Zillow iBuyer

Zillow iBuyer: What You Need To Know

Have you heard of Zillow’s newest program iBuyer? Here’s my thoughts on how it impacts you as a home seller:


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I’m sitting in the car in Newton and I wanted to share a few thoughts about one of my favorite topics, which is Zillow.

So Zillow has a program called iBuyer. There are a couple of programs that allow them to buy a property, make an offer on a property that looks good that’s right on the market and charges you seven and a half percent for the service, but you get to pick the closing date. This is great. Builders of new construction love it because 16% of people backing out of new construction deals do so because they fail to sell their home. But here you are. It’s almost like a car trade-in when you get to drive the car up until you have the brand new car to use. Sounds great. It sounds great because you get to choose your closing date.

You don’t have to scramble to find housing and you’re not paying two mortgages. The problem with it is the following: first of all, according to market watch on average, people selling through iBuyer system are selling netting 11% less than those sellers going on the open market with a real estate agent. So here’s a little bit of math. If you’re selling a home for $500,000, if you’re selling it through an agent, you’re going to net about $470,000. If you’re selling it with iBuyer through Zillow, you are going to net $418,000. That is about a $52,000 difference. You are leaving that money on the table.

Homebuilders love this. This is great for home builders. Fewer people are backing out. Zillow loves this. They’re buying homes at a discount. Who’s losing out? The home sellers. If you’re not really ready to leave $50,000 on the table, call, text, write a comment below.

To Flip or Not To Flip a Property?

Should you flip a home in Boston? Here’s my thoughts:


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to talk about flipping properties today because I’ve had a couple of questions about it in the past couple of weeks.

So what is flipping properties? It’s when you’re buying a home that needs to be renovated, renovating it and then selling it at a premium.

There is indeed a premium for a renovated home, especially in Boston and cities like Boston where the housing is so old and in need of enough renovations.

Why is that? Well, buyers don’t have the time. They don’t have the patience and often they don’t have the cash to renovate a home themselves.

Here are some of the difficulties with flipping a property: other than the loan being much more expensive for a property that you’re going to flip for an investment of this nature, it’s also really hard to find a property that is suitable on which you’re actually going to make a lot of money because there is a shortage of housing.

There’s a shortage of inventory of all kinds on the market. Also flipping a home is speculative in nature. And if you are indeed one of the few who are comfortable with the nature of speculation, then where you really want to focus your efforts in flipping is an areas where you actually have distressed sales. So for closures, short sales, things that are selling at a discount, you’re not gonna find a lot of those in the immediate Boston area, and most of the United States right now really.

But in the pockets where you are finding distressed property or when the market for distressed properties come back, that’s probably the time to do a flip, if that is something you want to do. So if you want to learn more about how to make some money in real estate, give me a call, text, write a comment below.

millennials and real estate

Millennials: How They’re Changing The Real Estate Market

Millennials are finding it harder to afford a home. How is this changing the face of real estate over the long run?

Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. My generation, the older generation, and some of the younger generation, we were taught that if we work hard, go to college, save up, buy a home, all will be well for us economically and boy have things have changed. On average, the millennials are holding $33,000 of student loans, which is really changing their ability to buy homes, to save up for that down payment, to get a mortgage. Furthermore, in the 1990s, homes costs roughly on average three times the median income. Today they cost four times the median income.

How is this changing the face of real estate over the long run? So I think the first time home buyer pool is going to go for homes that are more about location than space. They’re going to go for smaller spaces, less stuff, more convenience, more walkability. They are going to ditch the car if they can, to get on public transportation.

Even when they get outside of the city and do drive in or don’t need public transportation, I think they’re going to go for smaller homes in better location. So location, location, location is going to be the focus for this generation. And furthermore, they need homes in better condition because they don’t have the time and the resources to really put into a lot of work on the home itself. That is changing the face of how real estate is going to be looked at and whatever the first time home buyers are doing, that changes everything in the long run as when they buy. Everybody else can move up. If you want to discuss further, call, text, write a comment below.

do I need a real estate agent

Are Real Estate Agents Becoming Obsolete?

