North Reading

Septic Systems-A Topic North of Boston Buyers And Sellers Need To Understand

 

Septic Systems:

A Topic North of Boston Buyer's And Seller's Need To Understand

A Septic System is defined as an on-site wastewater disposal system that treats wastewater - usually under 10,000 gallons per day.  Think of it as your own mini wastewater treatment facility.  By wastewater I mean what comes out of your household plumbing fixtures like your toilet, sink, shower, and laundry.  These are common when a community doesn't have a public sewer system like North Reading for instance.  Roughly 1 in 5 homes in the US have septic systems with the New England states having the highest proportion of homes served by septic system led by VT@ (55%).  The major components of a septic system are the tank, the distribution box (or D-Box) and the leaching field. 

In real general terms here’s how it works.... The wastewater leaves the house and enters a tank where the solids separate from the water and are decomposed there by bacteria.  Bacteria are good.  Bacteria are your friend.  The wastewater then leaves the tank, entering the D-Box which distributes it into a network of lines in a trench (or leaching field) where drainage holes in these lines allow the water to eventually seep into the ground after again being treated by a layer of gravels & soils. 

Mass adopted a regulation in 1975 known as Title V which was most recently revised in 2006.  This regulation is used to determine as to whether the on-site wastewater disposal system is adequate to protect public health and the environment.

From a seller’s perspective, the first thing you should consider doing once the decision has been made that you are selling your home is to get your septic system inspected.  If your system passes, you can move forward and concentrate on all the other aspects of getting your home market ready.  You’ll be issued a Title V certificate which is good for 2 years (or 3 if you have record of pumping every year).  Residential transactions between the following parties are exempt from Title V:  spouses, parents, children, siblings, or a trust.  Title transfer under any of these scenarios DO NOT require Title V.  Refinances are also exempt.  Weather conditions may prevent an inspection from taking place prior to sale.  If that’s the case, it must be completed within 6 months. 

If your system fails, you’ll now begin working with an engineer, a licensed installer, the local board of health and be required to pull a construction permit.  Anyone at Farrelly Realty can provide you with a list of preferred contractors to get the job done.  Installation of a new system could run upwards of 50K with the entire process realistically taking 3-4 months.  Therefore, it is critical to get this done immediately.  If you fail, this does not necessarily mean you cannot sell your home until its replaced.  The buyer’s lender may approve a holdback which means putting 1.5X the cost of the project into escrow for work to be done post close.  That money will cover the cost of installation with the remainder returned to the seller.  A holdback can also be used if you are selling in the winter months and perhaps your system failed, and installations have stopped for the season.  A cash transaction will also not require Title V, but the system will still need to be replaced within 2 years. 

Some of the more common reasons for failing are: too much water (which dilutes the bacteria which is needed to digest the waste), backup sewage, discharge to ground surface, system requires pumping more than 4 times per year, leaching field is not draining properly or within a certain distance from various water sources. 

You may also “conditionally” pass which means you only have to repair part of the system rather than replace the entire system.  Some of the more common repairs may be replacing the D-Box or a cracked tank. 

Not only is this an extremely pricey project but it may also be an unexpected one.  Homeowners looking for financial assistance to repair or replace their system can always apply for financial aid through the Mass Home Septic Loan Program found on the Mass Housing website. 

From a buyer’s perspective, there really isn’t too much you need to do.  You’ll want to review the Title V report.  Be sure the local board of health is on board and has also approved the passing inspection.  Both need to happen - passed by a licensed inspector & approved by the Board of Health.  This is typically handled by a buyer’s agent. 

In order to get the maximum life expectancy out of your system of roughly 30 years, here are some tips: don’t dispose of any hazardous chemicals into the system, don’t dispose of grease, gas, paint, paint thinner, pesticides, antifreeze, etc., practice water conservation by installing low flow toilets & shower heads, turn water off when not needed (i.e., brushing teeth), avoid using drain cleaners that might dilute the valuable bacteria, divert roof drains & surface water from over the system, don’t park or drive over it, and ONLY flush toilet paper down your toilet. 

