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Top Five Mistakes Sellers Make

It can be a tough market for selling a home, but those conditions can get even worse if sellers aren’t careful. While a seller doesn’t control the real estate market, their actions can significantly contribute to how long and how much their home is sold for.

Underestimating Cleaning Up: It may seem obvious, but I can tell you real estate agents everywhere are nodding their heads in agreement as they read this. Inviting potential buyers in to see an unkempt home is like going on a job interview without freshening up after you cleaned your garage. How can the employer notice your fantastic talents and skills if they’re hidden underneath a sloppy exterior? How you show your home tells the buyer what type of care you, the seller, has put into the home?

 

If you can’t take the time to wipe the grime off the refrigerator doors, tidy up the kids’ rooms, take out the messy diapers, put away the food, and take the dogs out of the house for a while, then you’ll likely find buyers will quickly move on to the next home on their list.

Lingering During Showings: Yes, we all want to know how the open house or showing went, but hanging around during either of those events is not a good idea. Sellers who tend to linger during showings often make the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers like to have time to explore the home at their own pace and without feeling any pressure. Sometimes buyers want to sit on the porch or out in the backyard as they discuss the home’s possibilities. And if buyers are willing to sit for a bit and talk about the home, that’s a great sign. However, the chances of them doing that with the seller present is unlikely. Many times buyers will say, “Let’s skip the home if the sellers are there.”

If you’re selling your home, do yourself a favor and hit the road for a bit. Take a walk or head to the coffee shop. As soon as the showing is over, you can get all the details from your agent. That’s why you’re paying your agent! Let them do their job. Just make sure that your agent has all the home’s selling points and any additional features that make this home standout.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Trap: Some people are convinced that they can do it on their own. Maybe they can sell their own home, but it likely won’t happen without some headaches. Trained specialists are called “experts” for a reason. An expert real estate agent knows the market, has connections, guides you through the process, negotiates on your behalf, and will make the process of selling your home simpler.

One potential land mine that FSBOs face is the flood of people popping in to see their home. It sounds great that there’s so much traffic, but the problem is many times the people who pop into FSBO properties aren’t actually qualified for a mortgage or may not be serious buyers. Instead they’re just looking and satisfying their curiosity at your expense. Agents know to ask the right questions to make certain the lookers are truly potential home buyers.

Not interviewing agents: If you have kids, chances are you interviewed the nanny or babysitter. Taking time to seek out top real estate agents in your are. Setting up interviews with them is equally important. Choosing the wrong agent for the job will be a headache and slow the process down. There must be a connection, understanding, and good communication between the seller and the agent. There are lots of things that go on during the sale of a home, communicating with the agent should be one of the easier tasks.

Pricing a home incorrectly: This could be the worst mistake sellers make. Yet, this is where so much help can be found. Real estate agents see homes every single day. They know the neighborhoods and the comps. They are there to help you understand what homes have sold for in the recent past and what they’ll likely sell for during the current market conditions. Get a market evaluation from your agent and understand that what is a fair price for your home in today’s market.

How Home Sellers Can Maximize Buyer Offers

Today’s market can be a difficult one for many sellers to navigate. While your real estate agent can advise you, the ultimate decision of what offer to accept is entirely up to you.

This decision can come with quite a bit of pressure. Even in the most favorable of markets this can be a difficult time. How do you know when to accept an offer?

maximize offers
Here are some questions to consider:

•  Is the buyer pre-qualified/approved? Selling will require an investment of time and money. You may need to find a new home or a temporary rental. There’s nothing worse than buying a new house only to find out the deal to sell yours has fallen through.

•  Do you need to move? The urgency of your move may dictate what offer you accept. Many sellers need to move quickly for a new job. You may need to sell to avoid foreclosure. If you are in a rush, you may need to accept an offer that is less than ideal.

•  How much do you owe? You don’t want to sell your home at a loss. And be sure to take closing costs into consideration. Many markets experienced high levels of depreciation over the last year. If you are underwater on your loan, now may not be the time to sell.

•  What is the market climate? Are you likely to get another offer? How long has your home been on the market? Have you had many showings? All of these are factors to consider when contemplating what offer to accept.

