This Child Theme uses a static Front-Page

  1. Create a page and choose the "Front Page" page template for it.
  2. Then go to » Settings » Reading within your WordPress Administration and set "Front page displays" to "A static page".
  3. Select the Front-Page you have created as well your "Posts Page" that will show your blog.

4 Actions to Do Today to Buy Property in 2013 Real Estate Market

The past year has seen plenty of excitement in the real estate sales market. Even though the inventory was low, many properties went under-agreement quickly and with multiple offers on the table. Many buyers we worked with came out on top after the best and final while others didn’t. For those who didn’t, we were close a few times and in other cases the buyer wasn’t mentally and emotionally prepared for battle.

Here are a few tips to get ahead now for the buying frenzy of 2013:

1) Get your finances in order!

I don’t mean check your bank account and see if you have enough in there to cover a down payment. If you have certain bills hanging over your head, pay them off. Check your credit to make sure there are no issues you are not aware of.

Schedule time to meet with a lender. You can go to your local branch of your bank, but it may be to your best interest to investigate a few lenders. Your real estate agent should be able to provide the names of at least a couple lenders who can make the transaction as easy as possible. Have them review your credit, tell you what sale price you will quality for, and give you a pre-approval letter. *

*Check with the lender to see how long the letter is good for. If you decide to wait until the summer to buy, the letter may expire.

2) Do your research.

Preparing Today to Buy TomorrowIf you are new to the real estate sales market or have taken a break, do your research on what is going on in the neighborhood(s) of your preference. Once you have taken care of the first step and know what your finances are and what you can spend, search what you can get in the neighborhood where you want buy property. Prices may fluctuate by the time you are actively searching, but at least you will have a better understanding of the real estate sales market and will be less surprised come spring.

3) Speak with a Realtor now.

Even though the beginning of the year is the slower season in the real estate sales market, there are still Realtors out there that will be happy to talk to about how to buy property and help you understand the real estate market. Find someone you trust or who comes recommended by family or friends. You may have a distant cousin or a friend of a friend who moonlights as an agent, but will they provide the same service as a full-time experienced Realtor? Talk to both and then make your decision.

4) Get rid of stuff you don’t need and don’t buy new furnishings that will create a hurdle in finding your perfect home.

I love helping find my clients buy property, whether for an investment, a starter home, or a place to grow old in. However, when it comes to moving, there is nothing I hate more. From now on my plan is to get rid of everything I don’t need or use. Before you decide whether or not to keep an item, take a moment to think, “is this something I will want to pack, move, and unpack.” With this in mind, don’t buy things now for a home you will like to have in the future. It is incredibly frustrating when you buy a huge couch because you plan to buy a bigger space and it was on sale. Then you find the almost perfect home, but the layout doesn’t work with the couch.

Buying property is an emotional endeavor. At times it will be frustrating and heart-breaking, but the more you are prepared before you start, the stronger an opponent you will be when it’s time for battle.

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

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.

Posted in Boston Property, Buy Property, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Transactions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Estate Tips to Sell Property: Staging Mistakes to Avoid

The point of staging is to show off a property to its best potential. If you want the best possible price for your property, you have to show it off as though nothing needs to be improved. I have said this in many previous blogs, but it bears repeating: once you decide to sell your property, stop thinking of it as your home and try to see it as a buyer would. Depending on your property and situation, hiring a professional stager may not be an option. If this is the case, go to a few open houses at a variety of price ranges, but see as many as you can in your price range. Take note of how your competition looks and see what you can do improve your property. If there are not many open houses to see, at the very least do not do any of the following.

Showcasing an odd hobby

If you are an avid accordion collector or have an arachnid obsession, there is no place better to show off your passion than in your home. However, if a buyer comes in, they will not be able to look past it. Worst case scenario, a buyer has a phobia with your hobby and will leave regardless of whether your property is otherwise perfect for them.

Competing styles

People are visual creatures. Most people remember what they see more than what they read or hear. If your home is visually overwhelming (an incohesive color scheme, mismatched furniture, etc), it will be a turn off for buyers. Many people have a hard time picturing beyond what is in front of them. You want the buyers eyes to flow over the entire property, from room to room without anything jarring to stop the movement.

Theme rooms

I don’t have a problem with themes. Theme parties, theme costumes, theme drinks, etc. However, if you are selling your property, it maybe a good idea to turn The Miami Room (complete with tanning bed and bar) back into a spare bedroom or office.

Poor Staging will not sell propertyMess for the eyes, ears, and nose

If your property is messy and smells like anything other than baked goods, expect low ball offers. If you don’t think its worth the time to clean thoroughly, buyers will not think its worth the price you are asking.