There is new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that shows some surprises about the percentage of people using a realtor:


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. In 2002 when I got my real estate license, I remember somebody telling me, “Why are you becoming a real estate agent? Don’t you know real estate agents are going to be obsolete in a matter of a few years because of the internet?” I’m very happy I didn’t listen to that advice.

National Association of Realtors released statistics that show a very different picture. In 2001 79% of home sellers worked with real estate agents. By 2018 that number has grown to 92% – so 92% of home sellers are working with real estate agents. What’s also really interesting is that the for sale by owner market, which we were really sure is going to take off, has gone from 14% of home sellers in 2001 to only 7% of home sellers in 2018 just last year.

The other thing we’re finding is that as the age group gets younger, the more likely they are to work with real estate agents, whether they’re selling or buying.

If you have any questions, call, text, write a comment below.

Boston housing prices

Are Real Estate Prices Increasing, Decreasing or Staying Steady?

There is new data from Core Logic on how real estate prices are doing in different cities across the county. What did the data show for Boston?


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I’m sitting in Boston traffic. Figured this as good a time as any to give you a little update from Core Logic. Core Logic came out with some numbers showing that year over year prices in the United States of real estate have gone up 3.6% in July. So that’s July ’18 to July ’19. July ’17 to ’18, prices went up 6.1%. So we are seeing an increase, but at a decelerating rate.  What’s also interesting in this study is that they looked at major metropolitan areas in the United States and assessed whether they were overvalued or undervalued in their real estate prices.  Some of the overvalued cities: Las Vegas, Miami, Denver, DC, and New York City. Undervalued: I was surprised to learn San Francisco. And Boston, our fair city is right on target. It’s neither overvalued nor undervalued. If you have any questions, you want to link to the entire study or wanna discuss further call, text, write a comment below.

greater boston real estate market update

Greater Boston Real Estate Market Update Q3 2019

What’s happening in the Greater Boston real estate market? There’s some interesting dynamics at play that are impacting the market. Here’s my thoughts on what you should know:

Hi everybody, it’s Ruth wanting to give a quick real estate update and share some information coming out of the National Association of Realtors.

This year we are seeing a 30% drop in foreign buyers, people coming from out of the country to buy property. Why is this happening?

Maybe prices are getting a little bit too high for these investors from outside of the United States. Perhaps it’s a global slowdown in the economy, but we do believe there are some other factors going on that perhaps could be non-economic in their nature that are getting foreign buyers less interested in US properties. Well, what does that mean for us?

It is affecting the investor real estate market. We’re seeing that in metro areas. A little bit of a slow down. That said, overall there is still a great shortage of housing across the United States. In Boston. We’ve seen some areas with fewer properties coming on this year. Prices are not going up as fast, but they are still going up and we’re still seeing a sellers market, slowing days on market. But still a sellers market. So, interesting. It’s a transitional year we’re having.

If you have any questions, call, text, write a comment below and I look forward to talking to you.


Zestimates: What Zillow Doesn’t Want You To Know

Have you gone to Zillow to determine the value of your home? Beware of what you see there! Watch this video to understand why:


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to talk today about Zillow and very specifically about the Zestimates. These are the algorithms, automatically generated, estimates of home values that Zillow posts.

They’re called Zestimates.

What I’ve noticed lately with several of my recent listings is that a Zestimate will become very close to the asking price once a new listing is posted. So for example, if the Zestimate for your home is $500,000.00 and you posted it on the market for $550,000 suddenly now the Zestimate is around $550,000. I’ve seen this in several price ranges in the millions, in the six digit ranges as well, and I’m seeing it several times.

So what does it mean? Well first of all, it means that you probably don’t want to trust those Zestimates. They are off. And number two, if indeed Zillow has changed its algorithm to include the listing price of a home, I think it’s a way for them to admit that you do indeed, need a real estate agent to price a home accurately.

