Tuesday Tip – When (Exactly) Is the Right Time to List a Home in Boston

March 24th, 2015

Tis the season to sell your home, but sellers in Miami might have more luck selling their home in March then those in Boston.  According to our friends at Zillow, there’s a magic window – from mid-March to the end of April – that gives sellers across the country the best chance of getting the highest price (in the shortest amount of time), but the specific week within that window varies from city to city.  If you are a seller in Boston, you’re 13% more likely to sell your home faster than average if you put it on the market between mid and late April – no earlier, no later.  You are also likely to sell your home by 4.6% more than the Zestimate, and at a premium of $8,100.  Conversely, if you list your home just a week or two before the magic window, you could be faced with an influx of competition or a barrage of  buyers who are (don’t say it don’t say it) “just looking.”  For more information about the magic window, and why it exists, check out the Zillow blog.

This magic window is quickly approaching for homeowners in Boston who’ve been thinking of putting their house on the market, so if you’d like to speak with a listing agent that specializes in helping Bostonians sell their home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time, reach out to us at 617-236-0353 or through our website, www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – 15 Words that Will Add Value to Your Listing (and 9 That Will Take it Away)

March 17th, 2015

What do the words “captivating,” “stainless,” “basketball,” and “gentle” have in common?  According to a recent analysis of 24,000 home sales in “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate” when certain words are included in listing descriptions, the homes sell for more than expected, sometimes by as much as 8%!  Take a look at Zillow’s recent blog post, “15 Words that Could Add Value to Your Listing for the full list.

Conversely, there are certain words that will give buyers a negative impression of your home before they even see it, including “potential,” “opportunity,” and “nice.”  Here’s a full list of which words to always stay away from, also courtesy of our friends at Zillow!

For more tips on effectively marketing your home, reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty.

Tuesday Tip – What Should you Pay for your Dream Home?

March 10th, 2015

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you’ve been through the home buying process several times, there’s one critical question that always comes up when you finally walk into a home that immediately has you planning your first dinner party and future holiday get togethers – how much do I offer?  Of course, market conditions and financing are primary considerations here, so the answer can vary quite a bit, but there are certain things you should always take into consideration.

First – location, location, location.  Is the home in a desirable neighborhood with a solid reputation and good school systems?  Are you seeing many other, similar homes are on the market in the area?  In suburban, family-oriented neighborhoods with good schools, people tend to stay put for some time, meaning there’s likely to be less inventory.  Ask your real estate agent to pull information about the sales of nearby homes (comps), and if the price per square foot is in line with the asking price of the home you’re considering, your offer should fall somewhere around asking price (especially with the current market conditions in and around Boston).

Second – How much work does the home need?  Some people love to throw themselves into home renovations.  Whether it’s painting, tiling, adding space or taking down walls, some buyers will see nothing but opportunity, while others will be turned off instantly.   Generally speaking, the more work a home needs (especially structural) the smaller the pool of interested buyers.  This doesn’t mean that you can take an estimated cost of renovations and subtract it from the asking price, however, as the seller has likely already been advised by their agent to factor repairs into the asking price, it just means that you’ll likely have less competition, and therefore more flexibility with your offer.

Third – How long has the home been on the market?  Current real estate conditions in and around Boston right now have very few homes sitting on the market for long periods of time, so if you look at a home that has been on for longer than 30 days, you have to wonder why.  Everybody values different things about a home, so what turned other buyers off might not be an issue for you, but make sure that the long market time isn’t a result of a bad inspection, causing a pending sale to fall through, or another condition like high crime in the area.   While you shouldn’t necessarily exclude a home that’s been on the market for several months from consideration, due diligence is key.  If the home meets all of your criteria and you’ve done your research, you can factor the length of time on market into your offer.

