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Luxury Building Condos Go No Smoking: Smokers Need Not Apply

Smoking is becoming more and more out of fashion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of smokers in the country has dropped from 20.9% of adults in 2005 to 19.3% of adults in 2010.

With high-end homeowners and renters expecting luxury and top of the line accommodations, the odor left behind by smokers tend to deflate the high standard many buildings aim for. Following the trend of the times, luxury building condos are now becoming smoke-free environments.

Many buildings already do not allow smoking in the common areas both in and out of doors, but would not place any smoking restrictions within the owner’s unit. This is changing as buildings become smoke free, meaning no smoking on the premises, including in individual condos. One reason for banning smoking within someone’s property is the effects of second-hand smoke. Even if smoking is restricted to one condo, the vents are common throughout the building and the smoke from one unit will travel through the vent and into other units. This will affect the air quality in everyone’s condo.

Another reason is not every smoker keeps their cigarette butts in an ashtray or trashcan. Some (but not all) smokers have a habit of flicking their finished cigarette outside. Entering a luxury building littered with cigarette butts along the street does not make the impression these buildings (or condo owners) want.

Luxury Buildings becoming smoke freeIt seems strange to put restrictions on what an owner can or cannot do within the unit they own. However, the condos are part of a community and share ventilation systems, common areas, and amenities. With the majority of the population being smoke free, more luxury building condos will continue to become smoke free. This will be positive when considering the value when it comes time to sell the property and also if you are considering buying a condo in a luxury building as an investment property. Smoking does cause damage to a property and will turn off potential tenants.

Although people will try to get around the rules and continue to smoke in condos in many creative ways, such as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, it will ultimately not work.

Posted in Condo, Investment Property, Luxury Building, Real Estate Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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New Rental Listings in Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Leather District

Spring has sprung and the warmer weather brings with it new rental listings!

In Back Bay, located at 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3 is a lofted one bed with high ceilings and a fireplace featuring period details. If this sounds familiar it may be because The Matthew and Alisa Group listed the condo for sale earlier this year. The building has common laundry and private storage deeded to the unit. Available for rent May 1st for $2600.

Apartment for Rent at 41 Commonwealth Ave #3

In Beacon Hill, located on the 3rd floor of Anderson Street at the corner of Phillips Street is a beautiful 1 bedroom plus study. This unique layout has windows facing north and south, a spacious kitchen, and generous bedroom. The building has common laundry and a common roof deck.  Available for rent June 1st for $2400.

Apartment for Rent at 27 Anderson St #6

In the Leather District, 181 Essex Street offers a beautiful new construction one bedroom in a professionally managed elevator building. Every room gets incredible afternoon light. The kitchen offers gas cooking, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances. Laundry is in unit and private storage is included in the building. Pets are possible with references. Available for rent June 1st for $2900.

Apartment for Rent at 181 Essex Street #405

If you have any questions or would like schedule a private showing, contact Alisa Peterson at alisa.peterson@sothebysrealty.com or 617-997-2414. If none of these are quite what you are looking for you can search apartments for rent in Boston on our site. Or contact us as we may have other options for you.

Posted in Apartments, Boston Property, Condo, Rental Property, Where to Live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fair Housing Act: Why Realtors Are Not Allowed to Discuss Schools, Safety, and Religion

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchase of their life for many people. People want to have a home where they can start and raise a family. It is common for buyers to want to know about the safety and schools. Unfortunately, Realtors cannot discuss those factors and/or religious institutions with buyers.

Realtors cannot discuss safety for two reasons, one of which is liability. If a Realtor says this neighborhood is safe and something happens after you move in, the real estate broker could be in trouble. The second reason is it violates the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, religion, color, familial status, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

Fair Housing - Buy Property You Want Where you WantFor many buyers, safety is an important factor along with being in a good school district or being close to a religious institution. Saying a particular neighborhood is safe, how great the schools are, or a wonderful church is nearby could be considered steering. Steering can be done in one of two ways. One is only showing a homebuyer houses in a particular area based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, familial status, or sexual orientation. The other is refusing or failing to show homes fitting the buyer’s criteria on the basis of their race, religion, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or familial status.

Everyone has the right to buy property in any area they chose to live. Being able to afford the property they want in said area is a different story but affordability and availability should be the only factors that keep anyone from renting a property or buying a property where the buyer wants to live. However, a few types of housing are exempt from the Fair Housing Laws. For example, owner occupied homes with no more than 4 units and single family homes sold or rented without the use of a Realtor. Also, housing operated by and used exclusively for organizations that limit occupancy to members only.

As Realtors, we do not want to hide any information, and we are happy to give the facts when we can. We cannot speak about safety, schools, crime, or religious institutions, but we can direct you to those who can such as Picket Report or an officer at the nearest police station.

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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.

Posted in Buy Property, Etiquette, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Tips, Real Estate Transactions, Realtor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Buying a House? Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage First

Get Pre-Approved Before BuyingI’ve written before about the home buying process and the steps buyers need to take to become home owners. Yet I still see and speak with many buyers that do not have their pre-approval letter or have not spoken with a lender. In a buyer’s market (more listings for sale than buyers) or a “normal” market where not every listing goes under-agreement after the first open house, I could understand moving at a slower pace. Now is not that market. Now you are running with the bulls. If you do not want to get trampled, first – don’t wear red, and second – speak with a lender and get pre-approved.