If you have any questions, call, text, write a comment below and I’ll talk to you soon.


famous people brighton

7 Historical Figures Who Have Called Brighton Home

Throughout history, many important figures have called Brighton home. Among them are famous authors, politicians, activists, religious leaders, musicians and athletes, just to name a few. Many have made significant contributions to the history of our nation, the state of Massachusetts and have significantly influenced the lives of other. The list before you contains familiar names of people who have resided in Brighton and been influential to our history.


Jennie Loitman Barron (1891-1969)



This longtime Brighton resident was an important figure for the women’s rights movement. She was an American suffragist, lawyer and judge. Jennie was the first woman to present evidence to a Grand Jury in Massachusetts, the first woman appointed for life to the Municipal Court in Boston and the first woman appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court.


Adolf Berle (1895-1971)



Adolf Berle was born in Brighton in 1895 and in 1916, at the age of 21 became the youngest graduate in the history of Harvard Law School. Berle was also an original Member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust”, where he developed policy recommendations for economic recovery and diplomatic strategy.



Harold Connolly (1931-2010)

Famous People from Brighton


In 1956, this Brighton resident won the Olympic gold medal for hammer throwing in Melbourne, Australia. What made this feat even more extraordinary was the fact that he was born with one arm 4 inches shorter than the other. Today, a statue of Harold Connolly can be found on the ground of the William Howard Taft school in Brighton, which he attended.



Ted Williams (1918-2002)

Famous People from Brighton


This legendary member of the Boston Red Sox was the last player to have a batting average over .400 and was arguably baseball’s greatest hitter. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. During his career with the Red Sox, Williams lived at the corner of Washington St. In Brighton with teammates Billy Goodman (3rd base) and Mel Parnell (pitcher).



Sarah Willis Eldredge (Fanny Fern) (1811-1872)

Famous People from Brighton


Known mostly by her pen name, Fanny Fern, Sarah Willis was the most popular female writer of her day. She is credited with coining the phrase “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. She married Charles Harrington Eldredge of Brighton and resided there from 1837 until his death in 1845. After her husband’s death, she sought to support herself through writing despite the staunch disapproval of her male relatives.


Michael Bloomberg (1942 – present)

Famous People from Brighton


Michael Bloomberg was born at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton and resided in the area until age 2. Bloomberg is a highly successful business man and philantrhopist and most notably served as the 108th Mayor of New York City from 2002-2014.



Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990)

Famous People from Brighton


This American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist lived in Brighton from 1920-1923. He was best known as the longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein also wrote the music for West Side Story, Candide, Wonderful Town, and On the Town.



Did you realize there were so many famous people from Brighton? Who is your favorite? Leave me a comment below.



Ruth Malkin, Top Brookline Realtor


Hi! I’m Ruth Malkin. How can I help you make a great real estate decision?

Contact Me: ruth@malkinregroup.com


Ruth Malkin Boston Real Estate Predictions

Greater Boston Real Estate Predictions – 2019

What’s in store for the Greater Boston real estate market in 2019? Here’s my thoughts and market update:


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to give you a bit of an update and tell you what I see coming up in 2019 in the real estate market. It’s only January 2019 and we’re off already to a very, very strong start. Inventory coming on the market and traffic has picked up. Traffic meaning buyers are booking showings for listings. We are out and about as real estate agents looking at properties with buyers at whatever is on the market.

 As predicted, the market was steady and did not stop throughout the holiday season. It’s been a really, really busy holiday season. What are we going to looking at going forward? It is a little bit hard to exactly predict at this point what the Fed is going to do and what the market is going to do as it’s been so volatile since roughly October but we are pretty sure about rising interest rates, rising mortgage rates, we’re going to see a little bit of that.