Above all, ask yourself if this offer was a reasonable offer. There are buyers that may attempt to low ball you. They may see that your home has been on the market longer than your competition. They may know that it’s a strong buyers market. In response they offer a much smaller amount for your home than it is worth. You are not obligated to accept these low ball offers. However, if you are in need of selling now, every offer warrants consideration or a counter offer.
In the end, you must accept an offer that works for you. You may be willing to accept a lower amount in exchange for a faster closing date. Or you may wish to hold out for the highest dollar amount.

Written by Carla Hill, RealtyTimes

Brighton Condo for sale

90 Kilsyth Road Unit 2 in Brighton: Cleveland Circle Condo

Brighton Condo for saleKilsyth Road runs through both Brighton and Brookline.  It is one of the prettiest streets in the area,  lined with trees and a combination of historical Victorian houses and tidy brownstones.

90 Kilsyth Road is steps to Cleveland Circle and a walk to Washington Square.  In just a couple of minutes you are at the C, D or B lines and numerous restaurants.

Unit 2 at 90 Kilsyth Road is on a high first floor, looking into greenery and quiet privacy.  The sunny condo has hardwood floors and high ceilings.  It also features an eat-in kitchen and modern slate bathroom.  Laundry is in the building, as well as a common roof deck enjoyed by the residents.

Perfect for a first time home buyer or an investor.

639 square feet

$265,000

On market June 5, open houses the following weekend.  Area info, and more info at http://90kilsythrd2.agentmarketing.com/


Click the map below for an interactive version

90 kilsyth Rd Brighton MA condo for sale

Renovate or Sell As Is?

Should I Renovate or Sell As Is?

When prospective home sellers invite me for a consultation, the most common question is not,”What is my home’s value?” but, “Should I renovate or sell the house as is?”

selling house in Newton MA

If your house is on a large parcel, it may be worth more than you think!

Several considerations are made to answer the questions of renovating or selling as-is.  At the top of the list is the local real estate market conditions.  No one answer can be given to this question, and discussing the house without a understanding the market is futile.

The advice here applies especially to South Newton MA, Chesnut Hill MA and Brookline MA, as well as parts of Boston, where land is scarce and the houses are old.  There is a great demand for luxury housing in the Boston area, which drive the pressure on the land and tear-down markets.

Brookline MA, for example, has a very high demand for land and tear-downs.  An old house which can be taken down can be worth more than a bigger house, if the land is larger and buildable.  Furthermore, the zoning of a parcel dictates how many units can be built and the size of the homes.  This is key knowledge to the equation.

Once the local real estate market and the town zoning is understood, review the considerations below to learn how I advise my clients.

In order for me to recommend renovations to a Brookline or Newton house, these are the things I look for:

1. The home owners have energy, patience, interest, and financial resources to make changes.

If a you some cash and bit of interest in renovating things, some projects may yield a return greater than 100%. Make sure you do ONLY those projects.  Don’t make these common home improvement mistakes.

2. The home is in generally good shape already.

Maybe you already have a new kitchen, so modernizing the bath would increase the value of the home. Or the home is in perfect condition other than some old carpeting, then I recommend changing the carpet. Another scenario is if the inside of the home is updated, but the exterior is a bit shabby. Here I recommend investing in making the house look great outside.

3. Market conditions favor home buyers.

Home buyers, to distinguish from investors or developers, tend to want to do less work. Walking into a house which is ready is highy valued by young families and overworked professionals.

In order to recommend selling your home as is, I look for the following:

selling land in Brookline MA

Your property’s value depends on the town’s zoning code.

1. If you can’t do the work, or it will be a great burden, then don’t!

Even projects which may be a good financial investment re not worth your stress and exhaustion.

2. The home needs too much work.

If your house hasn’t been updated many years, or if the house is in a consistent condition throughout, then sell the home as it is, to the right buyer. Don’t waste time and money on renovating a pink, mud-back tile bathroom if the kitchen is to remain avocado color and the wallpaper is peeling in the dining room.

It is likely the next owner will take on a major project and your bathroom may be turned into a pantry. Don’t put money into a part of the home, when the rest will remain outdated.