This is not just in my corner of the real estate world. This is true all over the nation (with few exceptions). Last year sales of occupied homes were the highest they have been in five years, however the inventory is at a 13 year low. Which is prompting a need for construction of new homes and condo buildings. August saw the lowest supply of new construction homes on the market since 1963 at 143,000 units. Last month it rose to 150,000. At this rate, it would take a little over four months to exhaust all the supply of new construction off the market.

The lenders we work with are professional, responsive, and in some cases, superheros. It takes little to no time at all to get a pre-approval letter. In this market, if you want a chance to buy a home you want, have a pre-approval letter before you see it. If you find a home first and then try to get everything in order, you can lose out. If you plan to get a mortgage and do not submit a pre-approval letter, sellers will consider your application incomplete. And if multiple offers are submitted, your offer will end up at the bottom of the pile, behind those with a pre-approval letter and buyers paying cash.

We want to help you put the strongest offer forward, so you can secure the property. If you need the recommendation of lenders to speak with, we would be happy to provide the names of those lenders we feel are the best in the business.

Posted in Buy Property, Mortgage, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boston Real Estate Sales Market: Why Now is a Good Time to Sell

Boston’s population is the highest it’s been since the 1970s, up to over 625,000 people. With cranes as far as the eye can see, new developments are going up in areas considered in the past to be tired or rundown. However, buildings are not going up as fast as the demands call for it.

Buyers are chomping at the bit to enjoy the lifestyle that comes with city living offered in the downtown neighborhoods of Boston. Convenience of shops and restaurants, little to no need for cars, and the vibrant energy of the city are appealing to young professionals, empty nesters, and young families. More people prefer the location and lifestyle that comes with living in a condo over square footage and a yard that comes with a single family home. The demand is high, inventory remains low, and people are ready, willing, and able to pay what the market demands. The competition between investors and home buyers is stiff. Investors are fully aware rentals are in as much high demand as condos, so they are not concerned with the investment potential associated with rental property.

Boston city living is in high demandOver the weekend Matthew Gaskill and Alisa Peterson hosted an open house at their listing 41 Commonwealth Ave #3. A beautiful lofted one bed on the second block of Commonwealth Ave in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood priced at $489,000. The open house was from 11:30am-1pm, in the hour and a half the door was open, over 50 groups came through. The buyers ranged from first-time homebuyers, empty nesters, and investors. And as a result the property was under agreement Monday evening after receiving multiple offers.

This is not a rare occurrence and it is fantastic for sellers. The high demand is driving up prices and lowering the days a property is on the market. More properties are coming on the sales market, however,  and well-priced properties are going under agreement after the first open house. Why wait until next year to sell? We know today’s buyers have the strongest buying power in years. Inventory remains low. Low inventory means low competition which equals the highest price possible.

Posted in Boston Property, Condo, First Home, Investment Property, Real Estate Sales Market, Sell property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exclusive New Listing: 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3

Matthew Gaskill and Alisa Peterson have listed a new Back Bay condo. This parlor level property is located on the beautiful and historic Commonwealth Avenue, known as Comm Ave to the locals, a street designed after Parisian boulevards with its wide swath of tree-lined park running down the middle. 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3 is located on the sunny side of Comm Ave, which affords it ample Southern light throughout the day. Located on the second block of Comm Ave, between Berkeley and Clarendon, 41 Comm Ave is only one block from Boston’s Public Garden and one block from the shops of Boston’s famed Newbury Street.

41 Commonwealth Avenue was built around 1869, one of four adjoining houses (41, 43, 45, and 47 Commonwealth) built at the same time for banker, real estate investor, and lumber merchant Elijah Chesley Drew and his wife Hannah. The Drews made their home in 41 Commonwealth Avenue and sold the three remaining homes.

41 Comm Ave #3 Back Bay condo for saleThis lofted one bedroom condo features soaring 13 foot ceilings, parquet hardwood floors, and period details that include crown molding, wainscoting, and a fireplace with matching mirror above the mantle. The living space is large enough to live and entertain with areas for a sitting area, work station, and a full dining table. The kitchen is fully appointed with stainless steel appliances and a dishwasher. The building features free laundry facilities and a deeded storage area for the exclusive use of the owner of unit #3.

41 Comm Ave #3 would make a great home for a first-time homebuyer, as well as a pied-à-terre or an investment property. The current owners lived in the property until last year when their family expanded and have rented the property for $2600 per month for the last year. At the current rental price, the property offers a healthy positive cash flow as well as the promise of steady appreciation rate in a prime location within Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. With rental prices steadily increasing, the return on your investment will increase in both cash flow and appreciation over time.

With the location on Boston’s best street, owners and tenants alike enjoy all Boston has to offer. The offices of Back Bay are a short walk away while downtown is accessed via a short train ride. When work is over for the day, 41 Comm Ave #3 offers proximity to the Esplanade for a bike ride or jog before heading out for shopping or to one of the eateries along Newbury Street.

The 724 square foot condo at 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3 is being offered at $489,000.

First showings will take place Sunday March 3rd from 11:30-1. Offers, if any, will be reviewed after the open house. Please contact us with and and all questions or to schedule a private showing.

Posted in Alisa Peterson, Boston Property, Condo, Investment Property, Matthew Gaskill, Property for Sale, Rental Property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment