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Summer, 2016: You gotta know the territory!!

winchester ma town hall

This is a picture of downtown Winchester, MA.   It’s 4 or 5 towns north of Newton and I’ve almost never been there.  Until last summer.  I had an out of town buyer client who wanted to search in several towns.  We started in Newton, then went to Belmont, Lexington, Wellesley, Weston, Lincoln and, eventually, Winchester.  I told my clients that I was unfamiliar with Winchester.  They said:  “Get familiar.”   So I did.  I talked, travelled, studied and learned about Winchester.  Much to my surprise, the price points were very similar to Newton.  My folks found a sparkling antique Colonial, and they made the buy.  

Was I nervous about going outside my territory?   Yes. But I think I did a good job and everything worked out.

Here’s another story:  This spring I had some buyers who wanted Newton or Needham or Dedham, moving south.  But through the internet, they  found a fabulous home  in Foxboro, another nearby town.  I’d only been to Foxboro to see Patriots games.  I needed a GPS to even find Foxboro.  But again, my clients said:   “We need your help so please learn all you can about Foxboro.”  They bid on this property and got it under agreement for $1.3M.  But that number made me very nervous, and I told them:  “You are over paying.”  They backed out.  So a couple weeks later,  the Seller came back to the table at $1.2M.  My folks said yes, and I agreed that was a fair price.  But before signing the Purchase and Sale agreement,  we were lucky to get in touch with a local appraiser, and he said the house would appraise for  $1.1M tops. 

Was I nervous this time?   Damn right I was!  My job is to help people understand value, not help them over pay.  I was not familiar with Foxboro and the price points were decidedly lower than Newton, my home town.  I got swept up in the euphoria of my buyers, who “looooooved” the house and wanted to buy it.   Going to a different community, in this case, created a real problem for me.  My clients considered the options and calmer heads prevailed.:   they backed out again.   

Moral of the story:   Realtors and buyers need to be very cautious when venturing into new towns and areas that are unfamiliar.   

Call me anytime.



PS:  I’m adding this note two years later:  The house did sell for just under $1.2M, so I was really right on target, even though I didn’t know it at the time!!