Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty

Posted by Karen Adelson on 5/16/2017

A realtor is the bridge between your vision and a rewarding house buy or sell. Good realtors find safe, functional houses that meet all of your family's needs at reasonable prices. Good realtors work hard for you, making you a priority. You'd need years of real estate experience to get the results that a great realtor can get for you within a matter of weeks.

What good realtors do and don't do

At the start of their real estate careers, realtors may have good intentions. They might be motivated and inspired. Over time, those positives could erode, especially as markets shift downward and the time that it takes to sell a house lengthens.

Drive to earn commissions in order to pay their own household expenses can also tempt realtors to cut  corners or offer you below the board deals. Here are some signs to look for when hunting for or dealing with real estate agents.

  • The realtor ask you for your honest opinion about houses that he shows you. He doesn't protect his judgments and avoid asking you for detailed feedback about houses that he shows you out of fear that you might say something that could cause him to feel as if he doesn't know where to find the best houses.
  • Real estate agents that you work with know and have working relationships with the area's best mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders, including reputable retail lenders such as those that work at major banks.
  • You won't be encouraged to buy a house if you can't afford to own a house yet. For example, a good realtor won't ask you to take on a $1,700 monthly mortgage if you only gross $50,000 a year and have other household expenses.
  • When you call an effective realtor, she will call you back as soon as possible. A good realtor will also initiate contact with you. She won't wait for you to call or email her before she updates you on the status of your house buy or house sell.
  • Good realtors will let you know if there are areas of the house sell or house buy process that they are novices at. They will bring in more experienced professionals if doing so will yield you a better deal.
  • The workload that the real estate handles will allow her to focus on you.

A bad real estate agent could lengthen the time that it takes for you to sale your house. If you've already bought another house, keeping your former house on the market for several more weeks could put a strain on your ability to stay current in your new mortgage. Remember that you hold the keys to your house buying or selling. If a real estate agent is unresponsive or taking too long to find you a new house or to sell your current home, consider looking for a new realtor.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Karen Adelson on 5/9/2017

If youíre thinking about buying a home, youíve probably heard a lot about closing costs. Closing costs can come at a hefty price- up to 5% of your homeís purchase price. When that amount must be paid up front, you need to make sure you have a sizable amount of cash on hand.  

Thereís many different kinds of fees included in the closing costs. Your lender will give you an estimate of what your closing costs will be, but you may not know what any of the terms that are included actually mean.  

The Loan Origination Fee

This is the fee charged by your lender that covers the administrative costs that are associated with creating and processing a mortgage. This could also be called an underwriting fee.   

Title Search Fee

This is how much the title insurance company charges to perform research on the title of the home. In some cases, the title may have some issues associated with it, so this research is to protect you. Thereís also title fees known as lenderís title insurance and ownerís title insurance. You need to have lenderís title insurance, but ownerís title insurance is completely optional.

Credit Report Fee

This covers the obtaining and review of your credit report. 

Application Fee

Thereís also a fee when it comes to reviewing your mortgage loan application. 

Home Appraisal

This fee covers the appraiser who is chosen by your mortgage company in order to assess an accurate value of the home.  

Tax Monitoring Fee

This fee supports tax research on the home to determine if property taxes have been paid. 


The property survey covers all aspects of the property bounds including gas lines, roads, walls, easements, property improvements, and encroachments. 

Attorney Fees

The attorney fees will cover all of the document reviews, the agreements, and the escrow fees.

Insurance Payments

When you close on a home, your entire first year of home insurance payments must be made at the time of closing. If you have bought your home with an FHA loan, youíll need to pay mortgage insurance premiums at closing as well. Youíll also need mortgage insurance payments if you put less than a 20% down payment on the home.  

Escrow Property Taxes

The lender requires that you pay your property taxes up front. This money will be held in escrow and the taxes paid from there.  

As you can see, thereís a lot that goes on during the closing of a home. Make sure you have some water handy, itís going to be a long process! Understanding what will happen at closing when you buy a home can help you to avoid any surprise fees or financial burdens.

