Andrew Abu Realtors: Great time for first-time home buyers to enter market
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough??”Conditions are near perfect for first-time home buyers to participate in the Metrowest real estate market, according to Andrew J. Abu, a veteran Realtor here.
“This is such a golden moment,” said Abu, owner/broker of Andrew Abu Realtors, who has been working in the Metrowest area for 21 years. “It is unbelievable that first-time buyers are not more aggressively pursuing houses.”
He noted there are many homes on the market now for under $300,000.
“The values are incredible in great areas, wonderful communities with good schools,” he said.
If first-time buyers, particularly younger buyers, are holding back because of publicity about the difficulties getting credit approval and a need for a large deposit, Abu pointed out there are a number of programs available to assist first-time buyers with options that don's require huge deposits.
“Your first home doesn's have to be a four-bedroom Colonial,” he noted. “It makes sense to get into the market under these conditions with a property you can afford now, so you are in a better position to move up in the future.”
In many cases, he said, because of rising rental costs, it may actually be cheaper to own a home than to rent.
“Why pay someone else's mortgage when you could be paying your own? Purely as an investment, there's no way buying real estate now does not make sense, plus there is the intrinsic, emotional value of owning your own home for individuals and families.”
Abu encourages first-time home buyers, particularly younger couples, to come in and discuss the opportunities available and the financial options in the current market.
In the market overall, he said, home prices have dropped slightly since last year in this area. Andrew Abu Realtors serves towns from Worcester east to Framingham, south to Uxbridge and north to Bolton.
“In the last couple of months, prices have leveled out, and it wouldn's be a surprise to me to see them begin to creep up a bit,” particularly after the November election removes some of the possible uncertainty in the market.
“I feel it will be a strong market this winter because people have been sitting on the sidelines lately. With the combination of unbelievable prices and extraordinary interest rates, it's hard to believe it won's be very busy,” Abu said.
Potential sellers, he added, should be considering what they need to do to make their property stand out, even if a move is as much as two years down the road.
“Houses must be sharper, crisper, to move well now,” Abu said. “They have to really stand out.”
His firm welcomes the opportunity to review a home with a potential seller, “even on a protracted time budget,” advising what upgrades are necessary and will provide the greatest payback. The brokers can suggest experienced painters, contractors and landscapers to perform needed upgrades.
“If you start work well before you plan to move, you don's end up spending the money all at once.”
As for upgrades and changes that appeal to buyers now, Abu mentioned Rinnai tankless water heaters if you must replace an old water heater. These units are very energy efficient and impress buyers, he said.
In general, buyers are interested in improvements that cut energy costs, he added, including updated windows and reinsulated attics. He suggested having a utility company do an energy audit on a home, which can often lead to free or reduced-cost improvements.
While there is currently a good bit of publicity about installing solar energy systems in homes, Abu does not feel that investment is a selling point yet. That change makes more sense if you plan to stay in your home for several years.
What is necessary, he said, is to clean out the clutter, organize what's left and refresh the décor of a home before it goes on the market. “People feel more comfortable and more at ease in an organized space.”
Andrew Abu Realtors is located at 80 Flanders Rd., Suite 102, in Westborough. For additional information, call 508-836-3333 or visit the website, www.AndrewAbu.com.
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