Common Home-Buying Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we have a lot of clients that are looking to buy home insurance for a new house. Since we see a lot of folks that are going through the home insurance process, we want to share just a few of the more common mistakes that you should aim to avoid when you purchase a Massachusetts home:

Not making a “Wish List”

When you’re looking to buy a home in Boston, you will probably look at many different options. After a while, they will begin to blend together, so it is up to you to stay organized. Sit down with everyone that is involved in making the home-buying decision and make a “Wish List” for what you would ideally want in your new home. Take a copy of your list to each home you tour, and mark off the items on your list, taking notes as you go. This will make it much easier to decide on a home in the end.

Forgetting to budget for closing costs

Many home buyers (especially first-time buyers) are so focused on saving up the money for a down payment on a home that they forget that they will also likely be responsible for the cost to close, which can be significant. Instead of struggling to deal with these costs at the last minute, remember to include them when creating your budget as you prepare to search for your new home.

Not saving to cover move-in expenses

Unfortunately, closing costs aren’t the only bill that home-buyers forget to account for. After you pay your closing costs and get the keys to your new home, you will probably need to spend some money to get your home ready for occupation. This could mean making a few repairs or improvements, or simply buying some additional furniture to fit the new space. Budgeting for these costs ahead of buying your home – your wallet will thank you later!

Not doing your homework about an inspection

An inspection is a home buyer’s best friend. That being said, though, every inspection has its limitations. It’s important to know what your home inspection isn’t testing for. Ask your inspector if he or she will be looking for mold, pests, and radon, and anything else you should be on the lookout for that won’t be covered in the inspection.

You should also make sure to attend the full inspection and take your own notes. You can learn a lot about the house you are buying from the inspector, and they are often happy to answer all your questions, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Buying a home for the present

A home is a long-term investment, so it is important to consider your future before you choose a property. If you’re planning to expand your family, you may want to look for a home you can grow into. If you have kids leaving the nest soon, you may want to get a slightly smaller home knowing that their room will become the guest room when they leave.

Failing to negotiate

If you’re not negotiating when you buy your home, you may be missing out on major savings. There are many different things that you can use in a negotiation. The first thing that many people think of is the price of the home, and this is often where negotiations start. In addition, consider negotiating with the homeowner to have them cover repairs that need to be done, or ask them to include an allowance for you to upgrade the home (new carpeting, for example). You can also ask for the seller to pay all or part of the closing costs.

While you may not have much opportunity to negotiate on hot properties where there is a bidding war happening, these strategies will often pay off on homes that have been on the market for a while, where the seller is starting to feel the pressure to sell quickly.

Not buying enough home insurance

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance, we always aim to make sure that our clients have the perfect amount of Boston home insurance. After all, having too little insurance can be a financial disaster if you are ever involved in a major incident, whether it’s damage to your home or a liability issue.

To find out if your current home insurance policy has enough coverage, or to get a quote on a Massachusetts home insurance policy for your new home, call our agency at 617-298-0655. One of our agents can help you with all your home insurance needs. And if you need a referral to a Massachusetts real estate agent, just let us know! We have a vast network of local professionals and can connect you with someone to help you find the perfect home for you and your future.

Recap: RE Agents Good Appearances

“People sometimes talk about the power of first impressions, and believe me, there is truth to it.” – Ann Brashares

When a client starts the search for a real estate agent to help buy or sell a Massachusetts home, it is known that they will make their decision at least partially based on intuitions and gut feelings. Because of this, it is critical that you do everything in your power to ensure that you make a good first impression on your potential clients. Think about what kind of impact you are making with the following:

  • Your ‘first point of contact’ with the client, often an advertisement or your website.
  • Your office location and décor.
  • Your personal wardrobe and presentation.
  • Your attitude and interactions when you first meet someone.
  • Your vehicle, especially if you are using it to transport buyers.

Take a minute to ask yourself, “What could I be doing to make a better first impression on my potential clients?” If you need help, ask a friend to give their unbiased opinion on how they feel about any and all of the items in the above list, and where they see the most room for improvement.

To continue improving your relationship with your clients, refer them to a great home insurance agent! Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency will take care of all of your client’s home insurance needs, and we will keep you informed of every step along the way as you’re working toward closing day. To find out more about how we can help your clients, call us at 617-298-0655 and ask about why you should refer your clients to our agency.

