Posts Tagged ‘Boston Realtors’

The Final Walk-Through

Monday, April 7th, 2014

What to Know Before Closing

photo via Zillow

The final walk-through is one of the most crucial parts of the home buying/selling process because it’s the final inspection to see if everything is agreeable before closing. This is generally done a few days prior to closing and it is important to note that this isn’t a home inspection. All agreed upon repairs should be completed by the final walk-through, so this is the buyers chance to see if everything in the contract is complete. Buyers should always attend a final walk-through to make sure what they’re buying is what they were sold on. Here’s some things to consider on the final walk-though:

Bring the contract: Bring the contract to make sure there is a list of terms agreed upon by both parties this way there is a reference for any disputes.

Check everything, and I mean everything: Make sure to check every little thing no matter how small. Make sure the appliances, heat, and toilets are working. Check the walls, ceilings, and floors for any damage. Lastly, make a checklist so you remember to check each item.

Make sure all agreed upon repairs are made: Another reason why bringing the contract and checking everything is important. All repairs that were agreed upon should be made prior to closing.

Nothing should be removed that isn’t supposed to: Look to make sure the seller hasn’t taken anything they shouldn’t have such as: plants, lighting fixtures, or anything else.

Hopefully the final walk-through will be accomplished without any problems, but what if there is something wrong? If there’s something wrong, tell your Realtor® and they will get it cleared up before the closing.

For questions or comments please comment on our Facebook, and to get in contact with one of our Realtors® please visit our website.

Sources:
Zillow
Realtor.com
Fox Business

Thinking of Renting out your Condo Instead of Selling?

Friday, October 14th, 2011

“If I can’t get the price I want for my condo…… I’ll just rent it.”

We can’t tell you how often we have heard this statement over the past few years. With the housing market in Boston in a bit of a holding pattern, many condominium owners feel that the best thing to do right now is rent and wait it out.

There are many advantages to this strategy: the potential of market increase, tax deductions, and many other positive aspects to becoming a landlord. But, experience tells us, it may not be as simple as you think.

As Realtors, it is our job to inform condominium owners of all aspects of all their options. With that in mind, we ask people to consider these Seven Considerations Before You Rent Your Home:

1. Tenant occupied properties tend to sell for less

If you decide to rent your property with the intention of selling next spring or the year after, you need to consider that marketing a property with tenants in place can put you at a disadvantage. Tenanted properties tend to not show as well and create challenges for showing availability.

2. Renting your unit could pose a disadvantage to your condo association

One of the largest obstacles we face in the current mortgage market is owner occupancy. A building with more than 30% of the units rented could lower the value of all condominiums in the association.

3. Damage to the property

Keep in mind that if you have recently renovated or improved your property, having a tenant may place wear and tear on these “new” items. Additionally, despite proper screening and best intentions, a tenant almost never takes as good of care of a home as the owner does.

4. What if you get the Tenant From Hell

Even with a complete, professional screening, there is always a chance your tenant could “go bad”. A landlord needs to think through if they can afford the monthly expense if the tenant does not pay rent, especially in a down economy without the readiness of available new jobs, should your tenant lose theirs. Are the financial advantages worth the potential cost of renovating after a tenant destroys your property or the cost of an eviction?

5. Monthly Nut

The most important first step in deciding to rent your property is to determine the cost of ownership verses the potential rent. Even if the rent can cover your mortgage, taxes and condo fees, you need to consider maintenance, vacancies, building assessments and other potential expenses of ownership.

6. What if the market goes down instead of up?

As Realtors, we are currently very optimistic about the future of our current real estate market. However, we do not have a crystal ball and there is always the chance that over the next year, two years or beyond, the market in Boston will decrease rather than grow. If you rent with the intention of selling for more “next year”, you could end up being a landlord much longer than you planned for.

7. Tenant Issues and Maintenance Problems

Unlike a stock certificate that sits quietly, tenants need things! Are you prepared to get a locksmith at 2am? Do you know good plumbers, electricians? Are you ready to liaise with your condo association if the tenant violates the Rules and Regulations of your association? These are questions any potential landlord needs to ask themselves.

As Real Estate Professionals with a combined 30 years of experience in The Boston Market, we are here to answer your questions, help you weigh your options, and always give you honest advice. Please feel free to contact us anytime for a free real estate consultation or to answer your questions. The knowledge is free! We are here to help and serve.

By, Betsy Herald

QR Codes in Real Estate

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I think that at this point, it is safe to say that we have all seen the little scan-able bar codes on advertisements and for sale signs. Have you ever scanned one? Do you even own a smart phone that can? Do you even know what they are? For those of you who answered “no” to that last question, they are QR codes, which is short for “Quick Response codes.” The idea is basically, if you have a QR code scanner on your smart phone (which is a free app), where ever you see a QR code, all you have to do is snap it with your phone and you’ll be sent to a webpage with details on whatever it is that the code was printed on. In the case of real estate, this means that just by scanning a QR code on a for sale sign outside of a property, you could be sent to the price, square footage, condo fees, and all other useful information about the property instantly to your phone.  When you think about it that way– it is really no wonder why QR codes are considered among the gold standards for mobile marketing.