What does that mean? It means buyers – their ability, their affordability is lowered as the monthly payments go up for any property. I think price wise we’re going to see a pretty flat market. Not much going up and I don’t think much is going to down though either especially in the strongest markets in the United States.

There are some slithers of the market where we’re finding shortage of housing. Still we’re seeing it in urban areas, properties that are big enough for young families. Two, three bedroom condos in highly walkable areas, those are still highly desirable. Those are still in short supply and they may still be competed for during 2019 but not with the vigor of the past few years.

As for the mortgage market, I think that we’re going to find that mortgage companies are going to come out with some new products, new solutions, new ways for people to borrow money and get a little bit more creative as the refi business has really much died down and we’re not going to see much refis as this is a rising interest rate environment.

As for rising interest rates, what are we going to see? That’s a little bit hard to predict. I think most of the gains and most of the increase we’ve seen in the latter half of 2018 already, they will go up probably a little bit more. Certainly by mid 2019 we’re going to see I think another quarter of a point. I think that’s going to be it for a little bit. That’s my prediction. I’ll catch you in 2020 to see if that is correct.

If you have any questions about the market, if this is a good time to buy or sell property, give me a call and we can discuss whether or not this is something you should be considering doing right now. As usual I tell my clients that first we need to talk about your lifestyle needs and what it is you’re going to be doing that would require new housing and then we see how the financial piece of it works out. Lifestyle first, family first and I wish you all a happy, healthy, joyous 2019.

Ruth Malkin Top Brookline Real Estate Agent

The Real Estate Market and the Holidays

Wondering if you should take your Greater Boston property off the market during the holidays? Watch the short video below to learn the advice I’m giving my clients.


Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to talk about the real estate market during the holiday and the winter months, and about days on market and how it’s really time to look at that number a bit differently. So the winter months, we know that traditionally between Thanksgiving and roughly mid to late February the real estate market slows down substantially. I do want to point out, though, that in the metro areas, where we’re less sensitive to the school year cycle, these seasonalities are much more flexible and much harder to predict. There is a lot more activity going on then there used to be in winter months, partly because of the inventory shortage in the past few years and because it’s just been a year-round market. Sure, it cuts down a bit, but it has not stopped, and it has been active the past few winters and through the holiday season.

If you’re a home seller, you’re probably asking your real estate agent, or just like my clients have asked me, should I be taking my property off the market during the holiday? Is this something that I should be doing? So, to this, I ask, why would you be doing that? If this is a lifestyle decision, if selling the home during the holidays is going to be disruptive to you in any way, by all means take the property off the market. Let’s put it back on when this time has passed. But, if the motivation is because you do not want to accumulate days on market, to that I say, that is not a good enough reason not to be on market. It is time to think about days on market very differently. The market has changed. The days of a property going on the market and selling over the weekend, well, that’s going to be more and more rare, and even the best of properties are going to take a few weeks to sell. That is not unusual. It is unusual to us because of what’s been happening in the past few years, but that is not unusual for the market.

We need to detach ourselves from the days on market. And buyers, as home buyers, you shouldn’t even be too concerned about days on market. You should see it as no successful negotiation has happened yet. It is not a reflection on a property, whatsoever, or the quality of the property. You should be looking at if the home has been off market and on market several times, you want to ask, well, why hasn’t sold? Why has it been off market? That’s a great question. But, as a home buyer, to just look at a number of days on market and assume that it means anything except for, this home has been on the market for a while, and the market has slowed down is the wrong way to look at things.

So, home buyers, home sellers, it’s time to detach yourself from that number of days on market. It may not mean so much, especially in a changing market. Two years ago, last year, something has been on market 10 days, we’d worry it didn’t sell in one open house. What’s wrong with it? If you really think about it, that is outrageous. Let’s focus less on how long it takes to sell things. Let’s focus more on making sure a buyer is finding the right property, and a home seller is getting the right deal for their property, and trust that it will, although, it will take longer, it will happen. So, I wish you a wonderful, warm, winter, and holiday season.