5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent


5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate AgentSotheby’s Newton, MA.  Newton, MA.  Top AgentsPosted: May 21, 2015 10AM EST

5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent | Keeping Current Matters

 Nikki Buckelew back as a guestblogger for today’s post. Nikki has extensive experience working with seniors and is the Founder & CEO of the Senior Real Estate Institute. Enjoy!
  If you have not bought or sold a home in a few years (or maybe decades) it is likely that there are more than a few new trends in real estate that you will encounter as you begin to interview real estate agents. One particular trend now common among many real estatebrokerage firms is called the practice of “going paperless.” This can be a bit scary for some people, especially senior adults who are not accustomed to using computers in their personal or professional lives. If you are one of the many with reservations about the paperless process, you will want to talk with your agent about any concerns or questions you have. In this article we have provided some basic information about the paperless process and some key questions to ask your real estate agent. How your agent handles your questions may just help you determine if he or she is the right agent for you!

What does it mean to go paperless?

Going paperless simply means that instead of printing out every contract, form or disclosure for your signature, you may be asked to sign certain documents electronically. This could mean:

  1. Typing your name into a designated field included in a form (received via email)
  2. Signing your name on a digital touchpad (laptop, netbook, smart phone, etc.)

While some have experienced this type of technology before and are perfectly willing and comfortable using it, others are not. Frankly, the first time I was asked to sign a real estate document electronically via email I was a bit perplexed and required some guidance. If you have not been exposed to this type of technology, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially if introduced to it in the midst all of the other things going on during a move. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on the front end, mitigating potential delays, avoiding unnecessary frustration, and preventing surprises down the road.

Here are 5 simple questions you should ask before you ‘sign on the dotted line’

1. How do you typically communicate with your clients (phone, email, text, instant messaging, etc.)?

Good agents know that the best method (and frequency) of communication is the one that best serves the client, so getting this agreed upon early in the relationship is paramount — for both you and the agent. If you want to communicate strictly by phone, be sure that you and your agent agree on the protocols for leaving and returning messages, hours of availability, and which phone numbers are best for certain times of day. Similar discussion around email, text messaging, and other modes of communication should be had as well, if that is your desired method of information delivery.

2. What method(s) do you use for getting client signatures?

The goal here is to find out your options. Many agents are still in the conversion process of going paperless and they are more than willing to use “more conventional” methods of getting signatures. Some may be required, however, by their respective brokerage firms to utilize only paperless systems. If this is the case, ask the agent to show you examples of the types of things that may be asked of you during the course of working together. If after a quick tutorial, you aren’t comfortable with the electronic signature process, it’s “OK” to choose an agent who can better accommodate your preferences.

3. Can you access my devices to insure they are compatible with the systems you use?

Even if you are completely prepared to enter the paperless world with no reservations whatsoever, it can only be done if you have the right equipment. Before agreeing to a paperless process, ask the agent to do a “test run” using a non-official/non-binding document on your system to insure its functionality.

4. Will you provide technical support if I am not “techy” and need some help?

My dad (self-described “non-techy” and proud of it), has a computer, printer, smart phone, email address, and wifi. He does not, however, have the faintest idea how they work or how to pull up attachments in his email. When he decided to purchase a new home this past year using a reverse mortgage, the lender was located out of state, which meant everything was done via email — electronically. Needless to say, I was dad’s tech support in this situation. If you do not have a trusted advisor who can help you with troubleshooting potential technology issues, make sure your agent or their staff is capable, patient, and willing to personally walking you through the steps.

5. Are you flexible if I choose to use phone and paper over electronic communication and documentation?

Options are the key. While some agents are extremely flexible in how they deliver their services, others may be married to a very specific process or style. Insure the agent you are considering is willing and able to do what is right for you, based on your comfort level, knowledge, and ability.

Bottom Line

It goes without saying that it is critical to have the conversation with your real estate professional about their paperless processes and communication methods. Not only will doing so put your mind at ease regarding unfamiliar territory, but it may also provide your agent with necessary information so he or she can serve you more effectively.

5 Must-Haves of Millennial Home Buyers


5 Must-Haves of Millennial Buyersopen concept

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are the second-biggest segment of home buyers, behind Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979), according to a 2013 National Association of REALTORS® study about generational housing trends.

Real estate professionals told ABC News recently of some “must have” features that tend to be in high demand among young buyers. Some of those “must haves” include:

1. Updated kitchen and bath: “The primary reason young buyers seek updated kitchens and baths is because they have limited budgets,” says Jack Curtis, a real estate professional in Dublin, Ohio. “Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings. Kitchens and bathrooms are also the most expensive parts of a home to update, and young home owners cannot afford to sink a lot of money into those areas.”

2. Big kitchen with an open floor plan: “The kitchen has become the hangout room along with the family room,” says Lou Cardillo of The Lou Cardillo Team in Yorktwon Heights, N.Y. “An open space that can easily transition from kitchen to TV room is high on the list of the perfect home for young buyers. In essence, the kitchen is the new living room.”

3. Home office: “As technology continues to make us more mobile, young buyers have more options than ever to work from home, depending on their job,” says Paige Elliot, a real estate professional with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates in Dallas. “Having a dedicated space is important because it will help keep them focused and concentrated on work while they are at home on a Skype call, planning a presentation, setting up their workday or simply paying bills.”

4. Location: “My young buyers look for properties that are in proximity to public transportation and that have a good walking score,” says Margaret Szerlip, Real Estate professional at Sotheby’s in Newton, MA.

5. Technology: A home’s appeal can be increased if it has a strong mobile carrier’s signal or its list of Internet service provider options, says Cardillo. “Internet and cell service matters a lot to this generation, and they’re going to ask, so you need to have answers,” Cardillo says.

OPEN HOUSE Sunday, May 17th from 12-1:30 1592 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA


OPEN HOUSE Sunday 12-1:30 1592 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA050   BostonRealEstateMedia com

 

The flowers have bloomed, the pool and hot tub are open…come see this very special home

 

 

Bi-Monthly Newton Real Estate Recap


Bi-Monthly Newton Real Estate Recap

Newton, MA.  10:45 EST  Newton’s Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Realty, Newton, MA.

The real estate market is busy!  There are at total of 130 single family homes currently for sale in Newton, up from 113 two weeks ago.  67 new properties came on the market across all price ranges in the past 2 weeks!  52 homes went Unger Agreement in that same time period with the 1 million to 2 million remaining the most active with 28.  The condo market remains STRONG!  Sellers’ there are so many buyers clamoring for the same house, so list yours if you are thinking about it!

 

On-Market Snapshot

Report Run: 5/11/2015 10:35:20 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 04/27/2015
Towns: Newton
 04/27/2015  5/11/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 4 61 5 58
$600,000 – $699,999 1 5 7 10
$700,000 – $799,999 3 21 4 10
$800,000 – $899,999 3 89 6 62
$900,000 – $999,999 5 18 3 9
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 25 31 32 33
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 27 68 25 67
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 15 140 14 150
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 20 143 18 118
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 9 78 12 62
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 12 4 23
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 113 Avg. 79 130 Avg. 66
Lowest Price: $519,000
Median Price: $1,780,000
Highest Price: $4,000,000
Average Price: $1,948,054
Total Market Volume: $220,130,153
Lowest Price: $519,000
Median Price: $1,704,999.50
Highest Price: $4,650,000
Average Price: $1,903,738
Total Market Volume: $247,485,940
Pending Statistics
Report Run: 5/11/2015 10:36:12 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 04/27/2015
End Date: 05/11/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 1 1
$600,000 – $699,999 4 3 1
$700,000 – $799,999 4 1 3
$800,000 – $899,999 4 3 1
$900,000 – $999,999 6 3 3
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 14 8 4 2
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 14 8 6
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 3 3
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 2 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 52 27 23 0 2
Lowest Price: $595,000 Median Price: $1,287,000
Highest Price: $2,999,999 Average Price: $1,369,605
Total Market Volume: $71,219,486

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 5/11/2015 10:37:09 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 04/27/2015
End Date: 05/11/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$600,000 – $699,999 2 12 5 $669,750 $612,000 110 $612,000 110
$700,000 – $799,999 2 16 3 $735,000 $724,500 101 $724,500 101
$800,000 – $899,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$900,000 – $999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 5 26 6 $1,273,200 $1,227,600 105 $1,227,600 105
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 5 128 45 $1,748,794 $1,754,600 100 $1,795,600 98
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 3 119 79 $2,102,333 $2,198,300 96 $2,231,633 94
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 24 24 $4,000,000 $4,500,000 89 $4,500,000 89
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 18 Avg. 67 Avg. 29 $1,568,137 $1,593,272 101 $1,610,217 100
Lowest Price: $662,000 Median Price: $1,509,485
Highest Price: $4,000,000 Average Price: $1,568,137
Total Market Volume: $28,226,469

Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice


Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice

Sotheby’s Newton  Newton’s Top Brokers

Posted: May 5, 2015 EST  Newton, MA.

Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice | Keeping Current Matters

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is that bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when doing the appraisal for the bank. With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. And now, there may be a second issue further complicating the appraisal issue. The Mortgage News Daily (MND) recently published an article titled Conservative Appraisals Increasingly Mentioned in 2015; Did Something Change? The article revealed that there was a “flurry” of comments on their website from members expressing concern about…

“…a sudden increase in appraisals reflecting market values well below what had been expected. In some cases the low appraisals had merely required the restructuring of the loan, in others they killed the deal.”

The National Association of Realtors revealed this month that 8% of the contracts that fell through over the last three months were terminated because of appraisal issues.MND decided to survey their members and ask why this sudden increase in “short” appraisals could be taking place. Here is one result of that survey:

“Almost everyone we spoke to mentioned Fannie Mae’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU).”

Collateral Underwriter provides a risk score on individual appraisals which will lead to a ranking of appraisals by risk profile, allowing lenders to identify appraisals with heightened risk of quality issues, overvaluation, and compliance violations. It went on-line on January 26. Marianne Sullivan, senior vice president of single-family business capability with Fannie Mae believes that CU is not a problem for appraisers. She claimed:

“From an appraiser perspective, one of the lender’s responsibilities has always been to review the quality of an appraiser, and they have been using various methods to do that forever. I don’t think appraisers will find this tool to be disruptive.”

However, some think that CU has caused appraisers to become too cautious with their appraised values. One mortgage professional in theMND article explained it this way:

“My personal opinion is that appraisers are being overly conservative in choosing comps because of CU. If CU questions the comps, adjustments, etc., the appraiser would have to do a lot of extra work to justify them. I had anticipated that CU would cause delays because of this extra work, but it seems that appraisers are one step ahead and are being ultra conservative, thus avoiding the extra work in the first place. I haven’t spoken to an appraiser about it; this is just my interpretation of what I am seeing.”

Ryan Lundquist, a Certified Residential Appraiser in the Sacramento area, agreed:

Lack of Inventory Hits Tony Towns


Real estate agent Margaret Szerlip is seen at 1592 Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Monday, April 27, 2015. Staff photo by Angela Rowlings

By: Adam Smith

When Meryl Appelbaum put her family’s Newton Corner home on the market for $1.89 million last month, her agent got her a good ­offer in just two weeks.

But there was one problem.

“There was nothing out there that made it worthwhile to sell,” said Appelbaum, who was looking to downsize but stay in Newton.

Anything going for $1.5 million or less — the price she was hoping to pay — either needed renovations or was sold as soon as it was listed. So, she backed out, and took her house off the market.

“It’s nuts,” said Appelbaum’s real estate agent, Margaret Szerlip, vice president of Karp Liberman & Kern Sotheby’s International Realty in Newton.

Szerlip and several other area real estate agents say the number of homes for sale in affluent Greater Boston communities has been shrinking compared with previous years — and the dramatic lack of inventory has been compounded by home owners like Appel­baum, who hold off selling for fear they’ll have no place to go.

“It’s a catch-22” said John Dulczewski, executive director of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, who said several of his agents have faced similar situations with clients who hold back on selling their homes.

The lack of inventory has hit Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, Needham and West Roxbury especially hard, several agents say.

And it was exacerbated by the historic snowfall this year, said Szerlip.

“It was the worst winter in 11 years” for sales, she said.

Agents say that by March, they typically see an uptick in sales, but not this year.

“We started noticing this early in the fall, and it’s continued,” said real estate agent Bill Lawson, who works in Brookline.

Finally, he said, “there’s a bit more activity now that the snow is gone.”

But he also said some sellers looking to stay in town have grown wary about letting go of their homes.

From January to March, much of Greater Boston’s wealthier towns — especially
Brookline, Cambridge and Newton — saw year-over-year drops in inventory, according to numbers from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Brookline and Cambridge each saw about a 50 percent drop in the number of houses and condos on the market in March. Brookline, in particular, saw a significant drop in year-to-date listings by March compared with last year.

The supply squeeze means that almost anything selling in Brookline for $500,000 to $800,000 goes quickly and for well above the asking price, said Lawson, who works for Chobee Hoy Associates.

