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      Blog :: 02-2015

      Near-Record Rise in National Home Prices Should Cool Down

      As reflected in the near-record national rise in home prices, Boston area homeowners as a whole had much to cheer about in 2014. According to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, home prices increased 13.6% from October 2012—and in fact, they’ve been improving at a faster annual rate in each month for almost two years!

      Every expert I researched agreed that this rate of increase won’t (and, for the health of the market, shouldn’t) continue at that gravity-defying pace in 2015. Most of them do predict higher interest rates with a slower (but steady) rise in home prices. Adding to the overall optimism is a RealtyTrac report that showed foreclosure filings last year weighing in with the lowest annual number in 7 years. That’s that: the recovery is happening! 

      Some potential homebuyers have been reluctant to enter the market at all due to memories of the last decade’s real estate bust. Their fears may be dissipated if Dow Jones Index Chief David Blitzer’s analysis is heeded. The economist has shown that the previous market price top was accompanied by a 60% loan-to-value ratio: a speculative bubble in home prices. Today, loan-to-value has shrunk to less than 50%: not even close to “bubble” territory.

      Boston area home prices might get a boost from another quarter, too, as prospective buyers realize how expensive their hesitation has become. According to website Trulia, the cost of home ownership was 35% cheaper than renting—at least in major cities. And even despite rising prices and interest rates, homeownership should continue to be more affordable than renting throughout 2015.

      While lending criteria are expected to loosen in 2015, it’s likely that many first-time home buyers will continue to find it difficult to enter the market. So existing homeowners should be even more important participants in 2015. Having enjoyed large gains in 2014 (and having already surmounted the down payment hurdle), this group is expected to dominate among homebuyers.

      If you are watching area home prices with a view to buying or selling, I hope you will contact us to go over the numbers that are relevant to you.  617-536-8000.

      A Business Mindset Helps You Sell Your Property

      Even when it is clearly necessary, if you’re like most of us, you feel a built-in reluctance to sell your Boston area property. Those four walls (okay, I know there are more like 40 or 80, but bear with me) contain all the furnishings and other possessions we gather through the years to create our family’s unique environment. When we come through that front door, we feel more comfortable than anywhere else on Earth.

      But your home is also an investment (and what a colossal one it is!). That’s why the decision to sell your property—disconcerting though it may be—ought to be much more a business proposition than an emotional one.

      When you choose us as your real estate agent, it becomes part of our job to point out the smart business decisions that will help you sell your property—even when that means altering some of what has always made the place feel like home to you.

      Fortunately, sometimes there are really simple things that increase a home’s perceived value:

      The front door is frequently absent from renovation lists, but as the point of entry, it does much to influence potential home buyers. Installing a bright, shiny new brass doorknob, giving the door a fresh coat of paint, or adding a traditional mailbox out at the curb can make your entire home seem more inviting.

      Buyers are attracted to spacious rooms. If you have a cramped hall or dining area, think “mirror. Adding one or two large wall mirrors automatically make any home that much more expansive.

      If you enjoy your oversized television, you’re part of a not-so-silent American majority. That’s all well and fine, but unless the room is a man-cave, it’s likely that a television which overpowers the space will make buyers feel that the room is too small. Consider swapping for a size-appropriate set to help you sell your property.Even on a miniscule budget, minor changes like these can attract interested buyers in this winter’s market. Looking for more creative ideas to sell your property? 

      Why not call us today?  (617) 536-8000.

      Selling Your Boston Home? Headlines Make Headway!

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      If you're thinking of selling your home in Boston this winter, you're likely to have already considered different approaches to making it stand out from other properties. Will you repaint in the entryway? Stage the living spaces? Should you upgrade the appliances - or leave them as is to keep the asking price as low as possible?

      Those are all pivotal decisions, and I would be delighted to offer advice on how each is likely to affect the sales effort. But there is also a less prominent element you may not have considered: the impact the text of your advertising will have on your marketing and - potentially - the overall results. The regimented way listings are presented tend to impart them with a similarity that may not be warranted. Overcoming that effect can make your message draw attention... and prospects.

      According to real estate conversion content specialist Karen Hutton, next to the main photograph, the headline is everything. Hutton's territory is Queensland, Australia, which goes to show how universal marketing truths are. Says Hutton of the headline tactic, "It must arouse curiosity, use meaningful specifics... and be intriguing."

      Some of my favorites noted on her marketing website?

      • Keep Your Cool: Coffee Is Just Around the Corner

      I'm not sure what this means - it's why I'd have to read the ad!

      • Designer Retreat in the Heart of Town

      A perfect marriage of two sales points in just seven words

      • Go Slow: A Home for Relaxing and Entertaining

      A lifestyle pitch that sounds entirely credible

      • An Urban Getaway to Complement Nature

      Instant appeal to city-dwellers who wish they could live in the country

      • Good Bones: Ready For Your Inner Designer

      Clever way to avoid the negative sound of 'fixer-upper'

      If you're thinking of selling your home in the Boston area this winter, I've got many more sources of inspiration for creating standout marketing designed to get your home S-O-L-D. Contact me today to schedule a strategy-building session. There's no obligation, and the ideas we discuss can make all the difference on how you approach the many options that are immediately available in today's market!

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