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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

Newton Pending house Sales

Newton Single Family Houses Market Update: March 2014

Newton MA’s housing market has been eliciting many complaints from buyers for about a year now.  The tight market is putting pressure on prices and many young families are priced out.

Housing Market Update for Newton MA

Since 2010, house prices have climbed from an average of $744,367 to $1,167,944, according to statistics from Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Newton Single Family Sold, 2010-2014

Sold Homes Average Price Average Days on Market
March 2010 32 $744,367 65
March 2011 28 $906,121 101
March 2012 29 $718,552 69
March 2013 26 $974,728 60
March 2014 33 $1,167,944 72

 Currently, there are 100 houses on market, with 54 of them priced between $1,000,000-$2,500,000.

Newton houses on market

There are 132 pending sales, 68 of these homes price between $900,000-$2,000,000.  Compared with the number of currently listed homes, this is a very tight market.

Newton Pending house Sales

Newton Center, 02459, Housing Update

Newton Center, zip code 02459, is especially desirable.  The market action index (MAI) is a measure of the housing market’s orientation.  A number above 30 is a seller’s market.  Currently, at 48, Newton Center has a strong seller’s market.

Medium Chart

It’s easy to see why Newton Center has a strong seller’s market: inventory has been on a steady decline for three years.  The seasonal turnaround starts around early Spring, and we see a slight rise in inventory this year.  But will it exceed last years?

Medium Chart

My prediction is that inventory will rise and buyers will regain some control over the market.  In Newton, and particularly Newton Center, 2014 will continue the trend as a seller’s market, but with a decline from the current position.

This year seems extremely slow so far, this is due to the weather and lack of motivation to both prepare a home for market and go out to look at homes January through most of March.  A turnaround in April and May is expected.

Buyers have no reason to rejoice, but at least breath a little.

Click on the link to stay current with weekly or monthly market update in your zip code.  Know how much your home’s value is changing, and when the best time buy and sell your real estate.

125-Rockwood-Happy-Hollow-Brookline-MA-2

Real Estate Prices in Brookline MA: Single Family Trends

125-Rockwood-Happy-Hollow-Brookline-MA-2

Picture from HookedonHouses.net.

Brookline MA has one of the hottest Massachusetts real estate markets.  This has put the pressure on prices on both condominiums and house and a fast-paced market.  Houses, though, don’t sell as fast as condos.  Most of the single family homes are considered luxury,  with on-market time of six to nine month common.  In fact, one Brookline house has it’s three year anniversary this month!

Currently there are 32 single family homes on market in Brookline, with a median price of $2.36 million.  This time in 2012 there were 51 houses on market with a median price of $1.79 million.

This day seven year ago (2007), there were 60 single family homes on market with a median list price of $1.7 million.

House Prices in Brookline MA

In the table below you will find the four quartiles of home prices in Brookline MA.  This table represents only zip codes 02446 and 02445, and excludes Chestnut Hill. (Quartiles are a way to group the homes into four categories of prices so we can analyze changes).

The median price of the bottom quartile of houses in North Brookline is almost $1.8 million, while the median price of the top quartile is almost $5 million.

Looking at the differences in these house, the most expensive houses are substantially bigger, at 8900 square feet. This is nearly double the size of the bottom least expensive houses. They also have double the number of bathrooms, but only one extra bedroom, on average.

BrooklineMA HousesTrends

What accounts most heavily for the difference in prices of Brookline MA houses is land.  Look at the column of average square feet of land. The least expensive homes average about 10,000 sf lot size. But the most expensive homes average nearly two acres! This is nearly EIGHT TIMES as much land, or 778% more.

House Prices in Chestnut Hill MA

Houses in Chestnut Hill MA, (which is part Brookline plus a part of Newton and a small slice of Boston), have a similar trend to those in North Brookline.  The disparity between house prices is about $3.13 million.

The least expensive houses are a bit smaller than half of the size of the top quartile, and have half the number of baths. But the difference in average lot sizes is substantial.  The largest homes have a parcel which is on average 546% bigger than the smallest homes.

