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condo conversion

Should I Do a Condo Conversion for My Multi-Family House in Brookline?

If you own a two or three family house, I am sure you thought about the option of converting the house into condominiums.

 Watch this video to learn about condo conversion of a multi-family home in the Greater Boston area:

Doing a condo conversion is a tempting prospect, especially in a booming real estate market. Since the sum of condo values will exceed the house’s value, it is an idea worth exploration.

But just because the market is hot doesn’t mean it will be profitable for you!  Whether or not you should turn your two or three family house into condos depends on a few factors.

Here are three important questions to ask before you consider a condo conversion for your house.

1. What is the value of the home as a single entity versus as condominiums?

Your very first step is to ask a highly experienced real estate agent to give you a current price evaluation. The agent will need to provide you with a market analysis for several properties.

  • One analysis will be of the current market for multi-family houses Brookline.
  • Another analysis will be for the condo market in your neighborhood. For each unit in the building you will need a separate analysis, unless they are identical.

Once you know the value of the homes, you will be able to figure out how much you are willing to spend on a condo conversion.

Paperwork for cash money

2. What are the costs associated with the condo conversion?

There are several steps to the process, and each will cost money. There are two substantial expenses in a condo conversion.

– Legal expenses.

You will need to hire a real estate attorney who will write and file the documents, and advise you on the legal process. This may cost $12,000-$15,000.

– Rehab expenses.

This will be the bulk of your expenditure. In order to sell a two family home as two condos, the City will need to inspect the home and ensure it is up-to-code.

If your house is built in the late nineteenth century or early-to-mid twentieth century, like the overwhelming majority of the multi-family homes in Brookline, it is likely there is considerable work to do to get the house up to current standards.

I am not talking about the cosmetic changes.  These are electrical, plumbing, building and safety upgrades, and getting the property up to current codes required in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy necessary to close.

I cannot estimate this cost. If you’ve maintained and updated the house meticulously over the years, it may be $10,000 of various upgrades. If your house is needs a lot of work, it can cost $300,000. There is no way to estimate this without a licensed contractor.

– Expense of selling the home.

Other than the commission, which will be a percentage of the sales, you may also have to supply an engineer’s report for the condo conversion.  This will likely be less than $1,000.

 3.  Do I have the time, energy, and financial resources (cash) to do the necessary work?

This question is self explanatory.  You need to want to do the work involved in a conversion and have the money to pay for it.

Click on the link if you are curious to learn the value of your Brookline multi-family house. Or fill out the form below.

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Free, no obligation and accurate home evaluation.

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

Houses in Boston

Home Prices in West Roxbury MA: 02132

Located in the South-Western most post of Boston, West Roxbury is sometimes believed to be a suburb.  As a local resident, I enjoy reminding people I am indeed a Bostonian!

It is easy to see why many think it is a suburb – tree lined streets, single family and two family houses dominate the neighborhood, and everyone has a little bit of lawn to enjoy.  The streets are tame and the traffic moves. Bellevue Hill and the Highlands are home to colorful Victorians and expansive Colonials.

West Roxbury has been an attractive choice for young families in need of an easy commute into the City by car or train.  And now this has put much pressure on home prices.

Below find a chart presenting the median prices of single family homes for sale in West Roxbury for the past three years.  Prices are clearly on the sharp rise.

Large Chart

The natural forces of supply and demand are at play.  Below you’ll find a chart of the inventory of houses for sale, in the past three years.  The lack of housing is obvious.  This puts further pressure on home sales as sellers feel comfortable asking for higher prices when they have no competition.

Large Chart

 

What to expect will happen to home prices in West Roxbury MA this Spring?  I expect the sharp rise will be tapered as more home owners sell their home this Spring.  Yet, I still don’t believe demand for housing will be fully satisfied by inventory, as this neighborhood will continue looking more and more attractive to young families.

real estate newton ma

Home Prices in Newton Center, 02459

Houses in Newton Center come in diverse sizes, ages and styles. Zip code 02459 covers a large residential area, from the historical Victorians on Beacon Street to the late 1940’s ranches of Oak Hill. From splendor to tear-downs, we have it all.  And with Newton MA so desirable, prices are rising with the large jump in 2013.

Newton Center Home Prices, Median Price:
2011 $872,500
2012 $875,000
2013 $1,000,000

The chart below shows the median listing price for properties on market, and the trend in the market in the past three years. What is most apparent is the sharp fall in prices off-season.

Large Chart

Why do prices fall so sharply during the slow months of real estate?

