Category Brokerage Services

Assessed Values & Calculating Property Taxes in Massachusetts

From time to time I see people complaining on social media about their assessed value and their property taxes. There are many misconceptions out there, and quite frankly too many to list in this post as it is long enough. The truth of the matter is the MA courts ruled in the case of Bettigole vs. Assessors of Springfield “all property in Massachusetts must be assessed at full value and that fractional assessments or assessments below 100% of full value, as well as non-uniform assessments were unconstitutional.” A later decision gave the Department of Revenue control over the enforcement of this, and the Department of Revenue allows a Assessed/Sale Ratio of +/- 10%.

If you’d like to know more, the following are two chapters of a book I have been working on...

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Down Payment Resources

Are you sitting on the fence wondering if you should take action on buying a home?

Information is power. Consumer surveys find that home buyers are not evaluating all their options and many are potentially leaving money on the table. Below are two steps every potential buyer should take.

#1  Shop Your Loan

Many buyers simply click on a website to get “pre-approved” and stop there.  Many people think it will hurt their credit score if they apply with multiple lenders. However, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when multiple credit checks are concentrated over a short period of time they are typically treated as one inquiry and will not impact you credit score. I always tell my clients to check with their current bank or credit union...

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Chelmsford 2016 Market Review

As the busy Spring market is quickly approaching I thought I would be interesting to look at Chelmsford sales data both from an overall perspective as well as breaking it down by neighborhood to give potential buyers and sellers a better grasp of trends throughout the town.  For the neighborhood breakdown, I based it on this Chelmsford Neighborhood Map

For the third straight year Chelmsford has seen an increase in both the overall average and median sale price within the single family market in town with the number of sales increasing for the second straight year.  Low inventory levels and minimal distressed sales are two factors which have contributed to these trends.  Of the 345 single family sales in town in 2016 32...

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New Massachusetts Smoke Detector Regulations


Effective December 1, 2016, the Department of Fire Services will implement new regulations requiring owners of single or multi-family homes built prior to 1975 to replace expired and non-working smoke detectors with new ones equipped with a ten year sealed battery.  Compliance will be checked by Fire Departments when they conducting pre-transfer inspections.

It is important to check with your local building inspector and/or fire department for guidance as specific requirements on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors vary based on when the home was constructed or last renovated. Additional information can also be found on the Public Safety Page of the state website. Department of Public Safety – Smoke Alarm Regulations

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Best Bets to Avoid a Bidding War


This isn’t the typical post on this topic which tells you to make your best offer first, include proof of funds/financing with the offer, avoid contingencies, and have a flexible closing date. Below you will find a list of communities describing their recent history with above asking price sales as well as strategies to help you avoid situations where you may be in competition with other buyers.

Most people agree we are currently in a Seller’s market. Demand is high and in most areas inventory is low which has led to an increase in multiple offer situations (often referred to as bidding wars).  I took a look at sales data in 13 cities and towns in the Greater Lowell area to find out where was a buyer’s best chance to avoid a bidding war...

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Why You Should NOT Use Sites Like Zillow, Trulia, or for Your New Home Search


While these site offer some useful information about buying, selling, mortgages, home design, etc., below are the top 3 reasons why these sites are not a good place to conduct your home search.

  1. Money. While these sites pretend to be a source of information for buyers, these sites exist primarily to make a profit. While these sites are free for consumers to use, these sites profit from selling services to those in the real estate industry. I’ll explain how they make money below.
  2. When you click on the “Request Info”, “Contact Agent,” or “Request More Details” button, chances are you are not contacting the listing agent for that property. Instead, you will be contacted by an agent who is paying the website a monthly fee for leads...
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What’s the Difference Between an Appraisal and a Broker’s Price Opinion

A.B.C.D. Real Estate Services provides both Real Estate Appraisal Services and Real Estate Brokerage Services. While our market knowledge aides us in both arenas, these two types of services are unique and distinct services. Due to potential conflict of interest issues we cannot provide both services on the same property.

Our Appraisal Services require impartiality. These services are provided to a customer, and require the appraiser to provide an impartial opinion with no fiduciary duty to the customer.

Our Brokerage Services are provided to a client to whom we have a fiduciary duty which include:

  1. Obedience: The Broker cannot exceed the authority given by the client and must follow all lawful instructions.
  2. Loyalty: The Broker must put the client’s interest ahead of all others, inc...
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