A few of the biggest myths regarding septic systems include: 

I can’t have a Garage Disposal - Not true.  You may have one but if you do, you should pump annually rather than once every 3 years.  It should also be used as if it’s not there just allowing tiny pieces in the drain to go down.

I shouldn’t use Bleach - Not true.  Yes, bleach breaks down bacteria which is needed to successfully break down waste in the system, but the ordinary household amounts of bleach used for laundry for instance is not going to be enough to wreak havoc on your system.

I should regularly treat my system with Rid-X- Not true.  Or maybe better stated, not necessary.  The human body itself uses many enzymes to breakdown food in our bodies which in turn end up in our septic systems.  Get it?

 

Any specific questions, please call or text me directly at 617-285-7117 or via email at john@farrellyreallty.com

5 Steps to Finding Your Next Home

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, shopping for a new home can feel daunting. In fact, 56% of buyers said that “finding the right property” was the most difficult step in the home buying process.1

Buying a home is a significant commitment of both time and money. And a home purchase has the power to improve both your current quality of life and your future financial security, so the stakes are high.

Follow these five steps and assess your priorities, streamline your search, and so you can choose your next home with confidence.
 

STEP 1: Set Your Goals and Priorities

The first step to finding your ideal home is determining WHY you want to move. Do you need more space? Access to better schools? Less maintenance? Or are you tired of throwing money away on rent when you could be building equity? Pinpointing the reasons why you want to move can help you assess your priorities for your home search. 

Don’t forget to think about how your circumstances might change over the next few years. Do you expect to switch jobs? Have more children? Get a pet? A good rule of thumb is to choose a house that will meet your family’s needs for at least the next five to seven years.Be sure to set your goals accordingly.

 

STEP 2: Determine Your Budget

Many financial professionals recommend following the “28/36 Rule” to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The rule states that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (e.g., mortgage, taxes, insurance) and a maximum of 36% of your gross monthly income on your total debt obligations (i.e., housing expenses PLUS any other debt obligations, like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, etc.).3

Of course, the 28/36 rule only provides a rough guideline. Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you begin shopping for homes will give you a much more accurate idea of how much you can borrow. Add your pre-approved mortgage amount to your downpayment to find out your maximum purchasing potential.
 

STEP 3: Choose a Location

When it comes to real estate, WHERE you choose to buy is just as important as WHAT you choose to buy.

Do you prefer a rural, urban, or suburban setting? How long of a commute are you willing to make? Which neighborhoods feed into your favorite schools? These decisions will impact your day-to-day life while you live in the home.

Another important factor to consider is how the area is likely to appreciate over time. Choosing the right neighborhood can raise the profit potential of your home when it comes time to sell. Look for communities that are well maintained with high home-ownership rates, low crime rates, and access to good schools, desired retail establishments, and top employers.4

 

STEP 4: Decide Which Features You Need (and Want) in a Home

Start with the basics, like your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. Do you prefer a one-story or two-story layout? Do you want a swimming pool?

Keep in mind, you may not find a home with all of your “wants,” or even all of your “needs” … at least not at a price you can afford. The reality is, most of us have to make a few compromises when it comes to buying a home.

Some buyers will opt for a longer commute to get a larger, newer home in the suburbs. Others will sacrifice hardwood floors or an updated kitchen so that their kids can attend their desired school. 

If you’re faced with a tough choice about how or what to compromise in your home search, return to STEP 1. What were your original goals and motivations for moving? Reminding yourself of your true priorities can often provide the clarity that you need.

 

STEP 5: Meet with a LOCAL Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can remove much of the stress and uncertainty from the home search process. From setting goals to securing a loan to selecting the best neighborhood to meet your needs, we will be there to assist you every step of the way.

