Latest Settlement News

Extensive media coverage has highlighted the impending settlement by The National Association of Realtors, leading to confusion among buyers and sellers. The final settlement details will impact real estate agent’s practices, with many states still ironing out the specifics of how to implement these changes.

For sellers, the significant change is that offering compensation to a buyer’s agent will no longer be mandatory. However, it is advisable to heed your agent’s advice on local norms to stay competitive in the market. Commission rates have always been negotiable, contrary to rumors suggesting otherwise.

For buyers, a major change is the requirement to sign an agreement with a buyer’s agent before viewing a property. Only by signing this agreement, which outlines compensation can an agent show you a property.

A preliminary approval was granted on April 24th, with a final hearing set for November 26, 2024. Though court case timelines can be uncertain, the potential approval of these changes is believed to benefit both buyers and sellers.

Your reliable Realtor is the best source for up-to-date information. Armed with accurate knowledge, sound decisions can be made about real estate transactions. For immediate inquiries, feel free to reach out to one of our agents.


So often, buying, selling, or even renting Real Estate involves some of the biggest and most important decisions we ever have to make in our lives. For many buyers, sellers, and tenants, it can also become some of our most stressful moments. Is there anything we can do to minimize these conditions and concerns? After over thirty six years in this business, I have concluded that there are. It starts like many other tasks we have to take on, plan ahead. Start by writing a set of realistic objectives and expectations. If you are a couple, it’s imperative that each of you have input. Both people being on the same page has proven to be essential later on in the process. Where there are differences, work on a compromise in advance. If you’re a buyer, get your finances in order before even considering to look for a house. Choose a professional experienced mortgage broker as part of your team. Stay away from the attraction of lower rates offered by online loan companies. You will need to communicate with a professional throughout the loan process. Don’t just contact Real Estate Agents at random, whether you are buying or selling, or seeking to rent, do some research, ask for referrals and interview potential agents. You need to hire a professional to lead your team to a successful conclusion. The same standard applies to Real Estate Attorneys, don’t just hire the least expensive one. Surround yourself with a team of the best people and your stress level will be dramatically reduced. Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Holiday season!

Zillow Zestimate

Zillow claims to have a tool on their site, called Zestimates that can provide homeowners a means to determine the current market value of their home. How accurate are the values? In reality, not very accurate at all. Why is that? To begin with, many factors have to be considered to come up with a true value. The data that Zillow relies on comes, for the most part, from local information it gathers from local town records. These records for example tend to not reflect information about upgrades that may have been done by the home owners, which certainly add value. It also takes into account local assessments of the property, again these figures do not take into consideration that they may have been done years ago, and don’t account for the current market conditions. Banks who provide the funding for mortgages, would only rely on independent appraisers who have access to recently sold properties in order to provide the banks with far more accurate data on true market value. You don’t need to hire and pay for an appraisal. A smarter approach for home owners is to connect with a professional agent in the area of your interest, and have them work for you as your agent and advocate. They know the area, properties, and have direct knowledge of the neighborhoods, and current market conditions. They can preform a comparable market analysis, using many of the same techniques and tools used by bank appraisers. This is too big a decision not to have a knowledgeable and professional agent on your team.

Good luck!

-Charles “Chuck” Bartolo

Big Brand Doesn’t Mean Better

It’s often a good idea for anyone considering listing their home or property to interview a few agents. Lately, prospective sellers have been drawn to include big National brand names in this process, thinking that would be a better choice. However it’s important to note, that when it comes to choosing a Real Estate Agency, the individual agent that you select matters far more than a brand’s national coverage.

You, as the potential client, need to trust the agent regardless of the agency that they work for. Personal relationships matter far more than the brand of the agency.

Often agents from these large brand name agencies come from outside your community, and as such are not nearly as familiar with the area as are local agents who live and work nearby. When showing properties to buyers, agents are often asked for local recommendations and resources, so having personal knowledge of the area is a great asset.