However, how many people are actually utilizing them to their full potential?  And who are these people? “Thirty-five percent of adults own a smart phone, according to the Pew Internet Project, making the QR technology available to them.” (Source) but that that mean they use it? Although some people definietly remain skeptical or in the dark about QR codes, there has certainly been a boom of them in the last year or so. Now, “Scanbuy Inc., a New York company that develops and manages QR codes, processes 1.2 scans a second, every second of the day, or more than 100,000 scans per day globally. (When the smart phone app scans the code, it acts like a hyperlink, taking the user to a webpage.)” (Source).

And, who is doing all this scanning? “Men are bigger scanners than women (60.8 percent), and people with household incomes of $100,000 or more scan more than lower earners, according to comScore. Scanning is also a young person’s game. Those 25 to 34 scan more than people between 35 and 44, who scan more than those in the 45-to-54 group, and so on. Only 2.9 percent of scanners are 65 or older.” (Source) So, does this make the codes a logical addition to sales listing signs? Possibly.

Have you ever scanned one? After reading this– will you? And from a marketing perspective it is important to think about the fact that a QR code takes up a little amount of space on an ad, but the potential punch it can deliver is large.

Cash Deals in Massachusetts

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

So far this year one third of the homes purchased in Massachusetts were bought in cash– mortgage free. In an economy that is known for its down market- why are we seeing this? Possibly because the only people who have enough assets to buy in this economy are the ones who would buy in cash anyway? Or maybe it’s a reaction to the new, firm, and constricting guidelines surrounding mortgages. Or perhaps it’s the volatile stock market that has investors searching for more tangible and stable ways to invest their money. “Brian Bethune, an economist at Amherst College, said wealthy buyers may want to take advantage of deep discounts in the high-end market rather than watch their money flounder in stocks and bonds.” (Source).

Whatever the reason, the trend is not isolated to Boston. “Across the nation, about 31 percent of all August home sales were in cash, the second highest percentage since February, when it reached nearly 34 percent, according to a survey by the Maryland-based trade publication, Inside Mortgage Finance.” (Source).

Many people are buying in cash: investors picking up run-down properties to either flip or fix up and rent, foreign buyers, empty-nesters that are down-sizing and moving into the city who can buy a condo with the profit from the sale of their suburban home, or wealthy parents buying their kids a condo to live in while they go to school in the area.

Regardless of the reasons, this is atypical and remarkable percentage of cash purchases, and an impressive increase after 22% in 2010 and 20% in 2009.

The story was published on the front page of the Boston Globe and can be found here: Source.

691 Massachusetts Avenue

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This is just to inform you of a gorgeous new development in the South End at 691 Mass Ave! The finishes are stylish and very high end and the prices are very affordable! There are 1, 1+ and 2 bedroom homes available. Indoor and outdoor parking is also available for purchase. More details can be found at 691MassAve.com. You can also read up on Boston Home’s article about it here.

Thinking of Buying?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

September 1st is a BIG day in the Boston rental market. Everyone is moving out and in and the streets are crowded with moving trucks. If you resigned you lease and you are going to be paying rent on the same unit for another year, you might be thinking to yourself right now that maybe it’s time to actually buy something. What is the advantage to owning your own home? Of course there are many of them, but some to bare in mind from an article on Realty Times are:

1. It might be more upfront, but it will save you money. Long-term home ownership can save you a lot of money in the scope of your life.

2. Budgeting. What we have seen a lot of this season in Boston, is rent increase from year to year. If you want to be sure that you are spending the same amount on housing for an extended period of time, one good way is a fixed-rate mortgage!

3. It’s yours! The security and freedom that associated with owing your own property means that your get to paint, remodel, improve and reap the benefits yourself for as long as you would like. Additionally, “Most homeowners are in neighborhoods with other homeowners, meaning more time to build relationships and friendships. Recent studies have also shown that homeowners rank themselves as healthier than their renter counterparts.”

4. “Tax Breaks: They’re not on the chopping block just yet. Many homeowners are still able to take the mortgage interest deduction (MID) each year, along with great rebates and credits associated with upgrades made to your home.

5. Equity: When you pay a landlord, it’s money down the drain. When you pay on a mortgage, you are paying towards owning a piece of something. You may still owe $100,000, but perhaps the home is worth $200,000. This means you have $100,000 worth of equity you’ve built up over time.” (Source).

Buying homes is more doable now than it has been in recent times. Prices and interest rates are low, and sellers are desperate to sell. If you are thinking about it, you can use this interactive calculator to see if it makes sense for you.