Szerlip said a Chestnut Hill condo she recently listed sold in just a weekend for above its $368,000 asking price — in a cash deal that gave the owner a September move-out date. Though she said anything for about $1 million sells rapidly, she’s even confident a home she’s co-listing for $3.5 million on Commonwealth Avenue in Newton will be quickly snapped up.

“We have a lot of showings on that and someone is going to buy that,” she said.

In addition to the tough winter, other reasons for the decline in inventory include owners with mortgage woes and strict zoning that’s keeping new homes from being built, said Dulczewski.

“In the short-term,” said Dulczewski, “I don’t hear anything from the brokers and agents that things are improving.”

Is Your Home Functionally Obsolete?


open concept

 Is Your Home Functionally Obsolete?

Newton Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Posted 12PM EST Newton, MA

The definition of functionally obsolete pertaining to real estate is: A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed.  That definition applies to many houses currently on the market here in the western suburbs of Boston.  An early to mid 20th century Colonial usually has a center stair case and a living and dining on either side of the foyer.  The kitchen is generally located behind the dining room and a sun-room located off the living room.  For many years the sun room became the family room and everyone was delighted to have that extra space.  Of course the living room wasn’t used as often once family rooms or dens became common. These houses were built when hosts didn’t want people in their kitchen when they were having company. Company came over and were led into the living room to have cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres.  The cook ran back and forth between the kitchen and the company.  Well women got tired of being in the kitchen and missing the party and the living room got shafted.

Victorians are another problem, they were extremely popular 10-20 years ago.  They have high ceilings and beautiful wide foyers.  Those wide foyers and intricate staircases make for little rooms and difficult renovations.  Over the years many people have added beautiful family rooms in the rear of the house off the kitchen.  But today’s buyer does not want a right parlor and left parlor and a dining room and a family room and a sun-room…. They don’t want to pay for rooms they don’t use.

Cooking together has become part of the experience.  People enjoy cooking now and they want their friends and family in the kitchen with them.  Guests WANT to be in the kitchen with their hosts!  A desirable first floor today in a “normal” home consists of an open concept living, dining and kitchen, maybe a separate office and a large mud room.  4 second floor bedrooms and at least 3 bathrooms.  I don’t know why kids can’t share a bathroom with their siblings anymore?  What will they do when they have to share with 20 people in college?

So what does all this mean?  It means that the price of your home depends on how desirable your home is perceived through the eyes of a buyer.  Buyers have always determined the price of a home, not the seller or their agent.  If there is a way to open up the first floor and connect unused living rooms to the kitchen then you’ll be ok.  Your home will not sell at a premium because there is an automatic deduction in the mind of the buyer.  Most pre-war Colonials were built with a powder room under the front hall stairs, blocking the ability to open up to the kitchen and living room to each other.  Relocating a bath is not inexpensive and removing the first floor powder room is not desirable while living in the home or for resale.

Every house is salable!  The price melts away objections and gives buyers an opportunity to bring a home into the 21st century.

 

ugly_kitchentransitional-1

 

Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap


Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap

Newton’s Top Brokers Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Posted April 27, 2015 9:45AM EST

Inventory remains very low in Newton, we have had a small increase from 105 to 116 homes for sale.  Out of the 116 available homes only 19 are below 1 million dollars.  The least expensive home currently listed is $519,000.  48 homes have gone under agreement in the last 2 weeks up from 31 during the prior period.  The most active segment of the market remains the 1 million to 2 million segment with 21 homes going under agreement in the past 2 weeks. A mere 7 homes sold during the same 2 weeks.  The record snowfall kept most buyers and sellers on the sidelines and today’s closings represent what happened roughly 60 days ago.

The condo market is also incredibly busy and buyers thirst for new construction is not waning.  Stay tuned, the next 2 weeks promise to be very busy now that school vacations and religious holidays are behind us.

 

 

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 4/27/2015 9:35:39 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 04/13/2015
Towns: Newton
 04/13/2015  4/27/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 4 61 4 61
$600,000 – $699,999 1 3 1 5
$700,000 – $799,999 3 9 5 20
$800,000 – $899,999 5 49 4 68
$900,000 – $999,999 6 32 5 18
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 22 27 25 32
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 27 42 28 65
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 14 176 15 141
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 15 149 19 138
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 8 122 9 78
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 12
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 105 Avg. 77 116 Avg. 76
Lowest Price: $549,000
Median Price: $1,699,000
Highest Price: $3,999,900
Average Price: $1,840,896
Total Market Volume: $193,294,174
Lowest Price: $519,000
Median Price: $1,765,000
Highest Price: $4,000,000
Average Price: $1,911,413
Total Market Volume: $221,723,953

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 4/27/2015 9:37:49 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 04/13/2015
End Date: 04/27/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 1
$500,000 – $599,999 4 3 1
$600,000 – $699,999 3 1 2
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 6 5 1
$900,000 – $999,999 7 3 4
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 11 6 4 1
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 10 4 5 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 1
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 3 1 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 48 25 19 0 4
Lowest Price: $450,000 Median Price: $1,064,000
Highest Price: $3,999,000 Average Price: $1,308,149
Total Market Volume: $62,791,163

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 4/27/2015 9:39:48 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 04/13/2015
End Date: 04/27/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$600,000 – $699,999 1 35 35 $656,000 $684,000 96
$700,000 – $799,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$800,000 – $899,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$900,000 – $999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 2 50 23 $1,130,750 $1,299,000 88
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 185 177 $1,800,000 $2,200,000 82
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 272 117 $2,250,000 $2,474,500 91
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 139 139 $3,600,000 $3,750,000 96
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0
Total Properties 7 Avg. 143 Avg. 90 $1,831,071 $2,025,857 90
Lowest Price: $656,000 Median Price: $1,800,000
Highest Price: $3,600,000 Average Price: $1,831,071
Total Market Volume: $12,817,500

We Need Your House!!


  We Need Your House!!!  This is a Supply and Demand Business and there is no supply!

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Top Realtors, Supply and Demand

April 21, 2015EST Newton, MA.

We Need You(r House)!! | Keeping Current Matters

Though the real estate market has improved, we still have one item holding it back from a full recovery – a robust supply of homes for sale. Demand has increased dramatically. At the same time, housing inventory is decreasing especially at the lower price points. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed that there is apent-up seller demand caused by the uncertainty created by the housing crisis of the last decade.

What does that mean to you?

Houses listed today sell quickly. With prices still below peak values of 2007 in many parts of the country and mortgage interest rates at historic lows, this may be the perfect time for your family to make the move to the dream house you always wanted – whether that’s a larger home or that vacation/retirement home you have been looking at.

What does that mean to the economy?

Housing has always been an essential part of the U.S. economy. As we have reported before, real estate not only provides housing for families. It is often the greatest source of wealth and savings for many. The recent increase in real estate sales has led to an increase in real estate prices. This has increased the value of everyone’s’ home, whether they are selling or not. This leads to an increase in consumer confidence which in turn leads to an increase in consumer spending. Plus, each home sale automatically puts money into the economy. NAR compiled data from research conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis & Macroeconomic Advisors on the economic impact of a home purchase. After reviewing the data, they concluded that the total economic impact of a typical home sale in the United States is an astonishing $52,205. The more homes that sell, the better the economy.

Bottom Line

In order for the U.S. economy to get better, we need to sell more homes. Perhaps, it makes sense for one of those homes to be yours. If you have considered selling but are still a little nervous, now might be the time to sit down with a real estate professional familiar with your market and see what your options truly are.

3 CLIENTS ALL IN ONE ARTICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE


3 CLIENTS ALL IN ONE ARTICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE

Erin Gates: Designer and Elements of Style Blogger and Author

Sarah Winchester: Photographer Extraordinaire

Dina Cirimboli: Owner

Newton, Sotheby’s Realty, Top Newton Brokers

ErinGatesDesignDinasGirlsStudy(2015)-5 copy

I was so excited to have this special little space I designed featured in the Boston Globe Magazine this weekend (shot by the wonderful Sarah Winchester)!  This room was for a long time client (whose house is in my book) that needed a study space for her daughter as well as a second guest room, and I think we succeeded on both fronts!

IMG_1665

A daybed from Restoration Hardware anchored the room and gave us ample floor space for the other elements we needed to incorporate into the space.  We used Farrow & Ball’s Lotus wallpaper behind the bed for some drama and installed two brass sconces from Circa Lighting for ample direct reading light. All the pillows were custom as were the cuffed drapes.

ErinGatesDesignDinasGirlsStudy(2015)-1-1 copy

ErinGatesDesignDinasGirlsStudy(2015)-4

In between the draped windows we used a tall skinny bookshelf for book storage ( lots of the accessories I found at Homegoods).

ErinGatesDesignDinasGirlsStudy(2015)-2-1 copy

Across from the bed we used a West Elm dining table as a double desk so two chairs could face each other for when help was needed at homework time.

ErinGatesDesignDinasGirlsStudy(2015)-3-1 copy

1592 Commonwealth Ave — Open House Sunday from 12-2


1592 Commonwealth Ave Open House Sunday from 12-2

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Newton Top Realtors

FOR SALE: 1592 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE, NEWTON, MA. $3,599,000

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Top Newton Brokers  12:00PM EST

 

RESORT LIVING IN NEWTON:050   BostonRealEstateMedia com

This Georgian inspired colonial embodies all of the elements of intelligent design. Perfect home for family gatherings, large formal entertaining, and cozy evenings with friends. The enchanted garden-scape created by Sudbury design includes an in-ground pool, inviting hot tub, elegant plantings, stone walls, and wide patios, plus room for cooking & outdoor entertaining. This is a property that exudes a life of fun and sport… handsome billiard room on the lower level with a built-in dry bar, a Sauna, an enormous game room with custom storage, and a coveted MEDIA room with elevated platforms, leather recliners, surround sound, a seating area for snacks & popcorn & fireplace. Chef’s kitchen with all “Wolf” appliances, huge island dining & prep area; Family room with fireplace and double height windows; French doors and bay window Breakfast Room; Stunning dining room and Living Room; Mahogany paneled Library; Luxurious Master suite with a fireplace and heated floors in steam spa bath.001   BostonRealEstateMedia com003   BostonRealEstateMedia com006   BostonRealEstateMedia com013   BostonRealEstateMedia com011   BostonRealEstateMedia com019   BostonRealEstateMedia com027   BostonRealEstateMedia com036   BostonRealEstateMedia com048   BostonRealEstateMedia com047   BostonRealEstateMedia com

 

FOR SALE: 1592 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE, NEWTON, MA. $3,599,000


Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Top Newton Brokers  12:00PM EST

 

RESORT LIVING IN NEWTON:050   BostonRealEstateMedia com

This Georgian inspired colonial embodies all of the elements of intelligent design. Perfect home for family gatherings, large formal entertaining, and cozy evenings with friends. The enchanted garden-scape created by Sudbury design includes an in-ground pool, inviting hot tub, elegant plantings, stone walls, and wide patios, plus room for cooking & outdoor entertaining. This is a property that exudes a life of fun and sport… handsome billiard room on the lower level with a built-in dry bar, a Sauna, an enormous game room with custom storage, and a coveted MEDIA room with elevated platforms, leather recliners, surround sound, a seating area for snacks & popcorn & fireplace. Chef’s kitchen with all “Wolf” appliances, huge island dining & prep area; Family room with fireplace and double height windows; French doors and bay window Breakfast Room; Stunning dining room and Living Room; Mahogany paneled Library; Luxurious Master suite with a fireplace and heated floors in steam spa bath.001   BostonRealEstateMedia com003   BostonRealEstateMedia com 006   BostonRealEstateMedia com 013   BostonRealEstateMedia com 011   BostonRealEstateMedia com 019   BostonRealEstateMedia com 027   BostonRealEstateMedia com 036   BostonRealEstateMedia com 048   BostonRealEstateMedia com 047   BostonRealEstateMedia com

Bi-Monthly Newton Real Estate Recap


Sotheby’s Newton, MA. Top Brokers

Newton, MA.  1:30PM EST

Spring has finally arrived and it has brought a few more listings to the market.  Inventory has increased from 92 to 108 homes for sale.  While 20 additional homes are available we are still about 50% of a normal market.  31 homes have gone under agreement in the past 2 week with the 1.5-2 million dollar price range continuing to be the most active.  There is also activity in the very high-end market.  Only 14 homes closed in the past few weeks and that is a direct result of snow bound buyers and sellers during late January and February.


