Newton Home Sellers—-WE NEED YOU!

Home Sellers —- WE NEED YOU! Sellers now is the time!  All the cards are stacked in your favor– low-interest rates, low inventory, many buyers, stable lending– it doesn’t get any better.  There is only one condition–your property must be priced accordingly.  The neighborhood, the street, the condition of the home, the competition are all factors in a successful sale, and they all must line up.  This is not a time to be greedy but a time to be optimistic. The Spring market starts in late January or early February here in Newton.  If you are considering selling your home this Spring, don’t wait any longer , call or e-mail me today so we can be sure your home is in top condition.  I have the tools, the resources and the know how to help you achieve your goal for a successful home sale.  I work with a variety of trades people to help you eliminate clutter, touch up paint, fix a few broken items, and most importantly a thorough cleaning to help your home sparkle.  I also work closely with Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates if you just don’t know where to begin.  Laurie and her team can handle any size job.  Next Stage also does a superior job with Seniors, so if you or your parents are considering a move they are the exactly the people you should call. Margaret Szerlip  617-921-6860

U.S. Home Values Jump the Most Since 2006, Zillow Says

Best Realtor, Newton, MA., Margaret Szerlip


U.S. Home Values Jump the Most Since 2006, Zillow Says

  • U.S. home values jumped 1.3 percent in the third quarter, the biggest gain since 2006, in an uneven recovery across the country, Zillow Inc. (Z) said.

The median value rose to $153,800 from $151,800 in the previous three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Seattle-based property-data company said in a report today. It was the biggest increase in Zillow’s Home Value Index since the first quarter of 2006, when values rose 1.5 percent.

U.S. home values jumped 1.3 percent in the third quarter, the biggest gain since 2006, in an uneven recovery across the country, Zillow Inc. said.. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) — Adi Tatarko, founder of online-home remodeling service, talks about the outlook for the U.S. housing market and the focus of the website. Tatarko speaks with Tom Keene, Sara Eisen and Scarlet Fu on Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Home prices are rising nationally as the U.S. unemploymentrate declines and buyers compete for a tightening supply of homes listed for sale. Still, values fell from the second quarter in 52 percent of markets covered by the index as the traditional homebuying season ended, according to Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“The housing market is on the mend, but the housing bottom will be a protracted one,” he said in a telephone interview. “We will see more muted appreciation in the near term before we get back to normal appreciation trends.”

In Phoenix, where investor demand is helping to boost prices, home values rose the most of the 30 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, with a 5.9 percent increase from the second quarter, according to Zillow. They climbed 3.9 percent in Las Vegas and 3.8 percent in Denver, Zillow said.

Atlanta had the biggest drop in values, falling 2.2 percent from the previous three months, the data show. New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Cleveland were among other large metro areas where values declined.

Local Story

The recovery is uneven across the country because of local variations in foreclosure conditions and employment, Humphries said. Growing demand from investors and foreign buyers is helping to push up values in pockets that were hard-hit by the housing crash, he said.

“The local story for each metro is beginning to reassert itself,” Humphries said.

Zillow showed a drop in values for 17 of the 41 states it covers. Of the nine states considered U.S. presidential election battlegrounds, New Hampshire, North CarolinaOhio, Virginia andWisconsin had quarter-over-quarter declines, indicating that housing will be a key issue for many voters, the company said.

Values nationwide will increase 1.7 percent over the next year, according to Zillow’s projection. Of the 253 markets tracked by the forecast, 183 areas have hit bottom and another 41 will reach a floor in the next year, the company said.

Zillow measures the value of 100 million U.S. homes, regardless of whether they sold during the quarter, and calculates the median for its index. Other gauges, such as the S&P/Case-Shiller index, track purchase prices.

Real Estate is a supply and demand business….Newton has a very limited supply of housing currently listed for sale and that is the biggest driver of price increases.  If you are thinking of selling your home in the Newton/Brookline area please contact me at or 617-921-6860.



