John Colby
Colby Realty | 978-249-5871 | [email protected]


Posted by John Colby on 12/20/2020

Image by Sue Smith from Shutterstock

House owners frequently remodel, upgrade, or otherwise make changes in their homes for which they do not secure a permit. While some changes do not require permitting, others do. The challenge comes when you attempt to sell the home. You may run into a problem when a buyer makes an offer on such a property, and their inspector discovers unpermitted changes. Their mortgage lender may be unwilling to give them a loan until you remedy the permit issue.

Additionally, since building codes often change from year to year and certainly from decade to decade, and the property may have changed hands more than once before it came to you. Even if the upgrade occurred before you purchased it, you might be the one responsible for fixing it with your municipality.

What can you do? When you believe your home has unpermitted construction, learn as much as you can about it:

  • When did installation take place? Before you took ownership of the house? After? 

  • What is the construction? A pergola? A sunroom? That necessary second bathroom?

  • In the year or era of construction, was a permit required? Is there a permit in place of which you're not aware?

  • Can it be grandfathered?

What is “Grandfathering”?

The term “grandfather clause” refers to an exception to a code, restriction, or legal requirement. It allows anything already done legally “at the time” to continue even if a new limitation would not allow it. Regarding unpermitted home upgrades, if the construction was before the change in the code, check to see if the code requires retroactive compliance. In that case, exceptions typically pose a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property and need remediation. When code changes do not require retroactive compliance, knowing the date of the construction puts you in the clear.

Retroactive Permitting

When you discover retrofits, additions, upgrades, or renovations in your home, search city or county records for a permit. Ask for help to see if that type of work in the year(s) of its completion required one. If it needed a permit, and you do not find one in place, either request a retroactive authorization or plan to sell your home "as is" to a willing buyer. Municipalities often have methods in place to offer retroactive permits. Check to determine the total cost of the permitting process. In addition to the permit fee, you may have to pay fines, inspections, and other fees. Any modifications required because of the permitting process become your responsibility. When the total cost of obtaining retroactive permits and related fees and construction costs is higher than the return on your investment, consider the “as is” process.

Selling Your Home "As Is"

When you choose to sell your property "as is," you no longer need to disclose to the municipal building department that you may have unpermitted construction. Until you are sure you want to request a retroactive permit, do not disclose information when you communicate with building code offices that might trigger an inspection. 

In the selling process, however, fully disclose to your real estate agent all items you know about for certain. That is, tell them about additions or upgrades you installed while in ownership. Make sure a sale is not delayed or falls through because a lender requires a permit. Have an appropriate "as is" clause written into the sales contract. 

Confer with your real estate agent to determine if seeking a permit is in your best interested when selling with unpermitted additions.





Posted by John Colby on 12/18/2020


2270 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331

Commercial

$2,550
Price

1
Buildings
Commercial
Type of Comm.
26,136.00
Lot Size
One or two units are available on this Convenient High traffic count location. Units are Zoned General. Town Water and Sewer services the building. An easy in and out Location less than a mile to Rt 2 at Exit 18 and North Quabbin Commons Shopping area. Single Story retail or office space. Additional Warehouse space available in the rear parking lot. Easterly Unit # 2280 Main st is 1400 sq ft. Dimensions are 30 by 47 ft Rent is $1900 per month including Radiant Floor heating, real estate taxes, & snow removal. See MLS # 72698307 listing. i.e. the adjoining Westerly Unit # 2270 and is 1900 sq ft and dimensions are 41.5 ft by 47 ft Rent is $2550 per month including radiant floor heating, real estate taxes & snow removal. Both units combined is 3350 sq ft. The Optional Warehouse in the rear is unheated and has 1st floor and a mezzanine level and is optional rental with the Westerly Unit.
Open House
No scheduled Open Houses






Tags: Athol   Real Estate   Commercial   01331  
Categories: Price Change  


Posted by John Colby on 12/18/2020


2280 Main St, Athol, MA 01331

Commercial

$1,900
Price

1
Buildings
Commercial
Type of Comm.
26,136.00
Lot Size
One or two units are available on this Convenient High traffic count location. Units are Zoned General. Town Water and Sewer services the building. An easy in and out Location less than a mile to Rt 2 at Exit 18 and North Quabbin Commons Shopping area. Single Story retail or office space. Optional Additional Warehouse space available in the rear parking lot. Easterly Unit is 1400 sq ft. Dimensions are 30 by 47 ft Rent is $1900 per month including radiant floor heating, real estate taxes and snow removal. See MLS # 72698298 listing The adjoining Westerly Unit and is 1900 sq ft and dimensions are 41.5 ft by 47 ft Rent is $2550 per month including radiant floor heating,real estate taxes & snow removal. Both units combined is 3350 sq ft. Warehouse is unheated and has 1st floor and a mezzanine level and is optional with the Westerly Unit.
Open House
No scheduled Open Houses






Tags: Athol   Real Estate   Commercial   01331  
Categories: Price Change  


Posted by John Colby on 12/13/2020

Photo by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock

Buying your first home is exciting! And scary! But you don’t have to fear the process if you take the time to become fully prepared for homeownership. Below are the seven primary keys to preparing yourself and smoothing the process.