The table below shows the Newton Center housing market divided into quartiles by asking price. Note the fourth quartile, the one with the lowest price range, has the longest days on market. Although houses in the lower price range are often highly desirable as they allow families to move into Newton with greater ease, a portion of this market is houses requiring extensive renovation or have another attribute making them difficult to sell.

Newton MA Single Family Prices

If you considering selling your home in Newton Center, what does this mean to you? Since home buyers are still outnumbering homes for sale, the “off market” season is a great time to be a home seller at any price range.  Your competition will be minimal, positioning your home along side stale inventory.

Are you interested in following the Newton Center real estate housing market? Do you want to be knowledgeable in current housing trends? Sign-up for weekly market update.

bathroom boston condo

Bathroom Renovation and Resale Value for Your Condo

bathroom boston condo

Original subway tile are chic!

Tight space, tight budget, and the fear of sinking money you won’t get back.  Bathroom renovation resale value is not always 100%.  When getting ready to sell your Boston condo, you can make small inexpensive changes with a big impact.

A bathroom is a small space which can make or break a sale.  If it’s yucky, the whole place will be perceived to be a run down home.  A dreamy bathroom can sell the condo. In bathrooms, details can be glaring.  Yet, you can avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars on a complete bathroom renovation, money you won’t get back.

Changing the common mud-back tiles can be very expensive and exhuasting, and completely unnecessary.  Here are the components you need to consider in a small bathroom.  Complete this checklist and you can have a bathroom which will help sell the condo and make you more money.

1.       Medicine Cabinets: If your medicine cabinet can’t be cleaned to a spotless shine, or if it has worn edges, ANY rust, or if it is not stylish, GET RID OF IT.  A medicine cabinet is where the eyes go when you enter the bathroom, and it makes the first impression.  Medicine cabinets which suit your Boston condo can be budget friendly or very spiffy.  Go for something simple and in-line with the condo’s value.

I suggest also getting something with clean lines and big.  Buyers want storage and it will draw the eyes away from the imperfections

brighton condo sold

New curtain, towels and vanity.

beyond repair.

2.       Paint: Peeling paint from excessive moisture, or any discoloration, you must paint.  A sloppy paint job is unforgiving in the bathroom, so take the time to do it right, or hire a painter.  Choose a color which isn’t too weird, please.

3.       Fluffy towels: Buy new towels, and hang them on the towel racks and stack them if you have the space.  Fluffy things make us happy.  Make the buyer happy, it’ll cost you $40.

4.       Clean: Really really clean.  The corners, the spaces behind and in-between, the door, window, tile, top of the medicine cabinet, light fixtures.  If  you don’t feel like Cinderella, you are not cleaning hard enough.

5.       Glaze Tub: If your tub is very dirty, grimy, and stained, glazing can do the trick for only a few hundred dollars.  Just mild discoloration may be overlooked with some non-slip decals.

Note, this is a simple cosmetic issue.  Never ever cover-up or draw attention away from damage to the home.

brighton condo sold

New curtain, medicine cabinet, and lighting.

6.       Vanity: This is one of the pricier items on the list, but if your vanity is outdated, the whole bathroom is outdated.  Invest a few hundred dollars in something new.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Once of my clients switched from a tiny vanity which was very low, to a more substantial one, and a bit higher for $300.  The whole bathroom looked new.

7.       Toilet: You know when you need a new toilet.  Take a long hard look at your toilet and ask yourself, “is it time?”

8.       Shower Curtain: All homes going on the market need a brand new shower curtain.  Shower curtains come in such a variety of colors and styles, and in fabrics which can change the look and feel of every bathroom in minutes and for as little as $30.  It will be one of the best investments you will make getting your condo ready for sale.

selling boston condo

New shower curtain and a good cleaning.

9.       Lighting: Bathrooms need bright lights to create a cheerful atmosphere.  Light bulbs must work, and the fixtures either clean or new.

If you have odd colored mud-back tiles, (Avocado, Mustard, Pepto), the shower curtain, towels and paint are an opportunity to tie them into something more neutral and modern.  It’s no longer dated, now it’s vintage!

Follow these tips and your bathroom renovation resale value for your Boston condo will be well over 100%!

Click on the link for more advice for home sellers.

contingency to sell home

Contingency to Sell Home: Selling a Condo and Buying a House in Boston

contingency to sell home

Caught Between Two Properties?