The Importance of Staging

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

This morning I was watching Get It Sold on HGTV while getting ready for work, and it inspired me to write about the sheer importance of staging a home that you’re trying to sell. I know it’s a common topic, and that I have written about it before but it is more a part of my life now than ever before. Recently, one of our sale’s agents had a client that listed an empty home. Reluctant to spend the money on staging, they marketed and showed it empty.  Without selling it after time, the seller agreed to lower the price and to stage it.  This cost the seller significantly more than just staging it in the first place. The lesson learned is that buyers cannot visualize their lives in a space that doesn’t have specific assignments for rooms and coherent design elements. This is the message that Get It Sold was POUNDING home this morning.

There is nothing more important than the first impression, they say that typically buyers decide if they want to buy a place within 30 seconds of being inside. This means that the curb appeal and entry way must not be left out of your staging efforts. (Sometimes staging the living spaces including the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms takes precedence). Walking up to your home, buyers notice everything, so be very attentive to details.

If the task of staging your home is too daunting for you to take on by yourself, it is best to hire professionals. There is rental furniture companies specifically for staging. If you’re feeling up to the task, here are expert tips.

Good luck!

Navagating Boston’s Rental Market

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The vacancy rate in rental units is down lower than it has been in the Boston area since the end of 2002.

“Boston-area rents are hitting new heights – with the median price recently reaching $1,665 a month” (source). Perspective-tenants are scrambling to find affordable places for September 1st. We hear stories of some landlords taking advantage of the desperation and hiking up rents, and of others requiring extreme items from possible renters in order to consider them.

Here are some tips to navigating this tough rental market:

1. Work with a rental agent.

While it means sometimes paying a fee (typically one month’s rent), working with one agent who can scour MLS and exclusive rental listings that are not on Craigslist will very  be helpful to you. Plus good rental agents have relationships with landlords, and if you have them to back you up as a good fit for the unit, then you stand a much better chance of getting it! A good rental agent can also help you understand your lease, etc. and walk you through the complicated process of renting an apartment in Boston.

2. If you do want to do it on your own…

Search the listings by owner on Craigslist. If you can get a floor in a single family, you could save a lot of money, and a lot of headaches if your landlord shares a wall with you. If Craigslist comes up short, go to the area you’re wanting to live in and look for “for rent” signs in the windows. Just because it’s not online, doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist.

It’s hard out there, but perseverance and sacrifices are necessary if you want to find the perfect rental unit for September! Good Luck!

C’mon Spring!

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Although spring time seems to get further and further away, the spring housing market is underway.

According to The Globe, Brokers expect a competitive market this spring. With more buyers than listings in Boston, and housing prices and interest rates at an all time low, this is the time to buy — and everyone knows it.

As the economy continues to improve, buyers are scouring listings, often finding themselves in bidding wars. The Globe article cautions sellers, however, not to get too greedy even with multiple offers. Properties tend to loose their shine, and the more days on the market, the less attractive the property is to buyers.

For details about this phenomenon: http://bo.st/ei1lcj

What’s new for the Waterfront?

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Between Boston Harbor and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, sit the Harbor Towers. A gorgeous pair of high-rise developments, home to 624 residential units – from one-bedroom homes to gloriously spacious penthouses, the stunning views and ideal location of these towers makes them an excellent option for people looking to live in Boston.

Over the past year or two there have been rumors of another tower to be built over the garage between Harbor Towers and The Aquarium. The garage itself has been called an eyesore, but do we really need to add another large development to the already bursting skyline above the Greenway? Especially after the Atlantic Warf (which I’ll talk about later) was just build a few blocks away.

Donald J. Chiofaro, developer of International Place, had asked the city for permission to develop the space above the garage. His proposal was denied early last year. “The Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles, said, “The proposed project [was] at such wide variance from the applicable state and local permitting requirements currently in force that it simply cannot be constructed as currently designed.””* However, Chiofaro who has a history of being effective at overcoming zoning restrictions (as evidenced by International Place) came back in the fall of last year with a proposal for a smaller building development over the garage. His newer, smaller proposal was quickly dismissed.

More information on the details of the proposal and the rejection can be found here http://bit.ly/czkFW8, an article by CommonWealth.

While it looks like a development on the garage between the Aquarium and Harbor Towers is not going to come to fruition (at lease not with out a Chiofaro winning a huge negotiation), recently, Boston got its newest skyscraper only a block and a half away!

On the corner of Atlantic Ave and Congress St, sits a new glass walled residential tower called The Atlantic Warf. It will be the last large-scale building built on the downtown side of the city’s waterfront for some time. “Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino last year moved to restrict the size of buildings along the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, just inland from the channel and waterfront.”** This is why Chiofaro is having difficulties.

The goal is to, “transform the Fort Point Channel into a contemporary waterfront with residences, restaurants, boating tours, and cultural institutions.” **  Therefore, The Atlantic Warf is now going to be home to not only hip residents but also retail and restaurant space. It announced in January of this year that it will be housing a new Smith & Wollensky. Don’t worry though; the restaurant is not giving up its current location on Arlington Street.

What have you heard about the Waterfront development? And, what would you like to see for the future of it? I’d love to know!

* http://bit.ly/hy9y31

** http://bo.st/gPj5RP