How to Know You’re Ready

  • Determine how much you can afford. The first step to homeownership is figuring out what fits your current budget. Note that although your income may go up over time, buying a home, speculating that you’ll make more money and can afford a bigger payment is a recipe for disaster. In general, you don’t want your housing costs (mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes, HOA) to be more than 25% of your take-home pay.
  • Research which mortgages can save you the most money. A conventional loan, with at least 20% for a down payment, lets you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). That’s an extra reduction in monthly outgo, so strive to hit that mark. If you can’t afford twenty percent, put at least ten percent down. Less than that means your monthly outflow is higher in both the mortgage payment and the PMI. You’ll also pay more interest over time. You’ll save the most by putting more down and reducing the life of the loan to 15 years or fewer even though your monthly payment is higher. Remember that closing costs and moving take a chunk out of your saved-up cash, too.
  • Get pre-approved. Any lender can “pre-qualify” you for a loan, but those aren’t guaranteed. They’re just an estimate based on your self-reported income and assets. Pre-approval takes more effort, but the numbers accurately reflect the size of the mortgage you qualify for and what you can pay for a house. Find a great real estate agent. Once you’ve set your maximum budget and have a pre-qualification letter, your real estate agent can work with those numbers to find you the perfect home. Make sure you choose a qualified buyer’s agent that represents you, not the seller. You also want someone experienced in helping first-time buyers. Typically, the seller covers all the agent’s commissions, so you’re getting their expertise for free!
  • Discover the right neighborhood for you. Buying the right house in the wrong neighborhood leads to buyer’s remorse and dissatisfaction. You need to decide what you want in the neighborhood, not just the house. Do you need playgrounds? A school your child can walk to? Other families nearby? Culs-de-sac instead of through-streets? All of these are important to consider before making a decision.
  • Lock down the house. When you know where you want to live and find a house there, don’t fudge when making an offer. With the guidance of your agent, submit a solid offer that the seller respects and will consider, but leave room to negotiate. When you receive a counteroffer, consider it carefully and request concessions such as asking the seller to leave the appliances or furnishings. Your offer is legally binding, so you want to take care with what you include.
  • Know what to expect once you get the keys. In addition to your monthly payments of principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, owning a home brings other costs. These include ongoing maintenance, repairs, lawn care and landscaping. If your new home is considerably larger than where you currently live, you’ll also have increased utility costs to factor into the mix.

If you’ve worked your way through the first items on the list and you’re ready to find the right real estate agent, reach out today.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by John Colby on 12/6/2020

Photo by Jonny Lindner via Pixabay

When you purchase real estate, you need to decide how you want to hold the title. Many closing agents make an assumption, and that assumption may come back to bite you later in life. In most states, you may title real estate in five ways: sole ownership, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenants by the entirety, and in a living trust. If one of you should pass, you may not be able to avoid probate if the title to your real estate shows that you don’t own full interest in the property.

Methods of Holding Title

The methods of holding title determine whether you are able to avoid probate in many states for your primary residence.

  • Sole ownership means that you own the real estate yourself. If you are single, you may have your name listed as the sole owner of the property. If you are married, you may still hold the title as the sole owner, but you would be the only spouse who is liable for the financial burden.

  • Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship means that at least two people buy the property and have their names listed on the deed. Each person owns an equal piece of interest in the property. If one person passes, their share goes to the other person. If more than two people are listed, the decedent’s share is divided equally among all of the people listed on the deed. This is the only way that your primary home has a chance to avoid going through the probate process unless you hold the property in a living trust.

  • Tenancy in common is used when two people buy a property together. Generally, the two people are not married. Each person owns their share separately from the other. This is where closing agents and attorneys make the mistake of not asking the buyers how they want to be listed on the deed. If you own a property as tenants in common and one person dies, the real estate must go through probate. If you are married and do not want your share to go to your spouse automatically, then you would instruct the closing agent to list the owners as tenants in common.

  • Tenants by the entirety is only available in some states. This method of ownership means that both spouses own the property. One cannot sell the property without the agreement of the other. If a creditor is going after one spouse for a debt that is not owned by both parties, the creditor is barred from attaching a lien on the real estate.

The Living Trust

Regardless of how you hold title to real estate with your spouse, if the property is transferred to a living trust, the property then passes to your beneficiary postmortem. The property does not need to go through probate. However, if you use a pour-over will, which means that the property is not in the trust, but automatically transfers to the trust upon your passing, many states require probate before the property changes hands. If you are considering using a living trust, contact a probate attorney to help you set this up so that it is done correctly.




Categories: Uncategorized  




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