Real Estate Agent Advice: Making First Impressions

As you have heard “There’s no second chance at a first impression.” But did you know that a large percent of home buyers and home sellers choose their real estate agent based on first impressions and gut feelings? If this is the case, then a savvy Realtor knows that making a good first impression on potential clients is one of their keys to success! Here are a few tips for how to make sure that your potential clients are impressed with you and your business from the very beginning:

First Point of Contact

How do your clients find you? You need to make sure that all of the first points of contact are going to put you and your business in the best possible light. This means making sure that all of your advertisements are of good quality, and that your website is attractive and easy to navigate. It also means making sure that a friendly voice always answers your office phone.

In addition, one of the best forms of marketing for real estate agents is word-of-mouth. This means that it’s your job to make sure that your past clients have only good things to say about you and your services. If someone hears from a friend or relative that they know of a great Boston Realtor, you’re already off to a great start!

Location, Location, Location

After a potential client finds you and schedules a meeting, the next first impression you control is when they step into your office. Make sure that your reception area is neat and welcoming, with comfortable furniture and inviting décor.

Also ensure that the conference room or office where you chat is going to make a good impression on your client. Remember – it only takes one slip-up for someone to get a ‘bad feeling’ and move on to someone else!

Dress for Success

When it comes to making a good first impression, dressing for success is the first thing on most people’s minds. It’s important to note, however, that dressing the part doesn’t necessarily mean dressing to the nines. You want to look neat and presentable, but you don’t want to be too over-the-top dressy and make clients uncomfortable. The trick is finding a wardrobe that makes you look professional but still casual and comfortable. And, as any seasoned real estate agent will tell you, find a pair (or several) of good shoes! There isn’t much worse than being stuck with bad shoes during a day of showings and open houses.

Be Welcoming

As a real estate agent, you know that clients are looking for someone that they like and trust to help them buy or sell their home. This means that when you meet a new client, you need to put on your most friendly face and be a good host. If the client comes to your office, offer them a refreshment and ask them if they were able to find your office without any trouble. If you visit them for your first meeting, offer to take off your shoes when you enter their home, and tell them that the neighborhood is lovely.

Wheels in Motion

Nothing makes an impression on a client quite like the car you drive. It’s something that both buyers and sellers will notice, so you want to make sure that you invest in a reliable car that will make heads turn. Choose something roomy for any time that you are driving around buyers, and make sure to invest in some of the trim upgrades. Bonus points will be handed out if you can get a car with heated seats and a refreshment cooler!

If you need help with a top of the line Massachusetts auto insurance policy for your mobile office, have a chat with the agents here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. We can create a policy that’s sure to impress!

Continuing the Practice

Once you resolve to start making sure that you make a good first impression on your clients, you need to treat it like you would a New Year’s Resolution. Making the decision to focus on impressing with your appearance is a great start, following through shows your commitment to your profession, but the real magic happens when it becomes a habit. When you are making good impressions on those around you without even having to work on it, you will be well on the way to success as a Boston real estate agent.

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are always looking to make a good impression on new clients, and this will always be the case with the people that you refer to us! We promise to give your clients a great home insurance experience, and to keep you in the loop at every step of the process. To talk more about why our agency should be your go-to home insurance referral, call us at 617-298-0655, and let us know if we make a good first impression!

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.

I’m In Love With Many Things…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you to everyone who showed their love by replying to last week’s message!

Your feedback and responses have been incredible, AND I am so looking forward to having coffee with you and will reach out to everyone else by the end of this week to schedule a time for us to meet.

I’m glad last week’s emails resonated with so many people!

I am a man in love. I’m in love with many things, and a few people. And I’m also in love with learning – it’s what makes my ‘business-me’ work well.

I’m drinking a Starbucks “Clover Pressed” Panama Carmen Estate Reserve Blend at our local Starbucks shop (I find that I sometimes work better here than at home or the office, it helps me to pause and people watch). What’s in your cup?

I asked in last week’s message, “How are you feeling about your year so far?” I am feeling pretty good about my year… the summer is here, which in my book has always meant that the workload scales back a notch or two and Kathy and I get outdoors more than ever, and all of the meet and greet family and friend events are starting, of which I try to not miss any.