Hoarding

I think the A&E television series covers the reasons why this is a no-no.

Hiding a mess instead of cleaning and organizing

If you try to stuff all your boxes of paperwork in a closet instead of organizing a filing system, buyers will not be able to see how much storage your property offers. Whether you live in a single family or a condo, storage is a plus for some and a must have for many more. If buyers miss how much storage your property offers, they may move on to something else.

Not bothering

Homes of interior designers and homes that have been done by interior designers can pass without having to be staged prior to listing the home on the real estate sales market. But even then trinkets and personal items that should be put away and excess pieces of furniture can be put into storage. Taking the time to set your property up to show at its best will help get you the best possible price.

As part of the preparation work before listing your home for sale, consult with a professional who can provide an impartial judgement on how to best showcase the property. Whether you consult a Realtor, an interior designer, a stager, or a combination of the three, take their advise to heart without being defensive. Their job is to help you reach your goal of selling a house and the best at doing so are honest with their clients, regardless of how hard their advise is to hear.
Posted in Real Estate Tips, Sell property | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Buying Process Class at Stella in Boston’s South End

Whether you are a first-time home buyer, a seventh-time home buyer, or an investor, this class is for you. Matthew Gaskill and Alisa Peterson, along with David Datz Esq., and Joe Smith from Guaranteed Rate will be hosting a class that will discuss the different aspects of buying property.

Matthew Gaskill and Alisa Peterson will be discussing the search and offer process, along with the current sales market. With the market being incredibly dynamic, we want to manage expectations, calm fears, and even help you decide if buying now is the right decision for you. Buying property now is not for everyone, but if it is for you, we want get you excited to get started on your search.

Joe Smith from Guaranteed Rate will be discussing the financing process. Financing is crucial in this market and Joe Smith will help you understand what is needed and what to expect.

David M. Datz, Esq. from David Marshall Datz P.C. law offices will explain everything from the legal standpoint of your real estate transaction and explain how we keep your interests protected.

Home Buying Process Class at StellaThe class will be at the restaurant Stella in the South End from 5:30-7pm on Tuesday January 29th 2013. We will have light refreshments and appetizers. We will have a Q&A session after our speeches, so please come with a pen, notebook, and any question you have about the home buying process. Please RSVP by January 24th by contacting Alisa Peterson at alisa.peterson@gibsonsir.com if you are interested in attending.

We are heading into another exciting real estate season and we want to get you as excited as we are!

Posted in Alisa Peterson, Boston Events, Buy Property, First Home, Investment Property, Matthew Gaskill, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Tips, Realtor, Rent vs Buy, Things to Do in Boston | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Do Today to Sell Property Tomorrow

If you have sold property before, you may be aware that there is more to it than sticking a for sale sign in your yard. According to the a survey by the National Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers begin their search on the internet. Today’s buyers are much more savy about the real estate market than they may have been in the past. If you are planning to sell a house in 2013, you need to know every possible about your home now.

Sell Property Tomorrow, Start Planning Today1) Get all your paperwork in order.

If you have a single family home, find all the paperwork and receipts of work you’ve had done. If you up-dated the heating system, re-pointed the brick work, or had any other repairs or renovation work done, it is important, and buyers will want to know when and what you have had upgraded/repaired. If you are selling your condo, have the condo handbook accessible and start doing your research about the building. To avoid any pricing surprises, find out if there are any planned assessments, how many units are owner occupied, and if there is any commercial interest. If there is a high commercial interest and low owner occupancy (or other factors that might limit a buyer’s ability to secure financing), it will limit your pool of buyers. If the condo is deemed unwarrantable, only buyers who can put down 20-30% down will be able to get a mortgage from a portfolio lender. Any planned assessments you plan to pass on to the potential buyer will certainly be a turn off. If your property has any issues, it will be in your benefit to know beforehand so you can adjust your pricing expectations accordingly.

2) Start staging your home to sell now.

Start getting rid of everything you do not need or want. Two of the most common reasons properties don’t sell in a strong real estate market like this past year are price and a lack of staging. Don’t make the second mistake (or the first by pricing a home higher than the market value). Start seeing your home how you would want to see a home you are planning to buy. Get rid of all clutter and extra furniture. With so many out there who could use a helping hand, now is the perfect time to donate everything that will keep you from selling your property.

3) Talk to a Realtor.

This is a crucial part of the process whether you are buying property or selling property. Talk to a few Realtors. Learn how they would market your home and see if they understand your goals and needs. Some real estate agents are motivated to sell fast and others are motivated to get you the best possible price. Discuss what your plan is, why you are selling, and find someone you are comfortable with and trust to sell your property.

