What Sellers Wish Buyers Knew Before Submitting an Offer

With property selling at lightening speed, sellers are in the position where they can review multiple offers. However, not all offers are created equal and some are down right off. Here are 4 things sellers hope buyers know when submitting an offer.

1- Nitpicking and nickel-and-diming will not get you a discount.

Pointing out every little stain and out-dated design will not have the seller agree to a discounted price. Sellers and seller’s agents know the difference between cosmetic issues and major concerns, and they (should) price the home accordingly. If you want to offer a certain price based on what you are going to have to do to the home, fine, but if it’s significantly less than asking and what you need to do is cosmetic, it will not be considered a serious offer by the seller. Even if you come back with a more reasonable offer, (and the property is still available) the seller may have taken your original offer personally and may decide not to work with you.

2- Giving a sad story with a sloppy offer will not impress or move a seller.

I have suggested to my buyers to write a brief letter about themselves and why they want to buy this particular property. This is a good idea when the sellers have multiple offers and the property was the seller’s home rather than a new construction from a developer. The letter gives the seller a chance to identify with you and in the best case scenario allows the seller to see you are in the same position they were in when they bought this home.

However, if your offer is incomplete (missing pre-approval letter, offer not signed, no deposit check, etc.) and you have a letter saying how you would rather be homeless than live in any other home than theirs, it could raise a red flag to the sellers and they may not want to deal with you.

Tips for Buyers from Sellers3- Making everything easy for the seller will make everything easy for the buyer.

First, have all your the paperwork signed, complete, and organized. Not every agent types the offer to purchase paperwork, which is fine as long as the offer is written clean and legible. Second, know what your timeline is but also be flexible to what the seller’s timeline is. Many sellers want to sell as soon as possible, so consider having your offer with accelerated closing dates. This will also give sellers more confidence your offer will make it to closing. Of course, paying cash will bring the most comfort, but if the buyer can have an inspection in two days, sign purchase and sale within a week, and close in 30 days, the seller may find those terms more comforting than a cash offer at a lower price.

4- Mind your manners.

Asking for a seller to fix something or give credit toward fixing something is not uncommon. Little issues are almost always found during an inspection. But do not demand to have the something done that doesn’t need to be fixed. If there is an issue, politeness and rationality goes a long way. Even beginning a request by stating, “I understand that I may asking this too late but…” or “Thank you for considering” will help your cause. As always “Please” and “Thank You” goes a long way.

5-Choose your agent wisely.

From beginning your search to closing your transaction, your agent is there with you at every step acting in your best interest. Whether you are selling a home or buying a home, your agent should be acting professionally, responsibility, and constantly communicating with you. If you are putting in an offer to purchase, your agent should make sure you have all the paperwork to sign, have the dates clear, and go over everything to make sure you know what you are offering. I have written this many times, but it bears repeating, buying property and selling property is emotional. Anything that involves egos, memory, and money will be emotional, real estate transactions involve all of these with multiple parties. As your Realtor, it is our job to represent your best interests and keep emotions calm. Many of the tips I’ve written above can and should be explained by your Realtor, so it is very important to work with a Realtor you trust and who will represent you in the best possible light.

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Real Estate Transactions and Reviews from January and February

Over the last couple of months, Matthew and Alisa have had clients close on the following three properties. They represented the buyer in one transaction, represented the seller in another transaction, and represented both the buyer and the seller in the third transaction.

The first property to close was 121 Beach Street #703 in the Leather District. This closing was actually on December 28th, which is practically January, right? Matthew and Alisa represented both the buyer and the seller in the sale of 121 Beach Street #703. This 2 bedroom loft was under agreement in 16 days and sold for 96% of the list price after 23 days on the market. During 2012, the average days on market for the Leather District neighborhood was 99, compared to the 16 days on market for this loft condo.

The following is a video review provided by the buyer of 121 Beach Street #703. Apologizes for the audio on this video.

The second condo to close was 141 Arlington Street #4, a closing which took place on January 15th. Matthew and Alisa represented the seller of the pied-à-terre in Bay Village. This one bedroom was under agreement in 14 days and sold for 96% of the list price after 18 days on the market, while the average days on market for Bay Village condos was 67.

In fact, 141 Arlington Street #6 recently sold. Unit #6 is a unit identical to the unit sold by Matthew and Alisa, but it also offers a roof deck. You would think it would sell faster than unit #4 and for more money, right? Wrong. This penthouse unit with a private roof deck sold for $3000 less than the unit sold by Matthew and Alisa and it took 135 days on market to do so. This is the difference marketing makes.

