Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer Surprises! What Really Happened in Real Estate...

More Sales and More Price Changes in Sudbury
There were lots of headlines and news stories during the summer about fewer homes sales and higher prices.

While that is true for most places, all real estate is local and you may be surprised that Y-T-D through 7/31, there were actually more sales and either flat or lower sale prices in some of the towns west of Boston. The other data that is not reported are price reductions; even in the hot seller's market, there were price reductions. Reading headlines can be misleading and there were home-sellers who thought they could list their houses for whatever price they wanted and after a while on the market realized that correct pricing matters in any market. 

Contact me anytime if you are interested in information about other towns or specific properties.
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Monday, July 30, 2018

Summer Mark-Downs in August - Appliances, Furniture, Clothing...And Houses Too!

August is mark-down time! ! Appliances, home furnishings, back to school items, clothing, gas grills, air conditioners...just about everything goes on sale in August making it a great time to get the deal you've been waiting for and that may include the dream home you've had your eye on but thought the price was a too high for you to make an offer.

Sure, the housing market is still hot and there are some bidding wars happening and buyers need to be prepared to step up, but as hot as the market may be, things are slowing down. August is always the time of year when we see price reductions. Sellers who were overly optimistic when they priced their houses finally recognize that they may not sell for the amount they wanted and are ready adjust their expectations. They know that they've missed out on the buyers who needed to be in for the start of the school year and if they are serious about moving, they will do what is necessary.

Back in May, I wrote a post entitled  "Price Reductions in a Hot Market" that talked about the fact that price reductions were happening and some of the reasons why. Many of those houses have sold but others still have not. There were sellers who held off adjusting their prices and waited until July and going into August are ready to make a deal! And by the way, you may be surprised to hear that these reductions are happening in towns you never thought you would see them in - Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, and even Newton!

Concord - 87 price reductions during the 12 months ending 7-30-2018
Sudbury - 127 Price Reductions during 12 months ending 7-30-2018

So whether you were one of the many buyers who lost out to higher bids in the Spring or just starting to look and wondering if you'll be able to get an offer accepted, this is the time! Remember though, markets change continuously and come mid-September, they'll be a whole new group of buyers competing again. If you want to take advantage of August sale month, visit where you can see homes for sale and contact me to talk about which sellers might be ready to make a deal!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hot Times for Condos!

Everyone has heard by now that the real estate market is as hot as the weather this summer! The demand for condominiums, including townhouses, detached single-family, duplex, and high-rise and mid-rise apartment-styles is especially high. This is partly due to the lack of supply of single-family homes for sale but also because condominiums offer the easy life-style that is attractive to first-time buyers, down-sizers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of home-ownership without a lot of the work.

The Regency at Stow, still under construction, is sold out!
New communities that are being built for active adults/55+ are selling out faster than they can be completed. The Regency at Stow, a 66 unit development is sold out. Highcrest at Meadow Walk near the Whole Foods in Sudbury is also moving fast with 13 units already under contract. There have also been resales at Mohoney Farms and Dudley Brook in Sudbury; and at WestRidge in Hudson. 

SOLD at WestRidge - Single family condo - $595,000
As the supply of non-age restricted condominiums continues to remain low, prices are continuing to rise!

Year-to-date, the median sale price of $454,950 for all styles of condominiums in Middlesex County is up 7.05% over last year and the average price of $510,365.42 increased by 5.60%.

Good news for sellers but tough times for buyers who need to be prepared to step up and in many cases be willing to compete, especially for units that are completely updated and move-in ready. For buyers who are willing to do some updating on their own, competition is a bit less fierce.

If you are looking for easy living in a great location near Concord, Acton, and Sudbury, here is an excellent opportunity at Deer Hedge Run in Maynard that's listed for $290,000 with 3 finished levels plus a full basement, 2016 furnace and a/c, an eat-in kitchen, open-concept living/dining room, and parking directly in front of the unit. Click for details.


Homes for sale at
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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Price Reductions in a Hot Market

Everyone knows the real estate market is hot, right? Low inventory, multiple offers, homes selling at
prices thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars over asking...all good for home sellers! There's never been a better time to sell! Ask the price you want, put a few photos on the Internet, have an open house and voila, SOLD!

With all the hype, it's easy for a seller to over-estimate what buyers will pay and they are surprised to find out that even in the hottest market, an incorrectly/over-priced house will not meet market expectations and it will languish, become stale and buyers pass it by instead of making an offer. Or else if someone does make an offer it may be so much lower that the seller gets upset and refuses to negotiate.

A lot of home sellers are reluctant to acknowledge that their house is not priced correctly. After all, who likes to admit that they made a mistake or that the value of their home just isn't as much as they thought or wanted? So instead they try offering a credit, advertise that they will fix or replace something, take new photos, and insist that their real estate agent provide the "special marketing" to find the one buyer who will be willing to overpay. They will do anything other than what they know they need to do to fix the problem - change the price!

The reality is that sooner or later home sellers who really want to sell (motivation matters), will come around to the fact if they want to sell, they must reduce the price. But who would have thought that is be happening in Concord and Sudbury, two of the most desirable towns west of Boston? Well, it is! In Concord there have been 87 price reductions during the past 12 months and 22 during the month of May - as of 5/18. In Sudbury, there have been 75 price reductions Y-T-D and 36 month-to-date in May. And, it's happening in other places too! Pricing matters in any market, in any location!

Price reductions may not be what sellers want, but getting the house sold is the goal and reducing the price increases the opportunity to get a house listing in front of the right audience, stimulate interest and accomplish the intended goal. 