On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 4/13/2015 1:07:03 PM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 03/31/2015
Towns: Newton
 03/31/2015  4/13/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 1 6
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 6
$500,000 – $599,999 1 209 4 61
$600,000 – $699,999 1 0 1 3
$700,000 – $799,999 2 149 3 9
$800,000 – $899,999 4 63 6 43
$900,000 – $999,999 3 56 6 50
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 22 32 24 38
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 23 48 27 42
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 14 167 14 177
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 12 128 15 149
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 8 228 7 131
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 22
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 92 Avg. 92 108 Avg. 79
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,717,500
Highest Price: $4,500,000
Average Price: $1,906,135
Total Market Volume: $175,364,486
Lowest Price: $450,000
Median Price: $1,662,000
Highest Price: $3,999,900
Average Price: $1,791,334
Total Market Volume: $193,464,086

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 4/13/2015 1:09:03 PM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 03/31/2015
End Date: 04/13/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 1 1
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 1
$500,000 – $599,999
$600,000 – $699,999 4 2 2
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 4 1 2 1
$900,000 – $999,999 4 2 2
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 7 1 6
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 3 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 2
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 2 2
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 1
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 31 15 15 0 1
Lowest Price: $399,000 Median Price: $986,950
Highest Price: $4,500,000 Average Price: $1,429,977
Total Market Volume: $44,329,300

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 4/13/2015 1:10:38 PM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 03/31/2015
End Date: 04/13/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 65 65 $560,000 $634,900 $634,900 88
$600,000 – $699,999 1 80 3 $655,000 $630,000 $630,000 104
$700,000 – $799,999 1 6 6 $777,600 $729,000 $729,000 107
$800,000 – $899,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$900,000 – $999,999 1 68 68 $950,000 $950,000 $950,000 100
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 6 61 55 $1,244,689 $1,249,333 $1,291,000 97
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 16 2 $1,940,000 $1,879,000 $1,879,000 103
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 8 6 $2,230,000 $2,050,000 $2,050,000 109
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 142 106 $2,600,000 $2,750,000 $2,850,000 91
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 $0 0
Total Properties 14 Avg. 54 Avg. 42 $1,386,481 $1,369,207 $1,394,207 99
Lowest Price: $560,000 Median Price: $1,200,000
Highest Price: $2,600,000 Average Price: $1,386,481
Total Market Volume: $19,410,735

5 Tips for Lightening Your Living Space


5 Tips for Lightening Your Living Space

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

April 2, 2015AM EST

white paint

Do you dream of a light, airy living space? Do you want to feel like you’re living inside of a cloud? Below are 5 tips for a lighter living space, now.

Paint it white. Well this is an obvious one. From walls to wood paneling and hardwood floors, two coats of white paint will turn your living space into a year-round winter wonderland. Done and done!

Minimize. Do you really need all twenty of those awkward family photos on that side table? De-cluttering surfaces will lighten space with smooth lines. Cut clutter by adding hidden storage systems (like an ottoman with stow space), and minimize furniture to a handful of necessary pieces.

Add mirrors. Mirrors have long-since been a go-to trick for opening up a space. In addition to wall mirrors, consider adding mirrored back splashes or mirrored trays. Not into mirrors? Sparkle can do the trick, too. Glass-top tables and crystal candle holders, anyone?

Lighten the linens. Breezy, airy curtains and snow-white throws will make your space seem plush and comfortable, like snuggling with a sheep.

Shades of gray. To avoid looking as if you doused your house in bleach, consider adding soft, light shades of gray or blue to your color scheme. 

Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense


Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Posted: April 1, 2015 11:00AM EST

Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are a first time or a move-up buyer, there are two factors that will impact the amount of house you can afford in your price range: home prices & mortgage rates. Let’s look at what the experts are predicting over the next twelve months for these two areas:

PRICES

Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently polled as a part of the Home Price Expectation Survey. They were asked to project where home prices are headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve-month period is approximately 4.4%.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

In the latest Economic & Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac, they predict that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will be 4.7% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 3.69%.

What does this mean to you?

If you are a first-time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait until next year to buy: Cost Of Waiting Spring 250K | Keeping Current Matters If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait a year to buy:Cost Of Waiting Spring 500K | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

With both home prices & interest rates projected to increase, waiting to buy could put a serious dent in your family’s wealth.

Freddie Mac’s New 3% Down Program


Freddie Mac’s New 3% Down Program

Newton, MA.  11:30AM EST

Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Freddie Mac's New 3% Down Program | Keeping Current Matters

Today, Freddie Mac is scheduled to start buying mortgages with down payments of only three percent – the first time down payments have been this low on Freddie Mac loans in nearly five years. The program is called Freddie Mac Home Possible AdvantageSM. In a recent Executive Perspectives, Dave Lowman EVP, Single-Family Business Freddie Mac, explained the potential impact this program will have on the housing market:

“There’s a new reason Realtors and lenders may expect more qualified borrowers at the closing table during this spring’s home buying season. In addition to low mortgage rates and rising job growth, the down payment hurdle is starting to shrink for creditworthy borrowers, including first-time homebuyers.”

And the mortgage industry agrees with Mr. Lowman. In a recent survey of mortgage originators by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it was revealed that most loan officers believe the move to a lower down payment will increase access to mortgage credit. Here are that survey’s findings: Down Payment Survey | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Many potential buyers are “ready and willing” to buy a home but have been afraid they may not be “able” because of a lack of adequate savings for a down payment. Check with a local real estate or mortgage professional to understand what the new rules may mean to you.

CALL Margaret Szerlip at 617-921-6860 or margaretszerlip@gmail.com

Newton Real Estate Bi-Monthly Recap


Newton Real Estate Bi-Monthly Recap

Newton, MA.  11:OOAM EST

Oh my there is no inventory and we will have the latest spring market in decades.  I have said many times that the average number of homes for sale in Newton during a “normal” market is about 200.  That gives us a 4-6 month supply.  I cannot remember the last time there were a mere 66 homes for sale across all price ranges in Newton.  There are only 11 homes for sale under 1 Million dollars!  The most inventory is in homes priced between 2 million and 2.5 million.  Let me say that if your home is listed under 1.5 million dollars for more than a week without an offer, your price is too high.  It’s not your agent’s fault or the weather; it’s the price!

15 Homes went under contract in the past 2 weeks about 25% of the market.  Interestingly, the most active segment was between 2 million and 2.5 million.  There are buyers in every price point from the most inexpensive homes (for Newton) to the most expensive.  Buyers are desperately waiting for more homes to hit the market.  If your home has not sold and you have not received any offers, you are in fact helping to sell your competition.

So repair your ice dam damage and get your home ready for a sale.  Call me at 617-921-6860 or margaretszerlip@gmail.com

 


On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 3/9/2015 10:31:27 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 03/09/2015
Towns: Newton
 03/09/2015  3/9/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 3 119 3 119
$600,000 – $699,999 2 68 2 68
$700,000 – $799,999 2 155 2 155
$800,000 – $899,999 2 99 2 99
$900,000 – $999,999 2 59 2 111
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 11 63 11 63
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 13 114 13 114
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 15 162 15 162
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 8 152 8 152
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 7 224 7 225
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 76 1 76
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 66 Avg. 130 66 Avg. 132
Lowest Price: $580,000
Median Price: $1,919,500
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $1,988,507
Total Market Volume: $131,241,474
Lowest Price: $580,000
Median Price: $1,919,500
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $1,988,507
Total Market Volume: $131,241,474

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 3/9/2015 10:56:13 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 02/20/2015
End Date: 03/09/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999
$600,000 – $699,999 1 1
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999
$900,000 – $999,999 1 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 7 3 4
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 2 1 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 5 3 2
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 18 10 8 0 0
Lowest Price: $669,000 Median Price: $1,435,000
Highest Price: $2,650,000 Average Price: $1,645,333
Total Market Volume: $29,616,000

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 3/9/2015 10:35:22 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 02/23/2015
End Date: 03/09/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 8 8 $520,000 $489,000 106 $489,000 106
$600,000 – $699,999 1 4 4 $604,500 $598,000 101 $598,000 101
$700,000 – $799,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$800,000 – $899,999 3 24 17 $884,667 $866,333 102 $866,333 102
$900,000 – $999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 2 11 11 $1,347,750 $1,377,000 98 $1,377,000 98
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 3 97 75 $1,798,333 $1,865,667 96 $1,899,333 95
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 45 45 $2,280,000 $2,399,000 95 $2,399,000 95
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 310 310 $2,560,000 $2,995,000 85 $3,500,000 73
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 100 74 $3,650,000 $3,795,000 96 $3,795,000 96
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 13 Avg. 65 Avg. 57 $1,566,077 $1,632,769 98 $1,679,385 97
Lowest Price: $520,000 Median Price: $1,395,500
Highest Price: $3,650,000 Average Price: $1,566,077
Total Market Volume: $20,359,000

Protecting Your Nest Egg as You Age


Protecting Your Nest Egg as You Age

 Newton, MA.  10:15AM EST

Retirement savings golden nest eggPeople pondering their retirement years often conjure images of spending more time on a favorite pastime or traveling around the country or the world.

Health concerns can intrude on those idyllic scenes, though, not only affecting enjoyment of life but also punching a heavy dent in retirement savings.

“As we age, usually our medical or long-term care expenses increase, sometimes depleting our assets to a level of crisis,” says financial advisor Jake Lowrey, president of Lowrey Financial Group.

“It’s important for retirees, and anyone planning for retirement, to become educated about what the pitfalls are and what they need to do to avoid losing their life savings.”

Long-term care especially can burn a hole in savings accounts. In 2012, for example, nursing home care averaged $74,800 a year, according to a report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, assisted living facilities averaged $39,500 per year, and home-health services averaged $21 per hour.

More than 10 million Americans need some sort of long-term care, the Kaiser report says. That number covers all ages, even children, but about half are people 65 and older.

“Those older Americans had looked forward to enjoying their golden years,” Lowrey says. “They should be able to have actual golden years instead of what can end up being scary years, both personally and financially.”

Certainly, being able to maintain good health is a key factor in protecting savings and making retirement enjoyable and satisfying, he says.

But life doesn’t always work out that way. Fortunately, there are strategies seniors can use to lessen the impact of expenses brought on by long-term care needs. Lowrey says some of those include:

• VA benefits.
Military veterans may be able to offset nursing home or assisted-living expenses through benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. A veteran’s eligibility for long-term care services would be determined based on his or her need for ongoing treatment, personal care and assistance, as well as the availability of the service in the area where the person lives, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other factors, such as financial eligibility, a service-connected disability, insurance coverage, and/or ability to pay may also come into play.

• Medicaid compliant SPIAs. A SPIA is a single-premium immediate annuity. Typically, a SPIA is a contract with an insurance company where you pay the company a sum of money up front (the premium), and the company promises to pay you a certain amount of money periodically for the rest of your life.

A Medicaid compliant SPIA is a specially designed annuity that pays out over the person’s “life expectancy” and has other specific characteristics. A couple who put money in a Medicaid annuity are able to avoid having the income from that annuity count against the financial assistance a spouse receives for nursing home care.

• Setting up a trust. Trusts can help shelter wealth from the look-back periods in Medicaid requirements and assist in qualifying for VA programs, among other advantages, Lowrey says.

Choose Your Paint with These Fancy Apps


Choose Your Paint with These Fancy Apps

Newton, MA.  

Picking paint at the store can be overwhelming, and sometimes you’re less inspired by a paint chip and more inspired by photos, jewelry or Mother Nature. Now your phone can give you the tools you need to preview colors where and when the mood strikes.

Photo by: iStock

Here are five apps that can help you get the right color on the walls before you buy.

The ColorSmart by BEHR® Mobile app lets you preview, match and coordinate colors on-the-go. This fun-to-use app puts you in control with handy features like:
• Browsing through the BEHR Premium Plus Ultra® and Premium Plus® colors collections
• Photo-match to a BEHR color with their proprietary tool
• Preview function to see a color in different rooms and styles
• “Touch-and-tap” technology to paint a room image
• Sharing on Facebook and Twitter
(FREE for iPhone®, iPad® or Android)

The Benjamin Moore Color Capture® app makes it simple to snap a picture of anything that inspires you and instantly find its match among the more than 3,500 Benjamin Moore paint colors. Then you can save your pics and their coordinating color matches to your Favorites. Plus, you can:
• Group colors in Favorites to create personalized combos
• Share your favorite colors on social media and email
• Browse Benjamin Moore’s inspirational color cards and access the full color wheel to search colors
(FREE for iPhone®, iPad® or Android phones 6.1 or higher)

Besides letting you search by name or browse their library of 1,500 colors, ColorSnap® for mobile from Sherwin-Williams allows you to create personalized palettes with colors that inspire you. Simply upload an image and this app will instantly match colors in your photo. Then you can edit, delete or add colors to suit your artistic vision— you can even ask Sherwin-Williams for colors that complement your selections. The possibilities are endless with features that help you:
• Fine-tune colors for lightness, saturation and hue
• Get detailed color information such as names, RGB values and LRV numbers
• Save and access your Favorites across devices
(FREE for iPhone®, iPad® or Android)

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Don’t want to limit your color choices to one particular brand? AnyPaintColor by MyPerfectColorlets you search over 130,000 colors from over 100 brands including Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren. It’s essentially a virtual fan deck that gives you the power to browse colors to your heart’s content without having to set one foot in a store.
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The Top 7 Things to Do When You Inherit a Home


The Top 7 Things to Do When You Inherit a Home

Newton, MA.  12:30PM EST

Clean_Slate_Inherit_a_Home

1. Check the title. Make sure that the ownership is in the name it is intended so that it is freely transferable to you.

2. Make sure there are no liens against the property. If work had been done over the years on the property or it was given as collateral against any loan, there may be banking institutions or individuals that have a claim against your inheritance. You will want to research this and settle any claims before you consider or attempt to sell, lease or transfer title to the property. It may also affect the property’s value if somebody else has a claim against it.

