Month: April 2014

Newton, MA. Real Estate Recap

Newton, MA.  Real Estate Recap   Margaret Szerlip

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately…market is too busy!  WE STILL NEED INVENTORY!  Just put a cute house on the market in CH last week for 899K…went WAY over asking.  We had about 120 buyers come through the house and received 6 offers.  It went WAY over asking.  We met some of the nicest people who had dejection written all over their faces.  They knew they could not compete.  It’s not easy making the I am sorry but the seller has accepted another offer phone call.  If you are even remotely thinking of selling your house call us now.  We can show you the way!  617-921-6860

Towns: Newton
Price Range 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 1 25
$300,000 – $349,999 6 45
$350,000 – $399,999 5 36
$400,000 – $449,999 3 24
$450,000 – $499,999 3 16
$500,000 – $599,999 9 34
$600,000 – $699,999 6 12
$700,000 – $799,999 13 46
$800,000 – $899,999 11 25
$900,000 – $999,999 12 32
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 40 66
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 30 80
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 14 83
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 10 77
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 10 52
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 77
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 2 32
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 178 Avg. 59
Lowest Price:
Median Price: $839,900
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,108,135
Total Market Volume: $278,141,971
Lowest Price:
Median Price: $839,900
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,108,135
Total Market Volume: $278,14


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 4/30/2014 11:09:12 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 04/15/2014
End Date: 04/30/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending
Price Range # of
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
$500,000 – $599,999 1
$600,000 – $699,999 6
$700,000 – $799,999 3
$800,000 – $899,999 7
$900,000 – $999,999 5
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 6
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 37
Lowest Price: $465,000 Median Price: $895,000
Highest Price: $2,399,000 Average Price: $1,040,794
Total Market Volume: $38,509,399


Massachusetts Home Sales Post Drop in March

Massachusetts Home Sales Post Drop in March
The Warren Group posted this report and the same is happening in Newton.  During the same time in 2013, 95 homes sold vs. 79 this year, a decline of 17%.  It’s the inventory people….I cannot understand what sellers are waiting for? Someone has to be the first person in the pool.  When everyone jumps in price increases WILL slow down.  If interest rates rise and inventory increases prices will decrease!  We have an abundance of inventory over 2 million and seemingly endless supply of people who have the means but only want new or like new construction.  What’s with that?  Please if you are thinking about selling your home, NOW is the time, not September when all the other fence sitters decide it’s time.  This is a simple business people — Supply and Demand…
BOSTON, April 23, 2014 – Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts dipped in March, marking the fourth time sales have decreased in five months, according to a new report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
Single-family home sales dropped 7.8 percent to 2,749 in March, down from 2,980 in March 2013. Home sales in the first quarter were down 2.4 percent to 7,557 from 7,745 in last year’s first quarter.
The median price for single-family homes sold in March rose 8.6 percent to $315,000 from $290,000 a year earlier. It was the eighteenth consecutive month that monthly home prices have increased year-over-year. The first quarter median selling price was $305,000, a 7.0 percent increase from $285,000 in the first quarter of 2013.


“The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Motivated buyers, however, are eagerly bidding for the limited supply which accounts for the increasing sales prices. People want to buy homes before prices and interest rates rise further.”
Condominium sales increased statewide by 12.6 percent in March 2014 with 1,328 sales up from 1,179 in March of last year. A total of 3,420 condo sales transactions were recorded in the first three months of the year, a 12.2 percent increase from the 3,049 transactions a year earlier.
The median price for condos sold in March was $291,500, up more than 10.4 percent from $264,000 in March 2013. The first quarter median condo price was also up more than 15.7 percent to $290,000 from $250,500 during the prior year’s first quarter.
“As we see from the sales numbers, condos continue to be an attractive option for first-time home buyers or empty nesters,” said Warren. “With a tight apartment market and rising rents, condominiums are hot right now.”
The Warren Group also tracked the number of mortgage loans (purchase and non-purchase up to $750,000) on single-family properties  in March 2014. 2,324 purchase loans were recorded this month, down 11.0 percent from the 2,611 purchase loans taken out last year at this time. In the first quarter of this year, purchase loans were down by 4.8 percent to 6,348 loans compared with 6,665 in the first quarter of last year.
Non-purchase loans for single-family homes, which include home equity loans and lines of credit, refinances, reverse mortgages and new construction loans up to $750,000, were down by 59.3 percent in March 2014. 6,710 non-purchase loans were recorded in March compared with 16,469 recorded at the same time last year.  Non-purchase loans for the first quarter of this year were also down 65.0 percent to 18,419 transactions compared with 52,474 recorded in the first quarter of last year.

