T. Jay Johnson Jr. - Lamacchia Realty, Inc.

Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 7/30/2021

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In a sellerís market, comparable sales and competition can drive up a homeís price. This is especially true in a sellerís market where offers from multiple buyers try to outbid each other. And, while this sounds like a fantastic deal for the seller, a low appraisal can kill the deal.

Many variables affect appraised values. Some of these include artificially inflated prices from seasonal activity, rising market values, foreclosures or short sales among the comparable properties, increased or decreased supply and demand, overlooked pending sales data, mistakes made by or inexperience of the evaluators, etc.

What do you do?

  • The seller can lower the price. While this is the least preferable by home sellers, if it means the deal goes through and if time is of the essence, itís certainly an option. The seller can offer this in exchange for the buyer paying some of the closing costs.
  • The buyer can increase their down payment. The lender typically cares about loan-to-value, so if the buyer can increase their cash in, you might save the deal.
  • A seller might offer to carry a second, approved mortgage on the difference.
  • Dispute the appraisal or order a new one. The seller can request a copy of the appraisal from the buyer. Then, you or the buyer can contact the lender and dispute the appraisal. Only the lender can require and insist on a new appraisal. Ask your agent to supply a list of recent comparable sales to justify your price and submit it to the buyerís underwriter for a review.

A well-written contract requires the seller to release back to the buyer any earnest money deposited at the time of the contract. You can then put your home back on the market. As long as the appraisal was not for an FHA loan, you can hope for a better appraisal next time. FHA loans connect appraisals to the property, so any new FHA buyer would end up with the same appraisal as the first buyer.

The best way to avoid this is to follow your professional real estate agentís advice when setting your homeís price. They follow the market trends, know the neighborhood, and have the pulse of what the market can bear.

Tags: appraisal   home seller   Buyer  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 7/23/2021

Natural stone siding is not always the best choice. Depending on your budget and the climate where you live it might be wise to choose an alternative. But what if you have your heart set on the look of a stone house? There are lots of material options for home exteriors on the market today including some excellent imitation stone varieties. Here we will go over the three most popular and readily available alternatives to natural stone.

Manufactured Stone

Manufactured stone, also called cultured stone, is actually cement poured into molds to imitate the texture and shape of natural stone. One thing that makes manufactured stone such a great option is that cement shares some of the same non-aesthetic benefits as natural stone. Cement is extremely durable and resistant to extreme weather and fire. Itís a fairly good insulator and will last the entire life of your home without need for regular maintenance. Itís lighter than stone which makes it more convenient and easy both to transport and install. Because itís made in specialized molds, itís also easy to get the exact size and shape of slab or siding components with very little waste.

Manufactured stone essentially allows you to enjoy the benefits of stone without the higher price. You can even purchase manufactured stone directly and install it on your own rather than need to hire a professional mason. There are also lots of companies out there who specialize in the creation and installation of manufactured stone, usually with a variety of colors, textures and finishes to choose from.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer siding is sold in panels that fit together like puzzle pieces. They are lightweight and inexpensive but are actually made with real natural stoneójust a lot less of it. This option is a great compromise for those with their hearts set on using natural stone because it essentially adds a mask of natural stone to the home that doesnít require mortar or masons. You can buy stone veneer kits or individual panels at your local hardware or home improvement store and install them yourself in a single weekend. The wide variety of colors, patterns and textures available is staggeringóyou will certainly be able to mimic the natural stone vision in your imagination without the hassle or high price tag. Itís also perfect for adding stone as an accent rather than covering the entire house because you only need to buy what you need.

Stone veneer is extremely convenient but has some drawbacks. By nature of being mass-produced, stone veneer panels lack the same character present in natural stone. You are not likely to get the same levels of variation and may even find pieces that look identical. Another issue with stone veneer is that if the seams are not precise or the panels not installed correctly moisture can get in between them and potentially lead to mold issues and other water damage.

Faux Stone

Faux stone is usually made of polyurethane-based foam. You can purchase and install it in panels similar to stone veneer or even cut it to size with a handsaw. Each panel only weighs a few pounds and can apply to surfaces with glue. The truly brilliant thing about faux stone is how real it looks. It does not feel like stone when you touch it, but the technology used to mimic the textures of different varieties of stone is so advanced itís highly believable.

Faux stone is the lightest of your natural stone alternatives and the least durable. The foam layer is covered in a protective plastic coating to prevent damage and keep out moisture, but cannot withstand impact. This means that in a hail storm you might end up with dents or even tears in the panels. If you want to install it indoors you must confirm it is safe to install on or around fireplaces, as not all varieties of faux stone are flame and heat resistant.

The best thing about all the above options is that they are easily accessible to purchase and research. Some stores and suppliers even offer in-depth tutorials for self-installation to help you save money and time. If you want the look of natural stone without buying the real thing, any of these options are excellent alternatives.

Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 7/22/2021

This Single-Family in Leominster, MA recently sold for $262,500. This Colonial style home was sold by T. Jay Johnson Jr. - Lamacchia Realty, Inc..

Categories: Sold Homes  

Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 7/16/2021

You may have heard that you will need 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down in order to buy it. As the prices of homes continue to rise. 20 percent of the purchase price of any home may not seem like a small feat to save up. Itís not impossible to buy a home. You may be able to get around the 20 percent rule in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that putting down as large of a down payment as you can will help you to land the home of your dreams a bit faster. 

The 20 percent down rule is sort of a myth. While the more you have saved up, the better your chances of standing out among other buyers are. You can still get a mortgage with less than 20 percent down from most banks. The drawback in not putting down 20 percent on a home is that you will need mortgage insurance (also known as PMI). Mortgage insurance is necessary if you put less than 20 percent down because the lender wants protection in case the home is foreclosed on due to a lack of payments.

All About PMI Payments

If you do put less than 20 percent down on a home, your PMI payments wonít go on forever. Once your loan is paid down a bit, youíll be free and clear of PMI payments. As a rule, if the loan-to-value-ratio reaches 80 percent, you can ask your lender to cancel the insurance for you. When the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender will automatically cancel the PMI. This is a welcome decrease in expenses since PMI insurance can add up to be hundreds of dollars per month.      

Finding A Way Around 20 Percent Down

Before you even decide to buy a house, you should look at financing options. There are certain programs that are available to you to help. If you know about them ahead of time, youíll be able to take advantage of them.  

Government Programs

Many different government agencies have programs available to help people get a home easier. These programs will provide home loans with a low interest rate and little to no down payment. The downside to these programs is that many of them actually require you to purchase private mortgage insurance as a contingency to get the loan. Youíll need to plan for these extra expenses. There are even grants available to help you with your down payment. Check in your state or local HUD office for details on various programs that can assist you with your down payment on your first home. Through a bit of savings and research, owning your first home can be possible with or without 20 percent down.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 7/9/2021

214 Pearl St, Fitchburg, MA 01420



Approx. GLA
Looking for an investment opportunity? Well here is your chance! This 3 family home is within walking distance to FSU and offers 6 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. Unit one provides 3 bedrooms, a full bath, a dine-in kitchen, laundry room and a living room. Unit two is almost identical but with one less bedroom. Unit 3 is on the third floor and has 1 bedroom and 1 bath. Corner lot. Come see all the potential this 3 family home has to offer today! Showings begin Wednesday 7/14.
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