If you need to sell your condo in order to buy a house in Brookline, Newton and the Greater Boston area, you are not alone. With housing so expensive, not many can manage to keep both mortgages, or pay for the house without the proceeds from the condo.

A contingency to sell your home is a common way to protect you in this situation. You make an offer with a contingency on an accepted offer, purchase and sale, or closing of the condo you are selling.

Sounds like a plan, right? WRONG!

In today’s market you are competing with other buyers, and a contingency to sell a home is a great way to RUIN your chances of securing the property of your choice. Put your home-seller thinking cap for prospective for a moment.

An offer with a contingency to sell a home is a high risk offer. Regardless of the type of property to sell or how easily it will sell, it is far removed from the seller and the seller’s agent. Furthermore, such an offer is likely to have delays and it comes with too many unknowns. Why accept such an offer when there are better ones on the table, or will be coming?

It is worth it for the seller to wait for another offer while you work on selling your condo. From the seller’s point of view, you can come back after you sold and your offer will be accepted then. Why risk taking the home off market now?

So what do you do when selling a condo and buying a house in the Boston area, with our current market conditions?

1. HIRE AN AGENT who has done this several times and knows how to protect your interests while securing a property.
2. Work on selling first and prepare to buy quickly once you have a P&S in hand.
3. Sell first, with a flexible closing so you have time to find your new home.
4. Work with your agent and mortgage broker. You may be able to take a bit of risk and make an offer without selling and without a contingency. Learn all the facts and how it may work.
5. Present an offer with a very long closing giving you time to sell the condo first

The bottom line is that you will have to stay flexible. You may or may not have to take financial risk – it depends on the properties, finances and closing dates. Most importantly, hire a real estate agent who knows how to work under pressure and protect your interests.

Feel free to schedule a free consultation to learn how to best manage your risk while buying and selling a home.

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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boston real estate

Holiday Shopping: Boston Real Estate

One of the best examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy is in the seasonality of the Boston real estate market.  Every year, as boston real estateThanksgiving approaches, home sellers ask me, “Does it make sense to put the home on market now? There are no buyers looking.”

From potential home buyers I hear, “ Should we wait until Spring to buy?  There are no homes on the market now.”

Yet, despite the expectations for a quiet holiday season, almost every year I am on the phone putting together a deal while checking-up on my stuffed Tofurky.  This year the real estate market seasonality will be less pronounced than ever.

Both buyers and sellers will find advantages of pursuing their real estate goals during the holiday season.

Home Seller Advantages to Holiday Home Selling

Low Competition: Inventory shortage is what characterized our Boston real estate market the past few months.  Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington and Brighton have all had too few homes for sale to satisfy demand, leaving many buyers still looking.

My friend Marilyn Messenger wrote a great article, The 5 Reasons the Sell Your House Now! She outlines the benefits of selling your home during the holiday season.  One of the top reasons is the lower competition as many home sellers decide to wait or take their home off market for the holidays.

Serious Buyers: Marilyn also reminds us the buyers coming through a home between Thanksgiving and New Years’ are serious.  These are determined buyers, who are not going out in harsh weather during overscheduled holidays to look at a home for kicks.

This year, home sellers can expect buyers who are eager, ready to buy after losing out on multiple offer situations in September and October.

Holiday Home Buyer Advantages

Fewer Buyers Looking: The worry of fewer homes on market is balanced by many buyers exiting the market and new ones waiting until 2013.  Fewer buyers translate into fewer multiple-offer situations, and home sellers who are more likely to entertain your offer and work with you.

Shorter Mortgage Queue: Underwriting mortgages is taking weeks if you get stuck with the wrong bank, and closing delays are common.  Much of the refinancing business will waiting until January, leaving your attorney with more time to work for you.

Homes are Ready to Sell:  There will be two types of properties on the market. First, the “leftovers” from the busy fall market.  These homes haven’t sold because of poor marketing or they were overpriced at critical moments. Neither of these reasons reflects poorly on the houses, but gives you an opportunity to negotiate.

There will also be new listings.  Savvy home sellers want to take advantage of the low inventory and serious buyers.  It’s a perfect time to match home buyers and home sellers who are ready to move on.

My advice to my clients has been and always will be to first work around your own schedule.  You never know if your ideal home buyer / home seller has plans matching yours.  Real estate surprises us regularly, as not everyone conforms to the same self-fulfilling prophecy, and not everyone celebrates the same holiday season.

(Coming in July 2013, an article entitled, “Boston Realtors Gone to Cape.  Please Resume Your Real Estate Activity After Labor Day.”)

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

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