3. Get a condition report from a licensed contractor or engineer to see what repairs need to be made. Oftentimes properties that are long-held in families can be—if they are not primary residences -in disrepair. You certainly want to protect the value of any inheritance and even minor repairs can enhance value.

4. If you are considering refurbishing and selling your inheritance, there are small things you can do to enhance the value. Consider a paint job, an upgrade of furniture, fresh flowers throughout if you are going to be showing your property and landscaping is often the first thing folks see when looking at a home so it can be a very worthwhile investment.

5. Modernize where you can. Updating a kitchen or bathroom or even flooring can make a huge difference in how a property appears to others. New drawer handles, doorknobs even small change can revamp the look of s property and bring it up to date.

13,000-Plus Listings Sell Every Day…Is Yours One of Them?


 

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13,000-Plus Listings Sell Every Day…Is Yours One of Them? 

Mar 05, 2015 09:25 am

listings_sell

It’s very exciting when a homeowner entrusts you with the marketing and ultimate sale of their home. Yes, you got a new listing!

Fast-forward a couple of weeks or months, and if the listing hasn’t sold, then you have some explaining to do. In a recent Existing-Home Sales Report from the National Association of REALTORS®, annual home sales are listed at 5.04 million homes. In order to put that number into perspective, let’s divide it by 365 days, and you’ll find that there are 13,699 homes sold every day in the United States on average (not accounting for seasonality).

With all of these homes selling across the country daily, blaming the economy or the local market for an unsold listing isn’t going to be a strong position with the home seller. It’s far more likely that you’ve made one or more common mistakes when pricing your listing.

Here are three common pricing mistakes that prevent listings from selling in a timely manner:

1. Overpricing from the Start

It’s extremely common for sellers to overvalue their homes compared to other homes in the same neighborhood and price range. Our job as local market experts is to advise and counsel home sellers on the correct pricing strategy.

One of the most important steps in correctly pricing the home is to take an honest look at similar homes in the area that have recently sold. While the seller may feel that their home deserves to command a higher relative sale price, the market determined these comps to be a fair price, so buyers will expect your asking price to be in the same ballpark.

An overpriced listing is a sure way to scare off plenty of potential buyers and waste a lot of your time.

2. Ignoring Search Ranges

These days, almost every buyer searches for homes online. If a potential buyer searches for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range, they won’t see your listing if it’s priced at $305,000.

Even if your listing is a perfect fit for the potential buyer, he or she won’t know about it, even though it’s only $5,000 above their price range search.

You want to make sure you’re not pricing your listing just outside of someone’s price range, so be sure to avoid pricing just over common increment breaks.

3. Not Being Open to Offers

There’s an old saying in our business that the first offer is the best offer; however, you should advise the seller to carefully consider any and all offers that come in, even if they’re well below your asking price. Negotiation is the name of the game. It’s not where an offer starts, it’s where mutual acceptance ends.

Do you want your listing to be one of the 13,000-plus homes that will sell tomorrow? Review your pricing strategy today!

Wendy Forsythe is the executive vice president and head of global operations at Carrington Real Estate Services.

 

 

 

Sick of Ice Dams? It’s Time to Move


Sick of Ice Dams? It’s Time to Move

Call me to discuss getting your house ready for a sale.   617-921-6860

Newton, MA.  10:30 AM EST

WINTER STORM SAFETY: ROOF PROTECTION

BY BETH WEINHOUSE

Roof Protection

When it comes to snow and ice, most of us tend to look down — we don’t want to slip on a slick sidewalk, we want to keep our driveways and walkways free of snow, and we’re cautious about driving when the roads are icy. But it’s just as important to look up when snow is a risk — protecting your roof in the winter is just as important as keeping your driveway and sidewalks clear. Many of the roof-protecting recommendations below are best done before storm season even begins, but can be helpful at any point. Even taking precautions a few days before a predicted storm can prevent damage.

1. Keep gutters clear. Make sure your gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear of leaves and other debris before storm season begins. Blocked gutters can cause water to back up and freeze, potentially damaging the roof. Have professionals clear your gutters after most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, or consider installing gutter screens that will prevent blockage.

2. Trim overhanging tree branches. Storms that are accompanied by gusting winds or cause heavy snow or ice to coat trees can result in fallen branches that can damage your home. Before the season starts, trim any low or overhanging branches that look as if they’d be at risk of falling on your house (or cars and power lines). Always be sure to check with local ordinances first to ensure you’re allowed to remove branches from trees near your property.

3. Prevent ice dams. Ice dams form when the heat inside your home causes ice or snow in the middle of your roof to melt and run down to the edges. When the water refreezes there, it creates a blockage that can cause roof leaks, which can damage interior ceilings and walls. To prevent ice dams, keep your attic cool — ideally not more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Good insulation on the attic floor can prevent heat from escaping the house as it rises. Other good preventive steps include sealing vent pipes, exhaust fans, and light fixtures that may transport warm air upward.

4. Remove heavy ice and snow. Most roofs are designed to withstand “normal” amounts of ice and snow in the area where they stand. For instance, roofs in the northern part of the country tend to be sturdier and more steeply sloped, so that less snow or ice accumulates. Most sturdy roofs should be able to support about 20 pounds per square foot of snow before they become stressed. If the amount of snow or ice on the roof becomes worrisome, homeowners can purchase special roof rakes with long handles to remove snow on the roof from the ground. If you’re unable to do this from the ground, it’s a smart idea to hire a professional and avoid the dangers of both climbing onto an icy roof and damaging roof structures.

With a few smart precautions you and your home should get through this winter season safely.

How the Ultra Rich Live


How the Ultra Rich Live

Newton, MA.  11:30 AM EST

 

Did you know…79% of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals own two or more properties and just over half of them own three or more residences? Explore more like this in our report with Wealth-X:

http://ow.ly/ItBsT

'Did you know…79% of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals own two or more properties and just over half of them own three or more residences? Explore more like this in our report with Wealth-X: http://ow.ly/ItBsT'

Sotheby’s Significant Sales


Just a little something to make you smile.

 

Sotheby’s Significant Sales

Newton Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap WE NEED INVENTORY


Newton Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap WE NEED INVENTORY

Newton, MA.  11:00 AM EST

I am sure many of you are annoyed, irritable, cold and so are real estate brokers.  I am also sure MANY of you are coping with ice dams the likes you have never seen before.  I hope you’re tired of shoveling your walks, driveways and now your roof and you’re ready to sell because we need inventory!  In what is normally our busiest time of the year the market has stalled, not because of a lack of buyers but a lack of homes for sale.  Houses are going under agreement every day.

Currently there are only 65 houses for sale, down from 77 just 1 month ago!  44 homes have gone under agreement in the past 2 weeks across all price ranges!  Buyers ARE out there.  The hottest segment of the market is the 1 million to 1.5 million range with 11 going under agreement in the last 2 weeks.

Don’t wait any longer….call me to buy or sell.  I expect many homes to come on the market as soon as the snow clears — don’t wait.  This is a supply and demand business and there is activity.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 2/23/2015
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 1/23/2015
Towns: Newton
 1/23/2015  2/23/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 15
$500,000 – $599,999 2 132 2 163
$600,000 – $699,999 4 47 1 119
$700,000 – $799,999 2 148 3 96
$800,000 – $899,999 3 105 2 85
$900,000 – $999,999 2 79 2 109
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 15 102 12 96
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 17 153 12 178
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 13 201 14 215
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 8 139 6 178
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 8 192 9 230
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 2 61 2 92
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 77 Avg. 140 65 Avg. 165
Lowest Price: $499,000
Median Price: $1,750,000
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $1,968,851
Total Market Volume: $151,601,585
Lowest Price: $599,000
Median Price: $1,949,000
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $2,084,102
Total Market Volume: $135,466,687

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 2/23/2015
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 02/09/2015
End Date: 02/23/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999
$600,000 – $699,999 1 1
$700,000 – $799,999 2 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999
$900,000 – $999,999 1 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 10 8 2
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 16 10 4 1 1
Lowest Price: $675,000 Median Price: $1,249,000
Highest Price: $3,295,000 Average Price: $1,363,112
Total Market Volume: $21,809,800

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 2/23/2015 11:11:23 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 02/09/2015
End Date: 02/23/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$600,000 – $699,999 1 20 1 $671,000 $630,000 107 $630,000 107
$700,000 – $799,999 2 109 78 $745,500 $749,450 99 $749,450 99
$800,000 – $899,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$900,000 – $999,999 1 9 9 $966,500 $950,000 102 $950,000 102
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 2 129 107 $1,325,000 $1,372,000 97 $1,395,000 95
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 1 1 $1,537,500 $1,650,000 93 $1,650,000 93
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 115 100 $2,225,000 $2,383,000 93 $1,235,250 43064
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 9 Avg. 82 Avg. 64 $1,307,333 $1,359,878 98 $1,109,933 9646
Lowest Price: $671,000 Median Price: $1,200,000
Highest Price: $2,300,000 Average Price: $1,307,333
Total Market Volume: $11,766,000

Real Estate 101 — Supply and Demand


 

Two Graphs that Scream – List Your Home Today!

Real Estate 101 — It’s a supply and demand business.

Two Graphs that Scream - List Your Home Today | Keeping Current Matters

We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand. If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…

DEMAND

According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity last month (January) was three times greater than it was last January. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers.Buyer Demand | Keeping Current Matters

SUPPLY

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the months’ supply of housing inventory had fallen to 4.4 months which is the lowest it has been in over a year. Months Inventory of Homes for Sale | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property.


Members: Sign in now to set up your Personalized Posts & start sharing today!

Not a Member Yet? Click Here to learn more about KCM‘s newest feature, Personalized Posts.

Have You Set Up Personalized Posts Yet? | Keeping Current Matters

 

 

7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated


7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated

 FROM DESIGNER ERIN GATES

Prevent any “What was I thinking?” moments a few years from now with these fresh — not faddish — ideas from Elements of Style author Erin Gates.

By Candace Braun Davison

  • The Backsplash Accent That Cuts the Walls in Half
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    That once-popular stripe of tiny, sea-toned square glass tiles — or practical, 4-inch strip of granite — above the stove isn’t just out of vogue; the contrasting color cuts your walls in half, making the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. To open things up, choose stone mosaic tiles in a herringbone pattern, or rows of white subway tiles, and extend them all the way to the ceiling (even behind and around the hood), recommends Erin Gates, the interior designer and blogger behindElementsofStyle.com, and author of the New York Times-bestselling book, Elements of Style.
  • The Throw Pillows That Set Pinterest on Fire
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If the social network created a time capsule to chronicle its meteoric rise to fame in 2011, you better believe it would’ve included a pair of turquoise-and-white throw pillows. While the zigzag itself is timeless, its use — and that particular color combination — has been overdone, Gates says, much like green Imperial Trellisfabric years earlier. The easiest way to freshen things up? “Find a more unexpected way to use it, like black-and-white tile in a chevron pattern on the floor, or an ikat-chevron fabric on curtains, which doesn’t have the same crisp lines you normally associate with the print,” she explains.
  • The Stylish Pouf That’s Better Off as an Ottoman
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Moroccan poufs have been touted as the entertainer’s standby for extra seating, but they’re typically too low to the ground to actually be comfortable to sit on, Gates says. Swap it out for a pair of X benches — you can tuck them under a console table when they’re not in use, and at 18 to 19 inches tall, they’re the same height as most chairs and sofas. For a truly timeless style, try a pair in leather.
  • The Cabinets Used in Almost Every Early 2000s Home Makeover Show
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Maple and oak wood-stained cabinets (especially those with ornate, French-ish carvings) instantly age a kitchen, but thankfully, it’s nothing a few coats of paint can’t fix. White is a no-fail choice– Gates swears by Decorator’s White and White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Navy or black paint makes carved details less noticeable, though Gates recommends painting only the lower cabinets and island in darker colors, if your ceilings are 8 feet tall or shorter.
  • The All-Caps Word
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Consider a more subtle alternative to those metal signs spelling out “eat,” “family” or “love” in 16-inch letters: In place of the “eat” sign in a kitchen, Gates suggests wrapping a corkboard in linen and framing it with molding to create wall art that doubles as a command center for your to-do lists, recipes and postcards. She recommends gallery wall of black-and-white photos of family members that you add to over time that telegraph the theme. “Just avoid those collage-frame kits or only using photos from one group photo shoot, or it will look too matchy-matchy,” Gates says.
  • The Pendant Light Fixture Installed in Every New Home
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If your house was built in the aughts, there’s a good chance you’ve got overhead lights that look like frosted wine glasses dangling from the ceiling. The real problem with these mini-pendants? They’re always too small, Gates says. For a better — and more timeless — source of light, try an orb shape with an antique brass finish, likeHinkley’s Congress light or a two-tone David Hicks pendant.
  • The Sleigh That Doesn’t Come with Eight Reindeer
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    As grand as a sleigh bed looks, it can really swallow up a bedroom, making the space seem cramped. Canopy beds have been making a huge comeback recently, Gates says, though the posts are thinner and less detailed than what you remember from late ’80s, and the top is kept bare. The tall posts draw your eye up, but they don’t take up as much space, making the room seem airier and more open than its predecessor. Plus, this streamlined style doesn’t require that you live in a Georgian manor: The thin frame doesn’t overwhelm standard 8-foot ceilings. Pair with an upholstered headboard to add a touch of plushness; otherwise the bed can look sterile.

