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Shane Engel
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Marketer, negotiator, Boston area expert
Marketer, negotiator, Boston area expert

52 followers
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Repton Place condominiums in Watertown

Repton Place is a 179 unit condominium complex in Watertown, MA and offers units with a living area (square footage) between 557 and 1352 square feet. Units within the complex range from studio to 3 bedrooms, and 1 or 2 bathrooms. There are some garden-style units, and there are some townhouse-style units. The complex is relatively new construction for the area (construction completed in 2007.)


More details here: http://www.baystatehomefinder.com/watertown/repton-place-condominiums-in-watertown-205/



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Hamilton Place Condominiums in Watertown

WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE TO LIVE AT HAMILTON PLACE IN WATERTOWN

Hamilton Place is a 137 unit condominium complex in Watertown, MA. It is conveniently located in Watertown Square (32 Whites Ave), where residents can enjoy local shopping, dining, and exercise trails. Commuters will appreciate the nearby bus service and proximity (approximately 1 mile) to the Mass Pike (Highway I-90.)

TYPES OF UNITS AT HAMILTON PLACE

Hamilton Place offers units with a living area (square footage) between 455 and 1100 square feet.

The Newton deluxe studio units have 600 square feet of living space. The living and sleeping area is separated by a wall that extends to the center of the space. The sleeping area is 11’x 5′, which is plenty of space for a standard double bed. At 13’x 15′, the main living area makes for a great entertainment space. There is balcony access off the living room, and the door lets in ample natural light. It has a 5’x 9′ kitchen that offers plenty of space for cooking.

The Belmont one-bedroom units feature 800 square feet of living space. The entrance opens up into the massive 13’x 23′ living room. At the back of the living room is access to a private balcony. The bedroom is 14’x 11′ and features a large walk-in closet. The 5’x 9′ kitchen is the same layout as the deluxe studio model.

There are two different layouts for the two-bedroom units at Hamilton Place. The main difference is the Cambridge units have one bathroom, while the Kenmore units have two bathrooms. Both units feature kitchens that are 7’x 6′ and living rooms that are 13’x 23′. The Cambridge units have a master bedroom that measures 19’x 12′ and a second bedroom that measures 9’x 12′. In the Kenmore units, the bedrooms are more equal in size. The master bedroom is 11’x 18′ and the second bedroom is 11’x 12′. Overall, the Cambridge units have 900 square feet of space, and the Kenmore units have 1000 square feet of space.

The building is 8 stories, is professionally managed, and has elevator service.

There is currently a relatively high owner-occupancy rate, which (depending on the type of mortgage loan) can make the loan approval process easier and simpler.

The living rooms and bedrooms at Hamilton Place generally have wall-to-wall carpeting, although many of the unit owners have installed laminate or hardwood floors.

The Condos at Hamilton Pl in Watertown are NOT Age-restricted. It is not a 55+ Plus Community. These condos are open to people of all ages. However, there are some 55+ communities in the area, if that is what you are needing. We would be happy to give you the most up-to-date information (the area has a number of new projects in various stages of development.)

AMENITIES AT HAMILTON PLACE IN WATERTOWN

Parking: Each unit has 1 deeded parking space.

Other features: Balcony, common laundry facilities, and exercise room
Condo fee (which vary, based on the size of each unit) includes:
• Heat

• Hot Water

• Water

• Sewer

• Master Insurance

• Elevator

• Exterior Maintenance

• Landscaping

• Snow Removal

• Recreational Facilities

• Extra Storage

• Refuse Removal

• Exercise Room

These condos have many of the benefits of home ownership without all of the burden of exterior maintenance and upkeep. If you are tired of the lawn and the shovel, then it may be time to look a condo at Hamilton Place.

Living in Watertown
Reasons people choose to look at condos in Watertown is that it is an ideal location situated near Boston, Cambridge, and Highways I-90 and I-95. It allows residents to strike an effective balance between an active social scene and “peace and quiet.”

The Watertown area has a good mix of “chain” stores and “local” shops and restaurants.

Right in the heart of Watertown Square, there is a Not Your Average Joes, The Spot Cafe, Ixtapa Mexican Cantina, a nice breakfast place called Kefi’s Kitchen, sushi restaurant Super Fusion,and a locally-owned Italian Restaurant named The Talk. Down Arsenal St there is a Target store, and several major car dealerships, as well as a recent, major shopping centre project called Arsenal Yards

Area amenities near Hamilton Place
Shopping, Swimming Pool, Park, Stables, Golf Course, Medical Facility, Highway Access, Houses of Worship, Private School, Public School, MBTA access. I would also encourage any potential home buyer to thoroughly research any neighborhood you are considering (including the MA sex offender registry.