Many clients have found that these larger brand name agencies tend not to have the flexibility that a smaller agency will often have. This means the smaller independent agencies are more apt to customize their services to meet your special needs and circumstances. It’s important to remember in any client relationship, that the person you will be dealing with throughout the process is one of the most important considerations you have.

Choose wisely!

5 Tips For Preparing To Sell Your House

  1. Find out what your house is worth by contacting a top agent in your community. Ask friends and family for referrals.
  2. Declutter your space, and remove all personal items as these can be big distractions for buyers.
  3. Have a qualified home inspector do a pre-inspection, a small expense with big rewards. Address all major issues they uncover.
  4. Clean up the yard, first impressions really do matter.
  5. Follow the recommendations made by your Realtor, they do this for a living & know what is most important.

Best of luck!

-Charles “Chuck” Bartolo

Should I Sell My House Now?

I’m often asked this question and my answer is… it depends. Ask yourself, “Where will I go?” and “Can I afford this move?” Real Estate prices are high in just about every market. If you have a current mortgage, your interest rate is most likely far less than if you’ll have to pay for a new one.
How much equity do you have in your current home, and will you be downsizing? If the answer to these basic questions is a positive one, then it may be a good time to consider selling. A good start is to invite a Real Estate professional to give you an accurate assessment of its current value. Review the comparable homes that have sold in your area recently with this agent. Be realistic in your pricing. Then, if you decide to move forward, that agent should also advise you as to what preparations you should make to your house before actually going on the market. Winter months are ideal for this, as spring is the best time to go live. We are not expecting prices to continue to rise as we get deeper into 2023, so spring 2023 seems ideal. Best wishes for what ever you decide!

Should A Seller Do A Pre-listing inspection?

Very often Real Estate transactions go smoothly until a home inspection is done. Suddenly issues that even the seller was perhaps unaware of show up. Now the buyer becomes concerned and what was moving along nicely hits a major bump in the road. Buyers seek estimates, sellers tend to push back, and now we are faced with problems. Many a deal has ended at this stage. What if the seller had done a pre-listing inspection? First, they could address any problems and correct them, perhaps at a lower cost than a buyer might want. In addition, these corrections could be used in the agent’s marketing campaign as a selling point. We have found transactions to go far quicker and smoother when this is done. Often Home inspectors will even discount the cost from a regular home inspection. I believe a truly smart move for would-be sellers.

The Tide Is Changing

We have been talking about the possibility of a changing real estate market for quite a while now and we are seeing a once hot market starting to cool off. What has happened is a series of events that continue to challenge all consumers. First, the increase by the Federal Reserve has push interests rates to near 6%, thus forcing many would be buyers to step away from the market. Spiraling higher costs for gas and just about all goods and services is making owning a home substantially more expensive. Many second home buyers, who had been buying homes with profits from their investment portfolios, have had to put the brakes on due to the recent downturn in the stock market. As inventories are starting to increase, and prices softening, this could put buyers in the near future to be in stronger position to get back in.

My Five Best Tips For Selling Your Home In 2020

  1. Hire the most professional and successful Realtor in your area.
  2. Repair any items in your house that need immediate attention.
  3. Remove all the clutter, including all your personal items.
  4. Get help in staging the house, so it shows well in Photographs.
  5. Price it so it stands out as the best buying opportunity compared to the competition, don’t use the internet, let a professional advise.

Do Open Houses Work?

After over thirty years of doing business in the local Real Estate market, my answer is No. Why is that? There are a number of reasons. First, homebuyers buying habits have changed. The internet basically allows potential buyers to shop from the connivence of their home. After searching online they can not only visually see both the entire interior and exterior, they can also search through sites like google earth and even examine the immediate area of the homes. If they prefer, they could actually do a drive- by since the addresses are also visible. Next, smart homebuyers have already hired their own agents, so if they are interested they can see any house on their own schedule. What I have found is that most often it’s curious neighbors who want to see how the open house compares to their home. Unfortunately, I have found that frustrated sellers will pressure their agents to hold open houses to try to increase the exposure to their homes, when in reality revisiting their position in the market place is most often far more effective in getting the house sold.