Fourth – Have there been price reductions since the home was listed?  While you might think price reductions indicate a desperate seller (and sometimes they do), a home is more likely to sell right after the price is reduced since it will suddenly meet the criteria of a whole new pool of buyers, so if you’re interested in a home that has just fallen in price, expect that there are others who are as well.  (Example: if a buyer sets their maximum search price for $499,000, they won’t see any homes listed for $500,000, but if the price falls just to $498,000, suddenly it will show up in searches and a pool of new buyers will be eager to see it).  That being said, if the price has been reduced several times, likely the seller is motivated, possibly because they already have another mortgage, and will consider lower offers.

The home buying process is an emotional one and it’s difficult for buyers to think of such an important decision as a business transaction, so it’s critical to have an agent that you trust, who can help you weigh the factors and determine the right offer price.  Remember, they’re experts when it comes to the local housing market, and though you should always do your own research, a savvy agent will make sure that you’re paying the exact price that you should for the home of your dreams. For more tips from our expert team, visit us at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – 5 Reasons Sellers are Better Off With an Agent`

March 3rd, 2015

If you’re planning on selling your home, you might be drawn to the perceived cost savings of listing it without a real estate agent, but according to data from The National Association of Realtors, a home on the market listed “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) takes longer to sell (and eventually sells for less) than homes represented by a real estate professional.  A recent blog post featured on Trulia.com lists 5 key reasons – pricing, negotiating, exposure buyer perception, and a smooth sales process – it pays to get the help of a real estate agent when selling your home.

For more tips on how to get the most money out of the sale of your home, feel free to reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty, 617, 236-0353.

Tuesday Tip – How to Sell Your Condo When you Have Tenants

February 17th, 2015

As the landlord of a tenanted property, you have a lot to think about if you’re looking to sell.  There’s the obvious – how do you make sure the tenants keep the home clean and organized for pictures and showings – but you also have contractual, and possible legal obligations to consider, and decisions to make about how to market the home to potential buyers. Today’s Tuesday Tip comes from Brick Underground, and focuses on the things you must consider and plan for when you have a tenant living in the apartment or condo you’re looking to sell.

The Charles Realty has a team of experts that focus primarily on real estate investments and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to buying, managing and selling investment properties.  For more information, call 617-236-0353 or visit our website to learn more about the team.

Tuesday Tip – Easy Improvements That Will Increase the Value of Your Listing

February 10th, 2015

You don’t need a major renovation to increase the value of your listing. There are plenty of inexpensive  improvements that can yield a generous return.  Today’s Tuesday Tip, 5 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Listing comes to us from Realtor Mag, the official magazine of The National Association of Realtors, and offers 5 simple ways to increase the value of your home by up to 12%.

There are plenty of resources out there offering additional ideas, like these tips from HGTV.com, but your first step should be a consultation with a real estate professional who is trained to counsel sellers on this topic.  They will have the best understanding of the characteristics and features that are most attractive to potential buyers, and will therefore be your best resource when prioritizing improvements.  To speak with one of the experts at The Charles Realty, please call 617-236-0353 or meet our team here.

Tuesday Tip – What do Increasing Rates Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

February 3rd, 2015

The Federal Reserve has indicated that there will be a gradual rise in rates throughout 2015 and into next year. Here’s a quick summary of what that means for buyers and sellers:

For buyers – Always the good news first!  An increase in rates will deter other buyers from borrowing money, so you will have less competition and a better chance of avoiding a bidding war.  Now for the bad news – while the trend of bidding wars and over-ask offers will wane, the increased rate will cost you far more over time.  So, if you’ve been wanting to buy in Boston but have been waiting until the supply-demand variance evens out, it might not be worth it.  Long story short, rates aren’t going down for quite some time, and it also doesn’t seem likely that there will be a surplus of new (non-luxury) homes in Boston in the foreseeable future.  So, now is a great time to secure a low rate and lock something down, especially if you fall into the 42% of millennials that Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries says will be buying a home in the next one to five years.

