Articles Posted in Real Estate Sales

The number of single-family homes sold last month was the highest monthly total in almost two years in the state. 4,510 single-family homes were sold in May, and increase of close to 35 percent from last years total of 3,350.

The Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks real estate, stated that the total number of homes sold in May was the largest number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts since June of 2010.

The average price for single-family homes sold in May decreased by more than three percent, from $300,000 a year ago to $289, 950. Even though the average price is lower than last year, it is the highest average sales price recorded so far this year.

June was the strongest month for home sales in Massachusetts in two years. 5,498 single-family homes were sold last month, this is a twenty six percent increase from June 2011. This marked the highest volume of sales during any month since June of 2010.

Condominium sales also jumped in June. 2,216 condominiums were sold, which is almost twenty nine percent more than June of last year.

The increases are even more significant because they come without the benefit of the federal home buyers tax credit that was offered in 2010.The chief executive of Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate, said, “This is just the beginning of a long slow climb out of the depths of a long lousy market.”

When trying to sell your home it is extremely important to make it as marketable–and valuable–as possible. There are some things that you can alter to affect the value of your home, so it is advised you do so if the alteration will be less than the expected increase in market value.

1. A Pool–Many people believe that a pool would increase the value of your house, but that is not the case. Having a swimming pool limits the market of people who may be willing to purchase your home. Pools are constant maintenance, they can crack or the liner can rip, the equipment is expensive to replace and it is a built-in added liability. Also, people who aren’t looking for a pool are not going to be willing to pay extra for it.

2. No Garage or a Small Garage–Most buyers will be looking for a two car garage, so if you have no garage or a one car this could detract from the marketability of your home.

Selling your home can be a very stressful and time-consuming process, but in the end it will all be worth it. Here are some tips to help alleviate some of the stress you may be under while selling your home.

First, it is important to choose the right realtor. It helps to have someone who is knowledgeable about the market and will represent your interests the best. You also want to find someone who will be honest and upfront with you about everything. The market is not always “the perfect time for selling” and you need someone who will be realistic.

Next, it is important to know what to expect throughout the transaction. Have a discussion with your broker about your expectations regarding showings, open houses and marketing techniques. After the broker, it is extremely important to choose a local, experienced real estate attorney. Having a good attorney will save time, money and alleviate stress.

All of these tips will help increase the value of your house if you are looking to sell, or just may help you enjoy your space a little bit more.

1. Open up your kitchen: The cost can range anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 depending on how you decide to open up your kitchen. The are many alternatives to make the kitchen more spacious from widening a doorway to knocking down a wall, but in either scenario it is likely that you will need to consult a contractor.

2. Make over your kitchen: The cost can range from $1,000 to $30,000. Simple changes such as changing the knobs on your cabinet, the faucet on the sink, or the curtains may change the entire feel of your kitchen, or you could change the entire layout and buy stainless steel appliances which would be much more expensive, but would help increase the value of your home. New countertops are also a good way to spruce up the appearance too, and there are many different options and price points.

Harvard University researchers state that the United States housing market has likely reached bottom and will start to recover this year. Six years ago the country’s housing market fell into a deep slide, but Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies says that the recent increase in home sales paired with the low quantity of available properties and rising rent demonstrates that there is a turnaround in housing prices.

The managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Eric Belsky, said “There are lots of positive indicators here. A floor is beginning to form under home prices.” Boston is viewed more favorable too because the local economy is better and housing values did not decrease as much as other parts of the country. Boston-area home sales increased by 21.5 percent and median prices jumped 5.5 percent in May compared to figured from April, and both of these totals are significantly higher than the United States average.

Alex Coon, the market manager for Redfin (an online brokerage firm) in Boston said, “We are definitely going to be in front of the trend. I think 2012 is going to be the base that the recovery for housing is built on.”

For the thirteenth straight month, the number of single-family homes and condominiums placed undersales agreement rose in Massachusetts. The rise in sales agreements indicates rising sales activity in the overall real estate market.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) stated that pending sales are a principal indicator of actual housing sales for the subsequent two to three months. MAR President, Trisha McCarthy, stated, “May was the first month that more than 5,000 homes were put under agreement since we started tracking pending sales data in January 2009. This is excellent news for the market going forward as closed sales should also continue to go up. Buyer confidence will remain the determining factor in how the market performs in the second half of the year.”

