FEF Trivia Bee – April 13, 2016

Mark your calendars now for the 19th Annual Franklin Education Foundation Trivia Bee, to be held at the Horace Mann Middle School on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 PM! From 6 to 7, the middle school will dominate general trivia, and from 7 to 9, it’s all about pop trivia for the traditional bee.

This is always a fun event for Franklin families and a great fundraiser for the schools. If you’d like to participate, you can enter a 3-person team of your own, sponsor a team of Franklin students, or donate an item for the raffle. Team sponsorships are $300 each, and if you own a business, you can even bid for naming rights for the final championship round! To get more info on how to participate or sponsor, check out the FEF website or email franklined.org@gmail.com.

Registry of Deeds Online Research

Did you know you can access the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds’ records online? It’s true! Here are the details from the Registry itself:

“Register O’Donnell Promotes Registry of Deeds Internet Research

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell is providing a friendly reminder to consumers that you don’t have to spend time and money to drive to the Registry to view land records since they are available online via the Registry’s internet-based document research system at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org.

“Consumers can see up to 5,000,000 scanned land document images dating back to the founding of Norfolk County in 1793. These documents are available via our internet-based document research system.

“Providing secure, accurate and accessible land record information, coupled with our on-site customer service center, is critical to our success at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds,” said Register O’Donnell.

Elaborating on the Registry’s research capabilities, O’Donnell said, “Land record information can be researched by multiple options, including the name of the property owner and property address. Consumers can access our internet-based document research system for many endeavors, to determine property ownership, to research land titles, to review land plans (not plot plans which are not recorded at the Registry) and finally to confirm that documents affecting a person’s property – such as mortgage discharges – have been duly recorded.”

The Registry’s website also provides information on how to obtain copies of land documents. The Registry copy charges are $1.00 per page plus an additional $1.00 per document for cost of postage.

In conclusion, O’Donnell stated, “Providing first-class customer service is a core objective of the Registry. Norfolk County residents and businesses deserve a Registry of Deeds that provides them with access to land record information in an easily accessible and consumer friendly manner. The Registry website http://www.norfolkdeeds.org can do just that.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org

phone: 781-234-3336

web: http://www.norfolkdeeds.org”

Franklin Library Book Sale this weekend!

If you need something new to read, stop by the Franklin Public Library‘s book sale this weekend!

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Since the library is preparing for its temporary move due to the upcoming renovations, they’ll be selling a lot more books than usual. From 9 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, February 20, all books will be only $1 each! On Sunday, February 21, from 9 AM to 12 PM, stop by for the bag sale – fill a bag for $5. The library will also have CDs, DVDs, games, and puzzles available, so you’ll definitely be able to find something you love. Make it a point to check out the sale and help the library prepare for its big move!

Getting a home loan after a bankruptcy

Today I want to share some great advice from my favorite mortgage lender, Dale Lawrence, about getting a mortgage post-bankruptcy. As you’ll see below, it’s definitely doable if you follow the right steps! If you’re in this situation, or just need some mortgage advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dale. Contact me and I’ll be happy to put you in touch!

Tips on Finding a Mortgage After Bankruptcy
Get the timing right. Don’t rush into a mortgage. Now, to be clear: A bankruptcy will stay on your record for a decade or more, but I don’t think you need to wait anywhere near that long before pursuing a mortgage. Do let the dust settle on your bankruptcy papers before you move forward with another major financial decision, though.

Take stock. As the bankruptcy discharge papers are filed and you allow yourself this brief waiting period, take stock of where you are financially. What have you lost in the bankruptcy, and what does your credit score look like right now? It helps to get an accurate financial snapshot before you move ahead.

Pay your bills. Even after a bankruptcy, you may have some unresolved and non-dischargeable debts. Car loan payments often remain, for instance, to say nothing of your regular living expenses—insurance, rent, and so on. Make sure you are able to pay those bills on your current income before you take on something as major as a mortgage payment.
Save some money. Take some time to rebuild a nest egg for yourself—enough to have an emergency fund and also to make a small down payment on a new home. How big of a down payment will you need to make? That’s a question to discuss with me one-on-one.

Consider the expenses of homeownership. As you start thinking about buying, remember that owning a home is not cheap, and it’s not just about the mortgage payment, either. Repairs, insurance, utilities, lawn care—you’ll have to pay for all of this, in some form or fashion, and that’s something you’ll want to plan and budget for.

Get your paperwork ready. You’ll need to present some financial paperwork before we can get the ball rolling on a mortgage. Pay stubs, going back a few months, will be vital. Having bank account records and tax returns handy can also be helpful.

Shop around for the right house. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t risk becoming house-poor. Speak with me about what you can realistically afford, and get a mortgage that’s actually pragmatic and achievable moving forward.
Bankruptcy can feel disheartening, but it doesn’t have to lead you to despair. You can still find a great home and get a superb mortgage rate. The only way to begin the process is to give me a call and ask about your options.

Stay warm!

In case you haven’t heard, it’s going to be wicked #%*# cold this weekend. It’s a good time to cozy up in front of a fire with your sweetheart, your pets, a good book, and/or a hot chocolate (I promise not to tell if you spike it). 