The trend of days on market is predictable: cheaper houses sell faster – there is more demand.  Yet even though it takes a long time to find a buyer for the luxury homes, their prices are still on the rise.

Chestnut Hill MA House Prices

Land Scarcity

The scarcity of land in Brookline is well known.  Land values are driven by two things. First, our love and appreciation for a private yard.  Many buyers for a single family house in Brookline are upgrading from a condo, and thus the yard is highly coveted.  (Yours truly can relate).

The second reason is the potential for subdivision or building new houses.  Building houses in Brookline is a lucrative business, if one can get it.  Some lots can be subdivided which currently may have one small home on them.  With house prices in Brookline  high and rising, it is no wonder land is so highly valued.

Want to stay ahead of the curve? Click on the link and sign-up for my weekly Brookline MA real estate summary report where you will learn the market trend.  It’s free!

Brighton MA condo market

Condo Prices in Brighton MA: February 2014 Market Update

Brighton MA condo market

When will the condo market loosen up?

For a couple of years we’ve seen condo prices in Brighton MA surge.  But is this market slowing down soon?

Since the beginning of 2012, median prices of condos on market in Brighton increased from $259,000 to $337,000 this past week.  This is a 30% jump in prices.

The laws of supply and demand play out in the real estate market, as inventory has steadily dwindled.  In 2008, 150 condos on market was not unusual in zip code 02135.  Today there are less than 40.

If lack of condo inventory drives the price up, what causes inventory to be so low? There are a few variables which keeps housing inventory low and prices rising:

Rising Rents

Rents in Brighton, and Boston as a whole, have increased considerably.  Even though there is no reliable index to measure rents, I estimate rent in Brighton increased approximately 20-25% in the past two years.

Low Interest Rates

Low rates have made it easier for homeowners and investors to refinance and reduce their monthly expense on their condo.  Furthermore, many homeowners have become landlords as both low rates and rising rents made it possible to keep the Brighton condo while buying a house in the suburbs.

Expectations of Rising ValueCondo Prices Brighton MA

Many potential home sellers witness the market heating up.  With every condo selling for a bit more than the last, the homeowner prefers to wait.  If there is no rush to sell, why not wait and realize another 5% or 10% in home value?

The 2008 Financial Debacle

Many condo owners in Brighton who bought in 2005-2007 were first time home buyers with little or no money down.  Without equity in their homes, the market downturn in 2008 meant many were upside-down in their mortgage.

When the home is worth less than the mortgage on it, it is difficult or very expensive to sell.  Many couldn’t afford it. Other than the mortgage payoff, there are other transaction costs of selling approximately 6% of the sale price.

For many condo owners in Brighton, breaking even just starting to look like a reality.

Low Housing Inventory All Over Greater Boston

Brighton homeowners are often first time home buyers who will upgrade to a larger home.  As I meet young families to discuss moving to a larger home, I explain the challenge they face is not in selling the condo, but in buying the new home.

The home purchase dictates their ability and timing of the sale .  When my clients are not finding homes in their chosen areas and budgets, I advise against putting the condo on market. Where will they go?

 Is the Brighton MA condominium market ready to loosen up?   When and how will the inventory pick up, and thus the frenzy end?

Brighton MA condos on Market Chart

My prediction is to see a turnaround later in 2014.  The turnaround will mean a slowing in the home prices increase, as more inventory comes on market.  The buyer-seller relationship will be more even handed.

Most buyers for condos in Brighton will be first time home buyers and investors will exit the market.  Once income return on the property falls below a threshold (which I estimate at 5.5-6%), these properties will be too expensive to investors and home buyers will out bid them.a

Frankly, I expected a turnaround by Spring 2014, but so far this year we are not seeing inventory pick-up.  This could be because of the weather, so my theory may hold true after all.  But as of now, I expect the inventory pick up and condo price frenzy in Brighton to slow late 2014.

Do you want to learn how much your condo’s value increased?  Tell me a bit about your home and I’ll give you a current, in depth market analysis.

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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.

Condo for sale in Brighton MA

Brighton MA 1933 Commonwealth Ave Unit 606

Brighton condo for sale, on market this week!  Listing price $329,000.