And no one has more access to home listings, past sales data, or market statistics than a professional agent. We can set up a customized search that alerts you as soon as a new listing you might like goes live. Better yet, we get notified about many of the hottest homes even BEFORE they hit the market.

You might guess that the VIP service we provide is very expensive. Well, the good news is, we can represent you throughout the entire home buying process at NO COST to you. It’s true; the home seller pays a buyer agent’s fee at closing. So, you can benefit from our time, experience, and expertise without paying a dime. We only ask for your loyalty.  It’s no wonder 87% of buyers choose to purchase their home with the help of an agent.1

And although we’ve listed it here as STEP 5, the reality is, it’s never too early (or too late) to contact an agent about buying a home. Whether you plan to buy today, next month, or next year, there are steps you can (and should) be taking to prepare for your purchase.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation!

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

  1. NAR 2019 Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trends Report – https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-home-buyers-and-sellers-generational-trends-report-08-16-2019.pdf
  2. Architectural Digest – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/this-is-how-long-you-should-live-in-your-house-before-selling-it
  3. Investopedia – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/twenty-eight-thirty-six-rule.asp

Money Talks News – https://www.moneytalksnews.com/20-clues-youre-buying-home-the-right-neighborhood/

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?   2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?  2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group in North Reading and Tom Patch, Loan Office of Mortgage Equity Partners in Lynnfield know the local market and want you to be in the know too.

Tom Patch says, “Everyone can benefit from low mortgage interest rates!”

You don’t want to miss out on the opportunities available right now in the housing market.  Mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been since October 2016.  Everyone can benefit whether you want to buy a home, sell a home, or refinance your current home.  This is a unique time in history where no matter where you fall in the housing market, everyone can benefit.

Home values have been appreciating for several years now. The annual appreciation rate has nearly doubled since 2012.  It is projected to dip beginning 2020 and not come back up until 2023, according to Home Price Expectation Survey 2019 2Q.  That means it is an excellent time to sell if you want to get the most for your home.

Mortgage Interest Rates are the lowest they have been in 3 years.  That means it is a good time to buy, sell, or refinance. A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment and the ability to afford more home for your money! 

If you bought a home more than 2 or 3 years back and thought you didn’t want to move because you will never get a rate that low again, now you can move up to a bigger home and still get a super low rate.

If you already own a home and you don’t want to move, you should review your current interest rate.  It has been widely shared that 8.2 million homeowners now have refinance opportunities.  Anyone who owns a home right now should be contacting a loan officer. If you have a rate that is higher than 4.25% you can save money even with closing costs and the other charges associated with closing a loan, in most cases.

 

 “Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”

--Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group believes that the data (specific to North Reading) continues to show a very strong housing market

The North Reading Transcript has recently had several articles about the Real Estate market in general, but how does our Hometown North Reading market look?  The market from Jan 2018 to July 31st, 2018 to the 2019 market in the same time period was surprisingly similar. 

From January 2018 to July 31st 2018 there were 96 homes sold, and 30 condominiums sold.

From January 2019 to July 31st 2019 there were 101 homes sold, and 30 Condominiums sold.

The average days on market for single families in 2018 was 45.41.

The average days on market for single families in 2019 it was 68.27.

There was a significant increase to the days on market this year.  The reason for this is twofold.  List prices have started a little higher this year coming off such a successful/robust market from last year.  Secondly buyers were willing to sit back and wait for price decreases if they felt the property was priced on the higher end of the market. Also, buyers continue to be savvy, studying the internet and determining the home’s value prior to ever stepping foot in the property. 

“HOME PRICES ARE RISING!”-Geri Farrelly

In 2018 the average list price was $589,724.00 for single family homes.

In 2019 the average list price was $617,602.00 for single family homes. The average list price increased by approximately $28,000.00

In 2018 the average sale price was: $591,156.00

In 2019 the average sale price was: $622,168.00

An increase of $31,012.00, the increase appeared to be a steady climb as compared to last year as the prices where increasing at a much more rapid rate. A steady increase is much healthier for our community’s economic outlook.