Please keep yourself safe and stay indoors as much as possible, bundle up if you have to go out, and keep an eye out for any neighbors or friends that might need help. Keep your home safe, too, since frozen pipes are a real possibility with this weather. A local plumber shared this advice on Facebook today, which I’ll pass on to you: 

“ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!  This weekend with the sub-zero temperatures don’t skimp on the thermostat settings. An extra 30 bucks spent on fuel could save thousands in damages caused by burst pipes etc. My advice is to use the HOLD TEMP button on those pesky electronic thermostats and set them all to 70 degrees. Don’t forget about those back zones you don’t use. Crank all of them. Also most heating systems in the Boston area are only designed to heat the inside of a building to 68 – 70 degrees only down to an outdoor temperature of 5 degrees and at a steady state only! That means if your setback thermostat shuts down to 64 degrees at night then switches back to 70 degrees at 6AM tomorrow when its in the single digits outside, good luck recovering the house to decent temperature. So if its -10 outside this weekend, and you wake up to a house that’s 65 degrees and all the pipes are hot and running properly, your doing alright!”

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – January 2016 Real Estate Activity

From the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, here’s the report on real estate activity for January 2016…

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Register O’Donnell Reports on Jan ’16 Real Estate Activity

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported a mostly positive kick-off to the New Year relative to Norfolk County real estate activity for month of January, but a few numbers still need to be closely watched throughout the first quarter of 2016.

“I am pleased to report that January 2016 real estate sales activity showed solid gains in both the total number of real estate transactions and total dollar volume of real estate activity, including commercial and residential sales, compared to the same month in 2015,” noted Register O’Donnell.

‘The number of real estate sales, both commercial and residential, increased a whopping 28% in January. The average sales price during the month was $680,350, a 4% increase compared to January 2015. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed solid gains, increasing an impressive 34% to $514.3 million,” noted the Register.

Continuing his remarks, O’Donnell stated, “The lending market was a mixed bag for the month of January. The total number of mortgages recorded in January was 1,982, a modest 5% increase. However, total mortgage financing actually fell 7% coming in at $764 million. We will need to watch this number closely to see if individuals and business begin to think twice before borrowing money.”

On the consumer front, Homestead recordings in January increased by 23% year over year. Information regarding the Homestead Act, which provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000, can be found on the Registry’s website at www.norfolkdeeds.org.

Foreclosure activity in Norfolk County continued to be a cause for concern as it does throughout the state. Register O’Donnell stated, “The good news in January was that the number of foreclosure deeds fell by 25% year over year. However, when it comes to foreclosures, we are by no means out of the woods. What is troubling is the big increase in the amount of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process. In January, 97 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings were recorded as compared to 59 in January 2015. This is a clear indication that despite the good economy in eastern Massachusetts, some of our neighbors continue to face economic hardship.

“The Registry of Deeds continues to work with its partners Quincy Community Action Programs and Neighbor Works Southern Mass to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage. Another option for homeowners who are facing the challenges of meeting their monthly mortgage payment is to contact the Attorney General’s HomeCorps program for assistance.”

Register O’Donnell concluded, “The data clearly shows that the Norfolk County market is on solid footing. As the next 12 to 18 months progresses, it will also be interesting to see how much the General Electric headquarters move to Boston will impact the local housing market. However, a story that may have just the opposite effect is the recent decline in the stock market. Individuals who are seeing significant losses in their portfolios may pause before considering a real estate purchase or home improvement. Another factor not to be discounted is the real estate inventory, which if remains low, can have a negative impact on real estate sales, particularly for first-time home buyers.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us atfacebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web atwww.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

What kind of market is it?

Just because Franklin’s having a snow day today doesn’t mean you all get out of learning something! If you know a Realtor, you’ve probably heard them say things like “It’s a total seller’s market right now,” but we use more than a gut feeling to figure out who’s coming out on top given current market conditions. Realtors use a simple calculation called the “absorption rate” to determine whether market conditions are better for buyers or sellers, or whether they’re evenly balanced.

It’s easy to figure out the absorption rate for yourself. Using the market for Franklin single-family homes as an example, you can look at the market statistics for the last six months and see that 143 single-family homes sold during that time period. Divide that by six, and you get 23.83 homes sold per month. Now, take a look at what’s currently for sale, and you’ll see that there are 47 single-family homes currently on the market in Franklin. Divide 47 by 23.83, and you get 1.97, meaning that if none of the current active listings were withdrawn and no new listings were added, it would take 1.97 months to sell everything that’s currently on the market.

The Realtor’s rule of thumb is that anything from 0 to 5 months’ supply of homes is a seller’s market, meaning that there are more buyers than there are homes for sale, and sellers can expect high demand and charge higher prices. 5-7 months’ supply is considered to be a good balance. Anything over 7 months’ supply is a buyer’s market, meaning that there are more homes for sale than there are buyers, and sellers may need to lower their prices or add other incentives to successfully sell their homes.

The math says that it’s a very strong seller’s market for Franklin single-families right now; inventory is low and demand is high, so if you’ve been thinking about selling, now is definitely the time. But if you’re a buyer, don’t despair! Realtors have all kinds of strategies to help you succeed in a market like this, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of the low mortgage rates and give it a shot.