One bedroom condo located at the Claridge house, 1933 Commonwealth Avenue.  Unit 606 faces front, where you find excellent views of the reservoir.  Cleveland Circle location, just a short walk from shops, restaurants, and the B, C and D lines.

This unit comes with garage parking and extra storage.  Spacious closets and a great layout.

The Claridge house is a superbly run building with an elevator, exercise room, sauna, and roof deck.

West Roxbury Homes

West Roxbury House Prices: Steadily Rising

West Roxbury’s real estate market is not known to be “hot”, but prices have risen steadily.  The chart below shows median house prices for the past three years in West Roxbury.  You see the obvious dips during the slow winter months.  Compared year-over-year, this past week median listing price was $442,000, and $424,000 on the third week of November 2012.  Same time in 2011, median price was $389,000.  That’s a not-so-shabby 4.2% increase the past year alone.

Large Chart

 

Sure West Roxbury doesn’t have the frenzy of Brookline or Jamaica Plain, but I see a healthy and sustainable housing market.  As more young families are priced out of Newton and Needham, this little neighborhood will become more desirable.  Boston’s commitment to public school improvement will help.

Brookline Multi-Family House

Brookline Condominium Market: Will Buyers Remain Powerless?

The Brookline MA condominium market has been tight and getting tighter for a couple of years now.  Buyers compete for properties in any price range, and inventory remains low.  The number of buyers increase as the inventory has steadily decreased.

The graph below shows peak inventory in 2013 is lower than off-season inventory in the previous two years.

Large Chart

As interest rates remain low, more buyers enter the market and look for homes.  Second time buyers can finally sell or rent their first home easily.  First time home buyers are finding rents skyrocketing and lending more plentiful.

But why aren’t homeowners jumping at the market opportunity to sell their homes?  In a rising market, homeowners believe they will fetch more money for their home if they wait.  If recent history is an indicator of things to come, this is true.  Prices have been rising quickly.

Average price of sold condos:

October 2012: $580,753

March 2013: $630,326

October 2013: $671,088

 

But, alas, recent history is not an indicator of things to come.  It’s the longer history to consider with a fairly repetitive and predictable nature of the real estate market.  The tight conditions can’t last forever.

Potential home sellers will hold on to their Brookline condominium until they perceive the market has topped off.  By the time they put their home up for sale, buyers will regain power, the Brookline real estate market will be more even-handed. Days on market will start to climb and bidding wars will be over.  I predict this will be by the middle or end of 2014.

Those considering selling your home who do not have to buy another property in Brookline, this is a perfect opportunity.  You can take advantage of the last two seasons of a unique sellers’ market.

buying a home

Three Signs Your Buyer Agent is Not Very Good

Stop your home search, start your buyer agent search!  If you are not getting results, find a better agent.

In the seller’s market, working with a hard working competent buyers agent is necessary in order to buy a property at the right price.

buying a home

Is Your Real Estate Agent Asleep At The Wheel?

Yet many buyers are failing at securing a home, and buyers are getting caught up in the stressful and intense market.

Here are three signs your buyers agent may not be your ideal advocate, and perhaps it’s time to switch.

1. Your agent is waiting to see what comes up on MLS.  If this is the only strategy employed to find a home, that’s not enough in the hot real estate markets such as Brookline and Newton.  Whether working with property investors or home buyers, a buyer’s agent can do other things to look for the right property, including networking and sending mailings to neighborhoods.

2. Your agent is not asking hard questions.  Your agent should ask you questions that force you to examine your price range, timing and every possible angle of the home buying decisions.  An experienced agent knows buyers don’t always buy what they say they will.  Such an agent thinks outside the criteria you have, finding alternatives, and presenting options and possibilities.

3. Your agent does not prepare you for the market and set expectations.  You should know what to expect when you are ready to make an offer, and be prepared for rejections.  When you choose a home you like is NOT the time for your primary real estate education.  You must be ready to go.  Finding the right home is the last step of the home search process, not the first.

Don’t get stuck with a buyers agent who isn’t servicing you.  If buying a home is important, do it right or expect it will go terribly wrong.

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.

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