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Massachusetts Gov. Baker COVID-19 Order Permitting the Temporary Conditional Deferral of Certain Inspections of Residential Real Estate

Inspections may be deferred only if the following requirements have been met:

  • The parties agree in writing that the buyer, not the seller, shall be responsible for installing approved smoke/CO detectors in the premises;
  • The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the premises with approved detectors immediately after the closing
  • The state required smoke/CO detector inspection must be conducted no less than 90 days after the Mass. COVID-19 State of Emergency is lifted.

Feel free to down load the Executive – order is attached below

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5 Ways Your Tax Refund Can Help You Get Into Your First Home

Has your family been dreaming of a new home? These 5 tips will help you use your tax refund to help achieve the American dream of homeownership!

The average tax refund for the 2018 filing season was nearly $3,000 and the IRS doles out more than 110 million of them every year, according to IRS data.

If you’re expecting to get a refund this tax season, instead of spending it on things that you don’t need, consider using it to invest in your future! What better way to do so than using your tax refund as a down payment on the home of your dreams.

But wait, can I really do that??

You sure can! Check out these 5 ways that your tax refund can help you get there:

1. Put It Toward a Deposit

When you get your tax refund, you can put it in a savings account at your bank to build up a deposit fund. Keep adding to the fund and before you know it you could have the key to a new home in your hands!

Plus, the larger the deposit amount you put toward a new home, the less you will have to borrow and pay in interest over time.

2. Apply It to Closing Costs

Even if you choose to finance your home purchase, you can still put your tax refund toward closing costs that can be incurred when you’re buying a home:

  • Attorney fees
  • Appraisal and inspection fees
  • Title insurance
  • Escrow costs

These are costs that are typically incurred in the home purchase process, depending on which lender you choose. They can’t always be rolled into your monthly mortgage payment, so it’s good to prepare ahead of time for them. Your tax return can be a great way to help pay for these costs.                          

3. Put It Toward Taxes and Insurance

After you’ve purchased your home, you may need to pay your property taxes and home insurance costs, which is where your tax refund can come into play.

If both your property taxes and home insurance are included in your monthly mortgage payment, you could consider using your tax refund to purchase additional insurance and greater financial security like an umbrella or life insurance policy. Consult with your insurance agent to determine what type of additional insurance is best for you!

4. Use It to Cover Moving Costs

Even if your entire home buying process goes smoothly and you’ve done a great job of managing your finances and saving money, it’s still possible that you’ll have moving expenses to deal with.

Your tax refund can help cover additional costs like:

  • Renting a moving truck
  • Purchasing packaging material
  • Paying utility service deposits
  • Feeding your friends pizza after they help you move all day

5. Use It to Build Your Emergency Fund

Every homeowner should have an emergency fund — a savings account with a balance that can cover several months of expenses, including your mortgage payment. You could add your tax refund to your emergency fund to help protect you from financial issues in the case you have any unexpected expenses, such as a major car repair or natural disaster, or in the event of job loss, illness or other income interruption.

Written By: Kalley Y             

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FREE 1-Hour Buyer Consultation

Thinking about buying a home, but not sure where to start?

Real Estate Exchange offers a FREE 1-hour buyer consultation where we can help you understand the home buying process and answer many of your questions. 

During the buyer consultation we will go over what’s involved when writing an offer.  

We will review an actual contract to purchase and the important dates you will need to keep in mind.  We will discuss the basic amounts of money needed and when you will be required to provide a deposit along with covering many of the most commonly asked questions.

Cover the commonly asked questions:

Should I hire an attorney?

Do I need Title insurance?

Why is an appraisal need?

How much money do I need?

When do I have a home Inspection?

When do I get homeowners Insurance?

Give us a call today to arrange your no obligation buyer consultation (978) 582-4339.

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When Is It Time To Contact Your Realtor?

If you are thinking about making the call (or text or email), it’s probably time… even if you aren’t planning to actually make the move for another six months or even longer. Sellers should call earlier than buyers, sometimes even a year or more before planning to make the actual move.

The bottom line is, contact your Real Estate Exchange agent whenever you have a question or need some help… that is what we are here for!


