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Buyer Tips

New Practices in the Time of Covid-19

Due to the spread of Covid-19, Delap Real Estate has cancelled office hours until further notice. During this time, our agents will be working remotely and will continue to provide a high level of service to our clients while staying committed to everyone’s health and safety. We have provided some basic information below, and encourage you to contact us with any questions. Our agents’ phone numbers and email addresses are available here.

Open Houses

In accordance with state and federal guidelines limiting group gatherings, we are not scheduling open houses at this time.

Social DistancingShowings

We are still showing properties both virtually (through FaceTime/video tours) and in person. For in-person showings, our agents will wash/sanitize their hands before and after entering the property, keep at least 6 feet of distance from others, and will ask prospective buyers do the same. Agents will open bathroom, closet, and other doors in advance, so that prospective buyers not need to touch anything as they move through the space.

Appointments

We will be happy to “meet” with you by video or phone conference, and spend as much time as necessary to develop a plan to find your dream home—or get your property on the market. We are also available to meet in person, using the same safety measures described above for showings.

Everything Else

Whether you are in the middle of a closing, just embarking on a house search, or looking to put your property on the market, we know that many questions are likely to arise. Please feel free to contact us about any aspect of your current or future real estate endeavors. We will do our best to supply the information and resources you need to move forward now or formulate a plan for later.

As of today, everyone at Delap is healthy. We will continue to exercise an abundance of caution to preserve the health of our agents, clients, and the community at large. We are sending good wishes to all of you and your families in this difficult time. Please stay safe—and practice as much social distancing as you possibly can. We will do the same!

It's the Time of the Season for … Hygge

Cozy reading nook on couch with lamp and bookshelvesEight Tips for Adding Warmth and Coziness to Your Home

With Thanksgiving behind us and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground here in the Pioneer Valley, it feels like time to settle in by the fire, curl up with a good book, pour a cup of tea and luxuriate in the coziness of home. The Danish call this feeling of coziness hygge (pronounced h(y)oo), which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

There are parts of our homes that tend to spark feelings of coziness naturally; A breakfast nook with the morning sun slanting in, a comfy couch with a blanket draped over the back, or any spot near a fireplace. If your home contains these things, congratulations—hygge slam dunk! But if not, never fear. There are plenty of other ways to infuse your house with a feeling of warmth and comfort this winter.

Boost your home’s coziness factor by adding any of these elements:

  1. Rugs. Not only are they kind to your feet on chilly winter mornings, rugs can really soften the vibe of a room and create defined and inviting areas within a larger space.
  2. Blankets and throws. They’re great for warmth, of course, but also for adding a touch of softness to more modern, angular furniture.
  3. Pillows. Well…what’s cozier than a pillow?
  4. Plants, flowers, or fruit. Anything organic, really—even a piece of beautiful driftwood—will bring softness and a sense of comfort to a room.
  5. Texture. Whether achieved through fabrics, prints, or objects with different surfaces, texture can make a space feel more inviting.  
  6. Books. Stacks of them. Preferably somewhere near an overstuffed chair and a reading lamp.
  7. Soft, warm light. So break out those candles, fairy lights, or Edison bulbs for an instant feeling of warmth and comfort.
  8. Good smells. Whether its from bread baking in the oven or a woodsy-scented candle, the right smell will trigger a sense of “home” like nothing else.

 

Mortgage Rates Drop to 2-Year Lows

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Good news for homebuyers: The June 6th results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) show that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate has fallen to 3.82 percent, the lowest level since September 2017, and these rates are holding this week.  If you are considering buying, now is the time to take advantage of these low rates.

Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wide dispersion among mortgage rate offers. By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.82 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 6, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.54 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.28 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.46 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.01 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.74 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.  

Source: Freddie Mac

If you have any questions about the local market, or if you're thinking about buying a home in the Greater Amherst and Northampton Area, contact Delap Real Estate.

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Help for First Time Homebuyers

Do you think that a home of your own is beyond your reach?  Many potential home buyers are unaware that there are resources that can assist in making the dream of owning a home a reality. Valley Community Development (Valley CDC)  is an amazing organization right here in Western Massachusetts.  Their team has guided scores of people through their home buying experience.

Valley Community Development

The Valley CDC offers First Time Homebuyer workshops every month at a different location, rotating between Easthampton, Northampton, & Amherst. Each workshop series meets 4 times, once per week, from 6 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Classes are always held on weekday evenings. The workshops are open to anyone, regardless of where you live or work, or whether or not you are a First Time Homebuyer. Topics including budgeting, home inspections, closing procedures and more are covered. See the workshop schedule here. And of course, we at Delap are here for you and always delighted to help! If you are not yet in the market, or just starting out, or have questions-stop by our office, give us a call, or contact us by email. We can begin the journey with you to find a new home. It is nearer than you think!

 

Home Buyers

 

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Win the Bidding War and Get the House You Want

By Holly Young, Co-Owner

Shopping for a home can be fun and rewarding as well as frustrating and discouraging. Finding the home you love only to have your offer edged out by another buyer can be heartbreaking, but in this market it’s almost a rite of passage. In a hot market, where the supply of homes is low and the demand high, you may find yourself in a bidding war with multiple offers.

Here are 6 tips to making a winning offer:

Buying a Home

1. Include a preapproval letter with your offer

Don’t prohibit a seller from taking your offer seriously by not including a preapproval letter or proof of funds (in the case of a cash offer). The seller will be assured of your financial viability with a letter from your lender that corroborates your ability to make a purchase. Getting preapproved before looking at homes will ensure you can pounce quickly when you find the home you want. You will also avoid the stress of submitting preapproval paperwork and writing an offer at the same time.

2. Make a clean offer

Put yourself in the seller’s position: if you were presented with two identical offers but one was firm and binding and the other conditional upon inspection, upon financing, or upon anything, which one would you choose? Sellers want offers that are clean and concise. If you know other bids are coming in and you really want a home, avoid putting in too many contingencies or making too many demands. That being said, one contingency you should think twice about before waiving is the home inspection. Should the inspector discover a major problem at the home, you may want to protect your right to back out of the purchase.

3. Have the best terms

In a bidding war situation, the seller is reviewing more than one offer to determine which the best fit is for them. The terms of the offer, not just the price, may determine which offer they choose. A good agent will give you the edge by finding out what the seller’s desired close date is so you can marry your offer to that date. A sizable deposit may also help sweeten the impression of your offer over another. If it comes down to a few thousand dollars, an offer with more attractive terms may win the day.

4. Write a letter to the seller

While this won’t overcome a large difference in your bidding price, it will definitely help at the margin. Let the seller know who you are and why you love their house. A heartfelt and sincere letter that includes a picture of yourselves, children, or pets will make you stand out as more than just a number on a page and build rapport with the seller.

5. Use an escalation clause

An escalation clause is a term in an offer that states you will pay x price for the home, but if the seller receives another offer that's higher, you will increase the offer by some increment up to y price. In theory, an escalation clause is fairly simple. In practice, there are a lot of details involved, especially if there are two or more offers submitted that contain escalation clauses. Some sellers don’t like escalation clauses and prefer that buyers submit exactly what they're willing to pay. Your agent can find out whether an escalation clause will be favorably received.

6. Work with an agent who knows the market

Working with a real estate professional who is an expert in the market is crucial in a multiple offer situation. There are countless strategies and details that an experienced agent can navigate to give you the competitive edge. That edge may determine whether you will be on the winning or losing end of a bidding war.

Are you thinking about buying a home in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts? Contact Delap Real Estate or start your home search today!

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