MA. Top Real Estate Brokers

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.

 

 

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.

———

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

 

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

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.

Steve Blank

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