Spring Real Estate Tips

Advice from Sudbury, Massachusetts’ top real estate team

While spring flowers are just beginning to bloom, real estate’s spring season is already in full swing. For realtors Laura Semple and Beth Hettrich, this means representing myriad buyers and sellers of homes in and around Sudbury, Massachusetts, known for its rich colonial history and proximity to Boston.

For the two realtors, the town has a more personal significance: Sudbury is where they were born and raised, and where their friendship began when they were just 10 years old. “When we both started in real estate, we started together 15 years ago,” says Semple.

Today, The Semple & Hettrich Team represents the top one percent of Coldwell Banker agents nationally, and has been the number-one selling real estate team in Sudbury every year since 2010. They credit their success to their unique skillsets: Semple has a marketing background, and Hettrich’s is in finance. Plus, they simply know the area better than just about anyone. “We went through the Sudbury school system and we each have three kids who have gone through the school system [or are currently students] so we have a big network in Sudbury, which is where the majority of our business is,” Semple explains.

Recently sold by the Semple & Hettrich Team, this 12-acre private estate on Goodnow Road in Sudbury has six bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms and a heated pool.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has been busier than ever before, particularly in 2022 when they saw a peak seller’s market. But it’s only benefitted their team’s success. “We have a very tried-and-true strategy,” notes Hettrich. They work with home stagers to stage the house, then have professional photos (including drone photography) taken and floorplans created for marketing. “Now people can really see so much of a house online before they even go to visit… it has to look good online, otherwise buyers will pass it up,” Semple says.

The team has a few tips for buyers and sellers navigating the real estate market this season.

For sellers:

1. Talk to a realtor.
The professionals know best when it comes to how to prepare your home for listing, and can offer ideas on how to get started. And, as Hettrich says, they can provide insight on what not to do: “A lot of people say, ‘I’m going to keep the cabinets and the floor and put in a new type of granite countertop,’ and there’s not a lot of value to that.” Her advice? Do all of the above or don’t do it at all.

2. Make sure your home is in turnkey condition.
When they began their real estate careers in 2008, Hettrich recalls, people were looking for fixer-uppers: “Buyers were looking for the opportunity to have sweat equity.” Now, that’s a thing of the past. “People want to move in and all they want to do is bring their furniture and their clothes,” she says.

3. Minimize your “stuff.”
“The more floor space you can see, the bigger the room looks,” Semple says. That means sorting through your belongings and either minimizing what you own or putting items in storage. Adds Hettrich, “In terms of furniture, do you need five chairs when three will do the trick? Can you get rid of a leaf of your dining room table?”

4. Use a home stager.
In the competitive market, hiring a professional home stager is a “must” to make your house more appealing to buyers. “They’re also going to make your home look nice in photos,” Semple says. That may mean adding décor that isn’t exactly your style, but will benefit the selling process. Says Hettrich, “First impressions, both in person and in photos, are critical.”

Also just off the market, this Cudworth Lane home in Sudbury’s desirable Willis Hills boasts almost 7,000 square feet of living.
For buyers:

1. Again, work with a realtor.
They know the market and can help ease the process of finding your dream home.

2. Move quickly.
If there are open houses scheduled on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, they advise, “Don’t wait until Saturday.” Offers may come in after the first open house, so it’s best to take your first opportunity to see a property in person.

3. Be prepared to waive contingencies.
In this seller’s market, it has become standard practice to waive inspections and even mortgage contingencies. “They [buyers] have to be so confident in their financing that they leave their down payment on the table if they do not get their mortgage,” says Hettrich. “That makes them able to compete against cash, which we’re seeing a lot of.”

4. Know that if it’s meant to be, it will happen.
It is easy for buyers to feel discouraged in an ultra-competitive market. But if you don’t find your dream home immediately, these realtors know from experience that it wasn’t meant to be – something better is sure to come along.

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