Month: February 2011


The Pitfalls of Emotional Pricing and Negotiating


Newtonites have been blessed with a diversely employed population, good schools, reliable transportation and easy access to world-class businesses, universities and hospitals.  All of these factors have buffered our housing stock from the great debacle.  We have experienced some pain;  prices down about 9% from 2007.  So why do some houses sell and others sit?  PRICE and CONDITION.  The condition of your house will be reflected in the price.


Factors within your control…


Your property’s distinctive and compelling attributes immediately recognizable

The physical condition of your property (home and grounds)

Ready access to your property for showing

The selection of the real estate professional you choose to represent you

The listing price and terms of the sale



Factors not within your control…..


Your property’s location

An obsolete floor plan (small kitchen, no family room)

Recent property market values

Expired listings with multiple price revisions

Economic and housing market conditions

Absorption rates


Emotional negotiating is not going to net the highest dollar for your property.  Today’s buyers are not emotionally attached to any house and offers are presented and negotiated as business transactions.  Sellers are naturally more emotional but these sentiments must be kept in check.  For the past 20 years property values skyrocketed and there wasn’t a lot of tough negotiating on the part of a buyer; they just borrowed more money.  Today’s buyers are afraid; they can’t separate Las Vegas and Miami from Newton.  Spreadsheets are common; buyers bring their laptops into the car and evaluate the house they have just seen on their way to the next house.  They have a budget and they are sticking to it.  They know how much the seller paid for the house, how much of a mortgage is left on the house, some have checked with City Hall to see if permits were pulled and what the renovation cost.  The typical kitchen renovation is in style for an average of 15 years, while it may have been state of the art at one time, buyers see dated. They are educated and savvy, sellers must be also.


If a house isn’t selling, make it look its best.  No second showings-reduce the price.  No showings at all—reduce the price.  3 offers all in the same range—that’s the price.  Depressing—not at all, the next house is also less expensive.


Why You Should List Your House Sooner Than Later

The conventional wisdom when selling a home has always been to wait until the ‘Spring Buying Season’. Over the years, that has seemed to make sense and is now accepted as a good strategy for those who want to sell their house and receive the best possible price. This real estate market has shattered many previously held beliefs. The wisdom of waiting for a spring market is another belief that is about to fall. Here are five reasons why?

1.) Interest Rates Are On the Rise

Interest rates have spiked up rather dramatically over the last ninety days and are now over 5%. Initially, an increase in rates has a positive effect on the market as it forces buyers off the fence. However, it also eats into a buyer’s purchasing power. As rates increase, the mortgage amount a buyer qualifies for decreases. This will eventually have a negative impact on prices.

2.) Your Dream Home Will Never Be Cheaper

If your family goal is to sell your current house and take advantage of the fabulous selection of properties currently available to buy the home of your dreams, DO IT NOW! Prices will continue to soften in most markets, but I do not see prices falling in Newton, nor do I foresee a rise in prices. However, if you are buying, COST should be more important than PRICE. Cost can be dramatically impacted by rising mortgage interest rates. Do the math and decide if now is the time.

3.) Buyers Are Out Early

There is mounting evidence that buyers are coming out earlier this year. A belief that now is a good time to buy coupled with the increase in interest rates has started the buying season early.

Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia:

“We’re seeing a national resurgence of buyer and seller activity on In January alone, we experienced an unprecedented level of site traffic including 11 million unique visitors – which is more than 70 percent year-over-year growth. We’ve are now experiencing 100,000 property views per minute.”

The National Association of Realtors just reported that the number of house  sales increased 12.9% over last month.

4.) Inventory Increases Every Spring

Every year there is an increase of inventory which comes to market as we approach the spring. Here is the number of listings available for sale in 2010.

  • February – 3,531,000
  • March – 3,626,000
  • April – 4,029,000

We believe there will be an increase in these numbers in 2011 as there is a pent-up selling demand created by the weak market of the last few years. You won’t have to worry about this increasing competition if you sell now.