How Do I Know My Home is Priced Right??

Newton, MA. Real Estate, Margaret Szerlip,


 How Do You Know Your Home is Priced Right?

WOW—you love your home, you have enjoyed it for years. Your family grew up in it! You can’t wait to sell it to someone and you just know it will have a high value because that’s what it means to you.

…or not necessarily RIGHT…..
Here’s the upfront truth:

When you put your home on the market, it becomes a property, a commodity, the value of which will be determined by a buyer who wants it and can afford to buy it. Your beautiful 21 x 14 dining room with a fireplace and beautiful windows, where so many happy family memories were shared is now simply a 21 x 14 room and potential buyers are looking at it and wondering if their own furniture will fit, not thinking or caring about your happy memories.

You have lived with the 1980’s bathrooms just fine, thank you. They worked for you. Everything is in working order and it was good enough for your family all these years. A potential buyer, looking at the outdated bathrooms, is adding up the expense of tearing them out and remodeling. Then they mentally deduct this perceived cost from the price you are asking, unless you have calculated condition into your list price.  Your Realtor must be able to prove this.

Price per square foot has become ever more important.  If your Realtor cannot do this calculation for you, get a new one!  Different neighborhoods in the same town sell at an intrinsic value.  Busy streets sell for less, large level lots sell for a higher price.  Condition plays an important role.  Well done new construction, by reputable builders tend to sell at the highest price per square foot, opposed to a fixer upper.  Curb appeal, street desirability, perceived perception of the elementary school, snob appeal are all factors.  Old rules still apply, you never want to buy the most expensive house on the street, UNLESS the neighborhood is turning and all those little capes will be made into tasteful non-mcmansions.  Little jewel houses all sell for a high price per square foot.  Unique can work for and against you, unique as in a renovated barn is good, a modern structure built into the landscape-good.  A Georgian Colonial on the outside and a 1950’s retro on the inside-not so good.

So you get your house on the market and here comes the litmus test…IF you have showings but no return showings and no offers, and if  the number of showings starts to decline, THEN…. YOU ARE PRICED TOO HIGH. It is simple as that. The market is rejecting your house at the current price, not only that, your overpriced home is making the competition look good.  You are in fact helping to sell your neighbor’s home.

It would be helpful to you as a seller to walk through your own house as if you were a buyer.  Most of my sellers are also buying another property.  When they walk through a new property they don’t want to renovate the kitchen and the bath, sometimes they find it easier to move than renovate.  The truth is, I spend a lot of time convincing my clients that buyers don’t want to renovate the kitchen  in their house either.  Houses that are fully renovated sell at a premium.  Let me add that houses that are cheaply renovated with shoddy work are mentally discarded immediately.  One of the biggest turnoff’s is looking at a hastily repaired house.  Buyers get the feeling that the seller is trying to pull one over on them, and many times they are correct.

Myth: Newspapers Sell Houses

Myths: The Earth Is Flat and Newspapers Sell Houses



It is amazing how masses of people can believe something that is absolutely untrue. The greatest example of this is that at one time the vast majority of people believed the world to be flat. Today, we want to debunk another commonly held belief – that newspapers sell houses. Somehow this notion gained believability even though the facts consistently prove it to not be true.

We should know what methods perspective purchasers use to find the home of their dreams when we are selling our house. That would enable us to develop the best marketing strategy to attract a buyer. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has just released the 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers*. This report is recognized by most as the best compilation of data on today’s buyers and sellers because of the enormous amount of data available at NAR’s fingertips.

Let’s look at the actual search habits of today’s buyers as reported by NAR:

It might interest everyone to know that less than 2% looked in newspapers, magazines or home buying guides when starting the search process. What do most buyers do?