Selling property can be emotional, so it is very important to start the process of separating yourself from your soon-to-be former home. If 2013 spring real estate market is anything like we saw in 2012, you can sell property in as quickly as a day. You should start planning out exactly what your next move is now, so if your property does sell quickly, you know your next step and are excited for it.

Posted in Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Tips, Sell property | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Boston Property, Buy Property, Condo, House, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Transactions, Where to Live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Investment Property, Real Estate Tips, Real Estate Transactions, Sell property | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Tree Safety: Listen to Sleigh Bells not Fire Alarms

The holidays can be the most beautiful time of the year. The decorations, the lights, and the cheer in everyone’s face can turn the dreary weather into something magical. However, if you are not careful, these wonderful decorations can cause more damage than joy.

According to the Nation Fire Prevention Association, the U.S. Fire Department annually responds to an average of 240 home fires started from Christmas trees.

  • 33% of the fires are caused by electrical problems
  • 20% of the fires are caused by being too close to a heat source
  • 11% of the fires are started from candles

These Christmas tree fires annually cause:

  • 13 deaths
  • 27 injuries
  • $16.7 million in direct property damage

Holiday lights are involved in an average of 150 home fires per year. 73% are caused by electrical problems and 15% are caused by having flammable objects too close to lights. These fires result in an average of:

  • 8 deaths
  • 14 injuries
  • $8.5 million in direct property damage
Here are a few tips from The U.S. Fire Administration for Christmas tree safety:
 

The Holidays are about spending time with those you love. Of course, it is the time of year when we are trying to quickly finish off projects at work, complete our shopping, visiting extended family, enjoying New Years celebrations, so on and so forth. It can be easy to forget something so small as filling the tree stand with water. And it is easy to use the lights you already have, rather than going to the store to buy replacements. Keep in mind, these simple steps toward Christmas tree safety can prevent damage and tragedy to your home and your loved ones this holiday season.

Infographic courtesy of authoritysafes.com

Posted in Real Estate Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Investment Property Inspection and Reinspection Ordinance

Boston’s real estate market has a somewhat transient nature. The high number of colleges and universities along with medical and financial jobs opportunities lead to thousands of people moving in and around the Boston area every year. We see this in the sales market but much more so in the rental market. Because of the need for rental housing, savvy investors purchase investment property they then offer as apartments for rent.

The way to build wealth in real estate is to buy and hold on to property, which is why most people buy condos in the city now with the idea of renting when they move to something bigger later. However, many investors think on a larger scale. They don’t see one condo to rent out, they want the whole building. Both types of landlords are great and much needed in this city, however some changes are in the works that investors should know about.

Since Boston has hundreds of colleges and thousands of students, dorms are constantly full. The appeal of being off campus in a vibrant city can also make dorm living seem less than attractive. Unfortunately for them, not everyone rents to undergraduate students (students are not a protected class, so landlords can refuse to rent to them). For undergraduates, options are slim and not very ideal. In fact, some conditions are downright inhumane. It is with this in mind that the City of Boston, has been drafting and re-drafting a new law to increase rental property inspections and have owners that do not seem to care about their properties, tenants, and neighbors, take more responsibility.

New ordinance for investment property in BostonPresently, inspections only occur when the lease expires. The proposed law, Rental Housing Inspection Ordinance, will mandate inspections of over 140,000 rental apartment units in Boston, with each unit inspected at least once every 5 years. Owners would be required to register for $25 per unit and pay a $15 annual fee. Prices are higher for any owner who wants to enroll in an alternative compliance plan available to property owners in good standing and a favorable history of compliance. The new ordinance includes any owner who rents out their condominiums. The law requires owners to report any transfer of ownership within 30 days of closing and stipulates the owner of the property (or the acting agent for a trust) have their name, address, and phone number on the mailbox at the property. A P.O. Box does not comply with the address requirement. It also requires any non-local owner to have a Boston-based resident agent.

The goal of this new law is to protect many of the tenants living in problem properties and to force the owners to take offenses seriously. “Problem Properties” are considered by the city as properties that the Police Department has been called to no fewer than four times, the Air Pollution Control Commission has received no fewer than four complaints, or the Inspection Services Department or Public Health Commission has received new fewer than four complaints all within a 12 month period.

The vote to pass this new ordinance can happen as early at December 19th, go into effect on January 1st, and have owners register by July 1st. For those about to buy investment property, keep these new rules in mind, the fees will affect your bottom line depending on the size and location of your building.

UPDATE: The Boston City Council voted 9-4 to approve the rental registration ordinance on December 19, 2012.

Posted in Apartments, Boston Property, Condo, Investment Property, Real Estate Tips, Rental Property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Boston Property, Buy Property, Real Estate Sales Market, Real Estate Transactions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment