Friday, February 2, 2018

Do I Really Need a Real Estate Agent?

The other day I found myself in a conversation I was warned would happen when I started my  training to become a Real Estate Agent.  The dreaded: “why do I even need an agent?” conversation.  To be honest- I get it.  Prior to getting my license I looked at countless properties online, and watched all of the reality real estate TV I could – I figured- can’t I do this myself?

The answer is yes, you probably could, but why would you want to risk it.  As you start your home search, looking at all of the amazing listings on the various websites, sorting through the ones that are most appealing to you- you might start to wonder: how do I know how much I’m comfortable offering?  How much can I really afford?  Enter your Real Estate Agent.  Your agent is there from day one front loading the entire experience so you are prepared for the day that you purchase.  They are your go to resource for educating you on the paperwork and the market, matching you with a team of proven service providers, making your purchase seamless and protect you throughout the entire process. In a competitive market like Boston’s, being prepared is imperative.  An agent worth their salt knows at least a handful of great mortgage lenders who they can quickly, and with confidence refer you to help you find the number that best works for you.  

Once a lender is on board, and you feel confident in your search, then your agent can start helping you sort through all those listings you’ve been looking at.  Heading to open houses, making appointments, getting you in the front door of homes in your budget and in your desired area- that’s just the next step.  Then it happens- like a gift from above-  you’ve found that place that has won your heart.  It’s the place that you can see settling into for years to come.  Your agent is there to field all questions about the true value of the property.  They’ll be there to ensure that the place you’ve found works not only in your fiscal budget, but also into your lifestyle overall.  When you’re ready to make an offer,  we’ll comb through mountains of data to determine how the market is performing so we can best guide you on what your offer should be.  Are houses selling for over or under ask?  How much over or under?  How many other homes are on the market that are similar to the one you want?  Therefore- how desirable is this particular place?  These are chief pieces of information, and coupled with a few other items, an agent will be able to help you find the price that will win the negotiations.  

Oh and those negotiations.  We are bound to you, as our clients.  We have a responsibility to you to keep all of that confidential information that you’ve told us, confidential.  We aren’t going to and tell the listing agent- “psssst hey- my client can really spend $xxx they are just seeing how little they can get it for”.  Nope – we’re going to keep that between us.  We’re going to make sure that we get you the best deal on the place.  

And that’s the next piece- you’re offer has been accepted and while you want to celebrate that small victory- we’re not quite ready to celebrate yet, but we will be right there to give you a high five…and a phone number.  A phone number of a home inspector, one that we trust implicitly, who will thoroughly inspect your potential new home and let you know of any issues they may find.  After that step is complete- we’re may go back to the negotiation table.  We’re going to present the findings, if any, and see if the price needs to be adjusted.  

Next hurdle completed and it’s time for the Purchase and Sale agreement (or P&S).  This is a lovely legal document written by those jargon loving lawyers to make sure that you and the seller are entering into a sound agreement.  Obviously this isn’t something to be taken lightly, and reviewing the terms that the seller sets forth requires a keen eye for legaleze.  A practiced, accomplished Real Estate Attorney is the only way to go.  Your agent will know some fantastic attorneys.  This is who they work with every day.  

Once the final checks of the mortgage are completed, and that wonderful lender that your agent referred you to has dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s- it’s time for the lawyers to finish everything up and schedule the closing.  Your agent will be with you every step of the way to that final walkthrough on the day of closing to make sure that they left that washer and dryer you asked for among other things all the way to the closing itself to watch you receive those keys!

Buying a home is an incredibly exciting process.  It’s the space that will be your respite and your comfort for years to come, so it’s imperative that you have the real estate right team working with you to ensure that every moving piece falls into place, every date is met and no detail is missed.  Your Real Estate Agent is THE person to fill that role.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Let's Talk About Acid

Whenever I get to the part of a wine tasting where we need to look at the acidity levels I always start to imagine some cheesy movie out of the 1970's about the party culture- and then I giggle.  My tour participants must think Im nuts.  It's a fair assessment.  

After the giggles though- acidity in wine is a big deal.  How much or little acidity is a big influence on what will pair best with the wine.  Earlier we talked about the body of wine, and how that must match closely with the body of your food, here we follow the same principle- the acidity of your food and your wine must be close.  

How do you tell how much acid is in your wine?  This is one of the more challenging items to get right.  However, at its base, acid will present in wine as saliva congregating under your tongue.  So if you have a high acid wine you'll feel saliva pool under your tongue.  A lower acidity wine and you won't feel too much.  

We measure this amount by what we call "The Drip Test".  Sounds pretty awesome right?  It's actually insanely disgusting.  Basically the idea is that if your wine has a high acidity level then your mouth will continue to "water" after you've swallowed your sip - so much so that if you tip your head forward and open your mouth you may drool.  Yup- Drip Test.  My fellow classmates and I finally called enough on that one and learned to just pay careful attention to the area under our tongues.  Generally speaking if you feel that you need to swallow a second (or a third) time to clear the saliva from that area before talking- it's a high acid wine.  

Higher acidity wines are largely found in cooler climates.  Acid bakes out of grapes as they mature on the vines so the warmer the grapes grow in, the less acidity will be present in your wine.

So when you find yourself face to face with a highly acidic wine, don't pair it with your favorite cup of New England Clam Chowder.  Your mouth won't be able to adjust quickly enough and the intricate flavors of the chowder will be lost.  Instead- pair it with a food that has its own punch of acidity- lemon sauces, tomato sauces, vinaigrettes.  

Do your best to match acidity levels- wine to food and you'll find a pleasurable experience.  But please, don't feel the need to perform The Drip Test at your next dinner party- or if you do please leave me out of it ;-)  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Wines for Holiday Fun!

Happy Holidays!

It's that time again to host and toast! There are parties aplenty and gifts to be given, but everyone knows the best gifts are those that can be drunk.  I'm here to help you navigate the wine stores and score the perfect bottles to be given and shared.

For the occasion that sparkles:
When you want your wine to complement the twinkling lights popping a bottle of bubbly is always the right decision.  Wowing your friends will be easy with sparkling wine from France called Cremant.  Made outside of the Champagne region so it can't use the fanfare of the name, it is made using the same practices but clocks in around $20.00 a bottle making it much easier on your holiday budget.

For a cookie tasting:
Hundreds of sugar cookies all lined up and ready to be devoured calls for a special wine. Those fancy desert wines, usually hidden away in the bowels of your wine stores are the perfect accompaniment.  I would highly suggest splurging on a bottle of Sauternes.  They are small bottles- 375 mL, and are typically found for about $40, but their sweet style and flavors of almonds and orange marmalade make them a perfect complement to a cookie eating afternoon.

For reunions and catch ups that last for hours:  
These are the nights we dream about -friends and family back in town, and hours can be wiled away with good conversation.  These occasions demand a sipping wine- a wine that doesn't require intricate pairing, a wine that can be drunk on its own and is presents a pleasing palate.  Valpolicella is the perfect wine for these nights.  This Italian wine has medium high acidity, coupled with medium body which makes this easy to drink glass after glass. The bright fruit flavors of plums cherry and often chocolate make it a pleasure to enjoy.  Valpolicella can normally be found for about $20 a bottle and be sure to find one marked with the DOC or DCOG label for the best quality.

No matter what wine you choose to accompany your gatherings and gift to your hosts, I wish you the merriest of festivities!!

Questions on what bottles will pair with your meals?  Send them over- I'm happy to help you plan!


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