There are a number of sites on the internet that will give you ‘estimates’ for what your home will sell for. These sites use public records and usually some kind of algorithm to try to produce a value for your home. These sites also publicly state their ‘error rates’. That means they aren’t correct. They are simply an estimate based on incomplete (and highly subjective) data. We would be happy to provide a free comparative market analysis of your home area and let you know what could reasonably expect to get in today’s market if you are considering selling a home. Our valuation is based on the latest available data. Our valuation is not based on a formula that relies on public records, which can take months to update. If you want us to analyze your property and give you a professional estimate of market price, feel free to fill out the “CONTACT ME” form near the top right of this page.

If you are thinking about selling your property, I would welcome you to evaluate my professional services page dedicated to helping home owners maximize your equity

Shane Engel is a full-time broker/ real estate professional. If you need any help, please feel free to reach out. Shane is a Realtor who sells condos in Watertown and the surrounding area.

For more information: http://www.baystatehomefinder.com/watertown/condos-at-hamilton-place-in-watertown-152/
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The Village Condos in Watertown



WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE TO LIVE AT THE VILLAGE IN WATERTOWN

The Village Condominiums is a 308 unit condominium (townhouse) complex in Watertown, MA. The complex itself is spread out over a total of 26 buildings, spread out over approximately 18 acres. It is conveniently located near the town lines of Belmont and Waltham. The complex was originally constructed (beginning) in 1940, and then it was converted into condos in 1972.

These brick exterior townhomes have 3 levels of potential living space. The two above-ground levels have, according to public records, 874 sq ft, and 506 sq ft in the basement area. Many of the units have finished lower level (basement) space.

Each unit has 2 bedrooms. Some of the units have 1 bedroom, and other units have an additional half bathroom in the basement. (In my experience, the units with this additional half bathroom have a very “cramped” feeling in the basement, but some people prefer to have it.)

BACKGROUND AND HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE CONDOMINIUMS

There is an interesting history associated with this particular complex.
Originally, veterans were given the first opportunity to rent the units before being offered to the general public. (Back in the 1940s, the monthly rental rate was $85.00.)
Original selling prices were in the $17,500 range and options included an updated kitchen, central air conditioning and a finished basement.
When the complex was sold (and converted into condominiums) in the 1970s, with an in-ground pool and resident’s clubhouse was added.

THE VILLAGE CONDOMINIUMS IN CURRENT DAY

There is currently a relatively high owner-occupancy rate, which (depending on the type of mortgage loan) can make the loan approval process easier and simpler.

The living rooms and bedrooms at The Village Condominiums generally have wall-to-wall carpeting, although many of the unit owners have installed laminate or hardwood floors.

Units within The Village Condominiums in Watertown are NOT Age-restricted. It is not a 55+ Plus Community. These condos are open to people of all ages. However, there are some 55+ communities in the area, if that is what you are needing. We would be happy to give you the most up-to-date information (the area has a number of new projects in various stages of development.)

AMENITIES AT THE VILLAGE CONDOMINIUMS IN WATERTOWN

Parking: Each unit has 1 deeded parking space, with the option of renting an additional space.

Other features: Balcony, common laundry facilities, and exercise room
Condo fee includes:

• Water

• Sewer

• Master Insurance

• Swimming Pool

• Exterior Maintenance

• Landscaping

• Recreational Facilities (Clubhouse)


These condos have many of the benefits of home ownership without all of the burden of exterior maintenance and upkeep. If you are tired of the lawn and the shovel, then it may be time to look a condo. And many people have found this to be a great place to live!

Call to schedule a tour @ 857-228-8670

Reasons people choose to look at condos in Watertown: It is an ideal location situated near Boston, Cambridge, and Highways I-90 and I-95. It allows residents to strike an effective balance between an active social scene and “peace and quiet.”

The Watertown area has a good mix of “chain” stores and “local” shops and restaurants.