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a Source of Conflict Over Home Prices


Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices

February 12, 2015 Newton, MA.  2:45PM EST
Zillow execs follow housing data to surprising conclusions
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, shown in his downtown Seattle office, says Zestimates are “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%. (Ellen M. Banner / TNS)
By KENNETH R. HARNEY Real Estate Business

Home shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents as gauges of market value
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff says that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%
When “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the chief executive of Zillow recently about the accuracy of the website’s automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.

Millennials are finally entering home-buying market
Millennials are finally entering home-buying market
Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site, with 73 million unique visitors in December. Along with active listings of properties for sale, it also provides information on houses that are not on the market. You can enter the address or general location in a database of millions of homes and probably pull up key information — square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths, photos, taxes — plus a Zestimate.

Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents — and to one another — as gauges of market value. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers’ list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.

 

Disparities like these are daily occurrences and, in the words of one realty agent who posted on the industry blog ActiveRain, they are “the bane of my existence.” Consumers often take Zestimates “as gospel,” said Tim Freund, an agent with Dilbeck Real Estate in Westlake Village. If either the buyer or the seller won’t budge off Zillow’s estimated value, he told me, “that will kill a deal.”

Back to the question posed by O’Donnell: Are Zestimates accurate? And if they’re off the mark, how far off? Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff answered that they’re “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.

Homeowners underestimate their property values 1.6%, research says
Homeowners underestimate their property values 1.6%, research says
Whoa. That sounds high. On a $500,000 house, that would be a $40,000 disparity — a lot of money on the table — and could create problems. But here’s something Rascoff was not asked about: Localized median error rates on Zestimates sometimes far exceed the national median, which raises the odds that sellers and buyers will have conflicts over pricing. Though it’s not prominently featured on the website, at the bottom of Zillow’s home page in small type is the word “Zestimates.” This section provides helpful background information along with valuation error rates by state and county — some of which are stunners.

 

For example, in New York County — Manhattan — the median valuation error rate is 19.9%. In Brooklyn, it’s 12.9%. In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it’s 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093.

Some real estate agents have done their own studies of accuracy levels of Zillow in their local markets.

Last July, Robert Earl, an agent with Choice Homes Team in the Charlottesville, Va., area, examined selling prices and Zestimates of all 21 homes sold that month in the nearby community of Lake Monticello. On 17 sales Zillow overestimated values, including two houses that sold for 61% below the Zestimate.
In Carlsbad, Calif., Jeff Dowler, an agent with Solutions Real Estate, did a similar analysis on sales in two ZIP Codes. He found that Zestimates came in below the selling price 70% of the time, with disparities ranging as high as $70,000. In 25% of the sales, Zestimates were higher than the contract price. In 95% of the cases, he said, “Zestimates were wrong. That does not inspire a lot of confidence, at least not for me.” In a second ZIP Code, Dowler found that 100% of Zestimates were inaccurate and that disparities were as large as $190,000.

So what do you do now that you’ve got the scoop on Zestimate accuracy? Most important, take Rascoff’s advice: Look at them as no more than starting points in pricing discussions with the real authorities on local real estate values — experienced agents and appraisers. Zestimates are hardly gospel — often far from it.

Newton Real Estate Recap — We NEED Inventory


Newton Real Estate Recap — We NEED Inventory

Published February 11, 2105 EST Newton, MA.

We have been digging out for weeks now but the snow just keeps coming.  The real estate market is obviously slower than normal.  If we can widen some of these streets and walking paths soon the market will roar to life.  That being said, business is being conducted albeit at a slower pace.  We continue to struggle with a lack of inventory with only 81 homes for sale in what is normally the busiest time of the year.  A normal market has roughly 200 homes for sale.  I cannot remember the last time we had a normal market.    The market may be in the snowoldrums but 42 buyers snapped up a home since the first of the year across all price ranges.  The 1 million to 1.5 million is the most active segment.  I can attest that there are many buyers in that range.  I listed a home in early January for 1.279M and I had countless buyers through.  We received 3 offers and will close at the end of this month.  Interestingly, I see some of the same people at open houses I have seen for the past 2 years.  The truth is some of them are real buyers and some are tire kickers.  Most don’t have a broker and think they are going to get a great deal if they don’t have agent –WRONG!  An agent would help them understand if their wants are even possible and hopefully guide them to a great house.  That’s a blog post for another day.  The point is those people missed the market, there are no bargains out there.  We have an educated savvy buying population, they have seen everything, created a spread sheet and some of them know the inventory better than we do.   They can recite back details of specific homes with encyclopedic knowledge.

In any event, if you are thinking of selling I cannot think of a better time to sell or buy!

 

 

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 2/11/2015 11:06:47 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 01/01/2015
Towns: Newton
 01/01/2015  2/11/2015
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 2 9
$500,000 – $599,999 2 151
$600,000 – $699,999 4 90 2 68
$700,000 – $799,999 3 108 4 88
$800,000 – $899,999 4 69 1 155
$900,000 – $999,999 3 67
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 10 130 20 81
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 11 114 17 156
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 10 238 13 219
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 8 129 7 157
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 9 185 10 227
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 70 2 80
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 62 Avg. 140 81 Avg. 146
Lowest Price: $489,000
Median Price: $1,899,499.50
Highest Price: $4,195,000
Average Price: $2,015,180
Total Market Volume: $124,941,185
Lowest Price: $599,000
Median Price: $1,750,000
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $1,988,265
Total Market Volume: $161,049,485

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 2/11/2015 11:08:24 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 01/01/2015
End Date: 02/11/2015
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 2 2
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2
$600,000 – $699,999 6 5 1
$700,000 – $799,999 3 1 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 5 5
$900,000 – $999,999 3 3
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 10 5 4 1
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 5 4 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 1 1
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 2 1 1
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 1
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 42 30 9 0 3
Lowest Price: $489,000 Median Price: $1,014,450
Highest Price: $4,000,000 Average Price: $1,312,778
Total Market Volume: $55,136,698

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 2/11/2015 11:09:47 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 01/01/2015
End Date: 02/11/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 4 52 38 $566,250 $610,725 93 $620,500 91
$600,000 – $699,999 3 41 22 $657,333 $662,667 99 $689,333 96
$700,000 – $799,999 4 16 14 $744,522 $741,750 101 $741,750 101
$800,000 – $899,999 9 58 9 $846,497 $823,878 103 $829,433 102
$900,000 – $999,999 3 35 6 $933,629 $912,296 102 $912,296 102
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 9 33 29 $1,251,278 $1,250,000 101 $1,278,333 99
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 7 159 106 $1,691,857 $1,773,000 95 $1,872,286 91
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 5 131 128 $2,159,105 $2,358,580 92 $2,698,580 81
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 2 2 $2,900,000 $2,999,000 97 $2,999,000 97
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 32 32 $3,775,000 $3,795,000 99 $3,795,000 99
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 51 51 $4,000,000 $4,250,000 94 $4,250,000 94
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 1 229 136 $5,495,000 $5,525,000 99 $6,295,000 87
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 48 Avg. 71 Avg. 47 $1,410,510 $1,449,429 99 $1,524,202 96
Lowest Price: $545,000 Median Price: $1,138,250
Highest Price: $5,495,000 Average Price: $1,410,510
Total Market Volume: $67,704,476

 

Realtors Looking For Work


Newton, MA.

Realtors are bored.  We’ve caught up with e-mails, blogged, called past clients, reassured others that Spring will come and we can list their houses.  We’ve binged watched TV, tried new recipes for food and drink.  But we are bored.  We don’t have a job where we sit at a desk most of the day.  We want to be out meeting and greeting.  So please call me and I promise I will make it to your house for an analysis.  Please I can’t stay home, warm and dry another day.  For the vast majority of people who do have to go to the office every day — stay safe, warm and dry.

Margaret

Top 5 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home


CR052K14-House_LawnTop 5 ways to boost the value of your home

Learn how to make 10 percent more money when selling your home

Newton, MA.  1:30PM EST
Cleaning up and clearing out is a must but the single biggest visual is paint!

This is a great time to be selling a house—or buying one. With housing prices at recent highs (in some neighborhoods they’re exceeding pre-2008 valuations), it’s no wonder about 5.3 million homes are expected to change hands in 2015, up about 30 percent from the bottom of the crash, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Buyers as well as sellers can benefit. That’s because purchasing a home is comparatively cheap right now, thanks to still-low interest rates (they recently dipped below 4 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage). “A home buyer with the U.S. median income who buys the median-priced home will pay 15.3 percent of their income on their mortgage now,” says Skylar Olsen, a senior economist at Zillow, the online real estate marketplace. “The historical number is 22.1 percent.” And although home prices will continue to climb in 2015, they’re expected to do so at a slower rate than in 2014.

So how do you make the most money, no matter which end of the transaction you’re on? For answers, the Consumer Reports National Research Center turned to the people most in the know for answers—the real estate professionals who broker almost 90 percent of residential sales.

A panel of 303 pros from around the country (covering markets big and small, hot and cold, city and suburban) completed our recent online survey, filled with essential questions: What are the costliest mistakes sellers make? When is the best time to put a home on the market? How negotiable are broker’s fees, really?

The answers may surprise you. If you’re a seller, advice from the pros on smart presale fix-ups, coupled with our expert product ratings and tips, can help you get the best sales price for your home—an additional 12 percent, on average. With median single-family home prices hovering at about $205,000, that’s a potential gain of $24,600. In pricier markets, the profits will go many times higher.

And both buyers and sellers can come out ahead with our guide to savvy financial and negotiating moves. Avoid the most typical mistakes and you could gain 11 to 20 percent, and even more in some markets, of the home sale’s price.

April through June is prime home-selling season. So let’s get started!

Clean up, clear out

Cost range: $0 (DIY) to $2,500 (pro)

Potential return: 3 to 5%*

Nothing drives away would-be buyers faster than clut­ter, grime, and the weird smells that accompany a messy home. Bruce Irving, a renovation consultant and real estate agent based in Cambridge, Mass., tells clients to imagine their boss is coming to dinner with his or her spouse. “Your home should be at least that nice on the day of any open house,” he says.

Vital to the process is de-cluttering and depersonalizing the space as much as possible. Buyers will have a hard time imagining themselves in your home if it’s filled with family photos and other personal effects.

For severely cluttered residences, or if you’re downsizing and need help winnowing your possessions, consider hiring a professional organizer. Check the location-based member directory on the website of Next Stage Associates. “We’re not counselors, but we have skills to help people think through why they’re having trouble letting go of certain items,” says Jennifer Lava, president of the Austin, Texas, chapter. In addition to making your current home more sellable, a pro can help you get off to an organized start in your new residence.

Depending on the level of clutter, an organizer may need one to three months to get your home ready for sale, at a cost of $600 to $2,500—money well spent if it helps your property move more quickly. The service might even be worth it if you plan to stay put for the time being because living in a cluttered home takes a psychological toll.

Before hosting the open house, remember to open the curtains and blinds because natural light is just as important as order to making a home feel bigger. And give the entire interior a thorough cleaning, including vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down every surface. Your boss might not be coming over, but someone in the position to write you a very big check hopefully is.

*Potential increase in asking price, assuming home value of $205,000.

Spruce up the kitchen

Click on the image for kitchen upgrades.

Cost range: $300 to $5,000

Potential return: 3 to 7%

It’s a real estate adage that the kitchen, more than any other room, sells the home. In fact, 53 percent of real estate professionals told us that the kitchen is among the most important rooms of the home to have in good shape before selling.

But that doesn’t mean you should drop tens of thousands of dollars on a new one before putting your house on the block. “Given all the volatility in the real estate market, you can’t spend megabucks on any project, even a kitchen, and expect to get that money back,” says Bill Wilson, a real estate professional in upstate New York. His first advice to clients is to make all of those minor repairs that can lead to serious second thoughts for buyers—the leaky faucet, the loose light fixture, the burn mark on the countertop.

Once you’ve made the kitchen fully functional, think about a gentle spruce-up. For a few hundred dollars, you can probably paint the walls, update the cabinet hardware, and add new curtains, which will give the space a clean, fresh look.

If the kitchen is badly outdated, increasing your bud­get to $5,000 might make sense, especially if you could be in the home for a few more years. A couple thousand dollars will get you a top-performing refrigerator, range, and dishwasher, all with popular stainless-steel finish. New countertops and floors will cost about the same, especially if you go for DIY-friendly laminate and vinyl, both of which proved very hard-wearing in ourcountertop reviews and flooring tests. That will leave about $1,000 for odds and ends, such as light fixtures and a new faucet, as well as any necessary labor costs.

Freshen up the bath

Click on the image for bathroom updates.

