Area real estate market looks strong this spring
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Vicki Aubry, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/
Address: 57 East Main St., Ste. 217, Westborough
Contact Information: 508-868-3625, VAubry@OwnNewEngland.com
How does the spring real estate market look?
“If we get inventory, it will look good. Inventory is still very tight. It’s a good market for sellers as long as the home is priced right and is attractive,” said Vicki Aubry, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway who has been working in this market for over 20 years. She focuses on the towns around Westborough between Worcester and I-495.
What do you recommend buyers do in this market?
“First, buyers have to get pre-approved by a lender. I advise going to a local lender who has a brick-and-mortar office, who knows the area. Buyers need to have their credit checked and document income, assets and debt. Then the lender will pre-approve them for a specific loan amount. People often have mistakes in their credit that they find when they start that process. It can take time to clear those up, so don’t wait.”
Once a buyer is pre-approved, what’s the best way to begin the search?
“Talk to family and friends who have recently purchased and see if they liked their agent. Sit down with an agent and learn about the real issues that will come up when looking at houses. Things like dealing with a septic system, or understanding if you want an antique home, it’s going to have tiny closets and no master bath. You need an agent who helps you go through that thought process so when you do target what you can afford, your expectations are realistic.
“Research towns before you start looking to narrow your search. You can do basic research online, then get in the car and drive there and see if it feels like a town you want to live in.”
What do you recommend that sellers do?
“Call me. A lot of sellers think they can just stick a sign in the yard. Buyers have high expectations because they’ve been watching HGTV. The hardest thing to do is to get sellers to see their house through the eyes of a buyer.
“Sellers have to realize it will cost some money to make the house look marketable by today’s standards, but if you do the right things, you will get that money back. And it will help to get your home under agreement quickly, which translates into more dollars in your pocket.
“I can help sellers get the best bang for their buck. For example, new carpeting freshens up the whole house, but it has to be decent carpeting in the right color. Along with that, fresh paint on the walls in neutral colors. No wallpaper—it’s too personal.
“Everyone has too much stuff. A lot of older people don’t know where to start in dealing with their stuff, so they stay in their house until some crisis arises and fast decisions have to be made.”
What should buyers interested in a condo be aware of?
“You have to remember that, when buying a condo, you’re buying from the studs in, and you’re also buying an undivided interest in the common area,” Aubry said. She does a lot of work in the area condominium market.
“A seller can provide information on planned maintenance such as exterior painting and when that plan will happen, to overcome objections to current exterior appearance. A buyer should ask what capital projects are planned and how they will be funded and what the financial reserves are.”