Right in the heart of Watertown Square, there is a Not Your Average Joes, The Spot Cafe, Ixtapa Mexican Cantina, a nice breakfast place called Kefi’s Kitchen, sushi restaurant Super Fusion,and a locally-owned Italian Restaurant named The Talk. Down Arsenal St there is a Target store, and several major car dealerships, as well as a recent, major shopping centre project called Arsenal Yards

Area amenities near Hamilton Place
Shopping, Swimming Pool, Park, Stables, Golf Course, Medical Facility, Highway Access, Houses of Worship, Private School, Public School, MBTA access. I would also encourage any potential home buyer to thoroughly research any neighborhood you are considering (including the MA sex offender registry.

The town is undergoing tremendous change, so I would encourage you to check out the latest shop/ restaurant information here: Shopping in Watertown


There are a number of sites on the internet that will give you ‘estimates’ for what your home will sell for. These sites use public records and usually some kind of algorithm to try to produce a value for your home. These sites also publicly state their ‘error rates’. That means they aren’t correct. They are simply an estimate based on incomplete (and highly subjective) data. We would be happy to provide a free comparative market analysis of your home area and let you know what could reasonably expect to get in today’s market if you are considering selling a home. Our valuation is based on the latest available data. Our valuation is not based on a formula that relies on public records, which can take months to update. If you want us to analyze your property and give you a professional estimate of market price, feel free to fill out the “CONTACT ME” form near the top right of this page.

If you are thinking about selling your property, I would welcome you to evaluate my professional services page dedicated to helping home owners maximize your equity

Shane Engel is a full-time broker/ real estate professional. If you need any help, please feel free to reach out. Shane is a Realtor who sells condos in Watertown and the surrounding area.
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The Time I Refused to Sell a House

If you recall the madness which was taking place in the manic real estate market of 2004-2007 (especially in such places as Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, etc.), you have, no doubt, heard crazy stories of “weekend investors” going bankrupt, people making $30,000/ year obtaining mortgage loans for $750,000, people re-financing their homes at $105% debt-to-equity, etc. Perhaps you knew someone who was affected by one of more of these phenomena. “Market mania” is one of the most prevalent manifestations of FOMO (“fear of missing out,” for all you ‘non-hipsters).

So, perhaps, the story which I am about to convey MIGHT not surprise you. But I was “in the story,” and it still amazes me.

When I used to work down in Brockton, MA, a lady called in on one of the homes our office had listed for sale. She wanted to see the house, so I scheduled a time to meet her and her family to show it to them. When I arrived, I met her…and her 8 kids.

Throughout the course of going through the home with her and getting to know her situation a little bit better, I learned that (a) she had no job, (b) her one source of income was her monthly welfare checks (about $2,000/ month total for her and her 8 kids), but that (c) she was “pre-approved” by a mortgage lender. I thought to myself, “There is no way.”

I asked for the number of her mortgage lender. When I called him and explained that I met his customer and that she wanted to buy the house we had listed, but that I had some concerns about the ability to finance it (let alone keep up with the actual mortgage payments). In what I picture as one of those sinister action-movie villain style ways, he simply said, “Trust me, it’s all set.”

At this point I had a choice to make: (a) join into a situation where the potential buyer was being victimized by someone taking advantage of the “fog-a-mirror” lending standards of the day, or (b) explain to her that what she was trying to do was extremely dangerous and encourage her to create some stability (and increased income and savings) for herself and her family before taking on so much debt. Well, I chose option “b.” And she claimed to totally agree with me. “You know, you are right. Thank you so much for explaining this to me. I think we had better hold off.”

But she was an all-too-willing victim.

I followed up with her a couple of months later, to check in and see how she was doing. You will never believe (or, maybe you will, if you are at all familiar with how crazy the real estate & mortgage lending market was at that time) what she told me, “Guess what! We are about to close on our new house!” She had “yes, yes’d’ me…and then went off and did what she was going to do anyway…to her own detriment. (I would be surprised if she made one payment on that mortgage, and I am 100% certain that it all ended in foreclosure.)

I was dumbfounded. As a commissioned salesperson, I had to ask myself if I had done the right thing by refusing to sell this woman a house. After all, SOMEBODY ended up getting a commission check out of the deal. I still feel like it was a valid question.

But (and, perhaps this is hindsight bias), I think I did the right thing for my situation. If I claim to abhor “ambulance-chasing,” funeral-crashing (yes, some real estate agents “crash” funerals looking for business: http://www.reallyrottenrealty.com/blog/real-estate-agent-tries-to-earn-business-at-a-funeral/), ‘trample-on-anyone-that-gets-between-you-and-your-commission-check’ real estate agents, then I cannot partake in that behavior. I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and have some self-respect.