3. The market favors developers.

A developer is not paying a premium for upgrading something. If the devlopers are the strength in the market, they may be able to offer you more than a home buyer. Always speak with a local and highly experienced agent before you may any such decision.

4. Your house is in the immediate Boston Area and you are sitting on a chunk of land.

On a large lot in Boston, Newton, or Brookline, the house is almost always secondary. If the lot can be subdivided, if it can be turned into a multi-unit property, or if your house is small – the value is in the potential, rather than the house.

Whenever you consider selling your home, you must first speak with a real estate agent who can identify the strengths of the house. Learn the current market value of your home (Zestimates do not count), and who is the most likely buyer for your home. Only then decide to renovate or sell as is.

Thinking of selling your home?  Interested in a free market evaluation of a property?  Contact me today!

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Free, no obligation and accurate home evaluation.
Cleveland Circle Condo with Parking

Recently Sold Condos in Brighton MA

The Brighton MA condo market is hot and getting hotter!  Homes recently sold in Cleveland Circle and near Wholefoods were on market for little time and many sold for over asking.  Here are a few recent condo sales, I represented the sellers on all of these.

Cleveland Circle Condo with Parking

8 Kinross Road Unit #A

Asking Price: $239,00   Sale Price: $241,500  Sale Date: March 14th 2013   Days on market: 2     Number of offers: 2

Basement unit, huge 786 sf one bedroom condo with parking in a high owner occupancy building with a pet loving policy.  Located near Cleveland Circle.

 

Cleveland Circle Condo for Sale

137 A Sutherland Road

Asking Price: $260,00  Sale Price: $265,500  Sale Date: January 28th 2013  Days on market: 6     Number of offers: 5

First floor of a two family house near Cleveland Circle.  Large open one bedroom with exposed brick, private deck and in-unit laundry.

 

Brighton Townhouse for Sale

 22 Abby Road #3

Asking Price: $439,000  Sale Price: $452,000  Sale Date: February 28th 2013  Days on market: 5     Number of offers: 7

Not your typical condo, this Brighton Mills townhouse was built in 2006 and features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  Minutes to Harvard Square!

If you want a complete list of recently sold condos in Brighton MA, feel free to complete the form below or call me at 617.807.0471.

How Can I help?

Ask your real estate questions and I'll get back to you as fast as I can. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*
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Brookline MA condos

Brookline MA Real Estate: 2012 Condo Market Summary

Brookline MA real estate didn’t suffer as much in the downturn as the majority of communities.  Still, we see a substantial pick-up in the condo market.

Brookline MA‘s condo market is known to be spread over a wide price range.  The condominiums in Brookline come in a variety of styles, settings, types of buildings and sizes.  The condos make up of the overwhelming majority of sales with Brookline’s mostly urban setting.

The market picked up with a nearly 20% increase in sales, and 20% plunge in market time.  Depending on the price range, the Brookline MA condo market has less inventory than demand, pushing prices up.

2011 2012 Change
Number of Sales 473 559 18.2%
Average List Price  $578,000  $584,500 1.1%
Average Sale Price  $562,000  $575,000 2.3%
Median Sale Price  $490,000  $500,000 2.0%
Average Days on Market 75 60 -20.0%
Average Sale Price / List Price 97.2% 98.4% 1.2%

 

 

Brookline MA condos

 

Search Brookline MA Condos for Sale

8 Chiswick Road: One Bedroom Condo in Brighton

Sold $265,000.  Zero Days on Market: 8 Chiswick Road Unit 42

Pre-war condo buildings in Brighton are known for their simplicity and austerity, wasting little space and sparing no amenities.  Yet there is nothing like a classic one bedroom condo from the 1930’s.  Comfortable floor plans that make sense, high ceilings, and just the right amount of charm to make it feel like a pretty home – yet not too much to confuse you with Lord Grantham.