Posted by Karen Adelson on 5/2/2017

Social media, cell phones and hundreds of television channels may have brought the world closer, a whole lot closer. In fact, because of these devices, it only takes the click of a button to keep up with whatís going on in the world. It seems impossible to perceive of yourself as ever being alone with the constant connections. Yet, there are downsides to relying on technology to connect with another person, especially when it comes to community relationships.

Good neighbor relationships donít happen on their own

Itís not just that rewarding neighborhood relationships help to strengthen trust inhumanity. Itís also not just that good neighborhood relationships give you a support network, people to contact should you need someone to look after your children.

There are health benefits to developing good relationships with your neighbors. Deeper human connections have been reported to ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. By becoming friends with your neighbors, you also gift yourself with a positive feeling each time you see your neighbor.

You can also have someone to talk with should you deal with a personal or work related challenge. This can help to reduce stress as well as lower your chances of developing a stress related illness or disease. Also, if you have rewarding relationships with your neighbors, you can create incredibly loving, exciting and lasting memories that extend beyond your immediate family.

Steps to great neighbors

But, good neighbor relationships donít just happen. Similar to rewarding relationships between colleagues, a spouse or beau, it takes effort to make a neighbor a friend. Because you live within close physical proximity of your neighbors, it wonít take mileage and transportation expenses to keep in touch.

What it will take is commitment, patience and understanding. A simple first step is to speak with your neighbors when you see them, even if it takes a few times before your neighbors take the initiative and speak to you first.

If your neighbors have children, encourage your kids to make friends with the youngsters. You could also form a neighborhood block party to kick in spring and bid farewell to summer.

When neighbors share information with you in confidence, keep the information to yourself. This means not telling anyone what was shared with you unless the information would put someone in danger. In that event, you may have no choice except to share the information with a professional.

This next tip goes beyond living with neighbors. Get in the habit of practicing active listening skills. For example, donít interrupt your neighbors when they are speaking. Also, avoid framing your response to a question or comment that a neighbor shares with you while your neighbor is speaking. Active listening is a great way to build trust.

As you get to know your neighbors better, consider inviting them over to your house to enjoy a chat on the front porch. If your neighbors reciprocate, they should start to invite you over to their place as well. Right now, it may sound far fetched, but your neighbors could become among your very best friends if you put in the effort to get to know them better.

Even more good news is that itís never too late to start to make the effort to become friends with your neighbors. It may be as simple as saying ďhelloĒ each time that you see your neighbor. Finding out what your neighborís name is also helps. So too does practicing active listening skills and valuing your neighborís ideas, opinions and thoughts.

Tags: house neighbors  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Karen Adelson on 5/1/2017

This Single-Family in Lexington, MA recently sold for $850,000. This Colonial,Antique style home was sold by Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty.

2 Vine Street, Lexington, MA 02420


Sale Price

Full/Half Baths
The ultimate Lexington property: The Estabrook-Captain Turner House, a piece of history lovingly restored for today. At the foot of Lexington Center this absolutely enchanting, picture book antique stands on beautiful grounds behind a picket fence with an archway to a hidden garden with stone fireplace, surrounded by land offering total privacy -- enough land for possible expansion. All the charm of the 1700s including four fireplaces, yet updated with the amenities of today. There is a new half bath and laundry on the first floor and an updated kitchen with all new stainless steel appliances, totally open to a beautiful formal dining room. The wood floors sparkle everywhere including the living room and the contemporary cherry staircase with walls of glass leading to three bedrooms and a beautiful new bath. Other updates include new gas furnace, new roof & more. This home combines it all: beauty, history, function and LOCATION. The perfect place to celebrate Patriots Day in Lexington!

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Categories: Sold Homes  

Posted by Karen Adelson on 4/25/2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you're deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you'll live around for likely many years. You're also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard... the list goes on. So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you're ready for home ownership.

The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:

  1. I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
  2. I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
  3. My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
  4. I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
  5. I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
  6. I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.