Now, I am not the first Realtor who has ever tried to “do the right thing” and, by so doing, miss out on a commission check. But I will say that I am in rare company.

“Intent” something that becomes apparent when you spend a reasonable amount of time with someone. When you are with someone, you know almost right away if they are out for themselves, or if they really want what is best for you.





An interesting story (with a hero and the villain)

Links to external web sites

Photo and / or video
YouTube video about the blog (with a link to the actual blog in the YouTube comments)
Link to Podcast








Signature (at the bottom of every blot post):

Shane Engel
Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcq5gJ3lYqR0HpEXs0kGUg

Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Shaneengelblog

Our website, featuring Massachusetts Real Estate Information: www.baystatehomefinder.com

Connect with me on:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneEngelRealEstate

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bostonhomeinfo

LINKED IN: www.linkedin.com/in/shaneengel/


To contact Shane directly:
Email: shane.engel@remax.net


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The Time I Refused to Sell a House

If you recall the madness which was taking place in the manic real estate market of 2004-2007 (especially in such places as Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, etc.), you have, no doubt, heard crazy stories of “weekend investors” going bankrupt, people making $30,000/ year obtaining mortgage loans for $750,000, people re-financing their homes at $105% debt-to-equity, etc. Perhaps you knew someone who was affected by one of more of these phenomena. “Market mania” is one of the most prevalent manifestations of FOMO (“fear of missing out,” for all you ‘non-hipsters).

So, perhaps, the story which I am about to convey MIGHT not surprise you. But I was “in the story,” and it still amazes me.

When I used to work down in Brockton, MA, a lady called in on one of the homes our office had listed for sale. She wanted to see the house, so I scheduled a time to meet her and her family to show it to them. When I arrived, I met her…and her 8 kids.

Throughout the course of going through the home with her and getting to know her situation a little bit better, I learned that (a) she had no job, (b) her one source of income was her monthly welfare checks (about $2,000/ month total for her and her 8 kids), but that (c) she was “pre-approved” by a mortgage lender. I thought to myself, “There is no way.”

I asked for the number of her mortgage lender. When I called him and explained that I met his customer and that she wanted to buy the house we had listed, but that I had some concerns about the ability to finance it (let alone keep up with the actual mortgage payments). In what I picture as one of those sinister action-movie villain style ways, he simply said, “Trust me, it’s all set.”

At this point I had a choice to make: (a) join into a situation where the potential buyer was being victimized by someone taking advantage of the “fog-a-mirror” lending standards of the day, or (b) explain to her that what she was trying to do was extremely dangerous and encourage her to create some stability (and increased income and savings) for herself and her family before taking on so much debt. Well, I chose option “b.” And she claimed to totally agree with me. “You know, you are right. Thank you so much for explaining this to me. I think we had better hold off.”

But she was an all-too-willing victim.

I followed up with her a couple of months later, to check in and see how she was doing. You will never believe (or, maybe you will, if you are at all familiar with how crazy the real estate & mortgage lending market was at that time) what she told me, “Guess what! We are about to close on our new house!” She had “yes, yes’d’ me…and then went off and did what she was going to do anyway…to her own detriment. (I would be surprised if she made one payment on that mortgage, and I am 100% certain that it all ended in foreclosure.)

I was dumbfounded. As a commissioned salesperson, I had to ask myself if I had done the right thing by refusing to sell this woman a house. After all, SOMEBODY ended up getting a commission check out of the deal. I still feel like it was a valid question.

But (and, perhaps this is hindsight bias), I think I did the right thing for my situation. If I claim to abhor “ambulance-chasing,” funeral-crashing (yes, some real estate agents “crash” funerals looking for business: http://www.reallyrottenrealty.com/blog/real-estate-agent-tries-to-earn-business-at-a-funeral/), ‘trample-on-anyone-that-gets-between-you-and-your-commission-check’ real estate agents, then I cannot partake in that behavior. I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and have some self-respect.

Now, I am not the first Realtor who has ever tried to “do the right thing” and, by so doing, miss out on a commission check. But I will say that I am in rare company.

“Intent” something that becomes apparent when you spend a reasonable amount of time with someone. When you are with someone, you know almost right away if they are out for themselves, or if they really want what is best for you.





