Summer, 2016: You gotta know the territory!!
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!!