We can see that buyers today want to explore their options online (combined 47%) or check with industry professionals (combined 27%). You might be ready to argue that the use of the internet is a new phenomenon over the past year or so. However, the report looks back over the last nine years. Though it is true that the percentage of those using the internet has dramatically increased (from 8% to 37%), it might interest you to find out that even back in 2001 only 9% of buyers found their home through print media (again, that number is now 2%).

If you want to develop a great marketing strategy to give your house maximum exposure, forget newspapers and look toward the internet. Where on the internet? The NAR report breaks down the most searched web sites this way:

The buyer is attracted to the type of sites that have the greatest number of listings. These sites are normally generated by the real estate industry. You should make sure your home is on as many of these sites as possible. That will give you the best chance of attracting your buyer.

Bottom Line

Print media never was a great way to market a house for sale and its effectiveness is diminishing each year. Meet with a local real estate professional and put together an internet marketing strategy worthy of your home.

* NAR members can get further analysis & download the complete report here.


5 Reasons You Should Sell Your House Today!

Great Post from KCM Crew I’d like to share….5 Reasons You Should Sell Your House TODAY!Selling your house in today’s market can be extremely difficult. It is for that reason that every seller should take advantage of each and every opportunity that appears. Each fall, such an opportunity presents itself. This fall, that opportunity may be just too good to pass up.

Below are five reasons you should consider when pricing your house to sell in the next 90 days. Meet with your real estate agent and mortgage professional today and see whether it is the right move for you and your family.

1. Entering this time of year, the buyers are more serious.

We all realize that buyers are not quick to pull the trigger on the purchase of a home today. There is no sense of urgency with the supply of eligible properties at all time highs. However, at this time of year, the ‘lookers’ are at the stores doing their holiday shopping. The home buyers left in the market are serious and are more apt to make a purchasing decision. Less showings – but to more motivated purchasers.

2. If you are moving up, you can save thousands.

The Chicago Tribune stated in an article last week that sellers who want to ‘trade up’ should act now:

It could be a bigger house, different neighborhood or a better school district, but it comes with a higher price tag. Do the math; this might be the right time.

A home that was once worth $300,000 may now be worth $240,000 in a market where prices have fallen 20 percent. Wow, you think, the seller is taking a bath. But that seller may also be a prospective buyer who wants a house that once was valued at $400,000. With an equivalent market drop and a realistic listing price, that house may now sell for $320,000. So, in effect, the person is losing $60,000 on the sale of one home but coming out ahead $20,000 on the purchase of another.

Keep in mind the spread may be even greater. There’s a smaller pool of potential buyers for more expensive homes, so sellers may be more willing to cut their price to get a deal done.

3. Interest rates just fell again – to 4.19%.

Professor Karl E. Case, the founder of the Case Shiller Pricing Index in an article in theNew York Times last month actually did the math for us:

Four years ago, the monthly payment on a $300,000 house with 20 percent down and a mortgage rate of about 6.6 percent was $1,533. Today that $300,000 house would sell for $213,000 and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20 percent down would carry a rate of about 4.2 percent and a monthly payment of $833 … housing has perhaps never been a better bargain.

4. You beat the rush of inventory that is coming next year.

Every year there is an increase of inventory which comes to market from January through April as homeowners put their houses up for sale in preparation for the spring market. As an example, here is the number of listings available for sale in each of those months in 2010.

  • January – 3,277,000
  • February – 3,531,000
  • March – 3,626,000
  • April – 4,029,000

You won’t have to worry about this increasing competition if you sell now.

5. You have less ‘discounted’ inventory with which to compete.

This year, sellers of non-distressed properties have been given an early holiday present. With banks declaring a suspension on the sale of many distressed properties (foreclosures), there has been a large supply of discounted properties removed from competition. No one knows how long this self imposed moratorium will last. However, while it does, every homeowner has a better chance of selling their property.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to sell in the near future, there may not be a more opportune time than this fall. Serious buyers, great move-up deals and less competition from foreclosures creates the perfect selling situation. Don’t miss it!