5.) We Are in the Eye of the Foreclosure Storm

While banks are trying to rectify their foreclosure procedures, there is a large supply of discounted properties which has been delayed coming to market. This inventory will be released sometime in the next few months. Foreclosures sell on average at a 41% discount. When released they will be competing with your house for the buyers in the marketplace. If you are looking to sell in 2011, you want to sell before this inventory becomes your competition.  I am aware of more pre-foreclosure homes in Newton, especially the high-end.

CNN Money [4] quoted the leadership Of RealtyTrac on this issue:

“We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded 300,000,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “This is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.”

“We expect a spike in the first quarter,” said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac spokesman.

Bottom Line

These are five strong reasons to sell now instead of waiting until later in the year. Sit down with a local real estate professional today and decide the best options for you and your family.


Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s Launches Smarter Agent App

Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s International Realty


Margaret Szerlip



Karp Liberman & Kern Sotheby’s International Realty Launches

Mobile Real Estate Application for all Mobile Platforms


Newton, MA.  Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s International Realty in Newton, MA. today announced the launch of a free Sotheby’s International Realty® mobile application and mobile web search, SIR Mobile, that works on standard cell phones and smart phones across all mobile carriers, allowing consumers to view all homes for sale in Newton, Brookline, Weston, Wellesley, Needham and West Roxbury.


The Sotheby’s International Realty mobile app uses GPS, when available, to locate the user and display listings in the immediate area.  Users also can search by a U.S. address, city or zip code to see property details for all homes for sale in a specified area including price, square footage, estimated mortgage, taxes, features, maps and pictures.  By the end of the year users will be able to search for all homes represented by the brand’s network outside the United States.


A Refine Search feature allows users to narrow their search by selecting a price range, property type and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  If a user has questions or wants a tour of the property, the Call feature connects them to a Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s International Realty representative.


To download the app, consumers can visit to send a text message to their phone with a link to download the app.  The app was created by Smarter Agent, the leading mobile real estate provider in the United States, to create innovative ways for buyers to search for homes and interact with their agents.


We understand the importance of providing homebuyers with a mobile search app that virtually every cell user can access.  It takes our motto of providing boutique service with global capabilities one step further.


“With the launch of this app, Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s International Realty now can offer clients and prospects a mobile house-hunting tool available across all carriers on standard cell phones and smart phones including BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and the Palm webOS,” said Margaret Szerlip.  “Consumers now can have instant access to detailed property information right at their fingertips.”


Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s International Realty is located at: 391 Langley Road Newton, MA.  02459.


The Sotheby’s International Realty® network currently has more than 11,000 sales associates located in approximately 500 offices in 42 countries and territories worldwide.

About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC

Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. In February 2004, Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services, entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house.  The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a full franchise system by Realogy’s subsidiary, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Affiliations in the system are granted only to brokerages and individuals meeting strict qualifications. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC supports its affiliates with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Franchise affiliates also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit


About Smarter Agent

Smarter Agent operates a mobile Platform as a Service that allows brands to create unique and engaging mobile applications. Smarter Agent is now the largest mobile real estate network in the world. Within a single integrated platform, Smarter Agent provides native apps on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm webOS; provides native apps on hundreds of feature phones; as well as handles SMS and Mobile Browsers in the first comprehensive enterprise grade mobile system. In the United States, we are the only on-deck real estate application on all major carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T making us the only real estate application tested for carrier grade usability and data integrity. For more on Smarter Agent, visit:



Smarter Agent Phone App

Smarter Agent phone app is now available for all smart phones.  Have you ever driven by a home for sale and were curious about it?  Now with Smarter Agent you can plug the address into the phone and a virtual brochure comes up with all the info you need.  Push the call to make an appointment button and you are connected to the agent.  It also lists all the other houses in the neighborhood for sale.  Great Tool…