graduations

Local High School Graduations

graduationIt’s graduation time and many area high schools held their graduation ceremonies last weekend.  Old Rochester Regional High School graduated approximately 176 students on Saturday, June 3rd. Despite cloudy skies, the rain held off and the graduation was held outside.   149 will go on to higher education and 7 have chosen the military.

Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School in Rochester graduated 132 students from Acushnet, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Carver, Freetown and Lakeville on Sunday, June 4th.   Superintendent Aaron Polansky and English Teacher Gina Despres both had words of wisdom for the graduates.

Fairhaven High Graduation was held on Sunday June 4th.  The graduation was also held outside due to the good weather.

Dartmouth High School  held their graduation ceremonies on Sunday June 4th also as well as Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth.

New Bedford Vocational Technical High School  in New Bedford  will be holding their graduation today June 7th at 6 pm at the football field.

Friday, June 9th will be graduation day for Wareham High School Seniors.

Tabor Academy held an early graduation on Monday, May 29th Memorial Day at 2 pm.

Good luck to all the area graduates as they continue on to the next step in their journey we call  life.

Visit www.boldmovesrealestate.com for more local stories of the local area and meet a great real estate team.

This blog was posted on www.bbmpros.com on June 7, 2017

 

solar panels

Leasing Solar Panels and Real Estate

solar panelsHank Investigates: Leased Solar Panels

Posted: Mar 10, 2016 7:16 PMUpdated: Mar 10, 2016 10:37 PM

These are the rooftops of Massachusetts, North shore, South shore–and as you can see from Sky 7 many of them these days have something in common: New solar panels, with more going up every day.

This is Joanne Gardner’s house in Beverly, she leases her panels from a solar company. The Gardner’s hoped going green would cut their electric bill, and it did.

Joann Gardner, Homeowner: “Yeah, they’ve proven a savings.”

So Joanne’s happy with her panels, but not the financial surprise that came with them.

When she applied for a federally-insured reverse mortgage on her home, the lender denied it saying, “the solar panel issue cannot be resolved.”

Joann Gardner, Homeowner: “I was shocked.”

The solar panel issue? Our investigation found it’s a doozy. The leasing contract you sign may mean:  If you want to sell your home, or get a home equity loan, or get a reverse mortgage, you may not have complete financial control over your own home!

Rhonda Siciliano, U.S. Dept. Housing and Urban Development (HUD): “I’m thankful that you’re doing this because it’s good for people to be aware.”

Here’s JoAnne’s 20 year leasing contract, it says if she wants to sell her house with the solar lease, the solar company has to approve the new buyer.

Otherwise she has to buy the panels, which she told us would cost more than twenty thousand dollars.

But what it doesn’t say, because of that, Federal Housing Administration regulations prohibit the FHA from okaying her loan.

Hank: “Even if a homeowner read that contract thoroughly, they wouldn’t know that?”

Rhonda Siciliano, HUD: “Unless, you know, they had studied the FHA regulations they probably wouldn’t, no.”

And this could be a problem for anyone with certain leased solar panel contracts who applies for the millions of federally insured mortgages and loans the FHA handles.

Hank: “So if a homeowner has leased solar panels with those restrictions the Feds are going to say no?”

Rhonda Siciliano, HUD: “That’s correct.”

Other angry homeowners who’ve leased their solar panels complain they’ve had trouble getting home equity loans through their banks.

Hank: “Is this a big deal?”

Register John O’Brien Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds: “It’s a big deal.”

Here’s why: Their solar companies attached these UCC financing statements to the home’s records at the registry of deeds. We found thousands of them in Massachusetts. They’re an alert that the owner of the house has a leasing contract, and though the homeowner owns the house, the solar company owns the panels.  Officials told me when some lenders or banks discover that, it could cause a problem.

Hank: “Do you think homeowners know this?”

O’Brien: “No, I don’t.”

The solar industry knows it.

Chet McGensy, Solar Energy Industries Association: “Yes, across the country there have been consumers who have had problems, or challenges obtaining loans.”

But solar trade association officials told us it’s because the industry is so new. They say the Feds are misinterpreting their own regulations, and insist customers should not be denied loans just because they lease solar panels.

