130 Boylston Street #2, Newton

Newton / Chestnut Hill Two bedroom condo

Live near all the action of Chestnut Hill. Two bedroom condominium in well run association, located steps to the Chestnut Square, Chestnut Hill Mall, The Street. Sunny and cheerful home with hardwood floors and many updates. Travertine and glass tile bathroom, kitchen features granite counters, new dishwasher and stove. Spacious bedrooms and living room with a wall of closets. Dining area seats six easily. Carport parking and two storage spaces are included. Laundry in the basement and guest parking.

Rooms: 5
Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 1
Parking: 1
Storage: Yes
Condo Fee: $470.00, heat and hot water included
Owner occupancy: 100%
Square feet: 959

Price $575,000

Schedule a Showing for a Listing

Beat the crowd of home buyers by scheduling your showing now. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*

Redfin and Similar Discount Brokerages – What You Need To Know

You’ve probably heard the ads from different discount brokerages such as Redfin. Here’s some things you’ll definitely want to consider if you’re thinking of working with a discount brokerage.

Ruth:         Hi everybody, it’s Ruth and Cori.

Cori:           Hi.

Ruth:         We wanted to discuss with you and talk to you about discount brokerage firms, Redfin, but not only Redfin. Cori, what are you finding is the trend right now?

Cori:           Yeah. We’re not here to knock any specific agent. There’s lots of good agents out there, but it’s just really the idea of these discount brokerages in general. I’m sure you’ve seen the ads on TV talking about we offer a discount for our services, we’ll give you money back. We just feel that they don’t have same level of expertise that a local brokerage and the local agents have, so we’re here to kind of talk about some of the risks.

Ruth:         What are buyers saving?

Cori:           On average your saving around $2,000 for the transaction, which really is a drop in the bucket. This is the biggest purchase of your life. You’re purchasing a home. Are you really willing to forego that knowledge and expertise that comes along with using a local agent?

Ruth:         Let’s talk a little bit about what a buyer is risking when hiring a discount broker.

Cori:           If you’re hiring a discount broker instead of somebody full service you could have improperly done paperwork. You could lose the home. This is a really competitive market. You need somebody who knows those local market trends well and knows what’s happening now. You could also have transactional mistakes. A messy start can lead to a messy transaction in general. Ruth, I know you’re doing a lot of listings these days, so can you tell us what you’re seeing on your end?

Ruth:         What I’m seeing is we have a lot of multiple offer situations for listings. What we’re finding is that discount brokers often have incomplete or imperfect paperwork, and those are not the winning bids, because when a seller has a choice of who to pick they do want a well-represented buyer. They want a buyer with complete paperwork, with a nice offer, because they foresee incomplete paperwork as a risk. The other thing I’m finding is that discount brokers are not fighting for buyers after inspection. That is worth a lot more than … What did you say, $2,000 savings?

Cori:           Yeah. Those inspection items can add up.

Ruth:         Yeah, they can add up, so we’re finding they’re not being … Buyers are not represented as best as they can be. There is a certain want to get the deal through, get the deal through, get the deal through, while full service agents who work a referral based business, they want you to be happy no matter what, whether it’s this deal or a different one.

The last thing I do want to touch on is that when you hire an agent who is not totally local or who is not totally vested from a discount agency you’re not going to have the best team around you. They’re not going to connect you with the best mortgage brokers, the best attorneys, the best contractors. This is what I’m finding from my end, working with a lot of sellers. This is what I’m finding during these transactions.

Cori:           By the way, did you know the way they connect you with someone is just the closest agent, not someone who’s from the particular neighborhood you’re looking at? In today’s market you really need someone who’s in touch with the trends within the neighborhoods you want to buy in. It’s very important.

Ruth:         Right. A market is very specific, so-

Cori:           People, it’s just too important, way too important.

Ruth:         Way too important.

Cori:           If you don’t think you need an agent, then don’t work with a buyer’s agent. That’s fine. Go out on your own. But if you want to have a buyer’s agent, get representation from a full service agent. If the only claim someone can make is that they’re offering you a discount and that’s their biggest thing they’re bringing to the table, you have to wonder about the value of that service.

Ruth:         And that’s true I think about all service and most products. Thank you so much. You can call, write a comment below. We’d love hearing from you, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Cori:           Thanks guys. Bye.

 
 
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Ruth Malkin Brookline Real Estate Expert

 

 

winter real estate market boston

Winter Real Estate Market in Greater Boston

Yes, it’s cold outside and everything is frozen over. Does that mean the same holds true for real estate in Greater Boston?