An interesting story (with a hero and the villain)

Links to external web sites

Photo and / or video
YouTube video about the blog (with a link to the actual blog in the YouTube comments)
Link to Podcast








Signature (at the bottom of every blot post):

Shane Engel
Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcq5gJ3lYqR0HpEXs0kGUg

Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Shaneengelblog

Our website, featuring Massachusetts Real Estate Information: www.baystatehomefinder.com

Connect with me on:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneEngelRealEstate

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bostonhomeinfo

LINKED IN: www.linkedin.com/in/shaneengel/


To contact Shane directly:
Email: shane.engel@remax.net



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Sometimes very unusual things happen.

Most of the time, when I meet with someone who wants to sell a house, they have, let’s say, “different” ideas about what it is worth than everyone else.
There is a very funny cartoon I have seen (and wish I could post here, but have not asked for permission from the cartoonist) which shows a house, as seen by: (a) the homeowner, (b) the buyer, (c) the lender, (d) the appraiser, and...(e) the tax assessor.

The cartoon is funny, because there is a strong element of truth in it. Our perception of reality is almost always clouded, based on our own situation/ perspective.

The seller, of course, sees all of the work (and money) they may have put into a house. They have an emotional attachment to it. And so they tend to see it through “rose-colored glasses.”

The buyer sees the house through their own lens. They see all the work and money they are going to need to put into it. They are wondering if the place is infested with termites. They are imagining a heavy rainfall flooding their basement. They are imagining the heating system going out on them and have to shell out a few thousand bucks or risk having the pipes freeze.
The lender, who doesn’t want to end up owning the house if the buyer doesn’t make their mortgage payment, sees the house through very risk-averse eyes.
The picture of how the appraiser sees the house is funny, because it shows a pile of rubble on the ground. For anyone who has had to undergo an FHA appraisal and had them give a laundry list of repairs (peeling paint, replace the roof, etc.) which need to be done for it to pass the appraisal/ underwriting process knows that this image is not too far from the truth.

And the last one (the tax assessor) sees a magnificent, luxurious mansion which they can tax at the highest possible amount. (I am going to bite my tongue at this part…)

So, as you can imagine, having worked in the real estate business for well over a decade, I have a fairly accurate idea of what a house will sell for before I even see it. And, invariably, when I meet with a potential home seller, their “number” is often anywhere from tens of thousands to sometimes $100,000 or more off the mark.

And I get it: Everyone wants to sell at the highest possible price they can. But the truth is: the buyers don’t care that the seller spent $50,000 on a kitchen that only increased the value of the property by $30,000. Or that “little Johnny” took his first steps “right on this very spot.” The buyers have their own lives, plenty of choices, and an agenda of their own. And, for a sale to take place, a seller and buyer need to agree. No agreement, no deal.

All that being said, here is my “unusual” story: I received an inquiry several years ago from a man who wanted to sell his home. Based on where his home was located, and my experience in the area, I had a pretty good idea of its value before even seeing it. We scheduled a time to meet, for me to take a closer look, do a more thorough analysis, and talk about how I could help this man with his goal of selling his house. When we sat down to talk about price, and I asked him how much HE thought the place was worth….he had UNDER-estimated its value. I can honestly say that this is probably the first and only time that had ever happened to me. It is actually a Realtor’s “dream,” because if you “under-price” a home, you are virtually guaranteeing a quick sale.
The thing is, though: lying to this man about what I believed the house to be worth would be doing the “typical real estate agent” thing. Taking the easy way out. “Looking out for number one,” instead of the client. I could not, in good conscience, do that unless the seller specifically told me that his goal was to sell quickly (versus getting the highest dollar amount from the sale.)
It was a great pleasure to me to be able to say to him: “I have some GREAT news for you. Your house is worth considerably MORE than what you thought!!” Wow. THAT was a good feeling!

So, what ended up happening is, we priced the property CORRECTLY, based on my client’s goals, and we still got an accepted offer within 2 weeks of putting it on the market…for about $15,000 more than he was originally expecting. And the best part is: I could look in the mirror and know that I put his needs above my own.

I love a story with a happy ending!

Until next time…Thanks for reading.

Shane Engel
Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcq5gJ3lYqR0HpEXs0kGUg

Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Shaneengelblog

Our website, featuring Massachusetts Real Estate Information: www.baystatehomefinder.com

Connect with me on:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneEngelRealEstate
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bostonhomeinfo
LINKED IN: www.linkedin.com/in/shaneengel/

To contact Shane directly:
Email: shane.engel@remax.net

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Mixing Business and Friendship


There is a belief among some that “You don’t mix business and pleasure.”

