Becky Dalke and Associates - Shrewsbury MA Real Estate, Northborough MA Real Estate, Westborough MA

When you drive through a new housing development does it seem like all of the homes are enormous compared to when you were growing up? You're not alone. In fact, over the last 40 years, average home sizes have increased by over 1,000 square feet. In other words, you could fit an entire small house inside of the amount homes have grown in size.

Why do Americans love huge houses?

It's counter-intuitive that home sizes should keep growing larger. Bigger houses mean higher prices, more maintenance, and more expensive utilities. To understand why, we need look no further than the automobile industry. In spite of the fact that larger vehicles cost more to buy, use more gas, and do more harm to the environment, people still buy bigger and bigger trucks and SUVs. There are a few reasons why. One is that they can afford to (or they can at least afford the payments). Another reason is cultural. For the most part, bigger meant better in American culture--until recently. Recently, many Americans have begun saying they would prefer smaller sized houses. That desire hasn't entirely caught up to the people building the homes, however. And even as simple living trends and the "tiny house" phenomenon gain traction, building contractors still stand the most to gain from large houses and the people with the money to build houses continue to build big to stay aligned with the other homes in their neighborhood. There are other obstacles in place for people who want a smaller house. Some counties around the U.S. now enforce minimum square footage requirements to uphold the building standards of the area. So, people hoping to move to a particular suburban area but don't want a huge house might be out of luck.

How big of a home do I need?

There are a lot of things to consider if you're buying a home. Size and cost often go hand-in-hand, but even if you can afford a larger home, do you really need the space? Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how large of a house you really need:
  • Do I or will I have a family? Kids need space. They need bedrooms and places to play. The size of your family is going to be a huge factor in choosing the size of your home.
  • Do I need all this stuff? Many people use their homes like storage containers. Think about the last time you moved and what you brought with you. Now determine how often you used the things you brought. Odds are you have a lot of items just sitting around taking up space that you don't really need.
  • Do I have hobbies that take up a lot of space? Woodworking, working on cars, playing drums... these are all examples of hobbies that call for some leg room.
  • Am I a dog person? Just like kids, pets tend to take up some room. Larger dogs and energetic dogs require more room, both outside and inside the house.
  • Do I have time to keep up with the maintenance? Bigger houses means more windows to clean, more toilets to scrub, more grass to mow... you get the idea. You might find that you'd rather have a beautiful and well-kept small home than a hard-to-maintain huge one.

The local real estate market has been very competitive this summer.  Many homes have been selling within the first few days of being on the market and Seller’s have had multiple offers to choose from!  This can be frustrating for Buyer’s looking to obtain their dream home.  As always, the best solution is to have a solid strategy to compete in this hot selling market.

Proper Preparation Prevents Pain!  Things move very quickly when offers are coming in, it is best to spend time crafting the best offer than scrambling for all your supporting documents.  Make sure you have at the ready the following items:

    • Checkbook and Initial Deposit:  You will need to submit a deposit of typically $1,000 with your offer

    • A “Love Letter” This is a letter from you to the seller introducing yourself and what you are looking for in a home.  You can quickly personalize this letter to fit with what you love about the home you are putting the offer on, this can help to put a face to all the formalities of the sale process.

    • Pre-Approval Letter: Make sure a qualified bank or Mortgage Company has already pre-approved you for a loan that will cover the cost of the home.

    • Flexibility: Sometimes the winning bid goes to the person who can move quickly or can meet the sellers preferred closing date. 

    • Down Payment: The more the better.  Sometimes a seller will not go with the highest offer but with the most financially sound offer insuring that the buyer will make it to the closing table. 

    • Home Inspection VS “As-Is”:  This can always be a little tricky but can be very powerful if worked correctly.  A savvy buyer’s agent would rarely advise against dropping the Home Inspection Contingency, however there are several ways to make one look more attractive to the Seller.  For example consider purchasing the home “As-Is” with a home inspection for informational purposes only; or you will conduct a home inspection AND if a major or structural problem is detected you can consider not moving forward, however you understand that you are buying the home in its current condition.  Many items found in a home inspection can be easily fixed and although they may require extra money from you to fix, you may have to make this concession in order obtain a “hot” property.

Ultimately the best tool in your home buying kit is a Professional Buyer’s Agent, their experience can help to navigate even the toughest negotiations.  If you are looking to jump into the home buying process contact me today so we can start to strategize the best approach in obtaining your dream home!

