their house online before contacting any agent for a showing. A real estate agent that is up-to-date with the tech-side of the home buying process may not be the best choice for Millennials looking for their First Home. Most of my clients prefer emailing and texting rather than spending a lot of phone time with me. A savvy agent should be connected at all times too.
4. First Home Buyers, Bet on Experience –A good track record and solid industry and local market knowledge are key, especially First Home Buyers that aren’t familiar with the entire process and don’t know what to look for.
5. Look for Buyer’s Agent – A Buyer’s Agent works exclusively for the home buyer and usuallyco-sign gets paid by splitting the commission on the sale of the house with the listing agent. I’m not saying that a dual agent is a bad choice. What I am saying is that it is important to understand which party in the transaction your agent has a contractual obligation to represent as it has an effect on the negotiating process.
6. Where To Meet – My mantra is “When You Work With a Professional, You Get Professional Results.” I meet my clients where they feel most comfortable. In my office, their home, or at MacDonald’s. The best agents I work with do the same. A good agent should be available on your terms and be willing to accommodate your busy schedule and comfort level.
7. Look for a Local Agent – A local real estate agent might have a better sense of what’s going on in town. He’ll have the experience to know how to handle clients and would already have sufficient connections in the area to join your home buying team.
8. Is He a Full-Time Agent – This might be important to know when you have a question aboutnegotiation the process that he’ll be available to negotiate your contract or if a snag arises with the property. I’m not suggesting that a part-time agent is less professional, but he is working for you and you should know what level of commitment you can expect.
9. Meet Several Agents – The one that can convince you without doubt that he should be your top choice is the one you should get! Besides market knowledge, you need your agent to be persuasive; if he can’t convince you to hire him, how can you expect him to convince a seller to give you a better price?
10. Is the Chemistry Right? –  it’s important to find someone you feel comfortable working with as you navigate the many steps of the home-buying process. Your agent should respect and understand your individual needs as a buyer, and be able to provide you with the level of attention and care that gives you confidence in your home buying experience. 

Home for SaleYour real estate agent is the backbone of your home-buying team. From beginning to end, it is the real estate agent who will help you to select, negotiate, and legally purchase your new home, The right agent  should be able provide you with a level of attention and care that gives you confidence in your home buying experience.

3 Important Tips for Home Buyers

pretty GirlDreaming about buying a New Home this year? Maybe a warm and comfy vacation home in FL?

Here are 3 Important Tips every Home Buyer should consider.

1. Get Your Loan Pre-Approved. While knowing how much you can afford is the firstGet Pre-Approved step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been Pre-Approved. This way, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer.

2. Hire Your Own Real Estate Agent. Hire an Agent who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Get one that’s honest and works for you only.

3. Be Objective. Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Asking yourself tough, practical questions will help you make the best choice when buying your first home.

For more Free Tips, visit Browse through the Buyer’s Guide which offers useful information and articles to teach you everything from “How to Negotiate with Sellers” to “Types of Mortgages.”

Handshake Licensed in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, NY & FL too! I’m here to help.

First Home Buyer Tips for The Millennial Generation

The Millennial Generation grew up during the housing crash, so rightfully they are more cautious of becoming homeowners because of the foreclosure problems they’ve read about or their parents may have experienced.
Now, facing high student loan debt and a tough job market, studies show that Millennials are less likely than other generations to experience homeownership. And during the last few years, the real estate market has been especially scary for would-be homeowners. What’s a Millennial to do?

Here are a few First Home Buyer Tips for the Millennial Generation to help you pursue your dream of home ownership someday:

Get Pre-Qualified
Learn as much as you can from a local Mortgage Broker you trust “to really understand the mortgage process; what types of mortgage programs are available: and what types of paymentsconfused and upfront costs are associated with specific property types,” says Malcolm Hollensteiner, Director of Retail Lending Products & Services at TDBank.
By connecting with a lending professional beforehand, Millennials will be able to find out what it takes to qualify for a loan and maybe even get Pre-Qualified for one.
Buyers and SellersPart of the learning process also includes becoming knowledgeable about the real estate market you’d like to buy a house in. A Real Estate Agent who knows about the local markets will help you determine where you want to live, give you an idea of what properties are available in your price range, and allow you to develop a solid game plan.
Map Out Your Future.
Are you financially prepared to take on the debt of a mortgage? Do you have enough money saved up for a rainy day fund? Have you accounted for the maintenance costs of owning a home? How much of your hard earned savings are you willing to contribute toward the Down Payment on a First Home and the Closing Costs associated with the purchase? These are all very real questions that Millennials should ask themselves when dreaming about buying their First Home.
Plus, homes nowadays may not appreciative in value the same way they did during the boom years. So consider renting as an alternative if you can’t afford the costs of owning a home or are unsure of your plans five years from now.
Review Your Credit and Finances.
With many Millennials mired in high student loan debt, it’s important to take a good look at your credit and any outstanding debt you might have before you even begin thinking about money managementbuying your First Home. To determine whether you qualify for a loan, lenders will take a look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Any student loan payments, expensive car payments or credit card debt you have will affect the ratio. Try to pay down as much student debt as you can, consolidating your student loans, to improve your debt-to-income ratio.
good-credit-vs-bad-creditAlso, resolve any credit issues before beginning the process of buying a house. You want to put yourself in the best position possible. So if you don’t have enough credit history, for instance, find out what you need to do in order to build credit.
Use Technology to Your Advantage.
More than previous generations, Millennials have at their disposal a number of online tools that can help ease and speed up the home-searching and home buying process. From online calculators that help you determine how much you need to save in order technologyto buy a home to real estate listing websites, the Internet can be your best friend as you navigate the real estate waters.
Even something like Google Street View can show you what a neighborhood is like and, of course, there are sites that review potential real estate agents you’re thinking of hiring. Many of these tools are available as apps as well, so take advantage of them.
Think Low-End.
New federal law says the maximum allowable DTI on a mortgage is 43% of a borrower’s gross monthly income. That includes the mortgage payment, monthly escrow for taxes and home shoppingHomeowners Insurance, monthly Mortgage Insurance plus  any other debt payments. “Just because you might be qualified up to a certain loan amount doesn’t mean you have to buy that much property,” says Hollensteiner.
Hollensteiner also says that Millennials are particularly good at looking at properties that are within their budget. “The millennial generation grew up during the housing crash, so rightfully they’re more trepidatious of becoming homeowners because of the foreclosure problems,” he says. “Understand that homeownership is as much an investment in the community as an investment in your own financial portfolio.”

dreamOwning your own home has been the American Dream for decades. It’s a dream that has been sorely tested by the real estate crisis and economic developments in recent years. I have the belief that anyone that deserves to own a home should be able to do so. The Dream is still attainable for those Millenials who do their homework, establish a game plan and work hard to achieve that goal. 

The article Tips for Millennials Hoping to Buy a Home originally appeared on and