“Pleasure” (and other emotions) tend to cloud one’s judgement, and, for some, that is too high a price to pay to do business with someone they otherwise know and trust. There is a lot of validity to this line of thinking. Just think of all of those “family businesses” that end up going down because “family issues” get in the way. It happens all the time. (In particular, I think about situations where a family member from an older generation builds a very successful business from scratch and then hands it over to their son or daughter, who either (a) does not have the same level of interest in the particular line of business, (b) is incompetent, (c) and has no idea of the dedication it took to get the business to the point where it is thriving.)

There is another school of thought (at the other extreme) that says, “I will only do business with people I already know and trust. There is some validity to this line of thinking as well. It truly IS “a jungle out there,” and most people are 100% out to better their own situation (at the expense of others). Sometimes it is just easier to be able to judge someone you don’t already know, versus someone with whom you have some kind of “track record” or history. After all, the friends you have are friends for (presumably) good reason! The problem with this line of thinking is: The number of people you know is infinitesimally smaller than the number of people you don’t know. By only doing business with people with whom you already have an established relationship, you are very likely ruling out people who are far more competent and qualified. (I often see this when people hire “contractors” who happen to be family members. When I see the shoddy workmanship of some of these “contractors,” it serves as a continual reminder to me that I need to continue expanding my network of business relationships.)

I have also observed members of certain ethic groups entrusting themselves to other “professionals” for the sole reason that they share the same ethnicity. In many cases, these so-called “professionals” are aware of this strong affinity (i.e., “blind trust”) and take full advantage. One example I have seen is mortgage brokers putting people into loan programs which may not be the best for their “friends,” but for which they make a higher commission. It really is despicable.

At different points in my life, I have gravitated to one of these extremes or the other. As it currently stands, however, I am of the view that neither of these extremes is very valid.

Today I would like to share with you the story of “James.” (This is his real name, but in respect for his privacy, I am not going to use his last name.)

I first met James at a property I was selling that was then owned by Bank of America. On one of my property inspections I was doing (before the home was ready to begin marketing) I happened to have a “For Sale” sign in my car. In an effort to be pro-active, I took the sign out of my car and set it on the side of the house, where I presumed it would not be seen. (Since the home was not yet ready to be marketed, I was not yet authorized to place the sign in ground in the front yard. At this point I merely wanted to make sure that, when that time came, I would have a sign at the property ready and waiting for me to go and put it in the ground.)

Did I mention that this property was in an extremely desirable neighborhood? I received at least 8 calls from interested buyers from a sign that was purposefully positioned out-of-sight! When each of these callers asked about the house, I politely told them I couldn’t yet show them the house but that, when I did have authorization, I would call each of them and set up an opportunity for them to come see the house if they were still interested.

On the appointed day, I called each of these prospective buyers and gave them a time range when I would be at the property for them to come by if they could make it. One of the people who showed up was “James.” Along with the other interested parties, James explored the property. Then he called his father, who also came over to the house to give his opinion. At that point, they decided it was worth making an offer. They ended up having their offer accepted.

Through that transaction (aided by the fact that I, from time to time, list and sell bank-owned properties), we forged a great relationship with not only with the buyer, but his whole family! We have since done several more transactions but, more importantly, we became friends. James and his bride-to-be invited my wife and I to their wedding (which was a great time), and we recently celebrated Easter dinner at their house!! So this is an example of new people meeting each other and choosing to do business with each other.

Of course, not all of the business transactions in which I engage end up with me at my clients’ wedding, Easter dinner, etc. Some people simply do not want that kind of relationship (and, frankly, there are some people with whom I don’t want that kind of relationship either.) The way I figure, if you can get to the end of a real estate purchase or sale with a mutual trust and, at a minimum, “friendliness,” you are doing pretty well. Buying or selling a house can be quite an emotional ride. And you need to be working with someone you like and trust if you are going to make sound decisions throughout the process.

Some other friends of mine (with whom I had previously existing relationships, outside of the real estate business) have had me help them buy and sell property (and, for that, I am extremely grateful). So, that can work as well.