Contact your agent before doing any improvements to sell your home… focus on decluttering, cleaning and basic repairs first, then call your agent before doing anything else. Your realtor knows your market and can advise you on what changes will have a positive impact for your specific home… what is and isn’t recommended may surprise you. Also start going to open houses in your area to get an idea of how your competition is preparing, staging and pricing their homes.

Some things you should discuss with your Realtor when you get together at your home are…

  • Current market, what your house might sell for and your estimated net proceeds… possible variations based on potential impact of improvements you  may be considering
  • If you will be buying after you sell, what is available for you to buy… maybe make a ‘buying’ tour of homes. Does it financially make sense to make the move? Do you have special requirements with limited property choices so it makes more sense to buy first if you can?
  • If you decide to move forward, your Realtor can help you make decisions on what you should do to make your home have greatest appeal… improvements should match the market, for your particular home and neighborhood
  • Your Realtor will likely also bring in a stager to help make decisions on things such as paint colors and decor… staging is very different from decorating, and sets the stage so buyers want to picture themselves living in your home
  • If where you live requires a city inspection before you sell, be sure to have that completed before hiring anyone to come in and do any work… coordinate required repairs to be done at the same time

Stay in touch with your realtor as you make progress on your plan. The two most difficult parts of getting ready to sell are often… de-clutter, then de-clutter again, then de-clutter again!… and CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN every nook and cranny including closets, drawers, cupboards, garage, ceilings and light fixtures, and mostly importantly kitchens and bathrooms.


  • Not surprisingly, 93% of buyers start looking for homes on the Internet… a good way to initiate the shift from dream to reality is driving by properties of interest in different neighborhoods to start defining location. Location is so important because that is something you can’t change and it can have a profound impact on how happy you are with your new home.
  • After you initial digging, it’s a good idea to contact your Realtor even if you aren’t ready to buy yet. Have them set up an automated Search for you of different neighborhoods of interest to get a sense of what kinds of properties are available at what price. Start going to open houses to actually get inside the homes.
  • It is a good idea to also contact a lender at this point to help you focus in on price range… and also find out if there are things you can do to assure you get the best interest rate, such as tips to improve your credit score or correct errors on your credit report.
  • Once you are about 4-6 months from your target closing date it is time to meet with your agent, more clearly define what you are looking for and start actively looking… also get your financing pre-approval. Average time to find a home is about 3 months, plus another 1-2 months from purchase agreement to closing.

Finding the right home is a process, which I find usually starts fairly broad and narrows focus as we start actually looking at properties. Contact your Realtor whenever you have any questions about a property or a neighborhood or find a property you simply must see… I usually recommend seeing at least one other property in the neighborhood for comparison with properties in serious consideration.

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Are You Thinking of Selling or Buying but Worried You Missed The Spring Market?

Regardless of other conditions which change from year to year I have long felt late fall is the best time of the year for buying and selling. 

Although fewer people are house hunting as the winter months approach us, fall is a beautiful time of the year to buy or sell, especially in New England.  The fall foliage and the crisp New England air enhance the natural beauty surrounding your home and welcome home buyers

Benefits for buying:

  • Prices are starting to soften seasonally, and sellers are often more willing to negotiate as they want to sell before winter arrives.
  • Supply is waning, but some sellers are scurrying to list before the holidays and you still have more choices than in the dead of winter and you have a better chance of not losing out in a multiple offer situation and not paying more than list price.

Benefits for selling:

  • Cooler season tends to have a lower inventory, which is good news for sellers. If there are fewer homes listed on the market, you have a less competition.
  • Buyer demand is still high. The bidding wars and rapid price gains are slowing, but sellers can still expect strong demand. Demand is being driven by low supply across the country and more millennials buying homes. expects Millennials to be the largest segment of buyers this year, accounting for 45 percent of mortgages.

There are many mutual benefits for both buyers and sellers in the fall market including potential quicker closings. With the slower seasons we tend to have fewer transaction which can mean quicker closing times.  When lenders have fewer loan to process, attorneys have a fewer closing to attend to and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do, which can all lead to a faster closing for you.  

Buying or selling this fall, let us help negotiate the best deal for you, call our team today (978) 582-4339

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A Hot Real Estate Market is Something we Hear a Lot About These Days

The news is always talking about which markets are the hottest, but what does it really mean for sellers and buyers?