And of course for buyers, seeing a price reduction might mean you can finally go after the house you've been waiting for! Keep in mind though, if you've been hoping for a price reduction on a particular house, chances are someone else has too. You still need to be prepared to step up and with the right help an experienced buyer broker to negotiate on your behalf, you can make it happen!
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Buying New Construction - Common Misconceptions

New Homes for Active Adults/55+
Builder confidence is up! New single-family homes and condominiums are finally being built again and what’s better than having everything shiny and new, built with state-of-the art materials, energy efficient systems and appliances, and everything to fit the way you live, work, and play?

Given the choice, a lot of home buyers would prefer to purchase a new home than a house that someone else has lived in; especially buyers who don’t have the time, interest, or money for repairing or renovating a house that someone has lived in.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, moving-up, down-sizing/right-sizing, or someone who has bought and sold multiple times, if you have not purchased new construction before or you did it along time ago, you may have some misconceptions about buying new construction. Here are a few common misconceptions about new construction.

The biggest misconception about new construction is that because it’s new, it will be perfect! New houses are built by people and we all know that people are never perfect. A new house can have defects just like a resale. While home buyers expect and even look for things to be wrong with an older house that has been lived in, they don’t expect any issues in new house. Realistic expectations are important when buying any house so remember, there is no such thing as perfect!

Selections and Upgrades
One of the most fun things about buying a new home is that you get to pick out flooring, cabinets, counter-tops, appliances, tile, fixtures, etc. and have everything color-coordinated, up-to-date and just the way you want it. With so many choices it’s easy to get carried away with making selections that are so trendy that you may grow tired of them in a short-time. And, it’s also easy to pay for extra for upgrades that you may not need and that really don’t add value.

While it’s nice to have everything done at the same time by the builder, sometimes waiting and getting things done later on your own can be a better and more cost effective choice. If you decide to buy upgrades, buy for own enjoyment and don’t expect that you will get your money back when you sell. What you sell for will depend on the market at the time and as soon as you move-in, your new home becomes used! Buy what you like, don’t over-personalize and don’t do anything because you think it will be a money-maker later especially if you are buying in a large development of similar homes.

Home Inspections
A lot of people have the misconception that they don’t need to do a home inspection when buying new construction because everything is new, under warranty, and you’ll do a final walk-through and prepare a punch-list of items that the builder will fix.

Having a home inspection is just as important for a new house as for a resale. Remember, new is not perfect and there may be items that weren’t installed or not connected properly, etc. A walk-through is not the same as a thorough inspection by a professional home inspector. Buying a home is a big investment; don’t be “penny-wise and pound foolish.” Also, make sure you know exactly what items are under warranty and for how long!

That builders/developers don’t negotiate is another misconception about buying new construction. This is something that home buyers are led to believe by the on-site salesperson who represents the builder, and while most buyers would never accept that premise if they were buying a resale property, for some reason they believe it about new builds.

Builders are like every other seller and whether or not they will negotiate depends on a number of variables – the market, the size of the development, how far along the project is, how qualified you are, which items you want to negotiate about – price, terms, features, etc. Like every other seller, some builders are easier and friendlier and more financially stable than others; some are good business people and know when it pays to be flexible and others just dig in.

On-Site Sales
Another great thing about about buying new construction is that builders make it so easy to buy by building sales models and having an on-site agent/salesperson to help you.

The most important misconception that buyers have about new construction is that they cannot have or don't need a buyer agent/broker on their side. While the majority of home-buyers know that it makes sense to have their own buyer agent represent them and they want a professional whose fiduciary responsibility is to work on their behalf to get them the best deal, help them understand their options in the local market, help them do their due diligence, and negotiate on their behalf when they are buying a resale, many still think that when buying a new home it's OK to go directly to the on-site agent/salesperson and do whatever that seller's agent tells them to.

Unfortunately, too many buyers don't even think about getting their own representation until they've already been to the site, talked with the on-site seller's rep, given up a lot of personal and financial information, and decided to buy. And by then, it's too late!

Yes, you can have your own buyer agent and buying a new house does not take away your right to representation. The majority of new homes are listed on MLS (multiple listing service) just like resale listings, and the listings include an offer of cooperation and compensation to buyer agents. The builder will pay your agent's fee out of the proceeds of the sale, the same as any other seller!

BUT, some new construction seller agents will often include a note on the MLS that buyers do not see that stipulates "buyer agent MUST be present at the first showing." There's the catch! They know that buyers drive around and will often stop at a model home "just to look" and the next thing they decide to buy. On-site agents do not want buyers to have a buyer agent on their side; the seller's agent want to control the buying so they can maximize profits for the builder (and themselves!) I have had buyers tell me that they were told that they could not have a buyer agent because they came to the site without their agent.

Take away
If you already have an agreement with a buyer agent to represent you, make sure you do not go to any new construction sites without your agent.

If you are thinking about buying new construction and do not have a buyer agent, get one before you visit any new construction sites and before you talk with anyone on-site. That way when you decide to buy, you will have a agent on your side! By the way, make sure your agent knows the area and has experience as a buyer agent for new construction.

About the author: Marilyn Messenger is a licensed broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative, associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord MA. She has been representing new construction home-buyers in Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, Stow, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. Her clients have purchased new single-family homes, luxury properties and condominiums from both local and national builders. Her experience on a local Planning Board, Zoning Board, and board member of an HOA has been especially helpful to her new construction clients. Visit for more.

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