Hank: “So right now is there some confusion here?”

Chet McGensy, Solar Energy Industries Association: “Oh, absolutely, I think there’s absolutely some  confusion, and  the solar industry is dedicated to continually working with the agencies to clarify those issues.”

The Massachusetts Attorney General:
Maura Healy, Massachusetts Attorney General: “You’d better believe we’ll take a look at it.”

Says she’s all for going green, as long as there’s sunshine on every transaction.

Maura Healy, Massachusetts Attorney General: “We just want to make sure that disclosures are made and nobody gets hurt in the process. Especially that nobody gets surprised.”

Now after our story, the Attorney General’s Office and Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds now tell us they are putting out consumer advisories.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office consumer advisory:

Click on “Advice for Consumers on Solar Panel Installation”:
http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/energy-and-utilities/help-for-consumers/

If you’d like to contact the AG’s office for more information or to file a complaint you can call: 617-727-8400.

The Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds consumer advisory:
Go to “Registry Updates”: salemdeeds.com/salemdeeds/

Under current FHA policies, a borrower who has leased the solar panels on his home may be eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage (including a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, known as a HECM) provided the solar panel lease does not contain any restrictions that either prevent the borrower from freely transferring the mortgaged property, or that limit the assumability of the mortgage beyond applicable FHA guidelines.  This restriction is found in FHA’s regulations at 24 CFR 203.41.

HUD has an FAQ on this subject:  http://hudgov.prod.parature.com/link/portal/57345/57355/Article/8427/Is-a-home-with-a-leased-energy-system-or-power-purchase-agreement-eligible-for-an-FHA-mortgage

HUD says: Under our current guidance, the Massachusetts homeowner who applied for a HECM (an FHA-insured reverse mortgage) had a 20-year lease on the solar panels on her home.  Her contract required her to obtain the solar leasing company’s approval of any prospective buyer, which limited the homeowner’s ability to transfer her home and this would not comply with our requirements at 24 CFR 203.41.

Solar Energy Industry Association: 

Different solar companies have different contracts. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) says: “It’s very important that the contract is based on the solar industry’s standard contract template, available on SEIA’s website http://www.seia.org/research-resources/nrel-model-leases-ppas. The solar industry is constantly in contact with the major housing regulators, banks and title companies to ensure that the standard contracts are compliant with all laws and do not limit a customer’s ability to sell or refinance their home. Incidents like the one you are describing should not happen, and we encourage all solar companies to adopt the SEIA contract templates and for customers to ask their solar provider if they are using the standard contracts.”

This is a link to SEIA’s consumer guide to solar power:
http://www.seia.org/research-resources/residential-consumer-guide-solar-power

Visit www.whdh.com for more info.

Visit www.boldmovesrealestate.com for the latest in trends that may affect the housing market in a negative or positive way.   We are the experts on real estate in our community.

Fall Staging and House Sales!

bold moves real estate diyFall is officially here and there is no better time to sell your house than now.  People are back to work and done with vacation mode and ready to seriously look.

Fall is the time of harvest and this can work to your advantage with  staging your home to look its fall best.  Flowers may not be as abundant blooming as in the spring but fall has its own special blossoms to take advantage of.  Mums in various colors can brighten up a front porch and replace the old blooms in your beds or planters.  Corn stalks are ready to be cut and are readily available at any farm stand.  Tie them up to your porch columns or lean them up to frame a doorway.

Another staple of a fall look is the bale of hay with some pumpkins on top.  These can also be found at your local farmer’s market or stand and the pumpkins can be carved later for Halloween.  You can set up a few displays with bales of hay and pumpkins or keep it simple with one depending on the size of your porch or front door area.  Sometimes less is more.  You can also add some colorful gourds in a natural basket for added color and decoration.

The weather is comfortable for house hunting and the buyers are out there looking.  Dressing up your outside look just adds to your house’s curb appeal and is a fun activity to do with the kids. You can even add a homemade scarecrow for a kid-friendly afternoon.

Visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com for more ideas and a list of great houses for sale.