Cost range: $300 to $1,000
Potential return: 2 to 3%

Buyers want to see that a home is clean and well-maintained, especially in the bathrooms. “Simple improvements like caulking the tub or re-grouting the tile floor will go a long way in the mind of a buyer,” says Bree Al-Rashid, an agent withRedfin, a real estate brokerage. And consider this: 42 percent of real estate professionals we survyed said the bathroom is one of the most important rooms of the home to have in good shape.

Installing new bathroom fixtures will make the space look brighter and more appealing. “I tell my clients to replace anything with a handle, especially if the home has hard water, since it causes so much metal corrosion,” says Ginny Ivanoff, a real estate consultant in Carlisle, Pa. Updating the mirror and lighting will improve the sensory experience.

If you’re not looking to sell right away, there are several larger upgrades that shouldn’t cost a fortune, given the small dimensions of many bathrooms. For example, you might be able to add a new floor and vanity countertop for less than $1,000, especially if you use inexpensive vinyl and laminate.

Adding new toilets is also a smart upgrade because it can improve the look of a home while also making it more water-efficient. We recently tested toilets to see how well they handle solid waste (using sponges and plastic balls) without leaving unsightly stains inside the bowl or creating a deafening whoosh.

Paint the rooms—selectively

Click on the image for paint upgrades.

Cost range: $100 (DIY) to $1,000 (pro)

Potential return: 1 to 3%

A fresh coat of paint is the quickest way to transform a room. But it probably doesn’t make sense to have your entire house repainted prior to putting it on the market. “I’ve seen people spend three, four, even five thousand dollars on a massive paint job, when all they needed to do was hit the walls with a Magic Eraser and maybe redo one or two rooms,” says Redfin’s Bree Al-Rashid. (Sixteen percent of real estate professionals said interior painting is an important element in fostering the sale of a home.)

Kitchens and bathrooms are two candidates for a complete paint job given the high traffic they see. You should also paint any brightly colored rooms. “Most people do not have the vision of what a room could look like, and instead they walk away and later say, ‘Oh, that’s the house with the purple bedrooms,’ ” says Kim Parten, a real estate pro from Horseshoe Bay, Texas. “I’ve had homes not sell, or sell for less, because of purple bedrooms.”

Whites and off-whites tend to attract the most buyers; the neutral palette allows them to focus on a home’s attributes. “Grays and beiges are both very reliable,” says Al-Rashid. “They’re not too warm, not too cold, and they work with most types of furniture, so buyers will be able to see themselves in the space.”

As for the paint itself, if you’re getting your home ready to sell, choose a paint that does a good job of hiding old paint and leaves a fairly smooth surface; several in our interior paint Ratings meet those requirements for less than $30 per gallon. Invest in a top-quality product if you’re planning to be in the home for a while. Our tough tests, which include scrubbing the finishes with harsh abrasives, found eight winners. Because a brand’s flat, eggshell, and semigloss formulations perform similarly overall, we’ve combined the scores into one to simplify the process.

You can paint the walls yourself or pay a pro about $300 per room, paint included, with added rooms costing $200, says Debbie Zimmer, a spokeswoman for the Paint Quality Institute.

Enhance the exterior

Click on the image for exterior updates.

Cost range: $150 to $7,500

Potential return: 2 to 5%

You wouldn’t go to a job interview without brushing your hair and putting on a crisp, clean outfit. Nor should you try to sell your home without sprucing up its exterior. Start with basic maintenance: mowing the lawn, trimming overgrown shrubs, applying a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds.

As with your home’s interior, it’s also important to make minor repairs, such as replacing cracked siding boards or repointing brick walls. “Any house could probably also stand a good power washing,” adds Ginny Ivanoff. Follow with any necessary paint touch-ups, especially to the front of the building, which will get the most scrutiny. It might be worth completely repainting the entry door, provided that won’t make the rest of the facade seem tired and outdated. A top-performing semigloss exterior paint, such as Lowe’s exclusive Valspar DuraMax Semi-Gloss, $40 per gallon, provides maximum protection plus a bit of visual contrast and shine.

The roof is another area to pay close attention to because prospective buyers are sure to do the same. Indeed, 31 percent of real estate professionals said the roof is one of the more important parts of the home to have in good shape.

“They always, always ask how old the roof is,” says Bruce Irving. “To be able to say the roof is new signals to the buyer that this house has been cared for, plus the project is usually a lot cheaper than people realize.” That’s particularly true if you choose standard three-tab asphalt shingles, which often cost about $75 per 100 square feet; including installation, a typical reroof might cost as little as $6,000. If you’re not in a rush to sell, consider upgrading to laminated shingles, also known as architectural shingles. They can cost two to three times as much as the three-tabs but in our tests proved much stronger. Whichever type of shingle you choose, look for a product with a warranty that can be transferred to the next owner.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

The Difference Between a Home’s Cost and Price


The Difference Between A Home’s Cost vs. Price

 

Newton, MA.  12:00PM EST

 

PThe Difference Between A Home’s Cost vs. Price | Keeping Current Matters

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let’s explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as“The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen in 2015?

A nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists project that home values will appreciate by almost 4% by the end of 2015. Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.5% by the end of 2015.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today: Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters


 

Sotheby’s Collection 2014


MARGARET SZERLIP Newton, MA.  2:15 EST,

My best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.  May the Sotheby’s Collection inspire you in 2015.  Sotheby’s Collections 2014

THE 10 HOTTEST HOUSING MARKETS to WATCH in 2015


The Hottest Housing Markets to Watch in 2015: 

Newton, MA.  December 26, 2014

Not only did Boston make the list but so did Middlesex County….Sellers NOW is the time.

Love this? Download all of Trulia’s housing market predictions in our 2015 Real Estate Market Forecast!

 

Before we dive in, let’s get a little technical with how Trulia’s team selected these markets. For the past few years, the so-called “rebound effect” has driven real estate market trends. But that effect is beginning to fade. So what replaces the rebound effect in the next stage of the housing recovery? Well, the real estate market then increasingly depends on fundamentals such as job growth, rising incomes, and more household formation.


Because of this, our 10 markets to watch have strong fundamentals for housing activity. These include solid job growth, which fuels housing demand, and a low vacancy rate, which spurs construction. We gave a few extra points to markets with a higher share of millennials. These young adults are getting back to work and that will drive household formation and rental demand. We didn’t include markets where prices looked at least 5% overvalued in our latest Bubble Watch report.

Alright! Let’s take a look at the cities who made the list:

MarketstoWatch

1. Boston, MA

This smarty-pants city has the greatest minds at its disposal, with more than 100 colleges and universities in the greater metro area. But that doesn’t necessarily make Beantown solely a party haven for coeds. Eventually those students grow into working professional 20-somethings looking to make a life for themselves. The Boston Globe reported last year that more than one-third of the city’s residents are between ages 20 and 34. Coincidentally, the latest Buyer and Seller Survey from the National Association of Realtors notes that 56 percent of first time home buyers are between the ages of 25 and 34.

2. Dallas, TX

You know the saying: Everything’s bigger in Texas. Well, Dallas just keeps getting bigger. The Dallas Morning News reported that the oil-rich city saw a 3.4 percent increase in jobs since last year in the manufacturing, retail, and energy industries. In the past 10 years, Dallas-Fort Worth has grown to become the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, right behind the big three: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

3. Fresno, CA

Sure, the California coast is beautiful, but a chunk of its population is moving to the more affordable inland parts of the state, like Fresno. The Fresno Bee says that Fresno’s population climbed nearly 15.7 percent for that very reason. The largest employers in the San Joaquin Valley city include medical centers, casinos, and, in the rural outskirts, agriculture.

4. Middlesex County, MA

Not familiar with Middlesex County? Don’t worry, you know exactly where it is — it’s a good chunk of land northwest of Boston that encompasses MIT and Harvard (which are technically in the city of Cambridge), Brandeis (in Waltham), and Tufts (in Medford). Much like Boston, this very educated county is one of the largest in New England and has been seeing steady growth.

5. Nashville, TN

You don’t have to be a country music fan to love what locals call Music City (but it might not hurt). It’s not only musicians who populate the city, which is also home to prestigious Vanderbilt University and the Scripps Networks company. The Tennessean reported that Nashville ranked seventh in growth among young professionals with college degrees, and the city has seen a 48 percent population hike in the past 12 years.

6. New York, NY-NJ

What more to say about New York City that hasn’t already been said in song, books, or in photographs? The Big Apple is a crowded city in demand and there never seems to be enough housing to go around — whether you’re renting or buying. Tough housing competition comes from foreign investors who want to put their money in the city, as well as New Yorkers looking to move, and, of course, out-of-staters looking to transplant.

7. Raleigh, NC

Once filled with tobacco fields, Raleigh has become a major metropolitan city with rapid growth since the 1990s. The capital city has also bounced back from the Great Recession — and then some — with a whopping recovery rate of 214 percent, with the main growth coming from jobs in tech, research, health, and education, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

8. Salt Lake City, UT

Utah has become a hub for computer programmers, because tech companies like Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, Xerox, and more have opened up offices in or around Salt Lake City, which has led to job growth.

In the past 24 months, the city has seen home values increase, but it’s mostly because it’s a good time to get a mortgage and buy in Salt Lake City.

9. San Diego, CA

This is a market on the rise. Downtown San Diego is getting better and better every year and has new condos under construction for folks who want to live right by the action of the trendy Gaslamp Quarter. When it comes to houses, San Diego is ranked the second most expensive city to buy one in.

10. Seattle, WA

Companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, and UPS have provided steady job growth for the area, but, hey, Seattlites know how to rock, too — as the home of grunge, which is still popular in the music scene there.

Merry Christmas


Newton, MA.  December 24, 2014

 

Best Wishes for a very Merry Christmas.  May your presence mean more than your presents in you loved one’s lives.

xoxo Margaret

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES?


Sotheby’s Realty Newton, MA.  Top 20 Agents Network

 

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES?

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 02:00 AM EST

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES? | Keeping Current Matters

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are each projecting mortgage interest rates to increase substantially over the next twelve months. What will that mean to the housing market in 2015? Last week, we posted a graph showing that home prices appreciated each of the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased. Today, we want to talk about the impact higher rates might have on the number of home sales. The reason many experts are calling for a rise in rates is because they see a stabilizing economy. With the economy beginning to improve, they expect the employment situation to regain some ground lost during the recession, incomes to grow and for consumer confidence to improve.

What will that mean to home sales next year?

In its November 2014 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac explains:

“While higher interest rates generally detract from housing activity, when they occur with strong job and income growth the net result can be increases in household formations, construction, and home sales. Our view for 2015 is exactly that, namely, income and job growth offset the negative effect of higher interest rates and translate into gains for the nation’s housing market.”

Bottom Line

Even with mortgage rates increasing, home sales and home appreciation should be just fine in 2015.


Cleveland Circle Will Finally Be Developed


Boston Business Journal shared by Margaret Szerlip November 19, 2014 Newton, MA.  Keep Calm and Sell Real Estate
Some established players are teaming up to redevelop site of the former Circle Cinema at the corner of Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue in Boston.
Boston Development Group and National Development said in a news release that they’re forming a joint venture to do the work and that Charles River Realty Investors will provide the capital.
Ted Tye, managing partner of National Development, said in a prepared statement: “We are pleased to help bring development of this landmark site to fruition. There has been a great deal of effort put forth to date from the City of Boston, Town of Brookline, and the local community. Our combined team will work to move the project forward, with an anticipated mid-2015 construction start.”
BDG’s project manager on the job is John Meunier.
According to this week’s prepared statement, the project will be “similar” to a previously proposed 162-guest-room, 92-residential unit project. There also is likely be retail fronting to Chestnut Hill Avenue.
Despite proximity to Boston College, or perhaps because of it, the residential units will be off-limits to younger renters. The developers said in their news release that the project will be age-restricted “in part to address neighborhood comments.”
“We see a huge need for urban residential alternatives for active senior adults,” Tye said.
The architect for the project, according to the news release, will be Elkus Manfredi Architects. Stantec is set to do civil engineering. Cranshaw Construction of Newton is involved in early work.

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval


Margaret Szerlip November 18, 2014 Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Amy Slotnick
Amy Slotnick
Vice President
Fairway Independent Mortgage
MLO#27030
(781) 719-4670
amy@amyslotnick.com


Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval, and how we do it at Fairway


It is prudent to get pre-qualified or pre-approved before you begin your search for a new home. In general it means that you have spoken to a lender and have a basic understanding of how much you can afford to purchase based on your income and expenses. But most people don’t realize that to be “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved” are two very different things. In this competitive market place, it pays to understand the difference.

To get “pre-qualified” you simply need to have a conversation with a lender and verbally explain your income, assets and expenses to them, discuss your down payment, and they in turn will give you a general estimate of what you can afford to pay monthly for a mortgage. There is no cost and no obligation to do business with the lender. In essence, this is a mathematical conversation.

