Tag Archives: condo

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

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

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.

Posted in Alisa Peterson, Condo, Matthew Gaskill, Real Estate Transactions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ROI: 99 Projects and a Bath Ain’t One – REMIX

Home Improvement ProjectsLast year I wrote about what projects brought the best return on investment according to the annual Cost vs Value Report. This year the report is out again but showed a couple of differences.

MidRange Projects:

Top 5 Best ROI Projects in Boston

1- Minor Kitchen Remodel 88.5% ROI

2- Deck Addition (wood) 86% ROI

3- Enty Door Replacement (steel) 80.9% ROI

4- [tie] Attic Bedroom Remodel and Siding Replacement (vinyl) 78.1% ROI

5- Window Replacement (wood) 77.5% ROI

Top 5 ROI Projects National Average

1- Entry Door Replacement (steel) 85.6% ROI

2- Deck Addition (wood) 77.3% ROI

3- Garage Door Replacement 75.7% ROI

4-Minor Kitchen Remodel 75.4% ROI

5- Window Replacement (wood) 73.3% ROI

Upscale Projects:

Top 5 ROI Projects in Boston

1-Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) 86.4% ROI

2- Garage Door Replacement 77.8% ROI

3-Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) 77.6% ROI

4-Window Replacement (vinyl) 76.4% ROI

5- Window Replacement (wood) 74.7% ROI

Top 5 ROI Projects National Average

1-Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) 79.3% ROI

2- Garage Door Replacement 75.2% ROI

3-Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) 71.8% ROI

4-Window Replacement (vinyl) 71.2% ROI

5- Window Replacement (wood) 68.4% ROI

As you can see, the more you spend does not mean the more you get back. Before beginning any home improvement project it is important to consider the purpose for the project. Yielding a high return on investment is good to consider, but if you have no intention to sell anytime soon, there is no reason not to make a house your home. Once you have decided to pursue a project make sure to use the right contractor, no matter the project, the right contractor will save money in the long run.

Posted in Boston Property, Real Estate Tips, Renovation, ROI | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

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

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

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