Hi everybody, it’s Ruth. I want to talk to you quickly about the housing market in the winter. It is winter, it is cold in the Boston area, I know. We’ve got a ton of snow, and how is the housing market affected by it? Well traditionally, January, February, these are quiet months in the market. This is not a great time to go out looking for housing. But if you are a serious buyer, this is a fantastic time for you look at homes.

Any houses that are on the market right now, these sellers are serious. They are serious about selling. Having a home on the market during holidays, when it’s snowing, this is an inconvenience to most people. And if they are still on the market and their agent is doing open houses, you better go to those open houses if you’re serious about buying a home.

In the spring market, I usually advise buyers to look a little bit under their budget. So if you tell me your budget is $1.2 million, I say, “Well, lets look up to the $1,111,500 so you have room to make a bid stronger than the asking price,” for example.

Right now I would give the opposite advice. Look over your budget. Sellers out there that have been on the market a while, they may be ready to negotiate. And it is worth a look to see what is out there on the market, even a little above your budget, don’t be shy about that.

If you are in the market for a luxury home, this is your moment. Get out there now, there is a great luxury market out there and it is fairly slow right now. This is a great time for you to look at those houses in Brookline, Newton, that are listed at $2.5 million and higher. Perfect time. This is your moment. This is a great time to buy a beautiful house and maybe negotiate. There may be a little bit more room for negotiation than there will be in two, three months, when the spring comes.

In conclusion, if you are serious about your real estate transaction happening, this is the time to either be a seller, because there’s serious buyers out there. And definitely a time for a buyer to go find those places that have been on the market for three, four, five months, make an offer, secure housing before the market gets crazy. Look a little bit above your budget, take advantage of these slow months, where everybody is staying home for the weekend. You may find yourself putting in an offer with no competition. You may find yourself at an open house, even at a new listing, without a lot of people at that open house.

If you were burned out by the spring market, made one losing offer after another, I hear your pain. This is the time for you to get out there. Find your perfect home.

If you have any questions, call, text, write a comment below. We’d love to hear from you. Happy New Year.
 
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what happens to home prices in the winter

What Happens To Home Prices In The Winter?

Many of you have been contacting me asking what happens to home prices in the winter:

 

Hi, everybody. It’s Ruth. It is a very cold Saturday morning here in Brooklyn, Massachusets and I wanted to talk just a couple of minutes to answer a question that several of you have been asking me recently, which is what happens to the real estate market in winter? So there is indeed very much a cycle in the real estate market and the average pricing, if we look over the whole country, on average what do prices do? They go down in the winter. Does that mean that the value of your home goes down in winter? Well, looking at the statistics more closely what I recently learned from actually Lauren Tune, the chief economist at the Nation Association of Realtors, is that those prices go down not because your home is worth less, but because more smaller homes are purchased in the winter while the spring and summer markets are dominated by large, family houses. So it’s really the whole nature of the real estate market that changes during the winter. Not the value of the properties.

If you have any questions about how to successfully sell a property, any time of year, give me a call. I’d love hearing from you. Call, text, comment below. Thanks.

downsizing trend boston

The Downsizing Trend: Choosing City Life Over The House In The Burbs

There’s a growing trend of people moving closer to the City, looking for walkability and easier commutes. I’ve had several conversations recently with homeowners ready to downsize and forgo the space for added convenience. Interestingly, it’s not just retirees. People of all ages and stages of life are deciding that they just want a simpler lifestyle with less space. Before you put your home on the market and commit to something smaller, like a condo, here are a few things to consider in going from “big to small”:

Transcript:

Hi everybody, it’s Ruth. I want to talk a few minutes about downsizing, moving from a bigger home to a smaller home, moving from big house to small house, or a condominium. And because I’ve had this conversation about three or four times just in the past couple of weeks, and I think a lot of people can relate to this topic. This is not a topic only for people who have an empty nest, who no longer have a need for a big house, but also for a lot of young families as well, who are looking for a simpler lifestyle, or maybe a lifestyle closer to the city, a more walkable lifestyle, as people are entertaining less in their home, and have less of a need for that spaciousness of a house.

 A lot are enjoying an urban lifestyle more where you’re foregoing the space for the walkability, and for the accessibility of the city. Most times it’s a lifetime … most people that I’ve spoke with, it’s a lifestyle consideration, not an economic consideration so much, but here are a few things I want you to think about if you’re thinking about a move from big to small, a downsizing move.