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Fall is Harvest Time!

bold moves real estate diyNow is the time to reap the benefits  of your own garden or your nearby local farmer’s market.  There are many fruits and vegetables that are coming ripe in the fall.  The garden has provided us with vegetables, all summer such as cucumbers, squash, melons, green beans, lettuce mixes, but there are many vegetables ready to harvest now.   Potatoes are ready to harvest as well as bell peppers, onions, carrots and later corn.  Kale is another vegetable which can be harvested until the frost comes.  The cold weather only makes it sweeter.

Butternut squash will soon appear in your stores and farmer’s markets as well as gourds, pumpkins and other later squash varieties such as hubbards.

Pumpkins and decorative gourds are a great way to dress your house for the fall season as well as corn stalks and mums.  Hay bales also add a great touch as a backdrop for your pumpkins or even a scarecrow or two.

It’s a great time of year for fruit too.  Apple picking is just about upon us.  Even  though we can get these fruits all year round, fall is the real season for great apples, grapes and peaches fresh from the vine or tree.  It’s also a great time for some fruit inspired treats such as cider, pies, jams and jellies and cobblers.  Local fairs and farmer’s markets are teeming with these great treats.

We may lament the end of summer but the fall holds many treasures for the days ahead.

Visit us at www.boldmoves.com for some great listings and ideas.

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Buying a Home in the Fall!

bold moves real estate halloweenThe Real Estate Market has its ups and downs but there are cyclical trends to the marketplace.  Mortgage rates and housing availability have an effect on real estate but the seasons also affect the way the real estate market trends.

Next to spring, fall is the busiest season for home buying and selling.  There are many advantages to buying a house in the fall including:

Year-end tax breaks:

People may start thinking about tax breaks in the fall and owning a home can yield great dividends in tax returns.  Both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income.

Great Weather:

Buying a house before the cold blast of winter sets in is very important to buyers.  No one wants to move in during the heat of summer or the icy roads of winter.

Schooltime:  

Fall gets people back into routines, and buyers are thinking about moving before the kids are settled in school and before the holidays approach.  Moving in summer is least disruptive to children but moving right at the beginning of the school year when everything is new can work out too,

More Homes Available:

Sellers may be more apt to put their home on the market after the craziness of summer vacations, so there may be more houses to choose from.  There may be more competition, but it’s always a good idea to get pre-approved so you know what you can afford and stick to your budget.  Placing a bid that is out of your price range in fear of losing a house is never a good idea.  There are lots of houses out there and you will find what you are looking for in your price range.

Visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com for more information on buying or selling a house and some great houses for sale.

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Where Did The Summer Go?

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Where did the summer go?  A lot of people are  asking themselves this question.  The summer seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye and the recent gloomy rain and colder temperatures has added to the feeling that fall is on its way.

College kids are already back at school or on their way and most of the children will be heading back to school next week.   It’s a bittersweet time for parents, looking forward to their kids back at school and into a routine but also missing the carefree, fun days of summer with no homework or schedules.

Real estate sometimes gets put on the back burner during the busy, vacation days of the summer.  Buyers are away and not thinking of buying a house and sellers may want to wait to list until the fall when buyers may be more apt to buckle down and start looking again.

September looks to be a busy month for real estate.  People will be getting back into their routines and looking to buy and sell a house before, do I dare say it, the holidays are here.   Now is the time to put your house on the market or start looking again before the  rates go up.

Visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com for listings and information on buying or selling your house.

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Student Loans and The Housing Market!

bold moves real estate new yearsIt’s a sad but true story, student loan debt has tripled in size in the last decade.  There are more students and more debt.  Seventy percent more students are getting loans and the typical borrower is taking on twice as much.  This debt from school may payoff with higher wages for graduates, but today this wall of debt is preventing students from getting on with their lives.  Since student debt is concentrated among young adults who are likely first-time home-buyers, it’s devastating to the housing market.

Student debt can prevent some young buyers from taking on debt and student debtors tend to have worse credit scores.

The outlook isn’t that bleak though because investors are buying up distressed homes at a higher rate and all-cash-home purchases have grown to 50 percent of the market, the highest in record.

All in all student loans are depressing demand for homes, but only slightly more than the overall market for homes is already depressed for  various reasons, like under-employment, tighter lending standards, and a general shift away from ownership.

