Recap: Choosing a Real Estate Agent

“I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make.” – John Paulson

Looking to sell your Massachusetts home? There are lots of great real estate agents here in the Boston area that can help you through the process. If you’re trying to find the right Realtor for the job, look for these qualifications when interviewing potential candidates:

  • Full time agent – Make sure that your agent is committed to the local real estate market, and sees their job selling your house as more than just a ‘side gig.’
  • Expert on homes – Some Realtors focus their time on signing as many clients as they can, where they should be focused on helping you do everything you can to get top dollar for your home.
  • Proactive communication – There isn’t much more frustrating in the home selling process than feeling like you’re constantly in the dark about what’s going on with your home. Find an agent that will communicate early and often about the home selling process.

And remember, if you’re moving within Massachusetts, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about how to insure your new home. As always, we will make sure to get you a home insurance policy that protects you and your loved ones without causing undue stress on your wallet. Our award-winning insurance agency is only a phone call away – just dial 617-298-0655 to speak to an agent!

Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, selling your home can be a stressful process. You want to make sure that you get top dollar for it, while also working on picking out a new place to live that’s (as Goldilocks would say) just right for your family.

Thankfully, you have lots of options when you choose someone to help you sell your home. If you’re looking for advice on how to choose a Massachusetts real estate agent, look no further. Here are a few tips from our Boston home insurance professionals.

Who Should You Trust to Sell Your Home?

When you’re looking to put your home on the market, you have several options of how to list it. Let’s break them down:

You could sell “By Owner,” but this is often a huge mistake. Selling a home is a complicated process, and it’s not worth it just to save a little bit of money on a real estate agent’s commission. In fact, you may even lose money by not getting the best possible sale price.

In the worst-case scenario, you could potentially end up in a legal battle because of your lack of knowledge and expertise. Just like you probably wouldn’t consider representing yourself in court, don’t sell a home without a qualified and knowledgeable professional guiding you. This is where a Realtor comes in.

The Signs of a Great Real Estate Agent

When you’re scouting out real estate agents to meet with, make sure that you find out if your candidates are full-time agents. You want to make sure that you work with someone that is knowledgeable about your neighborhood and knows what they are doing, so try to avoid those ‘part time’ agents who consider real estate a ‘side job.’

It’s important for your Realtor to know about the process of buying and selling a home, but make sure that you choose one that is also knowledgeable about houses themselves. Your real estate agent should be able to walk through your home and point out things that buyers will like, and things that you should consider changing to make the property more attractive.

In addition to being knowledgeable about how to stage your home, your agent should also have marketing expertise. The real estate marketing game has changed a lot in recent years, so you need to make sure that you hire an agent that is going to leverage the most current techniques to get the word out about your house. Ask agents about their typical marketing plan, specifically the digital channels they will use to make sure that potential buyers see your home.

You will need to talk to your real estate agent a lot throughout the process of selling your home, so make sure that you talk to candidates about their communication. Don’t settle for someone that is going to agree to sell your home and then move on to another client – find a Realtor that is going to keep you informed about what they’re doing to sell your home, preferably someone who will proactively communicate so that you never feel like you’re always the one asking for updates and details.

Last (but certainly not least), make sure that you find a real estate agent that truly cares about you and your home. Your real estate agent should be focused on getting to know you and helping set you up for success in selling your home – not solely on increasing their commission. While you’re interviewing potential real estate agents as you prepare to list your home, make sure that you never feel like the means to a bottom line.

When choosing an agent, you need to also do your homework. Instead of relying solely on interviews with the agents themselves, ask for a list of each agent’s recent clients. Call a few and ask about the experience they had with the agent. Also check the agents license to ensure that it is current and that no formal complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against the agent.

All of this can be a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re having trouble finding the right Massachusetts real estate agent to sell your home, call us! As an insurance agency, we have worked with many Realtors in the area, and we would love to give you a referral for an agent that will meet all of the qualifications outlined above.

When you’ve sold your home and are ready to move into a new place, make sure that you make the call to 617-298-0655 to talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent. We can set you up with a new home insurance policy in no time! We will evaluate your needs and risk tolerance along with the details surrounding your new home to craft a policy that fits your needs.

Should You Stage Your “For Sale” Home?

When trying to sell your Massachusetts home, you know that it is important to do everything you can to entice buyers. One of the best things you can do to increase interest in your home is to stage it. Depending on the Boston real estate agent you work with, they may recommend staging your home right away, or waiting to see the initial interest to evaluate the need for professional staging services.