So, in the end, the extremes of “I will only do business with people I know” and (at the other extreme) “I will never mix business with pleasure,” do not seem like useful rules of thumb. What I conclude is most important, when deciding with whom to do business, is not “Do I know this person?” but instead “Has this person shown me, in some way, that they are a good fit for the job I need them to do?” (Important point to consider: Some people will work LESS hard because they are working for friends, because they believe their friends will cut them some slack. Other people will work EXTRA hard to do a good job for their friends BECAUSE they are friends, and they care about them.)

I hope this has given you some things to think about, and I hope that my friends who are reading this who have chosen to do business with me know how appreciated they are (You know who you are.)

For more stories, please visit my web page: http://www.baystatehomefinder.com/blog/

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The Best Money I’ve Ever Spent


People frequently ask legendary investor Warren Buffett about where to invest. If you know anything about Warren Buffett, you probably already know that he does not give out “hot stock tips.” Regardless of his refusal to give out “hot tips,” he does not shy away from answering the question. His answer, invariably is this: Invest in yourself.

Similarly, Benjamin Franklin (one of Warren Buffett’s heroes) is quoted as saying: “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

To me, this is some of the best advice I have ever received.

Most of us have heard the phrase “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” I believe this sentiment is the essence of Warren Buffett’s advice.

When you spend money on “things,” they invariably (a) decay/ pass away, (b) become outdated, or (c) eventually get lost or forgotten. Conversely, when you invest in yourself, you are more likely to (a) be able to keep what you’ve been able to obtain (“A fool and his money are soon parted.”) and (b) the wisdom and knowledge you are able to acquire cannot be stolen from you. It literally continues to pay dividends long after you learn it. In fact, (at the risk of overloading you with quotations), one of my favorite teachings of Zig Ziglar says something to the effect of: “The more you learn, the more valuable what you already knew becomes.” In other words, when we learn something new, we connect it with previous knowledge. We find new connections, new patterns. This is how so many of the modern products we take for granted were invented: by combining two seemingly dissimilar ideas.

In my own business of marketing and negotiating real estate contracts, I have spent literally tens of thousands of dollars (more than I spent on a 4-year university degree) on furthering my education. And, as the title of this post indicates, I believe it has been the best money I have ever spent. For example, I spent $2,000 to take a 2-day course in Chicago on selling HUD homes. With the knowledge I gained there, I have since made close to $50,000 from what I learned at that course. And that number is still growing, as I still list and sell HUD-owned properties. There aren’t many other investments that would have paid me back at that level. (I wish I could spend all my money that wisely.)

And, just so this message does not get misunderstood, it is not necessarily about spending money. A lot of the best books in the world can be read for free at the local library. And you can spend thousands of dollars on classes/ workshops/ conferences (and people do) and not learn anything. What is the most valuable/ scarce resource we have? TIME. Invest your TIME.

I hope this information is encouraging and helpful to you in some way. I know that many people believe that, after they graduate from “school” that their education is basically over. I would say that, for the person who wants to be wise and prosperous, the education is just beginning.

Enjoy the ride!

Shane Engel
Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcq5gJ3lYqR0HpEXs0kGUg

Subscribe to my blog: https://wordpress.com/post/shaneengelblog.wordpress.com/21

Our website, featuring Massachusetts Real Estate Information: www.baystatehomefinder.com

Connect with me on:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneEngelRealEstate

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bostonhomeinfo

LINKED IN: www.linkedin.com/in/shaneengel/


To contact Shane directly:
Email: shane.engel@remax.net

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The Market Can Bail You Out (or Bury You)

It is said that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” The idea behind this phrase is that, when a market is doing well, it benefits all involved. But is this actually true? And is there a way to benefit when “the tide goes out?”

In a real estate market like most areas of the United States (and much of the world) has experienced in the past few years (2011 to the present), it is easy to get “hypnotized” into believing the trend will continue indefinitely. As humans, our brains are “pattern recognition machines,” and there are several biases in our thinking which contribute to this. For example, “hindsight bias” is a condition where (unless we consciously think about it) we assume that the future will be very similar to the recent past. Let’s face it: we have enough to think about, and we have to make certain assumptions about the world just to be able to function & operate. If we did not make certain assumptions (such as, “when I sit on this chair, it will hold me up”), we would be frozen with indecision. There are literally thousands of decisions we make per day without actually consciously thinking about them.

On a theoretical level, most of us are aware of this. It is usually not until a dramatic, exogenous event (such as the financial crisis of 2009, an outbreak of violence, severe weather, etc.) to wake us up from our “hypnotized state” and remind us that the world is a very volatile place (and the future not as certain as we had previously assumed.)

