Monthly Archives: April 2014

86 Central Ave, Medford – Sold in the First Weekend


Last weekend we put 86 Central Ave, Medford on the market. This beautiful, well maintained, single family home was priced at $339,900. It has 5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and is conveniently located with easy access to Medford Square, shopping, schools, public transportation and is just 3 blocks from all the fun at Morrison playground; we expected lots of interest! After reviewing offers on Monday evening the property went under agreement. It seems that the high demand for homes in Medford that we saw in 2013 is continuing into 2014. Here’s the data for the last 12 months – the orange line is the ratio between list and sales price (a value of 100% means it sold for asking).

This high ratio is (of course) driving up prices as buyers compete for homes:

A wealth of information about Medford as well as over 40 other towns (and a lot more information on buying/selling) can be found on our website www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us

86 Central Ave, Medford – Just Listed

Check out this home that we’ve just bought on the market this week. 86 Central Avenue, Medford – priced at $399,900. This Beautiful, well maintained, single family home featuring 5 bedrooms and grand high ceilings, awaits your personal touches. Conveniently located with easy access to Medford Square, shopping, schools, public transportation and just 3 blocks from all the fun at Morrison playground, you’ll feel right at home here. The main floor is spacious and bright featuring a large Eat-in Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room. Bathe in sun, surrounded by windows, while enjoying the octagonal sitting area featured in the Living Room and Master Bedroom. The second floor features 3 Bedrooms and a full Bath, while the 3rd floor offers 2 more Bedrooms. Hardwood floors abound and a detached 2 car garage rounds out this great home. A few of the many recent updates include the roof, heating system, and fresh paint. Just imagine those lazy, hot summer days enjoying a cold drink while sitting on the front porch with friends and watching the world go by!

Open House Sat/Sun 1-3pm

You can find more info at www.86Central.com or if you’re on your smartphone mobile.86Central.com

Assessed Value and the Market Value of your Home

The question Are assessed values and market values the same? is one that both buyers and sellers frequently ask. The simple answer is NO you cannot assume that the assessed value is a good indicator of the market value of a home. Here’s why.

First we should understand what assessed value is – it is a value assigned to a property by the town to calculate property taxes.

Before discussing Assessed value vs Market value it is important to explain the Massachusetts statute called Proposition 2 and 1/2 and how this impacts the assessed values of homes.

Proposition 2 and 1/2 was first passed in 1980 and came into effect in 1982. The component of this statute that impacts assessed value is the limitation of municipalities to raise the total tax revenue collected each year to no more than 2.5% over the prior years total tax revenue. This means that each year a municipality cannot increase the total tax revenue by more than 2.5%.

How this impacts the assessed value of a home is that if a community has experienced significant increase in home values, the municipality cannot increase the assessed value of the existing home base in the community by a comparable amount. If it did, then the property tax revenue collected on the higher assessed value may push the municipality over the 2.5% ceiling threshold imposed by Proposition 2 and 1/2.

This is further impacted if the underlying tax breakdown in a municipality changes. Total tax revenue is the sum of residential real estate property tax, commercial real estate property tax, industrial real estate property tax and business owned personal property tax. An example to describe this is where an entity that is non-taxable – for example, a not-for-profit hospital, church, community foundation, charity sells some land off to developers who build million dollar plus condos on the land. Each time a home is sold, the town is now collecting property tax revenue for it whereas previously it had not, thus the total tax revenue being collected is now being pushed up by changes to the underlying tax base of the town, again making it difficult for the town to increase the assessed value of existing homes to a comparable figure to the market value of the home.

Another factor playing into the dilemma for towns with increasing tax revenues is an active real estate market. When a house is sold, the town adjusts the assessed value of the home to the sold value of the home during the next assessment cycle, so in a town with an active real estate market the town is collecting more tax revenue based on the adjustment of assessed values due to homes selling.

When a home has a low assessed value compared to its market value, the homeowner is very unlikely to contact the town to request them to increase the assessed value of their home as this will result in a higher property tax bill for the homeowner, so this is unlikely to occur.