Margaret Szerlip   617-921-6860

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy Newton, MA.  Real Estate

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

We have never hid our belief in homeownership. That does not mean we think EVERYONE should run out and buy a house. However, if a person or family is readywilling and able to purchase a home, we believe that owning is much better than renting. And we believe that now is a great time to buy.

We are not the only ones that think owning has massive benefits or that now is a sensational time to plunge into owning your own home. Here are a few others:

Benefits of Owning

Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord…Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

The Federal Reserve

“Renters have much lower median and mean net worth than homeowners in any survey year.”

Benefits of Buying Now


“Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros… Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally.”

Freddie Mac

“One thing seems certain: we are not likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012…Yes, rates are higher than they were a year ago – and certainly higher than two years ago. But if you look at the averages over the last four decades, today’s rates remain historically low.”

True real estate professionals have information like this at their fingertips.  Call me at 617-921-6860 or


How Buyers Can Irk Sellers

How Buyers Can Irk Sellers


Worth reading~

Both parties have to come together in a transaction, and real estate professionals sometimes find themselves wedged in the middle of buyer and seller disagreements. Some sellers may accuse the home buyers of being too pushy with their demands. recently highlighted several ways that homebuyers have been annoying some sellers recently, including:

  • Disrespectful house visitors: Some buyers may not be respectful when touring a home, letting their child run wild or bounce on the furniture, cranking up the heat and air conditioning, or even using the restroom. Lisa Ramsey, a real estate professional with the The Ramsey Group, says it’s up to the real estate agents to lay down some house rules when the seller isn’t there. “I tell buyers, ‘Let’s just pretend we’re walking into the White House.” She’ll also talk to her buyers “about the trend of sellers putting [microphones and] cameras in the home. … I go into every house assuming there’s a recording device in the house. We’re not going to talk money or strategy in the house.”
  • Submitting a long list of defects: Ron Phipps, principal with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., and a former president of the National Association of REALTORS®, says that buyers are doing themselves a disservice when submitting an offer with a long list of what’s wrong with the house. It makes sellers question why the buyers would want this place. Instead, Phipps recommends a gentler approach: Submit a list of comparables with the offer as well as a personal letter where buyers introduce themselves and explain why they want the house. In the letter, they can mention two or three of the major issues with the house while keeping it neutral and referencing third-party, empirical sources.
  • Too many visits: After buyers have committed to purchase a home, they want to make lots of visits to their future home, bringing the decorators, architects as well and entire family with them, says Mike Lubin, associate broker for Brown Harris Stevens in New York. The sellers may find the constant visits disruptive, however, as they’re busy packing and possibly doing repairs to meet a deadline. Lubin says a possible compromise could be to have the buyer arrange a visit while the inspector is present as well as another visit during the final walkthrough before closing.
  • Renegotiation: Buyers may agree on the price but then repeatedly demand concessions and discounts. The home inspection can be a culprit. For example, buyers may realize the furnace has about five good years left and then make a demand for a new furnace or monetary equivalent. “A realistic buyer knows everything’s not going to be perfect,” says Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago. But signed contracts don’t often stop a buyer from trying to renegotiate, Laricy adds. Buyers may say the market has changed or that they’ve overpaid or they may even suffer from buyer’s remorse, he says. “It’s extremely awkward,” Lubin says. “It’s violating the terms of the contract, and it’s insulting.”