In relation to last year, the number of single-family homes put under agreement in the month of May rose 32 percent (3, 986 homes in 2011 to 5,267 in 2012). This is the first time that pending sales have reached the 5,000 milestone since the Association started tracking pending sales in 2009. May also saw a ten percent increase from April, which had 4,784 single-family homes under agreement.

In a recent Massachusetts case, Witkowski v. Endlar Ins. Agency & First American Title Ins. Co., the judge reversed a previous summary judgment decision for Endlar regarding a certificate of insurance for the plaintiff’s condominium unit.

Plaintiff, Witkowski, purchased a basement unit of a residential condominium in Andover, MA. The condominium is located in a floodplain area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an area of special flood hazard. Federal law, 42 U.S.C. § 4012a(b)(1) (2006), states that any lending officer or agency shall not approve any financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes in any area that has been deemed as having special flood hazards, unless the building is covered by flood insurance.

Witkowski discovered that the building was located in a special flood hazard area and that in order to obtain a mortgage he would need to provide proof of flood insurance for the unit as a condition of closing. Endlar provided a certificate including the plaintiff’s name and unit number, as well as the two flood insurance policies in the amounts of $2.5 million and $9.8 million, with a signature confirming the information.

The average interest rate on mortgages in the United States has hit a new record low. According to mortgage purchaser Freddie Mac, the interest rate on 30-year home loans is now 3.84 percent. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate home loans is only 3.07 percent. The interest rates are the lowest on record since long-term mortgage loans began being sold in the 1950′s.

Additional fees, or points, are also normally required by lenders in order to receive the lowest interest rates. One point is one percent of the amount borrowed. On average, lenders are currently charging about 0.8 points for a fixed-rate 30-year loan and .07 points for a fixed-rate 15-year loan. The interest rate for one-year adjustable rate mortgages is currently down to 2.7 percent with a fee of 0.6 points.

Since December 2011, fixed mortgage interest rates were under four percent every week except one. The historically low rates are likely to drive up home sales and also encourage current homeowners to refinance. Although Boston has experienced increasing sales in the residential real estate market, this is not necessarily the case in many cities as home prices continue to fall in some markets. In fact, homeownership across the nation recently reached a 15-year low. Currently, only 65.4 percent of U.S. households own the home they reside in. The nationwide housing market still appears to be looking up, however, as homeowner and rental vacancies dropped during the first three months of 2012. During the first quarter of this year, foreclosure filings were also at their lowest rate since 2007.

Multiple offers on residential real estate in the Greater Boston area may yet again be the norm. According to Redfin Real Estate, more than half of the real estate contracts written by the company’s agents last month wound up in some sort of a bidding war. For homes that were attractive to buyers, the prices rose steadily in March.

Right now, the Greater Boston area’s residential real estate market offers buyers essentially two groups of homes. The first includes older homes that could use some TLC and updating. Often, such houses are priced high. They also tend to remain on the market for longer periods of time. The second group includes recently renovated houses that are priced to sell. It is this market that has seen an increasing number of multiple offer scenarios in recent months. For example, a Redfin agent recently delivered a bid of $16,000 over the asking price on a home in Jamaica Plain during an open house. Three other buyers also submitted bids on the home.

The upswing in Greater Boston residential real estate prices is wonderful news for sellers. Quickly climbing prices can also can create headaches for both parties to a real estate transaction. In order to receive financing, a home with a high selling price must also receive a corresponding appraisal. This can be difficult when prices are rising quickly following a period of depressed market conditions. Because the Boston area generally has a longer closing cycle than many other parts of the nation, appraisers may have more difficulty tracking market conditions. This is due in part to the fact that any comparable home sales the appraiser may be reviewing are already at least two months old. Unfortunately, if a home doesn’t appraise for the agreed upon purchase price following a bidding war, a buyer is often left scrambling to come up with the difference in cash. If the buyer cannot make the deal happen, the seller knows another buyer who offered a similar price likely will.

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