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

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR PARENTS’ STUFF


Newton, MA. Real Estate, Downsizing 2017, Compass, Chestnut Hill and Boston

 

Three years ago, I was assigned the task of helping my mother-in-law move from her condo in Morristown, NJ to an independent living apartment in another NJ town.  She and my father-in-law had sold their “big” house in Morristown 23 years ago and moved into a way too big condo in another town.  All was fine until my father in law passed away and my mother in law was left with that way too big condo in a town she didn’t really like. We convinced her to move back to Morristown into a smaller condo, (which was probably still too big,) but she liked ALL of her things.  This was the second downsize.  I spent the better part of a week down there helping her scale back her belongings and take what she really liked and donate or give away the rest.  We lived in a bigger house in Newton at the time and there were a few pieces I liked, so my MIL decided she would ship those to me.  The TRUCK arrived one Sunday morning with the few pieces I liked and the rest of the stuff my MIL thought we should have!  Yikes!

 

Everything was smooth sailing in NJ until my then 86-year-old MIL took a few falls.  It was time to move out of the condo and into independent living.  After much cajoling, she settled on a 2-bedroom apartment that was definitely not big enough for all of her prized possessions.  Off to NJ I went to help with this downsize.  I arrived to find her sick with a fever and the condo was a nightmare.  She had completely emptied the contents of the cabinets, credenzas, side board and dressers and placed them on the dining room table, kitchen table and every other flat surface in the house.  Of course, the next day consisted of very little sorting because most of it was a trip down memory lane, (we got this on a trip to England, we bought this in China and on and on).  The second day we had arranged for antique dealers, resellers, and smaller stores to come in and buy her things.  I tried to warn her that much of her valuables were not so valuable because no one was buying this stuff anymore.  All of the dealers wanted the sterling silver, NO ONE wanted the silver plate, china, or crystal.  She had an assortment of mid-century items that she deemed as “not much” but the dealers thought they were all that, and paid handsomely for them.  After an entire day of this, I looked around and realized we hadn’t gotten rid of much.  I took phots and sent them to my kids, the other grandchildren, nieces and nephews but we had very few claimed items.  We finally called a consignment store and she GAVE much of it away and donated the rest to a local charity.  What was left had special meaning to her and I quickly realized I was traveling back to Newton with her mother’s china, silver, candlesticks, and antique collection box filled with her trinkets.  Since we had downsized, I really didn’t have the room for the influx of goodies, hence a small storage unit.

 

If you think your grown children will gladly accept these items, think again.  I debated giving my niece my mother’s silver for her wedding shower, knowing what I know about this generation and stuff.  Well, I was flabbergasted when she cried upon opening, however, she still doesn’t want my mother’s china that my sister has moved twice.

 

The good news is that I have found and vetted extremely qualified people to help facilitate your parents move.  Laurie Norden at Next Stage Associates is fantastic!  She has the patience of a saint and a soothing way with the older set.  Joan Roover, owner of A Thoughtful Move is a miracle worker.  Joan has a crew that gets your house ready for a sale as well; she has organizers, painters, handymen, and cleanup crew, etc.  When she tells me a house is ready for photography, it is! Joan will contract with the mover and be on site the day of move to facilitate, thus, you don’t even have to be there.  I have also used and recommended Everything but the House.  EBTH is an online auction house for your unwanted items; furniture, art, jewelry, collectibles, even cars.  They will organize, catalog, photograph, and list your items on their site for a week.  All items start at $0.00, although be advised, most of the action takes place on the last day of the auction.

 

My best advice when selling your home (or parents) that you have lived in for a long time and don’t have the bandwidth to handle the entire move; talk to one of the above people.  If you are selling your parents’ things, prepare them or yourself for disappointment.  For the first time in history, two generations are downsizing simultaneously; boomers and their parents.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a future for the possessions of our parents’ generation.  It’s a changed world.

 

I am happy to discuss the aforementioned people or the sale of a home with you or your parents.

 

 

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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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Looking for a job? Whether you just graduated or are simply looking to make a change, it might be time to reconsider your location — not all cities are cre

Source: Best Cities for Job-Seekers

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

 

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