This may be bad news for buyers, but it’s still a seller’s market right now and a great time to put your house on the market.

Visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com for a list of great houses for sale.

 

Brighten Your House with Flowers!

Bold Movs Real EstateNothing brightens up a room like fresh, cut flowers.  This time of year we see flowers everywhere outside but it’s also a great time to bring some in to brighten up your indoors.

Some flowers that are great to cut from your garden and bring inside, include peonies, daffodils, sunflowers, zinnias, roses, and of course hydrangeas. 

Putting flowers at various spots in your home can draw the attention of guests away from unpleasant areas of your house, such as older windows or maybe an area that needs repainting.

Try using different vessels to display your flowers.  There are many different kinds and shapes of vases from tall to short to using old fashioned items such as old milk bottles or a pretty basket lined with a plastic container.  Use your imagination.

Put a little sugar in your water to make your flowers last longer.  You can also pull out the dead blooms and keep the rest of the bouquet longer.

You can put bright flowers to lighten a dark room or put them in your workplace for a boost of color to your workday.  The workplace is often overlooked as a great place for a vase of flowers.

You can also buy a potted plant to enjoy a little while inside and then eventually plant outside for brightening your yard indefinitely.

You can also pick flowers with great smells, such as roses, to really give you a olfactory boost throughout the day. 

Anyway you do it, flowers are always a welcome addition to any room and definitely a mood booster in any venue.

Visit us a www.boldmovesrealestate.com for more great ideas.

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Buy A Home?

bold moves real estateDo you really need a real estate agent as a buyer?  Technically, no, but there are many reasons why a real estate agent can make your whole experience easier.

The commission is usually paid by the seller, so having your own agent usually does not cost you anything in most cases.  Your agent will be working for you, helping you sort through the mountain of paperwork, helping you with home inspectors, negotiations, and keeping a good relationship with the seller and their agent.  Real estate agents generally have contacts with knowledgeable home inspectors, mortgage loan brokers, and others to help you through the process.  They can help you decide what is reasonable and appropriate behavior in your area.

You can use the seller’s agent in a dual agency capacity but you have to remember that they were hired by the seller and are working for them.  Most good agents will try to be fair but it’s a good idea to have someone looking out for just you.

Keep control over the process.  If you are nervous that your agent is not listening to what kind of house you are really looking for, have a talk with them.  Most good agents will want to put you in your dream house and are looking out for your best interests.  They are aware of the whole process from start to finish and can help you wade through it all and make sense of everything.  Being honest about what you are looking for is how good relationships start.

Having a real estate agent on your side can make all the difference between a great experience or a poor one.  You can also make a friend for life.

Visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com for more real estate information and a list of our houses for sale.

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The Ins and Outs of Home Inspections!

house no frameA Home Inspection is an objective, visual examination of the structure and systems of  a house by a licensed home inspector  from the foundation to the roof.  The home inspector will check the foundation, basement, structural components, roof, walls, heating system, plumbing and electrical systems, insulation, and even appliances.

Buying a home is a huge investment.  To minimize surprises, it is your right to hire a home inspector  to check out the house.  He will point out repairs you may need, maintenance issues and maybe even a defect you were unaware of.   You usually have ten days to have your inspection done after you sign your purchase and sale to make sure there are no issues with the house that you were unaware of.  If something major is found, you will have the opportunity to bring it up with the seller to make repairs or perhaps renegotiate the price.  After a home inspection is not a time to renegotiate over items that were present when you put your offer in, but rather if something comes up that you were unaware of  at the time of your offer.

If you are selling a house, a home inspection can give you the opportunity to make repairs that will optimize your chance in selling your home.

Home inspections can run anywhere between $500 to $1000 dollars.  You may choose to add other inspections such as termite or pest as well as water which could run you more.

A home inspection is not a test, but rather a way for you to  better know the house you are buying.  It is a good idea to be present and follow your inspector around to hear what he has to say as he examines the house.

Where do you find a home inspector?  Your real estate agent can suggest a home inspector for you to use or you can contact the American Society of Home Inspectors for a list of home inspectors in your area.

visit us at www.boldmovesrealestate.com  for more of your real estate questions.

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