Yesterday was Marathon Monday, and I got to thinking about all the runners as they embarked on 26.2 miles. The race ahead of them had, I am sure, highs and lows, struggles and triumph.  But keeping their eye on the finish line took determination, motivation and sustainability.  I began to realize that the home selling process is much like a marathon.  The process from start to finish has a lot of ups and downs and pitfalls but like with a marathon, determination and having the right support team behind you can insure that you make it to the closing table with ease.   Here are a few must dos when considering selling your home:

Get in Shape: Buyers can be very savvy and you always want to put your best foot forward.  If your home has some deferred maintenance now is the time to address those “honey-do” lists.  Give yourself plenty of time like 6-8 weeks to get things done.  This does not mean you have to renovate but everything in your home should sparkle and be in good working order

Time to Shed a Few Pounds:  Look around your home and declutter, donate, and store. A home clear of clutter and extra furniture allows buyers to see all that your home has to offer and will not be distracted by anything else.

Interview Coaches:  All marathon runners need a good support network and a trainer, home sellers should have the best  real estate team behind them as well, willing to work for you to advise and sell your home. A Realtor can offer the best advice with respect to proper pricing, marketing and staging. 

Know Your Competition:  There is a lot that goes into selling a home within your area.  Make sure you have done your research with respect to your local market. What is true in the big city may or may not be applicable to what is trending in your backyard.  Make sure you understand what similar homes have sold for, which other active listings you will be compared to by buyers, current interest rates, and financial forecasts.

Be Flexible: Once you list your home there will be times when you can hold your ground.   However, more often than not, being flexible will net you the greatest amount of money in a shorter time.  There are many steps to selling a home, so there will be give and take between you and the prospective buyer.  Simply remember your goal is to sell, at the best price, with the least pitfalls and to walk away satisfied at the accomplishment. 

Hire a Top Notch Coach to Win the Race:  Just like hiring the best coach, you will want to hire the best Realtor to ensure your success.   A full-time professional Realtor can make the entire process seamless. No matter how many hurdles you need to jump along the way, your Realtor should have great solutions to minimize pitfalls.  Your Realtor should have a proven track record of success, just as any good coach would.  They should be a able to provide you a list of hundreds of other ecstatic buyers and sellers whom they successfully got to the finish line.

Here at Becky Dalke & Associates we are currently coaching a number of enthusiastic buyers and sellers. We have a few more openings for those who are ready to make a commitment to their success.  We hope to hear from you soon!




It all seems pretty simple and straight forward on the surface.  List your home, hold an Open House, obtain and offer, DONE! Especially with the internet. There is a mountain of information at your fingertips to help along the way, and with sites like Zillow and Trulia how hard can it be?  Scratch beneath the surface of any home transaction and you will see it is so much more….An experienced Realtor can make it look like a duck gliding effortlessly across the lake only to find out that his feet are paddling feverishly below. Here are few things to consider:

  1. Exposure and Marketing:  Research shows that 88% of buyers search online for a home, and while there are sites that will allow you to post your home for sale, only a licensed Realtor can list your home with the MLS or multiple listing service, which is the biggest online search tool for both active buyers and their Realtors.  Furthermore, a Professional Realtor will have an online marketing strategy that includes web sites, promotions, social media etc.  You will need to consider if you have this at your fingertips.
  2. Paper-Paper and more Paper!:  There is a mountain of paperwork that is involved in selling a home, much of which is mandatory and required by law. It can be difficult to maneuver through all the legal formalities.
  3. So many people so little time:  Let’s face it,selling your home is probably not your full time job.  There is a small army involved when transferring ownership of a property. For example there is the buyer, the buyer’s agent, attorneys, home inspectors and bank appraisers just to name a few all needing your attention and time to see your home sale through to the end.  Not to mention the time required to set up showings for your home, and qualifying buyers and separating the window shoppers from the true buyers.
  4. Commissions:Often sellers believe they can save real estate commission by listing the home themselves.  However studies have shown that on average a For Sale by Owner home sells for approximately 15% lower than those sold by a Realtor.
  5. Risk Management: The best reason to hire a licensed Realtor is for risk management.  Realtors have a full time,seasoned interest in selling your home, providing disclosures, understanding the terms of an offer and so much more. Experienced Realtors wear many hats and can help sellers remain calm,set expectations and manage emotions that always seem to accompany home sales. 

Bottom line, it never hurts to sit down with a professional and get the full picture of the real estate market.