When you get “pre-approved” it means that you have provided actual documentation to a lender verifying your income, assets and debts. In addition, the lender has pulled your credit report and determined your credit score eligibility. Right away it is a more thorough and accurate financial accounting. The lender will provide you with a letter of pre-approval, stating how much money they would be willing to loan you subject to receipt of an appraisal and purchase and sales agreement as well as re-verification of your income and employment. Clearly this carries more weight and will make a difference to a seller in this competitive market.

At Fairway, we take it one step further with our Certified Pre-Approval and money back guarantee. You will know how much money you can afford and be 100% confident that you will be able to borrow the money for your home. Fairway’s complete evaluation of your financing ability including income and asset documentation ensures a closing, and if not, we will refund you up to $7500 in costs.

How does it work?

Fairway issues and certifies the accuracy of the “Fairway Certified” pre-approval as long as:

· Your personal financial qualifications stay the same or improve[1]

· The agreed upon loan parameters stay the same or improve[2]

· The property meets all necessary loan requirements[3]

If we are wrong we will:

· Reimburse documented short-term moving, relocating and/or storage expenses up to a maximum of $1500

· Reimburse any documented lost home inspection or appraisal expenses up to $1000

· Reimburse any forfeited earnest money expenses up to $5,000

The Closing and Beyond

· The HUD will be available to review well in advance of the closing

· Funds will always be at the table ahead of the closing

· All parties will have the opportunity to review documents in advance

· Scheduling of closings will ensure maximum convenience for all parties involved

You won’t find another lender who will provide you with that kind of guarantee, anywhere!

Be sure to get Fairway’s Certified Pre-Approval before you begin your new home search. Call 781-719-4664, email info940@fairwaymc.com or visit our website at Fairwayne.com


[1] “Personal financial qualifications” includes but is not limited to employment, income, assets, credit scores, and debt.

[2] “Agreed upon loan parameters” includes, but is not limited to maximum loan amount, maximum total monthly payment, maximum interest rate, interest rate market conditions, down payment requirements, property insurance requirements and mortgage insurance requirements.

[3] “Necessary loan requirements” of the property includes but is not limited to, appraised value, insurability, property condition, inspection condition, legal title conditions, HOA
conditions and housing project conditions

8 Ascenta Terrace Under Agreement


8 Ascenta Terrace Under Agreement

Posted by margaret Szerlip November 14, 2014 Newton, MA.

Under Agreement 8 ASCENTA TERRACE, WEST NEWTON HILL.  Closing early to mid January

 

8 Ascenta Terrace

8 Ascenta Front IIA California Bungalow on West Newton Hill. This former ranch was transformed in 2004 with the addition of a family room and a most serene 2nd floor Master Bedroom Suite. An inviting home which feels sunny, warm and expansive. Extremely flexible floor plan allows for 1st or 2nd floor master. Timeless cherry kitchen features high-end appliances and granite counters which flows into a spacious family room. The private yard is large and level. The property also features a covered porch and deck which can be accessed from the dining room or family room. 2004 kitchen, baths, electric, plumbing, HVAC, roof, windows etc. 15,000+ level lot may be suitable for a builder.

 

 


8 Ascenta Kitchen 8 Ascenta Family Room II8 Ascenta Master Bedroom II

 

Either Way, You’re Still Paying a Mortgage


Posted by Margaret Szerlip 12PM EST, Newton, MA.   Newton, MA. Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Thanks for sharing KCM Crew..

Either Way, You’re Still Paying a Mortgage


Either Way, You’re Still Paying a Mortgage

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 04:00 AM PST

Either Way You're Still Paying a Mortgage | Keeping Current Matters

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s. As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: 

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Also, if you purchase with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your ‘housing expense’ is locked in over the thirty years for the most part. If you rent, the one guarantee you will have is that your rent will increase over that same thirty year time period.


Unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage. #KCM2014
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As an owner, the mortgage payment is a ‘forced savings’ which will allow you to have equity in your home you can tap into later in your life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting since home values and interest rates are still at bargain prices.

Bi Monthly Real Estate Recap for Newton, MA.


Bi Monthly Real Estate Recap for Newton, MA.cropped-cimg1501.jpg

posted by Margaret Szerlip 11.00AM EST/Newton, MA.

The real estate market continues to be busy this fall.  Inventory remains very low with a total of only 156 homes currently for sale.  115 of the 156 homes are priced over 1 million dollars and 61 or roughly 40% of the homes for sale in Newton are over 2 million dollars!  Kind of crazy.  A closer look reveals that the 1 million to 1.5 price range is most active with 9 homes going under agreement in the last 2 weeks. And another 9 priced between 1.5M and 2.5M.  The 600K price range seems to be lagging and I can assure you that is because houses are priced too high.  There is no lack of buyers in that price point.  The craziness of last spring’s bidding wars has abated somewhat. SOme of that is due to buyer fatigue of being out bid and some of that is greed on the part of sellers trying to suck every last cent out of a buyer.  I am also seeing more deals fall apart due to inspection issues.  When a buyer ends up paying more than they ever dreamed of paying for a house and an inspection turns up some nasty surprise you can be certain of a total walk away or a renegotiation from the buyer.  Sellers don’t be unreasonably greedy it could quite possibly come back to haunt you.

 


On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 11/3/2014 10:48:54 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 11/03/2014
Towns: Newton
 11/03/2014  11/3/2014
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 24 1 24
$500,000 – $599,999 3 16 3 16
$600,000 – $699,999 14 45 14 48
$700,000 – $799,999 9 35 9 35
$800,000 – $899,999 6 43 6 43
$900,000 – $999,999 8 44 8 44
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 30 72 30 73
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 24 125 24 126
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 24 134 24 135
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 19 120 19 120
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 12 171 12 171
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 76 3 76
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 3 194 3 194
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 156 Avg. 97 156 Avg. 98
Lowest Price: $474,900
Median Price: $1,649,000
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,903,710
Total Market Volume: $296,978,784
Lowest Price: $474,900
Median Price: $1,649,000
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,903,710
Total Market Volume: $296,978,784

 

PENDING

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 11/3/2014 10:50:44 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 10/20/2014
End Date: 11/03/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999 1 1
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 3 2 1
$600,000 – $699,999 3 1 2
$700,000 – $799,999 3 2 1
$800,000 – $899,999 5 3 2
$900,000 – $999,999
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 9 5 4
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 2 2
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 5 2 3
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 1
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 35 18 17 0 0
Lowest Price: $339,900 Median Price: $1,197,499.50
Highest Price: $4,250,000 Average Price: $1,444,159
Total Market Volume: $50,545,586

 

SOLD

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 11/3/2014 10:52:33 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 10/20/2014
End Date: 11/03/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 1 51 9 $495,000 $510,000 97 $510,000 97
$500,000 – $599,999 1 5 5 $570,000 $539,000 106 $539,000 106
$600,000 – $699,999 3 69 60 $659,000 $679,600 97 $721,600 92
$700,000 – $799,999 1 74 3 $720,000 $719,000 100 $719,000 100
$800,000 – $899,999 3 31 31 $858,000 $866,300 100 $891,633 97
$900,000 – $999,999 2 53 6 $916,000 $879,500 104 $874,000 105
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 7 27 9 $1,203,551 $1,176,857 103 $1,176,857 103
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 50 50 $1,870,000 $1,995,000 94 $1,995,000 94
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 19 Avg. 41 Avg. 22 $971,729 $968,300 101 $978,353 100
Lowest Price: $495,000 Median Price: $900,000
Highest Price: $1,870,000 Average Price: $971,729
Total Market Volume: $18,462,855

Taking the Spooky Out of the Mortgage Process


Posted by Margaret Szerlip 11:00AM EST, Newton, MA.

Taking the Spooky Out of the Mortgage Process [INFOGRAPHIC]Posted: 31 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Taking the "Spooky" Out of the Mortgage Process | Keeping Current Matters

 

Buying a Home with as Little as 3-5% Down Payment


Buying a Home with as Little as 3-5% Down Payment

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 2:30PM EST Newton, MA.

Buying a Home for as Little as 3-5% Down | Keeping Current Matters

We have recently reported on the misconception that many buyers have regarding the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Multiple studies reveal that 40-50% of Americans believe you need between 15-20% of a down payment to be eligible to purchase a home. This misconception came about as the government just last year debated new guidelines for residential mortgages because of the housing collapse in 2007. Some were arguing that there should be a minimum of 20% or even 30% down payment on all mortgage loans. However, those standards were never implemented. To counter this misunderstanding, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives explained that a person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent”.

3% Down Payments Available Soon?

Just last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that mortgages requiring only a three percent down payment may soon be available:

“To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised. Line-Break

14,164 Homes Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?


Posted by Margaret Szerlip / October 28, 2014, Newton, MA.

14,164 Homes Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 04:00 AM PDT

14,164 Homes Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet this fall, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 14,164 houses sold yesterday, 14,164 will sell today and 14,164 will sell tomorrow.

14,164!

The Tricks or Treats of Credit


Posted by Margaret Szerlip October 28, 2014 Newton, MA.

Top Brokers in Newton, MA.  Sotheby’s Realty Newton, MA.

 

Many thanks to Amy Slotnick for providing these credit goodies!

 

Amy Slotnick
Amy Slotnick
Vice President
Fairway Independent Mortgage
MLO#27030
(781) 719-4670
amy@amyslotnick.com


The Tricks or Treats of Credit!


Happy Halloween!

Your credit is one of the most important criteria in determining your mortgage eligibility- it impacts the interest rate that will apply to you and, in a worst case scenario, could affect your ability to qualify at all.

Below are some Treats; ways to improve your credit score before you search for a home, and Tricks; things to avoid when qualifying for a home loan.

Treats: Ways to increase your credit score

  • Look for past due balances on a credit report and bring them current.
  • Reduce all outstanding debt to as close to zero as possible-try to keep credit balances at less than 50% of available credit.
  • If married, keep separate credit card accounts-this provides flexibility in transferring some or all balances to one spouse to increase the credit score of another, and allows one spouse to become the sole borrower if necessary.
  • Request an increase in available credit lines on credit cards to reduce debt ration-but only if the credit card company can do this without a hard credit inquiry.
  • Past due and charge offs-pay only those within the last two years. Once it is beyond two years, there will be no impact on your credit score if wiped out, and could even bring it down temporarily.
  • If you have an outstanding debt that has been incorrectly charged to you or has yet to be cleared, notify the creditor and credit bureau with a request that it be deleted. They have an obligation to act within 30 days.

Tricks: When applying for a loan-avoid these pitfalls at all costs!

  • Don’t buy or lease an auto-it will impact your debt to income ratio.
  • Don’t move assets from one bank account to another. It will show as a new deposit a need additional verification, complicating the application process.
  • Don’t change jobs-there may be a probationary period in which income from your new job cannot be considered.
  • Don’t buy new furniture or major appliances-this may increase the amount of debt you are responsible for on a monthly basis and could disqualify you from a loan or cut down on the available funds you will need at closing.
  • Don’t attempt to consolidate bills before speaking with your loan consultant. It may not be necessary to do this.
  • Don’t pack or ship important financial information needed for loan application-obtaining duplicate copies can take weeks and slow down the transaction.

Need help obtaining a credit report? Your loan consultant can help you with this, or you can get one, for free, from any of the 3 main credit reporting agencies:EquifaxExperian, TransUnion

Want to learn more? Click here for information on what goes into a credit score.

As always, we are happy to answer any questions! Info940@fairwaymc.com or 781-719-4664

Here’s hoping your Halloween is all treats!

State of Real Estate in Newton and Brookline, MA.


blog pictures

 

 

 

Posted by Margaret Szerlip October 26, 2014 Newton, MA.

I am asked all the time where I think home prices are headed, what about interest rates.  I usually respond that if I knew for sure I would be a very rich woman.  But I do feel good about the current housing market here in the western suburbs of Boston.  Inventory remains very low, prices are rising but not at the frenzied pace of last spring.  Interest rates are dropping.  Jumbo loans under 4% again!  7/1 Arms are under 3%!  Good stuff  — For the first time in 2 years I also see some real movement in the over 3 million dollar market.  I know most of you don’t care about what happens in the over 3 million dollar market, but I believe it is an important indicator of the overall health of the real estate market.  For the last two years we have been in a trickle up market.  The 500K houses pushed the 750K and they in turn pushed the 1M houses.  For some reason the push up never really got past the 1.5 million price point.  A trickle down real estate market is more broad and sustainable.  What happened last fall and spring in the under 1 million dollar price point was scary.  Houses seemed to be selling  20% higher than 2 years prior while houses over 2 million were sitting on the market.  It was very difficult for contentious brokers to advise their buyer clients.  The truth is you can’t really under price a house because the market will raise it to where it should be.  This fact is indisputable –over pricing has more serious consequences to the seller.  I told my buyer clients that I really couldn’t comp a house to a certain price, that if they really wanted a house they had to pick the price they were willing to pay, but that number was emotional.  One house I listed for $899K  had 9 offers and went 180,00 over asking!

So, I am optimistic about the housing market.  The stock market is taking a hit and when people pull their money out of the market they have to put it somewhere. Many buy a more expensive home.  What I would really like to see is more people buying beautiful older homes and not just new or like new.  Remember, in 10 years your house is neither new or charmingly old.

 

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number. Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.2% by 2018.