The award-winning school system, amazing park system, the proximity to Boston and North Shore/New Hampshire Beaches, as well as the reputation of being such a great community which offers an excellent quality of life for its residents.  North Reading housing inventory continues to be low which leads to a seller’s market, as of today there is 1.76 months’ worth of inventory.  The market is balanced when there is 4-5 months’ worth of inventory on the market.  So, you can see we are significantly below the balanced market.  Which indicates it is an opportune time to sell, if you are thinking about doing so.

The combination of interest rates at the lowest they have been in years and a strong healthy real estate market make both experts say the answer is YES to the question “Is it the right time to buy or sell your home?”   The good news is there’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make that change. Reach out to your realtor and mortgage loan officer today to get things moving in the right direction. 

 

 

Tom Patch, MLO#142695,  is a mortgage professional at Mortgage Equity Partners, NMLS#1936. 

Geralyn Farrelly is the Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group, North Reading, MA License # 9533996

 

Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Moving into an Accessible Home

Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Moving into an Accessible Home

 

Are you in the market for a new accessible home? Navigating the home-buying process can be stressful, especially when mobility issues are a concern. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can make your move so much easier. Here’s how to get started.

 

Take Some Stress Out of Your Home Search 

 

Before you find your perfect home, you may want to spend some time planning to reduce stress and tension for your family, and this includes the four-legged family members. Make the time you spend searching for a home and moving less of an issue by making pet care more simple. An automatic pet feeder is a perfect solution to keep those furry bellies full and happy while you are dealing with all the extra stress. Many of the top models allow you to adjust feeding schedules to fit your pets so you can manage their care and their weight with minimal effort.

 

Of course, you may also need someone to help you out with other pet-parenting responsibilities if you do need to spend a lot of time away from home. You can look online to find a dog walker who can drop in on your pet and make sure he or she gets some exercise during those hectic days. You should also ask your dog walker about additional pet boarding services, which can come in handy if movers will be in and out of your home. Moving with dogs can be stressful, but dealing with a lost or frightened pet will only lead to more tension.

 

Find Accessible Homes Without Spending Hours Searching

 

If you are living with a disability, finding a home with features that fit your mobility needs can feel like a hassle. Online searches tend to leave out filters for accessibility features, which can make shopping for a new home a struggle. That’s why working with a realtor is always a smart first move when it comes to buying a new home. Licensed local real estate professionals will have more access to pertinent information about available properties and can more easily locate homes with mobility features already built-in.

 

If you and your realtor are having a hard time finding a home with accessibility options, you can also consider looking for a property at a price that will allow you to make your own upgrades. With the help of an experienced contractor, remodeling for accessibility can be fairly easy and inexpensive for prospective homeowners. Plus, your contractor will be able to tweak these adjustments so that they fit your own mobility needs and lifestyle. You may even be able to factor modification grants into your remodel budget, which can give you more options for making an offer on your dream home.

 

Hire Professional to Make Your Move Safe and Simple

 

Helping your pets stay calm and comfortable during this big change can relieve some tension, but you also need to make sure your move is safe for you. If you are living with a disability, chronic pain, or mobility issues, packing and moving boxes can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your body. So, think about looking for experienced professional movers who can take care of all of those tedious tasks for you. They often bring their own supplies too, which can leave more room in your budget for other moving expenses.

 

You can use the savings to pay for other new home and moving expenses. You will want to do a deep clean of your new home to make sure it is free of any allergens or pollutants that could make your family sick. This means stocking up on cleaning tools and supplies that will make the work easier, or you can think about hiring professional cleaners to help you with this chore as well. Professional cleaners take the work out of getting your new house clean and leave you with more time to relax and feel at home.

 

Moving with mobility issues does not have to be a hassle. You can plan ahead to make the whole process smoother and take the stress out of settling into your perfect new home.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels