Author: Margaret Szerlip

Margaret Szerlip, is a Realtor at Compass in Chestnut Hill, MA. Margaret provides highly personalized service along with the global capabilities of Compass. She specializes in detailed market analysis by way of charts, graphs, and old fashioned intuitiveness. She believes that pricing a home correctly from the start will earn sellers top dollar. Margaret is a known and respected leader within the real estate communities west of Boston. Margaret entered real estate in 2003 after several years off from Wall Street. Margaret worked in NYC for both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers specializing in municipal bond sales trading for high net worth individuals. That experience has enabled her to interpret what is happening in the financial markets and how that translates to real estate. She supplies charts, graphs and spread sheets along with enthusiasm and humor. Margaret sets herself apart with strong negotiating skills and her uncanny ability to match the right buyer with the right house at the right price. She is able to unlock the hidden potential each and every house possesses allowing buyers to see a home's true potential. Margaret has lived in Newton since 1994 with her husband and two children, her son is a 2009 Newton North graduate, her daughter graduated in 2013. She is one of 1,500 certified Global Mobility Specialists in the country and her personal relocation experience motivates her to make every move as seamless as possible. Buyers benefit from Margaret's detailed knowledge of inventory and the correct pricing in comparison to competing properties. Please call her to help you with the sale or purchase of your next home. Newton, Weston, Wellesley, Needham and Chestnut Hill, MA 617-921-6860 margaretszerlip@gmail.com

Where Have All the Sellers Gone?


The real estate market here in Newton is insane and Brookline is certifiable!  There are currently only 86 single family homes for sale in Newton — 86?  This is the lowest inventory I have seen in Newton since I became a Realtor in 2003.  This is lower than mid summer or Christmas morning.  In the past 7 days 45 homes went under agreement.   If you have home listed for sale priced under 1.8 and you do not receive an offer, reduce your price!  Look at the Under Agreement stats from MLS I posted below.

Single Family Listings: 45    Avg. Liv.Area SqFt: 3,252.47    Avg. List$: $1,377,591    Avg. List$/SqFt: $431    Avg. DOM: 51.38    Avg. DTO: 37.47

The over 2 million remains sluggish with 46 of the 86 homes for sale priced above 2 million.  There has been a slight uptick in homes going Under Agreement in the past month.  9 homes have an accepted offer and all but one were on the market for many months and most had more than 1 price drop.

Single Family Listings: 86    Avg. Liv.Area SqFt: 4,846.09    Avg. List$: $2,456,774    Avg. List$/SqFt: $495    Avg. DOM: 90.14    Avg. DTO:

Notice the above stats from MLS.  The current on market homes the average list price is $2,456,774 vs. $1,377,591 average under agreement price.  If that stat doesn’t point out the remarkable imbalance in inventory I don’t know what does.

The old adage remains, this is a supply and demand business.  There are many more buyers for houses priced less than 1.5 than house priced 2.5 and up and that segment of the market has a 50% share of inventory.  Price your home to sell, do not price your home for negotiating room because the only one negotiating will be the seller.

 

Survey Says Millennials Want To Live In New York, What Does Research Say?


Newton, MA. Top Realtor,  Compass Massachusetts Realtor, Newton, MA. Homes for Sale

Survey Says Millennials Want To Live In New York, Research Suggests They Should Live In Philadelphia…Hmm?

Philadelphia (Shutterstock)

In a recent survey one-in-five Millennials said New York is their ideal city. Less than 1% said the same of Philadelphia. Ironically, however, the city of Ben Franklin and cheesesteaks outranks its more popular brethren when it comes to qualities the young purport to value.

Millennial-run apartment search site Abodo set out to determine what their generational-peers look for in a city to call home by surveying 2,000 people born between 1982 and 1998. Respondents rated 20 qualities on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 connoting the highest importance.

It turns out, the top three qualities Millennials want in a city are economic in nature: a thriving job market (average score: 8.19), affordable rent (7.94) and affordable home prices (7.55). Beyond those core three, the ratings for quality of life metrics were fairly evenly dispersed. Rounding out the top third of the list were parks or hiking trails (6.52), non-chain restaurants (6.49) and quality pizza (6.11). Meanwhile, items ranging from top-rate public schools (6.07) to an LGBTQ-friendly environment (5.47) to access to music venues (5.38) all have above average ratings. In fact, the only quality not achieving a score greater than five was the presence of a local college or university (4.99).

To Sam Radbil, communications manager at Abodo, the survey shows “Millennials are career driven.” He added, “Despite Millennials’ reputation for being lazy or entitled they care about the job market and their careers. They are looking for a place that is affordable.”

Interesting distinctions arise when the group is divided by age range, comparing 18-to-22 year-olds with 23-to-28 year-olds and 29-to-34 year-olds. Employment and housing are key concerns among all three groups, though affordable rent outranks job prospects only for the youngest cohort.

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For the oldest group home purchase price becomes more important than rental prices. While unsurprising, the differences among age groups do reflect recent trends. After years of hand-wringing over whether young people would participate in this traditional rite of passage, surveys suggest Millennials do want to buy and that as they get older they are taking the ownership plunge. According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials now make up the largest share of home buyers at 35%. The median age of a first time buyer is currently 31.

(Courtesy Abodo)

When it comes to location, nearly 20% of people surveyed list New York as their perfect city. Next up is San Francisco at 10%, Seattle and Portland at 9% and Los Angeles at nearly 8%. All of these cities have 80% or more of the 20 qualities Abodo pegged as important and most have several of the traits Millennials value highest. By Adodo’s calculations, however, several cities that barely registered with the survey-group may have more of what the generation is looking for, including Philadelphia (which got top city rating from just 0.89% of people), Washington D.C. (1.36%) and Boston (2.3%).

The company judged Philadelphia as the best city for Millennials in part due to solid marks on job market (the Philadelphia region’s unemployment rate was 20 basis points below the national average when the data was pulled) and average home prices (sale and rental) of at or below 30% of average income.

(Courtesy Abodo)

Of course, some of the metrics are subjective–a New Yorker may not agree Philadelphia has quality pizza. (Disclosure: the author of this post lives in New York, went to college in Philadelphia and has strong feelings about pizza.) But the survey’s broader point–that places you’ve never thought of may have exactly what you’re looking for–remains indisputable.

10 Home Renovations That Offer the Best (and Worst) Return on Investment


Newton, MA.  Homes for Sale,  Newton Top Brokers Margaret Szerlip, West Newton Hill

10 Home Renovations That Offer the Best (and Worst) Return on Investment

This was posted in Realtor.com–not sure I agree with some of these….what do you think?

Remodeling may be a labor of love, but it’s also an investment that can seriously boost the value of your home.  Only by how much? Well, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, you’ll recoup an average of 64% of what you paid for a renovation if you sell your home this year.

To arrive at these figures, Remodeling asked consultants in various markets to estimate the average cost for 30 home improvement projects, from adding a bathroom to replacing a roof. Then, they asked real estate agents nationwide to estimate the expected resale value of these renovations so that readers could compare their out-of-pocket costs to how much money they’d get back when it came time to sell their home.

So, what projects gets you the most bang for your home renovation buck? It may not be nearly as sexy (or fun!) as adding a chef’s kitchen or glam bathroom, but attic insulation gets the top spot. That’s right: Stuff some fiberglass insulation into the walls of a 35-by-30-foot attic, and you’ll pay an average of $1,268. But when you sell, you will rake in $116.90 for every $100. For you math-challenged out there, that’s a recoup of 116.9% of your costs. It’s the only home reno on this year’s report that redeems more money than you spend!

 

The next best-paying renovation on the list: manufactured stone veneer, offering a respectable 92.9% return.Meanwhile—sorry, luxury tub fans—the home improvement project that reaps the worst ROI is the addition of a bathroom, at 56.2% (although the “added value” of an extra bathroom for anyone who’s ever had to wait their turn for one is, of course, priceless).

Take-home lesson? If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, it’s that less is more: Lower-cost projects  generally reap bigger returns, with four of the five projects that cost less than $5,000 ranking among the top five for money back when you sell.

Check out the best (and worst) returns for home renovations in the two charts below, including how much you’ll pay and get back if you sell your home this year.

———

5 Tips For Lightening Your Living Space


5 Tips for Lightening Your Living Space

 

Newton, MA. Realtor, Newton, MA. Top Agents

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 almost white. Well this is an obvious one. From walls to wood paneling and hardwood floors, two coats of light neutral 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. 

Best Cities for Job-Seekers


Newton’s Top Agent’s Newton, MA. Real Estate, Newton, MA. Realtors

 

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NEWTON AT A GLANCE


It’s been quite a year in Newton real estate wise.  So far this year 932 single family and condominiums sold!  On average it took 33 days to receive an offer that was 98% of the asking price.  The average sale price was $1,054,079, lowest list sale price was $232,000 and the highest sale price was $4,650,000. The sweet spot in the market is properties priced between 1 and 1.5 million dollars.  259 properties sold in that price range!  The least active price point was homes priced under 400K and homes priced over 4 million.  No surprise there since that is the top and bottom of market.

The market continues to be quite fluid.  We have low levels of inventory across all price ranges, with the exception of the over 3 million dollar mark.  There are only 128 single family homes on the market and 68 condos.  If you are thinking about selling and your house and it is in tip top shape, don’t wait until the spring.  Sell now while buyers are frantically trying to find a home.

Lowest Price: $232,000 Median Price: $914,250
Highest Price: $4,650,000 Average Price: $1,054,079
Total Market Volume: $987,671,758

 

IS YOUR HOME FUNCTIONALLY OBSOLETE?


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.

 

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