In a hot market, sellers are able to sell their homes fast, and often for more money. Housing inventory is low which means there are simply more buyers for homes than sellers. If a home is priced right, it may sell within days, and with multiple offers. The demand being higher than the supply also drives up the prices of homes for sale. Most often the hot market applies more to mid to low priced homes, as higher-end homes tend to have a smaller buyer pool resulting in more time on the market.

If you would like to sell your home, a hot real estate market is a perfect time! For buyers, it means a lot more time and effort to find a home, and perhaps an increase in the price buyers had planned on paying. Buyers may become frustrated after finding their dream home, only to end up in multiple offers, and not having their offer accepted.

What can buyers do in a hot real estate market to get the home they want?

• Get pre-approved – Sellers will be comparing the offers they receive and if they see your financing is solid through a pre-approval, it will help make it stand out.

• Hire a Realtor – The seller pays the Realtor, making it a free tool to have in your pocket. Find someone you can trust to work for you.

• Wants vs. Needs – In a hot market, it may not be possible to get absolutely everything you are looking for in a home. Make a list of what you really need, and another with what you would like. By defining your wants and needs it will help narrow down your search, and you won’t waste time looking for things you really don’t have to have.

• Don’t procrastinate – Now is not the time to take your time in setting up showing appointments. If you see a home come on the market, have your Realtor book a showing right away. Keep an eye on coming soon listings as well, so you will be ready to look as soon as the home is active.

Although a hot real estate market is great for sellers, buyers shouldn’t be intimidated.  Just be sure to prepare yourself for the potential competition and be understanding and patient with the process in this market.

To learn more about today’s market and to see if now is the right time to buy or sell, give us a call today (978) 582-4339

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Signs That It’s Time To Make An Offer

Wondering if you’ve found the right home? Here are some signs that it’s time to make an offer. 

1. It feels good as soon as you enter… as you go through it you find that instead of looking for reasons not to buy, you are looking for affirmation that it continues to feel good and this is the right home.

2. You get the flutters… it’s like the feeling you get when you fall in love, wait a minute this IS falling in love, but with a home!

3. You forgive flaws… every home has flaws, but you find yourself making excuses for the flaws in this home, willing to overlook them because the rest of the home feels so good.

4. You find yourself mentally moving in, arranging furniture, changing paint colors, making updates… this is an important sign that you feel like you could live here, and you are ready to fix it up to truly make it yours.

5. You remember every detail… after seeing tons of houses most of them blur together, but this one stands out and is emblazoned in your memory.

6. You feel happy… rather than worrying, you relax and breathe a sigh of relief that this feels like home and you would be proud to live here.

7. You can’t imagine someone else moving into ‘your home’. When you get to this point, it’s time to make an offer!

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The Benefits Of Owning A Home

Owning a home has always been part of the American Dream. For many it still is! There are many benefits for owning a home -some are financial and some are emotional. It represents stability, shelter, wealth and pride. When you buy your first home, it feels awesome to be able to say you are a homeowner!

Some of the benefits are financial – here are a few of them:

-Appreciation – your home has been going up in value, it doesn’t always happen but in the long term, you will gain equity in your home.

-Forced savings – with each payment you make, you are lowering the amount you owe and gaining equity in your home. If you rent, you are making your landlord richer by helping make his house payment.

-Net worth – for most homeowners, their net worth is higher than someone that rents.

-Tax benefits – talk to your CPA about expenses you can write off, you may be able to save money on your tax bill by owning a home.

There are other benefits that you don’t always think about:

-Civic participation – when you own your home, you tend to take better care of it. You may also be more concerned about your community and neighborhood.

-Public assistance – many homeowners use their equity in their homes to pay down debt and avoid using public assistance.

-Pride of ownership – your home is yours – you can decorate it how you want, you can plant a garden, you can paint walls, you can make your home yours. When you rent, you need to get permission to paint, etc.

The American Dream of home ownership is alive and well – there is something about buying your first home and knowing it’s yours! It’s exciting to know you hold the keys! If you are thinking about buying, let us know – we would love to help you with your dream of home ownership!