It is important to note the value in staging a home that’s for sale. In the 2017 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of Realtors, you can see facts that may convince you to stage your home from the outset of your sale, including:

  • 49% of buyers’ agents said that a staged home had an effect on their buyer’s view.
  • About one third of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered on the home. 50% of sellers’ agents said this increase was up to ten percent.
  • In addition, nearly 40% of sellers’ agents said that staging a home ‘greatly reduces’ the amount of time that the home is on the market.

If you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, contact Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency for a list of trusted Massachusetts real estate agents. We work with some of the best in the business, and we would be happy to help you chose the real estate agent that’s right for you. And remember to call us at 617-298-0655 for help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs.

Preparing to Sell Your Home

If you’re thinking of leaving the Boston area, or if you’re just upgrading to a new home, you need to get your home ready for market. With the help of a top notch real estate professional, you can have your home ready to show off to potential buyers in no time. To start preparing a little early, use the following Realtor-approved tips:

  • Curb appeal is crucial – make sure that your lawn is manicured, and touch up paint if necessary. Outdoor furniture and windows should be clean, and shrubbery and flowers should be pruned.
  • You want to make sure that your home feels spacious, so put away clutter. If you’re planning on moving, you can start packing away anything that you won’t need in the near future so that your home feels roomier.
  • Are there any repairs that will need to be done before your home sells? Get a start on those now – some sellers won’t like the idea of buying a home that needs repairs. For an idea of what needs to be done, ask for the help of a licensed home inspector.
  • When buyers tour your home, they will need to be able to envision living there. Help this process by depersonalizing the space – remove family photos, toys, and pet items from view.

And remember, when you do sell your home, talk to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about how to cancel or transfer your existing Massachusetts home insurance policy. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions, and we will work hard to make the home insurance process as easy as possible for you and your family.

Insuring a Vacant or Unoccupied Home

 

In today’s world, more and more properties are vacant or unoccupied. This happened for many different reasons, including dividing time between a primary residence and vacation home, leaving a property while it is being renovated or is on the market to be sold, a rental property being between tenants, and more.

Vacant and unoccupied properties present a risk to insurance providers – whether the unit in question is a home, apartment, or condominium. Vacant and unoccupied properties can attract vandals and thieves, and accidents are more likely to occur and have serious repercussions. Just consider this scenario – you leave your home unoccupied while you are on an extended vacation and a pipe bursts. The damage is likely to be substantial because there is no one in residence to notice and remedy the issue. This makes it easy to see why insurance companies have limits and provisions for these situations.

Oftentimes, a short trip away from your home is not enough for it to be considered vacant. Most insurance providers will require a place of residence to be unoccupied for 30 consecutive days before they begin to drop coverage.

Many insurance policies contain a vacancy provision. Two similar terms—vacant and unoccupied—have specific meanings in the language of insurance and are specifically defined in some policies. A vacant building contains little or no furniture or other personal property.

 

If you are planning on leaving your home, apartment, or condo vacant or unoccupied in the future, call your local insurance agent to ask about how to make sure that you stay covered by your Massachusetts insurance policy. Depending on your insurance provider, you may only need to pay a small fee to ensure that your current protection continues. In other cases, you may be required to purchase a special policy tailored specifically to a vacant or unoccupied property. For more information, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 today.

Must Have Apps for Real Estate Professionals

9-30-16-must-have-apps-img

 

A smartphone is a must in today’s world, especially for a Real Estate agent. You probably use yours several times a day to talk to clients and schedule showings, but are you using your phone to its fullest potential? Here are four areas where you may be able to leverage your app store to make your life easier:

  • Social Media – Social Media doesn’t rest, so you need to be prepared to post and interact with clients and followers at all times. Your phone is a key player in having your profiles at your fingertips. You obviously need Facebook, but also try apps like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, HootSuite and (my favorite) Buffer
  • Organization – Staying organized on the go is a key trait for Realtor success. Apps like Dropbox, Tempo, and (my favorite) Evernote and more will help you have all of your documents and appointments at your fingertips, no matter where you are.
  • For Showings – Did you know that there are apps that you can use to help you with your listing appointments? Route 4 Me helps you determine an optimal route to get clients around town efficiently, and Supra eKey can turn your smartphone into a lockbox key!
  • For Listings – In addition to using your social media accounts to promote your listings, you can use apps like Camera+ to take and edit pictures of your listings for your social media posts, or you can use your iphone like I do.  There is also a DocuSign app to help you send, track, and sign documents digitally to help sales go through smoothly.

What are the apps that you can’t live without? Tell us about the apps that we missed, and we may use them for another app feature in the future! And, as always, stay tuned to the blog for more technology tips.