Milton / Boston Area Real Estate and Community News

Feb. 7, 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Selling Time of the Year

Now is the best time of the year to sell a house, despite what many homeowners think. There are many advantages to selling now rather than waiting for the spring.

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Why should you list your house for sale during the holidays? Now is actually the best time of the year to sell your property because interest rates are low and inventory is down once again. More specifically, there are four reasons that I wanted to share:

People looking to buy during the holidays tend to be more serious about buying. I recently held an open house. It was not only jam-packed, but everyone there was already pre-qualified to make an offer on the spot. The spring market is more filled with people who are just curious about the market.

Serious buyers have fewer homes to choose from during the holidays. Less competition means more money for you. 

Houses show better when decorated for the holidays. Christmas trees and lights gleaming off of your hardwood floors make a strong emotional connection with buyers. They can see themselves living there and celebrating the holidays with their family.

Some buyers have to move because of job relocation. Companies are hiring and want to get their new employees in before January, so these employees need to buy a house in December.

“Holiday house hunters are more serious buyers."

Now that you know why this is such a great time to sell, let's get your house on the market, get multiple offers, get it sold, and pop some champagne! If you have any questions for me or you're ready to take advantage of the great selling conditions we're seeing, give me a call or send me an email today. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 7, 2017

How to Handle a Low Appraisal

Low inventory in the Boston market has caused a number of multiple offer situations on listed homes. This is good news for sellers, but can pose problems, too.

Great news: we’re officially in the fall real estate market. Because we’ve had low inventory this year, it’s not uncommon to have multiple offers on a property with some offers substantially higher than the list price. Though this may seem like a great problem for the seller to have, it’s important to be careful when it comes time for the appraisal.

A good listing agent will analyze each offer with their seller and educate them about every problem that may occur during the transaction. An example of a common problem with high offers is when the home doesn't appraise to its agreed-upon price.

“A good agent will bring the home’s features to the appraiser’s attention.”

In this situation, a seller will want to go back to the highest offer and re-negotiate with the highest bidder so that they’ll pay the difference between the appraisal and the purchase price in cash. This will essentially remove the appraisal contingency and prevent any future delays in re-negotiating the offer price when the appraisal does come in.

The seller will want to make sure that they have their listing agent meet with the appraiser at the property at the time of the appraisal. Listing agents have a pulse on the local market and will share the most recent comparable home sales, buyer feedback, the number of offers on the home, special features of the property, and any recent upgrades with the appraiser in order to justify the sale price.

If you have any questions about low appraisals or the home buying or selling process in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I hope to hear from you soon!

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 7, 2017

The Difference a Year Makes in Boston

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Summer is here in Boston. The Red Sox are starting to heat up and so is the real estate market.

The first five months of sales from 2016 are already up 15% from 2015. Much of this is due to an increase in new construction, as well as a respite from the record-breaking snowfall we saw last year. Sale prices have already increased by 8% this year!

Although we’ve been seeing some great numbers for sellers, the market is starting to balance out a little bit for buyers as well. Inventory has been steadily rising and prices are cooling off a bit. If you tried to buy a home earlier in the year, it’s possible that you were shut out and could not find a home. Have no fear because more inventory is here. Buying in the next couple months is a great idea because you can still take advantage of mortgage interest rates below 4%!

“You need to price to

sell in this market.”

We wanted to mention one more thing for the sellers out there. Although you can sell quickly in this market, you can only do so if you’re priced correctly from the beginning. You need to price to sell, not to sit. Overpricing your home will cause it to sit stale on the market. When your home has been sitting on the market for a long time, buyers feel more at ease making offers much lower than the asking price. It’s vital to sell quickly in today’s market.

If you have any questions about the Boston real estate market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you via phone or email.

Feb. 7, 2017

Avoid Missing Out on Low Inventory in Massachusetts

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Today, I have some great news to share with you! A year ago, we were buried in approximately seven feet of snow! That’s not the case this year. We’re seeing signs of early spring weather this month.

Ready for even better news? Inventory across the state of Massachusetts is extremely low! Let’s look at it by neighborhood.

In South Boston, there’s 40 active condos on the market, and last fall, there was over 100. In Milton, there are 32 active properties on the MLS compared to last fall’s 95 listings. In Watertown, there’s 2 total properties for sale currently! There’s a clear advantage to listing your home today. Don’t wait for the spring market. Now is the time to act!

If you’re thinking about listing this year in the surrounding Boston area, reach out to me by phone or email. Let’s get started now, so you can take advantage of low inventory right now. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 7, 2017

Tips for Holiday Decorating on a Budget

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The holidays are approaching. Today, we thought we'd do something a little different and share this festive video on holiday decorating tips from HGTV. Designer Angelo Surmelis shares several great ideas to spread holiday cheer throughout the home. Here are some of our favorites.