Now is the time to buy or sell a home.

 

Bi-Monthly Newton, MA. Real Estate Recap


Bi-Monthly Newton, MA. Real Estate Recap  Newton, MA.  Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Posted October 24, 2014 by Margaret Szerlip Newton, MA.

 

The fall market is very busy here in Newton — the reason I have not been posting as often as I’d like.  Current inventory is still below normal.  We have a total of 167 properties for sale vs. 175 3 weeks ago and down from a “normal” 200 homes.  83 homes have gone under contract or have accepted offers in the last 3 weeks!  The hottest segment of the market is homes priced between 1 million to 1.5 million with 17 homes in contract.  9 homes priced over 2 million have also gone under contract in the same time period.  That is very welcome news that the high-end of the market is starting to heat up.  26 homes have closed, again the 1 million to 1.5 million had the highest number of homes close at 9.

Remember the spring market in Newton starts the end of January early February here in Newton.  So if you’re considering a sale call me for an analysis sooner than later.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 10/24/2014 11:41:22 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 10/24/2014
Towns: Newton
 10/24/2014  10/24/2014
Price Range Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 14 1 14
$500,000 – $599,999 5 34 5 34
$600,000 – $699,999 11 34 11 37
$700,000 – $799,999 9 47 9 47
$800,000 – $899,999 9 66 9 70
$900,000 – $999,999 8 61 8 61
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 34 67 34 67
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 26 115 26 116
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 27 114 27 114
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 21 116 21 116
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 10 177 10 177
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 84 3 84
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 3 184 3 184
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 167 Avg. 92 167 Avg. 93
Lowest Price: $474,900
Median Price: $1,599,000
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,867,799
Total Market Volume: $311,922,470
Lowest Price: $474,900
Median Price: $1,599,000
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,867,799
Total Market Volume: $311,922,470

 

 

Pending Statistics
Report Run: 10/24/2014 11:39:03 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 10/06/2014
End Date: 10/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
Listings
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 3 2 1
$500,000 – $599,999 7 2 3 1 1
$600,000 – $699,999 6 4 1 1
$700,000 – $799,999 4 2 2
$800,000 – $899,999 7 5 2
$900,000 – $999,999 3 2 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 10 7 2 1
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 5 5
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 3 2 1
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 50 33 13 1 3
Lowest Price: $465,000 Median Price: $889,000
Highest Price: $3,795,000 Average Price: $1,127,973
Total Market Volume: $56,398,698

 

Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 10/24/2014 11:42:37 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 10/06/2014
End Date: 10/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Listings
Avg. Days
on Market
Average
Sale Price
Average
List Price
SP:LP
Ratio
Average
Orig Price
SP:OP
Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 4 26 $538,400 $533,725 101 $539,725 100
$600,000 – $699,999 2 30 $651,000 $662,000 98 $675,000 97
$700,000 – $799,999 4 51 $739,750 $746,500 99 $746,500 99
$800,000 – $899,999 3 16 $844,500 $786,667 107 $786,667 107
$900,000 – $999,999 2 51 $937,500 $954,950 98 $949,450 99
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 9 46 $1,111,978 $1,086,889 103 $1,119,222 100
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 2 60 $1,737,500 $1,812,500 96 $1,812,500 96
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 26 Avg. 41 $934,842 $927,762 101 $940,454 100
Lowest Price: $519,000 Median Price: $888,500
Highest Price: $1,800,000 Average Price: $934,842
Total Market Volume: $24,305,900

Outdoors Are In


Outdoors Are In

From the pages of RESIDE® | Luxury Homes and Lifestyles Around the World | Fall 2014 Master Edition

Out is the new in.  Plush sofas, area rugs, stone fireplaces–for the past several years, traditional furnishings and design elements that were once relegated exclusively to interiors have been trickling to exteriors, with homeowners creating exquisite residential spaces under the skies for relaxation and entertaining.

And it’s not only the living room that has gone rogue.  The solitary, standard patio barbeque grill has been replaced with sophisticated, gourmet kitchens complete with pizza ovens, flat screen TVs and built-in espresso machines.  After cooking alfresco, homeowners wine and dine with family and friends under the stars and glittery chandeliers, followed by open-air movies or sports on pop-up screens.

KSG9V4 Thailand$2,750,000 USD | Koh Samui, Thailand | Hunter Sotheby’s International Realty

Nowadays “people don’t want to be confined to inside anymore,” says Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby’s International Realty in Montecito, CA.  They want the option to literally spread out—and to interact with nature with the same comfort and style that they enjoy indoors.

Indeed, when pros specializing in residential design were surveyed by the American Society of Landscape Architects to rate the popularity of outdoor design elements for 2014, kitchens and entertainment spaces were second most popular, at 92 percent (gardens and landscaped spaces came in first at 94.2 percent).

Of course, in certain parts, this indoor/outdoor approach to living isn’t new at all.  “This has been the lifestyle in Hawaii,” says Dodie MacArthur of MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  “Whatever activities you can do indoors you can do outdoors.”

KDQWM6 Montecito$12,900,000 USD | Montecito, California | Sotheby’s International Realty- Montecito-Coast Village Road

Surprisingly, that’s also now the mindset in areas that aren’t particularly warm year-round.  “Outdoor living is a really big trend here over the last couple of years,” says Andrew Ernemann, a broker associate at Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty.  Although they have a short warm weather season, Ernemann’s clients want to maximize their time outdoors when they stay in Aspen.

But the trend isn’t just about stepping out and reclining on a deck or patio.  It’s far grander than that.  “It’s about creating a personal destination.  People want the entire experience of the best resorts in the world, incorporated into their outdoor spaces and customized for their needs,” says MacArthur.

One of the best ways to achieve a seamless, organic flow with an open floor plan is by utilizing floor to ceiling sliding or swinging glass doors, suggests Perkins, “so the outside isn’t a secondary defined area, but more of a smooth transition from inside to outside.”

3299vb BarbadosPrice Upon Request | Saint James, Barbados | West Coast Villas Sotheby’s International Realty

When considering the creation of outdoor living spaces such as a dining room, living room and kitchen, do work with a landscape architect and/or interior designer with experience in indoor/outdoor living.  And Brooklyn-based designer Lyani Powers says that a good approach is to plan the entire project at once, taking into account basic necessities such as plumbing, heat and electricity, audio and visual equipment and wireless/internet connectivity.  There may also be structural additions, such as pergolas, loggias or lanais, for shade and protection.

There are outdoor living solutions for all types of climates, even rain and cold.  “Open but covered is the way to go,” says Krista Hunter of Hunter Sotheby’s International Realty in Thailand.  “Otherwise you run the risk of not being able to use your outdoor space for much of the time.”  In Aspen, some homeowners add roofs over their outdoor living rooms so they can still be utilized in the winter.

ZZSGLS Hawaii$11,950,000 USD | Hawi, Hawaii | MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty

Most outdoor areas typically feature recreational zones, which can include a hot tub and swimming pool.  But consider adding wow factors to enhance the outdoor experience:  a pool table, a life-size chess set, a putting green and a bocce ball court.   Take it a step further with a complete bar, which can connect visually to the nearby kitchen zone, where function is at a maximum with every state-of-the-art stainless steel appliance that’s incorporated in standard indoor kitchens, plus a variety of extras:  a hooded grill with a built-in fryer and smoker, a pizza oven, a rotisserie, a wine cooler, icemaker and wet bar, a cappuccino and espresso machine, and of course, ample storage space, work stations and countertops with stools for casual eating.

SY9BJT Colorado$20,000,000 USD | Woody Creek, Colorado | Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty

Adjacent to the kitchen would be a dining zone.   For a cozy effect, cover it with a pergola and then hang a decadent chandelier over the table to set the mood at twilight.   After a fine meal, meander over to the living room zone.   If cool weather is a factor, think about including a heating system – which may range from traditional patio heaters to a built-in fireplace or radiant heat.  This space in particular should offer ample ambient lighting, entertainment in the form of audio and/or visual equipment designed specifically for the outdoors and comfortable seating (upholstered in outdoor fabrics, of course), area rugs and accessories, but do keep in mind one rule of thumb, stipulates HGTV and STYLE Network expert Kelly Edwards:  all of the exterior spaces must coordinate aesthetically with your interior décor, so that your home – inside and out– is cohesive and visually appealing.

Other than that, when going out, the sky’s the limit.

Article provided by Claudia Gryvatz Copquin exclusively for Sotheby’s International Realty®.

Browse our digital magazine featuring outdoor living spaces >

Sotheby’s Relaxing Retreats| Elegant Master Bathrooms


Top Newton, MA. Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Relaxing Retreats| Elegant Master Bathrooms

From chandeliers to extraordinary views, Georgia to Thailand, explore six homes that transformed ordinary master bathrooms into unique, elegant and relaxing retreats.

Athens_Georgia Prop id 7pzkmf$3,650,000 USD | Athens, Georgia | Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

Secluded on 12 acres in Athens, Georgia, this country estate features a stone-clad main house with porte cochere, pool and five-car garage. Inside, rustic wood beams accent the ceilings, and oversize windows allow light to flood in. The layout includes six bedrooms and six baths. Deco-inspired black-and white tile floors and free-standing bathtubs complement the traditional look. The master bath centerpiece is the large walk-in shower with an enclosure of glass panes offset by black mullions.

Rolling Hills, California Property id# YGJJ2Y$8,499,000 USD | Rolling Hills, California | Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty

Architect Cliff May, renowned for his casual California Ranch style, designed this 14,000-square-foot home set on four acres in Rolling Hills, California. Views of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean can be seen from the stone deck and indoor pool with retractable roof. Cathedral ceilings with wood beams lend structure to the free-flowing plan, which contains seven bedrooms, seven baths and three powder rooms. As part of a remodeling in 2010, the baths were finished in white marble and travertine.

Izamal_Mexico Property id ZDFYBX$2,275,000 USD | Izamal, Mexico | Riviera Maya Sotheby’s International Realty

Bathed in warm terracotta tones and ensconced in lush vegetation, this 10-bedroom, 10-bath remodeled farmhouse in the Yucatán town of Izamal, Mexico, is rich in history. The building dates to the early 19th century. In 2002 the town joined the Pueblos Mágicos program to preserve both its Mayan and colonial cultures. Hand-plastered walls, soaring ceilings and hand-hewn woodwork are present throughout. The baths are distinguished by natural rock walls and tall French doors with ornately carved wood shutters.

Rancho Santa Fe_California Prop id ZYHRKE$3,550,000 USD | Rancho Santa Fe, California | Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

Commanding hilltop views and surrounded by mature tropical vegetation, this eight-bedroom, seven-bath adobe home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, is rich in history. The structure was originally a 1900 mission building transported to its current location for Hollywood starlet Corinne Griffith. The residence retains numerous original features, including handcrafted wood shutters, distinctive “latillas and vigas” (sticks and beams), ceilings and stained-glass skylights. Amenities include seven fireplaces and baths with brightly-colored Talavera-style painted sinks bathtubs, old-fashioned skylights and ornately carved woodwork.

Magaro Residence$10,500,000 USD | New Canaan, Connecticut | William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty

English arts and crafts meets American shingle style in this six-bedroom, seven-bath residence in New Canaan, Connecticut, designed by Wadia Associates. Finishes include five-inch, quarter-sawn, white-oak floors, leaded glass windows and fixtures by Waterworks. Twelve-foot ceilings grace the master suite. A master bath is warmed by radiant-heated marble floors. Additional amenities include a wine cellar, massage room, yoga studio and tennis courts. The elegant garden is scented by David Austin English roses, espaliered Asian pear trees and grape and kiwi vines.

Surat Thani Thailand Property Property ID 7LN6Q9฿136,013,595 | Surat Thani, Thailand | Hunter Sotheby’s International Realty

Directly on a beach dotted with gigantic boulders, this five-bedroom, six-bath house on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand invites nature inside. Twenty-foot ceilings with swooping roofs animate the architecture. A glass wall in a bedroom abuts the pool to simulate an aquarium, while in the master bedroom, sliding doors open onto the sea. The deck features a media center and projector for outdoor screenings. Rock formations incorporated into the bath and the outdoor showers complement the organic theme.

NOW Is the Time to Buy — Mortgage Interest Rates Below 4%


Mortgage rates fall below 4%
Newton, MA. Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.

Long-term borrowing costs continued to fall this week, with the average rate on a 30-year mortgage falling back below 4 percent, to the lowest level since June 2013.
Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) says a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.97 percent in the week ending Oct. 16, down from 4.12 percent last week. A 15-year fix fell to 3.18 percent, down from 3.30 percent.
A one-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.38 percent, down from 2.42 percent.
Long-term mortgage rates tend to follow the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate, which saw yields fall briefly below 2 percent this week.
“Mortgage rates are at their lowest levels since June 2013 amidst continued investor skepticism regarding the precarious economic satiation in Europe,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft.
Next week, reports are due on new home construction and sales of existing homes in September.
The consensus forecast is for housing starts last month to have risen 5.4 percent from August, with sales of existing homes rising 0.8 percent. If so, the gains would follow drops in home construction and housing sales in August.

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