So, first of all, I want you to start eliminating stuff now before you start really thinking about your next home. One of the reasons for this is to get used to having less stuff, to get used to needing less closet space. That is the issue that we’re coming up against over and over again when looking at smaller homes with buyers who are moving away from a big house, so start living with the less stuff.

Also, consult your real estate agent to talk about what you should be leaving in the home, so it shows well if you do choose to sell the bigger house that you’re living in right now before you get rid of everything. But certainly start with elimination of stuff from the house.

Next, I want you to talk to your financial planner and have a very clear conversation about what it is you can afford once you sell the bigger home, what else you can afford if you want to also help family members, if you want to maybe move to a smaller condominium, but maybe it has a very high condo fee as well, so have the conversation. Be very clear about your affordability before you start this move.

Scope out locations. A lot of times we think a certain is going to be perfect for us and then when push comes to shove, well, maybe we don’t really want to live there. Take a look at a few locations if you thought your whole life I’m going to love living right in the middle of Harvard Square. Well, spend some time there. Walk around there. Make sure you really do enjoy it. Make sure you will enjoy the buildings that are available to you in Harvard Square before you make a commitment, and also look at some of the alternatives. Maybe also look at Coolidge Corner, or some area in Somerville, or maybe a smaller place downtown. Take a look. Become very familiar with the different areas and the different lifestyles you will enjoy in those areas.

Fourth consideration, I want you to think in terms of a 7 to 10 year timeline. It is very tempting to look for our forever home, for the home we’re going to live in for the next 30 years or so. It is tempting to do so, but it is extremely difficult. It becomes an overwhelming decision, and no matter where you are in your life cycle, I do always suggest buyers think about 7 to 10 year terms. It is a much more manageable decision, and honestly you really don’t know where life is going to take you that far ahead.

All of the properties I’ve purchased have been with the consideration of the next five years. I own them well after five years afterwards, but it certainly made the decision easy. If you have any more questions about the idea of downsizing, about how to solve this puzzle of big home to smaller home, between all the considerations you have to make, both financial and non-financial, give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions. Me and my team are here to help. Call, write, text, email, love hearing from you. Talk to you soon.

 
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Coolidge Corner 19 Winchester Street

Coolidge Corner Condominium: 19 Winchester St. Unit 604

Convenient and comfortable home for City living in Coolidge Corner. Spacious and cheerful condominium with parking in a highly desirable building. Features include hardwood parquet floors and great closet space, living room with sliders to private porch with beautiful City view. Ready for an update with your personal customization and taste. Steps to Beacon Street and Coolidge Corner, 19 Winchester Street is a meticulously maintained modern elevator building with a pool, laundry on-site, and beautiful lobby. Ideal for investor or owner occupant.

  • 698 sf
  • One Bedroom
  • One Outdoor Parking
  • Sixth Floor
  • Outdoor Pool

$535,000

 

Schedule your provide showing by giving us a call at 617.291.0323 or sending an email at showing@malkinREgroup.com.

real estate tax rate

Massachusetts Real Estate Tax Rates

Below find an interactive map of Massachusetts tax rates by towns created by Kurt Rosenfeld, including information on residential exemption.  Some of the highest real estate taxes, per $1,000 in assessed value, are in Longmeadow at $23.58, Wilbraham at $22, and Maynard at $22.

Lowest real estate taxes are paid in Hancock (Berkshire County) at $2.94 and Chatham at $5.03.  

Remember, the tax rate is calculated per thousand dollars of assessed value.  Even though Brookline’s real estate taxes seems fairly low for Massachusetts at $9.88, the high property value accounts for the sizable tax liability homeowners pay.  But Brookline, along with a handful of other towns, has a residential exemption. 

A residential exemption allows homeonwers to pay less taxes than real estate investors.  The exemption is a reduction in the assessed value of the home.  In Brookline the residential exemption saves homeowners nearly $2,300 for fiscal year 2017.  In Boston, homeowners save $2,435 this year, and in Cambridge $2,046.

For an interactive version of the map, click on it.  

Massachusetts Real Estate Tax Rates

massachusetts real estate taxes

Massachusetts Real Estate Tax Map by Kurt Rosenfeld, March 2017. For details, five year rate history, and residential exemption information, click on the map for an interactive version.