Lately, I’m learning from people who push beyond average. The time for average is over. I am learning from people who live simply but with impact. I’m learning how clarity and the value of integrating your life around the alignment of your mission, your goals, and the targets related to those two points matters a lot more than which social network you use.

We are wasting so much energy in turbulence instead of in forward motion. We are drowning ourselves in distraction (Trump, Russia, impeachment, etc.) and are avoiding facing the work that we must do. We’re still chasing the shiny and new when what we need most are the basics. We are seeking every possible opportunity to lie to ourselves, coddle ourselves, or make excuses.

There are plenty of employees and passive people roaming the planet that are just waiting for “the man” to ruin their lives more so that they will have something new to complain about. But you’re an owner/entrepreneur. Even if you’re an ‘employeepreneur,’ your belief is that you own your choices affect your own your life, and you aim to own your future.

We strive to build our capabilities through learning and executing on that knowledge so that we can be of better service to the people we have the opportunity to serve.

What’s right for you? Even if you’re not sure, I know this: learning is a part of the menu, and it must be. Every day.

Since starting down the path of helping others, I’ve learned that it’s important to be relationship-minded. I’ve learned that, like with all industries, there are good and bad examples. I’ve learned that my concept that “we are all salespeople” is absolutely true in marketing. And I have learned that many self-employed/entrepreneurs are happy to “just be,” rather than growing their knowledge or brand.

Right now I am reading two books, my summer enjoyment reading is Winter of the World by Ken Follet and to stay sharp and continue learning, Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount.

That’s all I have for today. I’m finding myself drawn to people seeking the next level. Those who are making excuses or who feel they’ve already figured it all out aren’t that interesting to me. I’m sure they’re nice people, but I’ve only got 50 years left on this planet (if I’m very lucky) and I’d rather spend it with people who care.

And thus, I end where I began – What you learn matters. Do you agree?

What are you learning?

Carlos

Tips for Buying Your First Condo

Condominiums are one of the best-kept secrets of the real estate world. When looking for a new home, some people still only consider buying a house or renting an apartment, without realizing that purchasing a condo may be the perfect balance between the two – allowing you to have the ‘best of both worlds.’ If you’re in the market for a condo in Boston, check out these buying tips:

  • Hire a professional Real Estate Agent to help you with your search. If you need a referral, please let us know so that we can connect you to a top-notch agent in the area.
  • When you’re looking for a unit, make sure that you consider resale value. More bedrooms and bathrooms, scenic views, and better school districts are just a few of the features that will make your condo more appealing the next time you look to move.
  • Consider the amenities offered at each condominium you tour. Does the complex have a gym? Laundry facilities? Rentable event space? These are all important things to think about when making your decision.
  • Before you make a final decision, make sure that you are clear on the extra fees associated with the unit you choose. Condos often have monthly maintenance fees, and some will charge property taxes separately.

Once you’ve found your perfect Boston condominium, make sure that you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 to get a quote on Condo Insurance. This policy is tailored specifically for the needs of a condo owner, and will cover your personal belongings, your unit, and anything else not covered in your association’s master policy. For more information, or if you have any questions, simply call our office and speak to an agent!

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.

Monday Motivation June 19, 2017 When You Reach The End Of Your

I hope you had an amazing Father’s Day weekend!

As always I like to start my week off right with some words of inspiration…

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Whether you are new to or a seasoned professional in sales, there are times in our life where we have done all we can… In those times,
don’t give up
don’t stop,
just hang on and continue pushing….

Consistent action, even if the action is just hanging on, will pay off…

Keep pushing and keep creating the amazing life you know you want and deserve!

We have made many changes at our agency to better help you and your clients when you have an insurance question or need a quote.

You can call us at 617-298-0655
You can now text us at 617-409-0329
Or, for a quick insurance quote, you can email: quotes@vargasinsurance.com

Check out our blog for some advice if you are working with a property that is vacant or unoccupied, read the blog here.

And remember that I work deliberately from my plan, and my plan involves serving you to the best of my ability. Help me stay accountable? And make sure you help me understand how best to serve you. Fair?

Have an awesome week!

And know that you are loved.

Carlos