The following is a video review provided by the seller of 141 Arlington Street #4.

The last transaction was a condo at 87-89 Bourne Street #2 in Jamaica Plain, which closed on February 22nd. Matthew and Alisa brought the buyer to this condo and their buyer went under agreement after winning a multiple bid situation. Despite multiple offers, the buyers were able to purchase the condo for 97% of the asking price.

The following is a video review provided by the buyers of 87-89 Bourne Street #2.

If you would like to know what sets us apart from the average real estate agent, contact Realtors from the Matthew and Alisa Group.

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What Does $500K Buy in Back Bay?

I have given examples about what you can buy for $1 million in Back Bay and for $2.5 million in Back Bay in the current real estate sales market, but what about $500,000? In an neighborhood with grand mansions, renovated condos, and luxury high rises, can $500,000 go very far? Let’s find out.

According to MLS, over the last 6 months 30 condos have sold between $450K – $550K. The average sold price per square foot was $728, the average days on market was 59, and the average sold price was $499,728. The condos range from renovated one beds in traditional brownstones to luxury studios in high-rise full-service buildings. All of which make for an ideal pied-à-terre or investment property.

351 Beacon Street #6

This bright 680 square foot 1 bed 1 bath condo featured a renovated kitchen and bath. Located on the corner of Fairfield Street at Beacon Street, this condo was listed for $493,000 and had an accepted offer after 8 days on the market for the full asking price.

351 Beacon Street #6 - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

351 Beacon Street #6 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

326 Dartmouth Street #2

Located on Dartmouth Street near Marlborough Street, this renovated 741 square foot lofted 1 bed condo is something special. Featuring high ceilings and classic details but with a modern kitchen and bath. The condo was listed for $524,000 and sold for $517,000 after 143 days on the market.

326 Dartmouth Street #2 - Paragon Properties

326 Dartmouth Street #2 – Paragon Properties

 

110 Stuart Street #26I

The Residences at the W feature high-end finishes in every unit and luxury services. Located on Stuart Street, this 512 square foot new-construction studio features incredible views from the 26th floor. Listed for $550,000, it sold in 2 days for $525,000.

110 Stuart Street - Otis & Ahearn

110 Stuart Street – Otis & Ahearn

 

113 Marlborough Street #7

Located on one of the most desired locations in Back Bay, this 779 square foot 1 bed 1bath condo features incredible light and plenty of storage. Listed for $525,000, it had an accepted offer after 5 days on the market, and sold for $550,000.

133 Marlborough Street #7 - Gibson Sotheby's International Realty

133 Marlborough Street #7 – Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

 

Search here to see what is for sale between $450-$550K in Back Bay, but with the way the market is behaving, what you see now, may not be available tomorrow.

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What Does $700K Buy in South Boston?

The real estate sales market in South Boston is hot. In the last 6 months 306 properties have sold in South Boston, beating Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and South End. This could be due to a combination of facts:

According to MLS, over the last 6 months in South Boston, 2 single family homes and 9 condos have sold between $650-$750K. The average sold price per square foot was $260 for single family homes and $403 per square foot for condos.

52 P Street

This single family home listed for $679,000 could be converted into a two family home making it into an income generating property. At 2,880 square feet and with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 2 kitchens, this home sold in 8 days for $665,000.

52 P Street - Bode Well

52 P Street – Bode Well


106 G Street

This charming 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom is located in one of the most desired and famous locations in South Boston, Dorchester Heights. This renovated townhouse has 2,250 square feet of living space, was listed $649,000, had an accepted offer after being on the market for two weeks, and sold for $650,000.

106 G Street - Keller Williams

106 G Street – Keller Williams

 

404 E 3rd Street #2

Originally listed for $679K , this 2,478 square foot 3 level renovated condo has everything. With 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, parking, 3 decks, and a spacious open layout, it is no wonder it sold after 10 days on the market for $668,500.

404 E 3rd Street #2 - RE:MAX Realty Plus

404 E 3rd Street #2 – RE:MAX Realty Plus

 

392 W 2nd Street #392

Over on the West Side of Southie, this newly constructed condo has 2,000 square feet of living area with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a full 3 car garage underneath. Originally listed for $699,900, this condo sold for $670,000 after 136 days on the market.

392 W 2nd St #392 - Boston Realty Sales and Services

392 W 2nd St #392 – Boston Realty Sales and Services

 

Search here to see homes for sale in South Boston for $700,000. Or you can see what you can buy $500,000 in South Boston on a previous blog post.