 

34 court street dedham ma

34 Court Street, Dedham: Historical House Steps to Dedham Square

Historic Greek Revival home located steps to Dedham Square situated on a double lot in desirable Precinct 1. Beautifully maintained house, featuring high ceilings, hardwood floors, large windows and comfortable layout.  Inviting foyer with coat closet, turned staircase.  Sun-filled, 21×17 living room with fireplace.  Spacious dining room has built-in shelving, and updated kitchen views to the courthouse and library.  Upstairs find four bedrooms, updated marble bath, and huge linen closet.  Master bedroom features another fireplace, built-in cabinets, two closets and an office which can easily be converted into an en-suite. Double lot with level yard, playground, patio area and two car garage.  Full basement and walk-up attic with plenty of potential and storage.  This picturesque home is move-in ready and perfect for the buyer looking for a special home.
 
Watch the video then book your private showing on the form below:

 
 
 
The homeowner shares what she learned about the history of the house:

The next owners of 34 Court Street can be proud to say that Abraham Lincoln spoke on their land, and to know that their house was once the center of a well loved family doctor’s practice. 

The Greek Revival house at 34 Court Street was built around 1860 a few blocks away from its present location and moved here some time in the 1890s.  For most of the 1800s, the land it sits on was the location of Temperance Hall, where Dedham’s most prestigious visitors came to speak and where church services were held for several years.  In 1848 a young Abraham Lincoln, then a U.S. Congressman, had lunch at what was then the Norfolk Tavern next door.  He then returned to Temperance Hall and gave a campaign speech for presidential candidate Zachary Taylor and against Martin van Buren.   According to the local newspaper, Lincoln cut his speech short when he heard the whistle for the train to Boston, his next campaign stop, as the train had arrived sooner than expected.  After Temperance Hall burned down in the 1890s, this lovely house, then 30 years old, was moved to 34 Court Street. 

In the early 20th century, the house was owned by a local doctor, who was beloved by generations of families in Precinct One.  He carried out his medical practice in part of the first floor, and lived with his own family in the rest of the house.  After his retirement, the house was converted entirely to a single family residence.  Only two families have owned it since. 

34 Court Street, Dedham MA:

Bedrooms 4
Baths 1.5
Rooms 7
Style Greek Revival
Living Area 2316 sf
Lot sqize 11,234 sf
Price $750,000
 

Schedule a Showing for a Listing

Beat the crowd of home buyers by scheduling your showing now. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*
move children to new home

Moving with Children: A Few Tips

Whether the prospect of a move is really exciting to you or simply a hassle, it’s important to understand that even a short, small move can be incredibly stressful for kids. Still, families with kids execute smooth and successful moves every single day. Here are a few tips to get you rolling.

Have a Heart-to-Heart About the Move

You should sit down and have a talk with your kids about the move before you pack the first box. This advice holds true whether you’re dealing with toddlers or tweens. You want to give the child the opportunity to ask his questions while telling him honestly what to expect.

Of course, this initial conversation does not guarantee that you won’t have other questions, concerns, or fears to answer as moving day grows closer. Make sure you take even “silly” concerns seriously. Change is scary, especially for kids.

Use the Web to Your Advantage

Help to eliminate uncertainty by finding the web page of your child’s new school online. Show him photos of the teachers, the playground, and anything else that you can locate. Look up what kinds of clubs or extracurricular activities will be available. Though you can’t put all of your child’s fears to rest (it’s simply impossible to know whether your child will make any new friends until he or she gets to school) you can at least help to reduce the fear of the unknown.

Let Them Pack Their Room

Their room is their space, so you should let them pack as much as possible. Even a toddler can bring you toys to place inside of the box. Let him see how you are packing and what you are doing. This will eliminate anxiety.

Older children may even be trusted to handle the entire process themselves. Allowing them to do so certainly takes some of the burden off of you, allowing you to focus on the rest of the house.

Pack a Go Bag

Kids have their favorite toys and prized possessions that they may not be able to live without even for a moment. So pack a go bag. Give them a backpack and tell them to fill it with their favorite bear, the book they read every night, or anything else they just don’t trust to a box or the moving crew. If you’re going on a long car trip this bag should include some entertainments that will make the drive much easier.

 Boston and Brookline home for sale

 

 Build Excitement However You Can

Take the time to look up some of the child-friendly attractions that will be close to your new home. Try to tie into the child’s interests. A kid who loves baseball will love hearing all about how he’ll finally be able to catch a game in Fenway Park, for example.

Be sure to follow through with a few visits to these locations shortly after you arrive…you don’t want your children to feel cheated!