The Chiswick Courth Condominium is a perfect example of this style, made of 4 and 8 Chiswick Road.

brighton MA condo for sale

Coming on market 2/1/2013 is 8 Chiswick Road Unit 42.  Loaded with the charming details of yester-year, this one bedroom condo has the perfect floor plan which is obvious from the foyer when you walk in.  Gleaming hardwood floors and high ceilings add to the feeling of spaciousness.  A true eat-in kitchen with plenty of natural sunlight, and generous closet space second to no condo I’ve seen in the area.

List price: $249,900

Here are the basics:

  • One bedroom
  • 695 square feet
  • Fourth floor, elevator building
  • Facing courtyard
  • Four closets
  • Large inviting foyer
  • Eat-In Kitchen
  • Hardwood floors
  • Stailess steel appliances
  • Rental parking available
  • Walk to B, C, D lines

[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=203959189595710566430.0004d49cce53293bd78c6&msa=0&ll=42.337801,-71.148641&spn=0.006099,0.01545 width=500 height=250 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

 

Newton Ma Houses for Sale

Newton Houses in High Demand, But Are You Positioning Your Home Correctly?

Newton real estate is in high demand and in analyzing the market for Newton houses; you find almost across the board, the market is newton, ma housesfavoring sellers.  Inventory of houses on market in Newton is just meeting demand or falling shy of it in some price ranges.

The price range with most pressure is the $800,000-$899,999 price range in Newton, with only one month of inventory.  Houses in this price range are sitting the least time on the market at only 51 days.

Alternatively, luxury Newton homes priced $3,000,000-$3,999,999 have 16 months of supply.  This means the sellers can expect their house to sell in 16 months, even if their home is the best of the lot.

What does this mean to you if you are selling your house in Newton?

First, you can use this information to set expectations on roughly how long it will take to sell your home.  The months of supply tell you if you have a lot or little competition in relation to the demand in recent months.  Many people thing the average days on market is the best indication for how long it will take for a home to sell.  But average days on market don’t always go hand in hand with months of supply.

Second, if you plan to price your home near the top or bottom of a price range, it may make sense to price higher or lower just a bit.  For example, if you plan to price your Newton home just over $900,000, it may be worth to price your home at $899,999 where you’ll have less competition and more buyers.

No matter where your home is priced, and regardless of competition, there is a guaranteed way to a quicker and easier home sale.  To beat the competition you must offer the best value in the price range.  This doesn’t mean you should have the biggest, newest, prettiest house, but the one offering the most solutions for buyers for every dollar they spend.

Next, the house needs to be marketed correctly, online exposure being the single most important element of property marketing.  Regardless of the low inventory and high demand, to attract a better buyer faster who’d pay top dollar for your home, your house must stand out in the crowd of 152 Newton houses.

A home priced correctly and marketed properly, should be the first one sold in the price range, within the period of months of supply.  Newton houses may be a hot commodity in most price ranges, but there are still houses lingering on market for months without an offer.  Don’t be the home seller of such a house.

Newton-Houses-On-Market

Search Newton Houses

The First Seven Steps Your Realtor Must Take

Brookline RealtorsYou’ve signed the listing agreement, now what?

Between the signing of the listing agreement and the second week your home is on the market, there is an enormous amount of work for the listing agent.  Done right, completing these tasks lays a solid foundation for a successful marketing plan for your home.

Here are the first seven things a listing broker must do once a new listing is signed.

