Newton/Brookline Real Estate

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.

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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

 

Thought you might find this interesting

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

OPEN HOUSE Sunday, May 17th from 12-1:30 1592 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA


OPEN HOUSE Sunday 12-1:30 1592 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA050   BostonRealEstateMedia com

 

The flowers have bloomed, the pool and hot tub are open…come see this very special home

 

 

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

Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice


Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice

Sotheby’s Newton  Newton’s Top Brokers

Posted: May 5, 2015 EST  Newton, MA.

Homeowners: We Need to Sell Your House Twice | Keeping Current Matters

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is that bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when doing the appraisal for the bank. With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. And now, there may be a second issue further complicating the appraisal issue. The Mortgage News Daily (MND) recently published an article titled Conservative Appraisals Increasingly Mentioned in 2015; Did Something Change? The article revealed that there was a “flurry” of comments on their website from members expressing concern about…

“…a sudden increase in appraisals reflecting market values well below what had been expected. In some cases the low appraisals had merely required the restructuring of the loan, in others they killed the deal.”

The National Association of Realtors revealed this month that 8% of the contracts that fell through over the last three months were terminated because of appraisal issues.MND decided to survey their members and ask why this sudden increase in “short” appraisals could be taking place. Here is one result of that survey:

“Almost everyone we spoke to mentioned Fannie Mae’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU).”

Collateral Underwriter provides a risk score on individual appraisals which will lead to a ranking of appraisals by risk profile, allowing lenders to identify appraisals with heightened risk of quality issues, overvaluation, and compliance violations. It went on-line on January 26. Marianne Sullivan, senior vice president of single-family business capability with Fannie Mae believes that CU is not a problem for appraisers. She claimed:

“From an appraiser perspective, one of the lender’s responsibilities has always been to review the quality of an appraiser, and they have been using various methods to do that forever. I don’t think appraisers will find this tool to be disruptive.”

However, some think that CU has caused appraisers to become too cautious with their appraised values. One mortgage professional in theMND article explained it this way:

“My personal opinion is that appraisers are being overly conservative in choosing comps because of CU. If CU questions the comps, adjustments, etc., the appraiser would have to do a lot of extra work to justify them. I had anticipated that CU would cause delays because of this extra work, but it seems that appraisers are one step ahead and are being ultra conservative, thus avoiding the extra work in the first place. I haven’t spoken to an appraiser about it; this is just my interpretation of what I am seeing.”

Ryan Lundquist, a Certified Residential Appraiser in the Sacramento area, agreed:

Lack of Inventory Hits Tony Towns


Real estate agent Margaret Szerlip is seen at 1592 Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Monday, April 27, 2015. Staff photo by Angela Rowlings

By: Adam Smith

When Meryl Appelbaum put her family’s Newton Corner home on the market for $1.89 million last month, her agent got her a good ­offer in just two weeks.

But there was one problem.

“There was nothing out there that made it worthwhile to sell,” said Appelbaum, who was looking to downsize but stay in Newton.

Anything going for $1.5 million or less — the price she was hoping to pay — either needed renovations or was sold as soon as it was listed. So, she backed out, and took her house off the market.

“It’s nuts,” said Appelbaum’s real estate agent, Margaret Szerlip, vice president of Karp Liberman & Kern Sotheby’s International Realty in Newton.

Szerlip and several other area real estate agents say the number of homes for sale in affluent Greater Boston communities has been shrinking compared with previous years — and the dramatic lack of inventory has been compounded by home owners like Appel­baum, who hold off selling for fear they’ll have no place to go.

“It’s a catch-22” said John Dulczewski, executive director of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, who said several of his agents have faced similar situations with clients who hold back on selling their homes.

The lack of inventory has hit Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, Needham and West Roxbury especially hard, several agents say.

And it was exacerbated by the historic snowfall this year, said Szerlip.

“It was the worst winter in 11 years” for sales, she said.

Agents say that by March, they typically see an uptick in sales, but not this year.

“We started noticing this early in the fall, and it’s continued,” said real estate agent Bill Lawson, who works in Brookline.

Finally, he said, “there’s a bit more activity now that the snow is gone.”

But he also said some sellers looking to stay in town have grown wary about letting go of their homes.

From January to March, much of Greater Boston’s wealthier towns — especially
Brookline, Cambridge and Newton — saw year-over-year drops in inventory, according to numbers from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Brookline and Cambridge each saw about a 50 percent drop in the number of houses and condos on the market in March. Brookline, in particular, saw a significant drop in year-to-date listings by March compared with last year.

The supply squeeze means that almost anything selling in Brookline for $500,000 to $800,000 goes quickly and for well above the asking price, said Lawson, who works for Chobee Hoy Associates.

Szerlip said a Chestnut Hill condo she recently listed sold in just a weekend for above its $368,000 asking price — in a cash deal that gave the owner a September move-out date. Though she said anything for about $1 million sells rapidly, she’s even confident a home she’s co-listing for $3.5 million on Commonwealth Avenue in Newton will be quickly snapped up.

“We have a lot of showings on that and someone is going to buy that,” she said.

In addition to the tough winter, other reasons for the decline in inventory include owners with mortgage woes and strict zoning that’s keeping new homes from being built, said Dulczewski.

“In the short-term,” said Dulczewski, “I don’t hear anything from the brokers and agents that things are improving.”

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