Talk about your new house too, and show the children pictures. You might even take them to the property so they can see their room. Highlight ways in which your new home is an improvement over the old one: does it have more space? A yard? Additional bathrooms? This will help kids understand the reasons for the change. They might even start getting excited about living in this cool, new home!

Be Patient

First, be patient with your kids. They might act out, burst into tears or have more tantrums than usual during the process. This is their way of coping with a change they didn’t ask for and that they didn’t have a say in. These outbursts won’t be easy to deal with when you’ve got all of the other details of a move on your plate, but they do serve a purpose.

Your kids might also have to grieve for some time before they get used to the change. No matter what you say about the new home they might insist that they like their old home better. Don’t try to push them into showing enthusiasm they aren’t ready to display. They’ll get used to the changes soon enough.

Second, be patient with yourself. You might have to run to Walmart a few times for items that you forgot to keep handy when you were packing. You might lose something or break something. You might have to subsist on takeout for a few nights while you’re trying to juggle everything else. Getting by during your move may not be ideal, but you’ll get through it.

Soon, you’ll all be happily relaxing in your new home.

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Four Common Pitfalls When Buying Your First Investment Property

Investing in real estate can be an outstanding way to increase your wealth. In fact, Entrepreneur.com calls it “your smartest investment.”

However, investing in real estate does come with pitfalls. Make sure you set yourself up for success by avoiding these costly mistakes.

Pitfall #1: Speculative Buying

 You may have heard a lot of stories about “flippers” making big bucks. The idea sounds simple enough. Buy some ugly fixer-upper for a low, low price. Get all the work done. Sell it for a higher price.

But don’t get blinded by the dollar signs in your eyes. Speculative real estate purchases are a terrible place to start. They’re extremely risky. First, you risk that the repairs will take far more money and time than you hope they will. Second, you’re risking a lot on the idea that the home will sell quickly. If it doesn’t, you’ll still have to pay taxes, upkeep, and insurance on the house while you’re waiting for it to move.

By the time you’re done meeting these two expenses the benefits of buying and re-selling the home may evaporate. Some newbie investors have been lucky to break even. Others end up losing money…lots of money…while trying to play this game.

Pitfall #2: Failing to Calculate Your Return Properly

Let’s assume you’ve overcome the first pitfall and are not attempting to “flip” the home. That means you’re going to become a landlord and rent the property out to someone else.

But don’t assume the amount your tenant pays in annual rent is actually going to go into your pocket.

Instead, your return will be the Total Annual Rental Income minus condo fees and taxes, divided by the price of the property.

Let’s say you pay $250,000 on a condo you plan to rent out for $1000 a month. Most newbie investors say, “Great, so that property will pay me $12,000 a year. Score!”

But let’s follow the formula. Their condo fees are $250 a month, which means they’re losing $3000 on an annual basis. Property taxes can easily eat up another $6000 a year.

Remember, you won’t get the benefit of the residential exemption.

That $12000 has already shrunk to $3000. The annual return is just $0.01. You’ll need to raise the rent or you’ll need to find another property at a lower price. And if rental properties in that neighborhood are going for less than what you plan to charge you may want to move on to a different property before making a purchase.

You can use this calculation to make an apples-to-apples comparison and learn the value of the property you plan to purchase.  Note that your mortgage should be covered by the income or you’ll be out of pocket. However, you don’t use mortgages in return calculations.

Boston and Brookline home for sale

Pitfall #3: Failing to Account for the Change of Vacancy

Rental properties don’t have tenants 100% of the time. You must account for turnover. When people move out it can take several months to find someone else to move back in. You’re going to have to budget for the months when you’ll be covering your mortgage instead of your tenants.

Keep in mind that market conditions fluctuate. Sometimes, people will snap up condo rentals so fast it will make your head spin, simply because there won’t be much rental inventory available anywhere in town. At other times, the condo can sit for half a year or more.

Ask your real estate agent to talk frankly with you about the typical state of the market so you’ll know how much to set aside. You shouldn’t be paranoid about vacancy…but you should be realistic.

Pitfall #4: Purchasing Investment Property Without a Qualified Buyer’s Agent

It’s never a good idea to buy any kind of property without the help of a qualified buyer’s agent. However, this is especially true when you are trying to invest. As noted above, the buyer’s agent can give insight into market conditions that might be very difficult to research on your own. Once you tell your agent that you are hoping to purchase an investment property he or she can steer you towards desirable neighborhoods and properties that will provide a decent return.

I help people invest in real estate in Boston every single day. If you’ve got questions, feel free to contact me so you don’t make any major mistakes as you start working to build your financial future.
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