  1. Paperwork.  There is lots of paperwork.  Some paperwork is mandated by the Commonwealth, some of it is by the company.  The agent has to have all of the paperwork complete and in order.  I even fill out paperwork for the sign installation, but some agents in very small firms will install the sign.  If your agent is not highly organized and complete, it may reflect on a sloppy company or other sloppy work.
  2. Preparing the home for sale.  It is you duty to prepare the home to look it’s best.  But it is your agent’s duty to be helpful.  Your listing agent should spend time with you and either advice or referring you to a staging professional.  It is vital you take your agent’s advice or hire a staging professional.  The home you live in should not look like the home you sell.
  3. Photographs.  The listing agent’s third order of business is to arrange to take photographs of the property.  Preparing the home for sale and great photos is the groundwork for a successful marketing campaign.  Photographs, and any other media such as floor plans and home tour, are the materials necessary to market the home online and to attract the right buyers.
  4. Calendar.  You should know when the agent plans to hold open houses and establish a schedule for showings.  Some people refuse to show homes on Saturdays or need a day or two notice.  Your agent must know your limitations and work with them.  You should know what happens when, including any promotions, mailings, office tours, broker open houses, etc.
  5. MLS.  With photos in hand, the agent is ready to enter the home into Multiple Listing Service.  If done right, this takes some time.  A complete MLS entry is the goal, including room measurements, building and area information, public records data, description, related documents, etc. The MLS entry of your home must look perfect the first moment it is published.  Once it’s “live”, it is send to anyone in the system looking for a home like yours.  People tend to skip homes with incomplete information and bad pictures.  The very first days of the listing are most important to your marketing plan!
  6. Online Promotion.  MLS and some brokerage firms syndicate listings all over the web.  Listings will feed into websites such as Homes.com, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.  These syndication are the lifeblood of the online marketing campaign.  When 88% of home buyers searched online for homes last year, this is a big piece of successfully marketing a property. Tech savvy agents who understand the importance of online marketing pay for their own syndication feeds which override any company or MLS feed.  This gives the listing agent more control over what the audience sees and allows buyers to directly contact the listing agent, rather than the office.
  7. Direct Mail.  A “just listed” card to a radius around your home should be sent the first week the home goes on market.  Just listed cards peak neighbors’ interest and they spread the word about your home in their beloved neighborhood.  This is also a perfect marketing opportunity for a neighbor considering a new home who want to stay in the area.

There is so much to do the first few weeks of a listing.  After that, the work load is lessened until the offers come.  Still, you should expect updates on activity and a regular marketing effort that continues through the life of the listing.

To receive a copy of my Home Selling Plan, click here.

real estate contract ripped

The #1 Deal Killer for Newton and Brookline Houses

Last Spring market, which ended roughly a week ago, looked something like this: buyers want to buy, sellers unsure they want to sell, plenty multiple-offer situations and many deals falling apart mid-way to closing.  This is the nature of a market with rising prices.

Homeowners, believing prices will rise, stay on the sidelines and don’t feel a need to sell their homes.  On the flip side, there are not enough homes on the market to satisfy all the buyers, who are bidding up the prices of homes.

But many of the home sale transactions don’t make it to closing, or at least not without some disappointments and fighting. The dreaded appraisal is the culprit!

The appraisal is a third party evaluation of the home which the bank requires for a mortgage approval.  An appraiser comes to the home and compares it to recent sales.  In our market, the appraiser has a difficult job because there may not be enough recent sales of similar properties, and the price buyers are willing to pay is higher than it was just a few months ago.

Because of the formulas, regulations and rules the appraisers must follow; their evaluation is often coming short of the offer price, which the buyer and seller already agreed upon.  What does this mean?  Here’s an example:

Four offers are submitted on a house in Newton, and the best offer was accepted at $800,000.  The buyer agrees to pay a 30% down payment, $240,000 and submits a mortgage application for a 70% loan, $560,000.

The appraiser uses the limited recent sales data for similar houses nearby, and comes up with an appraised value of $750,000. The mortgage company will still fund 70% of the appraised value, but now this number dropped to $525,000.

Once of several things may happen next:

  • The buyer may demand the price reduced to the appraised value.  Why should he pay more than that?
  • The buyer can make up the difference in cash.
  • The buyer and seller can negotiate a price between the $800,000 and $750,000.  The buyer will pay cash for anything over $750,000.
  • The buyer and seller may terminate the agreement, (if there is an appraisal contingency in the agreement, which I’ll discuss in another posting).

Whatever the decision, it is never a romantic time during a real estate transaction process.  Both parties are usually upset – buyer fearing he is over paying and dreading the added cash expenditure and seller annoyed she is making less than expected.  This is especially disappointing when there were several offers, four buyers is willing to pay more than the appraised value!

Five years ago appraisals were rarely a problem.  But are and will continue to be an issue everywhere prices are going up, inventories are low, and buyers are ready, willing and able to buy.

Buyers and sellers must prepare themselves for the appraisal.  I’ll discuss that in upcoming posts.