Simplify Your Next Move

Simplify Your Next Move

Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates will explain how she and her team can truly simplify your move.  Laurie will be speaking at Fairway Independent Mortgage on April 22nd at 6PM.  Please join us for this free event.  Please check out Next Stage Associates website! 60 Wells Avenue Suite 101Simplify Your Move Newton, MA. 6PM-8PM Light Dinner will be Served Space is limited so please register today at   781-719-4674

Multiple Offers

Multiple Offers

Content courtesy of Amy Tierce, Regional Vice President, Fairway Independent Mortgage


It’s a seller’s market again this spring so we are dusting off this blog from last year in hopes that it helps some of you get your offers accepted…

Market forces have shifted and today it’s a seller’s market in many communities. Here are some tips for frustrated buyers and buyer’s agents to help get offers accepted!

Make a Large Down Payment– the larger your down payment the more attractive your offer. Why? Because if the appraisal comes in low the buyer with the largest down payment may not have their financing impacted by a low appraisal and can move forward on the purchase without further negotiation.

Pay Cash– If you can, make a cash offer. If the purchase timeframe allows you can still get a mortgage or you can mortgage the property after the purchase transaction is concluded.

Date Flexibility– if you can determine exactly what the sellers’ need in terms of closing dates and then meet those dates – your offer could win even if the price you are offering is lower than others. You can go for an extended closing or even offer to rent the property back to the seller for up to 60 days. Meeting challenging timing needs for the seller can make you the perfect buyer!

Removal of Contingencies/ Financing– We are never comfortable recommending that a buyer remove their mortgage contingency unless they can truly pay cash for the property- BUT we certainly know a winner when we see one and often have buyers who remove their mortgage contingencies with a very THOROUGH pre-approval process.  A very thorough pre-approval.

For added protection– IF you choose to remove a mortgage contingency or make a cash offer or one with a large down payment, the buyer can put an appraisal contingency into their offer so that they have options if the property appraisal comes in low.

Removal of Contingencies/Home Inspection– If you are knowledgeable about home construction or have a friend or family member who is an expert, you might want to consider removing your inspection contingency. Of course you will have no recourse if a structural problem arises that you were not aware of… Removing contingencies also removes protection for the buyer so keep that in mind. I am not keen on this….

The Personal Approach – Introduce yourself!
Selling a home is a very emotional experience for many people and often they want to know that their home is going to a ‘good’ family or person, especially if this was the sellers first home or they raised their family there. A letter from a perspective buyer introducing themselves and explaining why buying this property means so much could make a difference in the offer process and negotiation.

Don’t Give Up

It can be really disappointing and frustrating for buyers today. Don’t give up! As the market improves more sellers will be ready to put their property on the market increasing inventory and perhaps eliminating the multiple offer effect that we are seeing in some areas today.

It is anticipated that rates will remain low for the foreseeable future. However, even if not at their record lows it is important to keep rate movement in perspective. Rates can go up much more before they start to come up off the historic lows that we are seeing today.

Homeowners – ready to move up, down or out? This is a great time to sell so what’s keeping your from taking advantage of this fantastic market Don’t let your stuff hold you back from moving.  Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates will show you the way.  Laurie and her team can help you or your parents move on to enjoy the next stage of life.



60 Wells Ave, Newton  

Light Refreshments





My friends over at Keeping Current Matters posted this blog this morning.  I have added my thoughts after each point.

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this SpringPosted: 08 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

4.8 VisualMany sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Here in Newton/Brookline the Spring market begins in late January with the peak time being right after President’s weekend.  We are most definitely seeing an uptick in homes coming on but not anywhere near levels of a normal market.  We have a 104 homes for sale in comparison to 200 in a typical Spring market.  (Read my Blog post from yesterday for more details)  Once we move into May the frenzy usually subsides.  Memorial Day weekend is the last hurrah for house hunters.  That may change this year so I will keep you updated if I continue to see a fair amount of new inventory.  I am putting on a great house in CH (below a million dollars) the week of April 20th.