The examples I gave would be considered by most to be “negative,” but there are positive surprises as well. Perhaps you come into a windfall of money you weren’t expecting. Maybe an opportunity falls right in your lap. A friend might call you out of the blue and offer you free concert tickets that they aren’t going to be able to use. The real estate market of the past few years has, more or less, resembled this kind of surprise for most people. For example, some very dear friends of mine purchased a home in Plymouth, MA. (Very) soon afterward, they decided they didn’t really like having to drive the long distance it required for their job, and they decided to get rid of it (less than 6 months after they bought it.) Normally, if someone buys a house and then sells it within 6 months, they are going to lose money. Even if market values remain stable, the transaction costs (transfer taxes, real estate commissions, prepayment penalties, etc.) will make sure of that. But, in my friends’ experience, the market actually “bailed them out.” From the time they purchased the home until the time they decided to sell it, the market had actually increased enough to basically allow them to break even.

I don’t think I need to tell you that it would be foolish to think that you could pull this off without some extreme luck on your side. However, when the market is as “hot” as it has been over the past several years, that is the assumption some people are making: that the market will keep going in its current direction.

On the other extreme, I was a full-time real estate professional during the tumultuous years of 2008 and 2009 and saw people who had bought at the height of the market (2006 and 2007) lose all of their equity (and then some) in a matter of months. (Markets tend to fall much faster than they rise.) I had one set of clients who purchased a $350,000 house with a $200,000 down payment. They called me a few months later, when they were trying to cash out some of their equity in the form of a refinance, and the home wouldn’t appraise for the amount they needed. They told me they thought they should sue the appraiser. But the appraisal was merely reflecting current market conditions. There is nothing any one person can do to change an entire market.

So, what is a person to do, in order to avoid putting themselves in the position of victim to the whims of market volatility?

I would suggest (a) planning ahead (position yourself to put “luck” in your favor) as much as possible and (b) working to create a situation where you are particularly immune (or even benefitting from) market downturns. One of my favorite books is called Antifragile (https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B0083DJWGO&asin=B0083DJWGO&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_HrPJxbFK69FD8), and it is about this very idea. In the book, the author, Nicholas Nassim Taleb (https://twitter.com/nntaleb) describes the term “anti-fragile” (which he appears to have created) by contrasting it with “fragile” (which is defined as something that suffers from volatility) and “robust” (which is defined as something which maintains stability amidst volatility). “Anti-fragile” is defined as something that actually BENEFITS FROM VOLATILITY. (Another word for “volatility” could be “chaos.”)

With regard to real estate, here is one example: When market prices were plummeting in 2008 and 2009, savvy investors were going all-in on purchasing multi-unit rental property. This worked for several reasons. First, with prices so low, the cash flow these properties generated made it a very profitable endeavor. Second, with so many people losing their homes to foreclosure (and their credit being tarnished in the process) there was an increased demand for rental units, which helped keep rental rates high. As long as the investor did not need to sell the property in the near future (and, why would they want to if the properties were generating positive cash flow?), they benefitted whether real estate prices went up or down. It literally didn’t matter to them.

This way of thinking is obviously easier said than done. Most people would prefer to remain “victims of circumstance.” But it far more preferable to take steps to protect oneself (and, ideally, actually BENEFIT from volatility) than to be a “sitting duck.” That is my wish for you.

So, I would encourage all of you, my friends, to think about the ways you can (a) protect your downside while (b) continuing to benefit from upside volatility. Investors call this “hedging,” but the concept works just as well for all areas of life.

In my own life, I “hedge” my business by focusing my business around working with friends and family when the real estate market is booming, and I focus my business around Short Sales and bank-owned properties when the market is in decline. Either way, if I work that plan, my business is covered. This is just one example of being “anti-fragile.”

No one can accurately predict what will happen in the next hour. So, with that in mind, what can you do to help make your situation as “anti-fragile” as possible?


Shane Engel
Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience

Subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcq5gJ3lYqR0HpEXs0kGUg

Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Shaneengelblog

Our website, featuring Massachusetts Real Estate Information: www.baystatehomefinder.com

Connect with me on:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneEngelRealEstate

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bostonhomeinfo

LINKED IN: www.linkedin.com/in/shaneengel/


To contact Shane directly:
Email: shane.engel@remax.net

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