If you are interested in discussing your search in more detail to find out if South Boston is the right neighborhood for you, contact the Realtors of the Matthew and Alisa Group.

Schedule a consultation with a Realtor

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What Can You Buy For $2.5 Million in Boston's Beacon Hill?

Depending on where you live in the world, $2.5 million can buy something special and in Boston”s Beacon Hill neighborhood this is no exception. Over the last 3 months, according to MLS, 6 condos sold between $2 million and $3 million with an average of 2,666 square feet and the condos sold at an average of $875 per square foot.

107 Chestnut Street #5

This unique 3145 square foot 4th floor duplex features 3 beds, 3 baths, 2 fireplaces, and a parking space. Built in 1913 to resemble an Italian Villa, this condo was a beautiful contrast to the traditional brick town homes in the neighborhood. Originally listed for $3,050,000, it sold for $2,250,000 after 45 days on the market.

107 Chestnut Street #5

107 Chestnut Street #5 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

34.5 Beacon Street #7N

Located on the 7th floor, this 3 bed, 2.5 bath condo is in one of the online casino very few concierge buildings in Beacon Hill. At 2,355 square feet, this condo was listed for $2,375,000 and sold for $2,325,000 after 87 days on the market.

34.5 Beacon Street #7N

34.5 Beacon Street #7N – First Boston Realty Group

 

37 Brimmer Street #1

This lower triplex located on the corner of Mount Vernon features 2 beds, 2 baths, 3 fireplaces, and a private patio. This 3133 square foot condo was listed for $2,495,000 and sold for $2,400,000 after 208 days on the market.

37 Brimmer Street #1

37 Brimmer Street #1 – Gibson Sotheby”s International Realty

 

33 Chestnut Street #3&4

Located on the sunny side of Chestnut street, this recently renovated 2 level condo features 3 beds plus an office, 2.5 baths, and a large private deck. Listed for $2,695,000, it sold for $2,500,000 after 113 days on the market.

33 Chestnut Street #3&4

33 Chestnut Street #3&4 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

The higher the price point the smaller the pool of buyers becomes, which accounts for why the days on market for a couple of these listings are higher than the Beacon Hill average of 91 days on market during the last three months. With that being said, buyers who appreciate unique homes in Beacon Hill are never too far away.

For a lower price point, see what you can buy for $1 million in Beacon Hill.

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What Does $2 Million Buy in Boston's South End?

When comparing some of the popular downtown neighborhoods of Boston, the data shows buyers get more for their money in the South End than they might in Back Bay or Beacon Hill. In the past 6 months, 12 condos and 9 single family homes were sold in the South End for the $2 million range. The average sale price per square foot for single family property was $619 with an average living area of 3318 square feet. The average sale price per square foot for a condo was $837 with an average living area of 2407 square feet. The difference being many of the condos are in new construction, full-service buildings.

43 Lawrence Street

Located on a quiet one way street that runs the 2 blocks between Dartmouth Street and Berkeley Street, this renovated single family home was originally listed for $1,795,000. With 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home sold in 17 days for $1,775,000.

43 Lawrence Street - Rondeau:Tierney Real Estate, LLC

43 Lawrence Street – Rondeau:Tierney Real Estate, LLC

 

7 Worcester Square

This single family home is a perfect example of why pricing your home to sell is crucial in getting it sold. This 5700 square foot Victorian townhouse featured 6 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, and 2 half bathrooms. This home was renovated from top to bottom with no detail unnoticed and sat on the market for 586 days. I don’t know all the details about why it sat for long, but according to the MLS data it was listed in January 2011 for $3.5 million. The first price reduction was in October 2011 to $2.779 million and eventually expired at the end of online casino December. Then came back on the market in January 2012 for $2.629 million and was reduced again to $2.575 million in February. This single family was then re-listed with another office at the end of September 2012 for $2.575 million and was sold in 17 days for $2.325 million.

This home could have sat on the market for many reasons and I don’t know the particulars but based on the data, price may have been a major issue.

7 Worcester Square - Sprogis & Neale Real Estate

7 Worcester Square – Sprogis & Neale Real Estate

 

1313 Washington Street #230

Wilkes Passage is a new construction, full service, luxury condo located on Washington Street. This 3 bedroom 2 bath 1892 square foot condo was tasteful, elegant, and spacious. Listed for $1,695,000 and sold for $1,775,000 in 3 days making it $938 per square foot, parking sold separate.

1313 Washington #230 - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

1313 Washington #230 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

42 Union Park

Union Park is perhaps the most desired street in the South End, which mean properties on Union Park are priced and sold at a premium. This condo featured 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, high ceilings, original details, private patio, and parking. At 3,165 square foot, this parlor triplex was listed for $1,895,000 and sold for $1,842,500 in 9 days.