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

The biggest problem sellers have is finding a new place to go.  Thankfully negative equity did not wreak havoc here.  There were definitely a few instances but it was not a debilitating factor in our market.  My biggest concerns are the crazy prices people are paying for SOME homes priced under 1 million dollars.  $600.00 a square foot for an average neighborhood is not a smart decision.  I am hoping that an increase in inventory will halt the crazy escalation of home prices that are completely out of whack with reality.  It is also interesting to note that homes priced between 1.5 and 2.5 continue to be lagging.  We have not seen the usual lower priced homes pushing the mid-priced homes.  That segment of the market is very slow.  Again we are having bidding wars for a property priced at 1.2 and ultimately selling for 1.5, that’s probably really worth 1.3.  Take a look at some of the homes priced between 1.5 and 1.8 and see if you can’t negotiate a bargain.  Or stretch to buy a house and not an illusion.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

Yup!  All true.  I say this so often I am starting to annoy myself — This is a supply and demand business.  Sellers if you plan to sell don’t wait until everyone else does.  I guarantee you will find a new home.  For the 1.5 – 2.5 buyer you may have to consider a serious price reduction or doing some work.  Remove wallpaper, wall to wall carpeting etc.  





Newton Real Estate Market Recap

Newton, Top Realtors



Yes, yes this market is crazy, houses selling for 300K over asking, a line to get into an open house, 8 offers, 15 offers, 26 offers!  Insanity…That is NOT the whole story though.  The insanity in this market is happening in homes priced below 1.5 million and even more insanity below 1 milion.  There are currently 104 house on the market, a definite uptick from the 57 houses we had in the early part of the year.  We still have about 50% FEWER homes for sale than in a “normal” market.  We had closer to 400 homes for sale during the debacle. Currently, there are 57 houses for sale priced above 1.5 millon dollars or 52% of the market share is OVER 1.5 million dollars.  There are a total of 96 homes under agreement but only 22 are priced over 1.5 million or 23% of the market.  That spells a depreciating market in the over 1.5 category.  Let’s take a closer look at those numbers — There are 11 homes under agreement over 2 million of which 8 are either new or like new.  In the 1.5 to 2 million range 12 homes are under agreement and 6 of those are new or like new.

Buyers, what are you thinking?  WHY would you spend 1.4 million dollars on a home that can NEVER get any better?  The lot can’t get bigger, the location can’t change, you have already paid a HUGE PREMIUM for renovated kitchen and bathrooms.  Why oh why would you not look at a more substantial house in a better neighborhood that needs some work?  I’m not talking a demo here, just some paint and floor sanding to get you in.  So maybe the kitchen isn’t your dream kitchen and the bathrooms are a BIT outdated, but you can change that!  You can do a room at a time.  You can make the house your own.  You can build some equity.

I say this to clients all the time…unless you are buying a 3-5 million dollar custom home with exceptional and timeless finishes; in 10 years you have a 10-year-old house.  Your house is no longer new or old, it doesn’t have the charm of a home built between 1890 and 1930 and it’s no longer brand new.

PLEASE do yourself a favor, do not get caught up in this buying panic, do not over pay for an average house — there will always be another house.  Do not ever give up your inspection contingency, do not give up your mortgage contingency if you don’t have either cash to pay for the house, or a lot more money to put down on a house if your appraisal comes in low.  Do not put your finances in jeopardy over a specific house, you will find a better house.

Get a Realtor who doesn’t mind working and can calculate a few numbers.  Get a Realtor who works for you.  DO NOT use the sellers agent because you think you get a better deal.  You don’t but the agent does!  The agent gets both sides of the transaction, the agent represents the seller and has a responsibility to get the highest and best price for the home.  You? you get nothing — except an over priced home.