What it means for sellers:  There are way too few condos and single-family homes to meet the current demand, which is an ideal situation for sellers, but the rate increase means that the number of buyers will be decreasing throughout the year.  This will mean fewer bidding wars and fewer over-ask bids, and more buyers deciding to keep renting.  So if you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, now is the time to get top dollar by tapping into the large market of buyers that low interest rates have created.

The real estate market in Boston has gotten a lot of attention lately, as it is quickly becoming one of the most desirable cities in the country to live and invest in.  Whether you’re buying or selling (and then buying again) now is the time to gather information and resources that will ensure you’re making smart decisions about your real estate investment.

For more information about the trends we’re seeing in the Boston real estate market and what impact they will have on both buyers and sellers, reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or meet our team online.

Tuesday Tip – 4 Ways to Get your Driveway or Sidewalk Shoveled

January 27th, 2015

The upside to winter storms like Juno: all day pajama wearing, cozy movie marathons and extra indoor family time.  The downside: being buried inside your home until you muster the energy to dig your way out.  But luckily, the folks at BostInno have shared with us some services around the city that will do the work for you, so you can put your slippered fit up, pour yourself another mug of cocoa and watch your ninth straight episode Orange is the New Black.  Enjoy the snow!

Tuesday Tip – Picture Perfect! How to Make Sure your Home Makes a Great First Impression

January 20th, 2015

This week’s Tuesday Tip is inspired by Curbed Boston’sListing Photo Fails” section.  Take a look at this week’s photos and join us as we ask a collective “what the …?”

Your home might have a stellar layout and be riddled with personality, but unless its photographed at its best and marketed in an effective and unique way – it’s likely potential buyers won’t even consider a showing.  To start, sellers must do their part to remove any items a potential buyer might not want to see in a photo – animals (and any toys, beds and food bowls that go with those animals), laundry, kitschy decorative items (your leg lamp replica from A Christmas Story might be a huge hit with your friends, but not all buyers will share their appreciation), bills and paperwork, personal pictures and magnets on refrigerators.  Also be sure to put the toilet seats down, close shower doors or curtains and fold towels and blankets.  Anything that will distract the viewer from what you want them to be looking at – spacious rooms, good lighting, interesting architecture – should be removed.

If you’ve already selected a seller’s agent, ask them for examples of other property descriptions they’ve written.  If you’re evaluating several different agents, make this a factor in your decision making process.  Keep in mind that buyers are more savvy than they used to be, and can see through disingenuous descriptions that use words like charming or cozy when what they really mean is small.  Also, with the prevalence of sites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin, buyers have likely read many other property descriptions by the time they get to yours, so you want to make sure your agent finds words that make the description of your home stand out among the rest.  Some agents go above and beyond, and will invest in additional tools to market your property, so be sure to ask them about their marketing strategy.

Most agents have a photographer that they use for all of their listing photos.  Ask to see examples of their work, and if you don’t think they’ve captured the property at it’s best, don’t be afraid to ask for a different photographer, or to find one on your own.  Marketing a set of bad listing photos is like wearing pajamas to a job interview, but it’s a mistake that too many agents make, so be an active participant in the process to ensure your home is making it’s best first impression.

For more information about how to make sure your listing photos and description generate excitement and intrigue among potential buyers, contact our experts at The Charles Realty, who work with a team of seasoned photographers and marketers to make sure that buyers are captivated by your home before they’ve even seen it in person!  617-236-0353.

Tuesday Tip – New Year, New Home? If You’re Buying a Home in 2015, Now’s the Time to Start Preparing.

December 16th, 2014

Buying a home can be an enjoyable, minimally stressful experience, but if you don’t have the right team in place and haven’t prepared for the process, it can be quite the opposite.  Today’s Tuesday Tip comes to us from the folks at Zillow (www.zillow.com), who’ve put together a preparation guide for those who hope to buy a home in 2015.  For more information on how to prepare for the home buying process, feel free to contact our experts at The Charles Realty who will walk you through each step so you know exactly what to expect, 617-236-0353.