42 Union Park #1 - Keller Williams Realty International

42 Union Park #1 – Keller Williams Realty International

 

The South End offers living options for multiple lifestyles and at $2 million in the South End, a buyer can find something spectacular.

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Real Estate Transfer Tax: Fact or Fiction?

Plenty of rumors were spread during the election. Now that the dust has settled, we can start separating what was fact from what was fiction. One rumor in particular had myself and fellow Realtors concerned, the rumor of a 3.8% real estate transfer tax included in the Obamacare bill going into effect on January 1, 2013. If true, this would indeed affect many people. Fortunately, it is has been completely misunderstood and will not impact 97% of real estate transactions. In fact, it is wrong to call it a real estate transfer tax. It is a capital gains tax.

This video from the National Association of Realtors, addresses some of the rumors and explains how and when this tax will come into play.

Here are the basic facts:

  •  The new 3.8% tax increase is to help Medicare and goes into the Social Security Trust.
  • The tax only applies to individuals that makes over $200,000 a year or couples that make over $250,000 a year.
  • Sales of primary residences can still take advantage of the $500,000 capital gains exclusion, but the tax will apply to anything above that cap.
  • Any capital gains on non-primary residences (investment properties, second homes, ect.) will be subject to the tax if the owner’s income exceeds the limits previously mentioned.

Working in a bustling city, many of my clients own investment properties and pied-à-terres throughout the downtown neighborhoods. If you feel you will be affected by this new tax, please consult a tax or financial consultant to learn exactly how.

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What Does $2.5 Million Buy in Back Bay?

We already know what you can buy with $1 million in Back Bay but how much does the inventory change at $2.5 million?

According to MLS for the last 6 months, 22 condos and 1 single family home sold between $2 million and $3 million in the Back Bay neighborhood. The average sale price was $2,379,136 with the average sale price per foot was $1042.

Commonwealth Avenue

Listed for $2,395,000, this incredible 3 bedroom duplex on historic Commonwealth Avenue sold in 25 days for $2,323,000. The 2275 sq ft condo featured 2.5 bathrooms, a beautiful terrace, a garage parking space, and central heat/ air conditioning.

247 Commonwealth Avenue - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

247 Commonwealth Avenue #A – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

Boylston Street

The Mandarin Oriental Boston offers the highest level of luxury which shows in every detail of their condos. This 1,953 square foot 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom on the 11th floor was listed for $2,895,000 sold for $2,550,000 and included parking. As is common in the Mandarin Oriental, the condo sold for a premium price per square foot, $1305 per square foot in the case of this 11th floor condo.

776 Boylston Street - Hammond Residential

776 Boylston Street E11E – Hammond Residential

 

Beacon Street

This 3,100 square foot 4 bedroom 4 bathroom was listed for $2,699,000 and sold in 20 days for $2,550,000. This property featured single level living, direct elevator access, 2 parking spaces and much more square footage that one would normally find in this price range in Back Bay because it was a co-op building instead of a condo building. This buyer bought shares in the building, not the actually space, which is more common in New York City than it is in Boston.

282 Beacon Street - Campion and Company

282 Beacon Street #2 – Campion and Company

 

Newbury Street

When most people think of Newbury Street, they conjure up images of high end shopping, funky boutiques, relaxing salons, and the much deserved frozen yogurt break. Not many would think that hidden behind one of the many brownstones, there was a stylish modern penthouse that featured 2124 square feet of living space, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 3 parkings spaces. Listed at $2,859,000 this condo with private deck with grill and hot tub, sold for $2,800,000.

294 Newbury Street - Warren Residential Group

294 Newbury Street PH – Warren Residential Group

 

Marlborough Street

Even though the single family home was an anomaly in this price range in Back Bay, it is worth mentioning. On the market for a total of 1502 days! Originally listed in April of 2007 for $3,899,000 this 4,440 square foot 5 bedroom plus study with 3.5 bathrooms sold this past June for $2,774,500 after finally being reduced to $2,895,000. It may have taken awhile but it just shows that the economy is coming back up and people are investing in high end real estate.

434 Marlborough Street - Boston Realty Advisors

434 Marlborough Street – Boston Realty Advisors

 

The market for luxury real estate in Boston’s premier locations continues to produce sales. If you are in the market to buy property in Back Bay, please contact us for more information.

Schedule a consultation with a Realtor

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3 Tips to Overcoming Fear and Panic that Comes with Buying or Selling Real Estate

Congratulations! You have decided to make a major life change. But did you realize every major life decision will be filled with doubt, confusion, and stress? Depending on what stage in life you are in, you may have an idea of what to expect. However, since we are all human, no matter how many times you can go through something, major life changes will take an emotional toll on us all. Here are three ways to at least manage some of the emotional turmoil during a real estate transaction.

1) Know what to expect.

One thing my teammate and I require is a consult before moving forward on any real estate journey. Whether you want to buy a home or sell a home, we insist taking the time to sit down and talk about the real estate market, how it will affect you, and what your expectations and goals are. Having a clear understanding on what you want, what you can expect, and how we can help will relieve a good amount of stress.

2) You are not a passive participant in this process.

About the Make the JumpAlliteration aside, this is a great mantra to repeat to yourself. If you feel stalled in the process, try something different. Buyers, you can search a different area or price range. You don’t have to go higher, you can look lower and consider how you can make renovations. Sellers, you can adjust the price or add incentives. Pricing and staging can have the most effect on how people react to your property. If the property is priced fair for the market and it shows beautifully, get creative! If you are hearing an issue is a lack of parking, offer to pay to rent a parking spot nearby for a year. But if you are not discussing your frustrations with your Realtor or your willingness to be creative, you may continue to feel dis-hearted and discouraged.

3) Be confident in your decision.

There will never be 100% certainty in any decision you make; this is a fact of life we all have to accept. But there is always the best decision to make to help you achieve your goals. No one buys a house to buy a house, a deeper reason is always present. Whether you want to invest in real estate and build wealth, have a home to raise a family near good schools, or have a condo in the city to enjoy the lifestyle, a deeper goal is involved in the purchase. The same is true with selling a home. Once you are clear on the reason you are doing something, the decision becomes a more confident one.

None of these tips are achievable without clear and continuous communication between you and your Realtor and especially you and your partner. A major life change is difficult to go through alone, being open and honest about your wants and needs will only make the process less stressful and more rewarding.

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What Can You Buy for $500,000 in South Boston?

South Boston had a bad reputation at one point. If you watched Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, or the forgettable (or unforgettable depending on your love of bad movies and Donnie Wahlburg) Southie, you may have an impression that South Boston has a reputation of being the wrong side of the tracks. It’s this stigma that has kept property values reasonable compared to other neighborhoods in Metro Boston. However, perception is changing and prices are climbing. The East Side, close to City Point, Thomas Park, and the beach, has been attracting young professionals and families in recent years. The West Side, close to Seaport, Broadway T station, and the South End, has been a little slower but with new development projects and popular restaurants opening, this are has also been undergoing change. The biggest factor that lets you know that the Southie of old has been transformed is the fact that Starbucks is opening on the corner of Dorchester Ave and West Broadway because you know Starbucks did not decide on this location before spending millions of dollars researching the area and its potential.

So what does your money get you in South Boston? Let’s start at $500,000.

Over the last 6 months, between $450,000 and $550,000 in South Boston has bought single family homes or new construction/renovated condos. According to MLS, 5 single family homes have sold at an average sale price of $504,680 and the average price per square foot was $312. However, in the same time-frame and price range, there were 74 condos sold at an average sale price of $498,281 or $380 per square foot.

And now for some properties!

East 4th Street

Located 2 blocks from the beach and listed at $519,000, this renovated 1,700 square foot 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom single family house sold over the list price in 21 days for $519,500.

860 East 4th - RE:MAX Realty Plus

860 East 4th – RE:MAX Realty Plus

 

East 7th Street

Located in the highly-desired East Side of South Boston, this single family home featured 1812 square feet of living space, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a beautifully patio. Listed at $524,900, this home sold above asking price in 8 days for $529,900.

691 East 7th St - RE:MAX Select Realty

691 East 7th St – RE:MAX Select Realty

 

West 7th Street

On the West Side of South Boston, this renovated penthouse condo featured 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a private roof deck. At 1,244 square feet, this condo was listed for $499,000 and sold in 17 days for asking price.

163 West 7th Street - RE:MAX Realty Plus

163 West 7th St – RE:MAX Realty Plus

 

West 3rd Street

This renovated 1,218 square foot penthouse condo is located near the Seaport and the South End. This condo featured 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and private deck with incredible city views. Listed for $539,900, this condo sold in 6 days for $535,000.

159 West 3rd Street- Vogt Realty Group

159 West 3rd St – Vogt Realty Group

 

If you are interested in learning more about South Boston, check out our blog posts about the history of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a Victorian mansion for sale.

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