Pay attention to the mantle. If you don't have some already, buy some kind of garland to drape over the mantle. Next, use leftover ornaments and candles to add light and texture. When choosing ornaments and candles, ensure they are in the same color-palette. This helps make your mantle a great focal point!

Use smaller Christmas trees. Every house has their main Christmas tree. In addition, you can also purchase smaller, inexpensive, eco-friendly trees to place throughout the home. Decorate these trees with strips of fabric from a T-shirt in holiday colors to save money for the main tree.

Use what you have. Be resourceful. Adding a plate charge and place mat to your everyday dining set adds some jazz to your table. Fresh-cut flowers and candles will help finish the look. You don't need grand, expensive candles -- a little candlelight goes a long way!

As you can see, it doesn't take much to make your home feel more festive. If you have any questions, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 7, 2017

How Accurate is Your Zillow Zestimate?

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Today we are excited to be discussing Zillow’s Zestimates and their accuracy here in Boston. Zillow has become the #1 online resource for online home valuations, and many people log on to get an idea of what their home is worth through their very own automated “Zestimate.” But how accurate is this estimation really?

In Boston, the median error on Zestimates is an astonishing 8%, a pretty wide margin for error. By taking your Zestimate to heart, you could be costing yourself thousands of dollars, and seriously under or over-valuing your home. In fact, 65% of the values you see on Zilllow are off by at least 5%. The way a Zestimate gets your home’s value is by using an algorithm that includes things like the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and square footage. 

Those are all good ways to determine a home’s value, but they are leaving out some crucial aspects in their formula. Home improvements and renovations can drastically improve the value of the house, as can its location. Zillow doesn’t take that into account, so they have no idea what your home is really worth, hence the 8% median error. 

If you’d like to get the true market value of your home, please give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you out.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 7, 2017

Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Homes More Frequently?

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One thing we know for certain about the real estate market is that it is never going to stay the same for long. Today we want to talk about an interesting trend we’ve noticed in real estate: millennials are waiting longer to purchase their first homes than their parents did. 

The typical first-time buyer now rents for an average of 6 years before buying a home, which is up from 2.6 years in the early 1970’s, according to Zillow.   

We came across a great video on the topic from CNBC. To save you some time, I will give you my three biggest takeaways from the video.

1. Down payments are a huge factor

Renters in today’s market are struggling to save for down payments and qualify for mortgages. Most first-time buyers still depend on personal savings for at least some of their down payments, but rising rental prices have complicated the task of socking away money for a down payment.

2. Rising rental rates are complicating things as well 

Rental rates are causing 46% of renters aged 25-354, to spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent, up from 40 percent a decade earlier.

3. Job security is important to millennial buyers 

The Money Source, a mortgage lender, examined applications from 5,404 millennial buyers and found that these buyers averaged nearly 4.5 years in their field of work and had held their current job for slightly more than three years. Those figures point to how critical career stability is to a younger generation.

Thanks for joining me today. Talk to you soon!

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 7, 2017

Boston's 2015 Real Estate Market

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Today, we'll summarize the Boston real estate market. During the first quarter, we had about 20 feet of snow, so the number one sale item in Boston was either snow blowers or rock salt.

During the second quarter, we still didn't have much inventory. You could have listed a shack and gotten multiple offers, but there weren't enough homes available for the sellers to move into. Since inventory was low, prices went up, and during the third quarter, more people listed their homes. As a result, we had a more balanced market last quarter.

As for the fourth quarter, it's going to be fantastic. We still have a decent amount of inventory, but if you're looking to sell, there's no better time than right now. A lot of sellers take their homes off the market and re-list in the spring, which means less competition for you.

Interest rates are hovering around 4% right now. My clients have been able to negotiate rates of 3.5% due to my affiliation with local lenders. If you want to buy, do it now, because rates will go up next year. As a seller, these low interest rates will help you get the price you deserve. When rates go up, sales prices go down.

If you've been thinking of buying or selling a home, now is the time to do so. Give me a call before we get snowed in again, and I'd be happy to help you out. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 7, 2017

How Should You Handle Early Offers When Selling Your Home?

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Receiving an offer on your home early in the selling process is a great problem to have. However, it's not always easy to know what to do.

Our market has been very strong recently, as homes have been moving fast and bidding wars are the norm. In these situations, buyers are more likely to submit a strong offer quickly to avoid getting outbid by another buyer.

When you receive a quick offer on your property, the first thing to do is be excited. Secondly, you need to work with an agent you can feel comfortable relying on. A good agent will know what's going on with the market and what to expect from it. They should be able to help you make decisions that are beneficial to you!

When an offer comes in quickly, many sellers wonder if it's a sign that there will be more and better offers. An agent will know whether that first offer is worth taking. It can be risky to drag out the process after receiving an offer, as it may lead the sellers to make negative associations with your property if their offer isn't accepted or negotiated promptly.

Overall, working with an experienced agent is crucial if you want to get the best results when selling in this market. If you have any questions about what you should do with your first offer, or if you need real estate assistance of any kind, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Buying a Home