There is a benefit to buying a home with a low assessed value, and that is the taxes will be less until the town reassesses the home during the next assessment cycle.

The result of all of these factors is that there is NO correlation at all between the assessed value of a home and the market value of a home. Depending on your town the assessed value may appear close to market value, but there is NO exact correlation between the two.

What’s the bottom line – what will I lose if I sell for the Assessed Value?

The answer is A LOT. Looking at the sales in Lexington in 2013 the average difference between the Assessed value and Sale price was 20% – the average home sale price in Lexington is over $800,000 so 20% equates to $160,000!

The details of this post came from The following newsletter Assessed Value vs. Market Value (or if you’re on your smartphone – Assessed Value vs. Market Value)

The MA Properties Online team produce a newsletter on a monthly basis on topic of interest to both buyers and sellers – to see a complete list visit www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and look under the Newsletters tab.

If you have a real estate topic that you think needs more explanation please email me at Marcus Collins and we’ll look into writing a newsletter on the topic in the very near future.

Should Buyers Delay Until 2015

Given the lack of available inventory and lots of buyers in the market, buying in today’s market can be tough. But does it make sense to postpone your home search until next year? The MA PropertiesOnline Team recommends NOT TO WAIT here’s why.

The primary reason to delay is that you think next year (2015) will be better. Better means some combination of:

  1. More sellers
  2. Less buyers
  3. Lower prices
  4. Lower mortgage rates (cheaper to buy)

Will we see more sellers in 2015?

Every Realtor in Greater Boston hopes so and there are a large number of potential sellers (who either become buyers of more expensive homes or who downsize). Many are delaying because they think they do not have sufficient equity in their current home. Prices have risen steadily in many towns over the last few years and so even people who bought in 2005/2007 now have significant equity. Here’s some examples:

Its not universally the case though

So, we will see more seller’s entering the market but it may take a few more years for the level to rise to the point where we have a balanced market (which is defined as approx 6 months home supply). As the Newton data shows we’re still not at this balanced state.

Will we see less buyers in 2015?

Every report we read says that there are a large number of (so called) millennial’s that are either looking to get out of renting (because as we know there is no appreciation or tax breaks in renting as there is in home ownership) or are looking to move up from the 2-bed condo they bought taking advantage of low prices, low mortgage rates and government tax breaks back in 2009.

Will prices be lower (or at least not materially higher) in 2015?

The graphs above show that prices have been increasing for many years in the stronger markets but also now in the less strong markets. In some markets the rate of increase is arguably not sustainable but overall nationally we are still 16% lower than the highs in 2006/7. So, we (and analysts who track the national trends) do not see a decrease in prices any time soon. The graph below shows a range of opinion on cumulative price increase over the next 4 years.

Will mortgage rates be lower in 2015?

This graphic shows that mortgage rates are anticipated to rise in 2015.

For more information on mortgage rates see the following blog post Mortgage Rate Projects

With the anticipated increase in prices what does this mean to the potential mortgage repayments?

In conclusion it looks like …

  • We will see more sellers
  • We will continue to see an increasing number of buyers entering the market
  • Prices will continue to increase as demand (buyers) exceeds supply (sellers)
  • Mortgage rates will rise

Should you therefore delay? We would argue No, continue to look and the right house in the right location and at the right price may be there.

The MA Properties Online Team know its not just about buying a house its about buying the RIGHT house. Our focus on information (through real estate statistics and information on the buying process) and working closely with buyers to understand their needs and wants means that buyers who work with our team make the right choices.

For information on over 40 towns (and a lot more information on buying/selling) can be found on our website www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Buyer Strategies – use the Listing Agent?

A number of buyers are being told “by somebody by the water-cooler” that to get an offer accepted in today’s competitive market the best approach is to not use a buyer’s agent but rather to go directly with the listing agent. This got the MA Properties Online Team thinking – is going with the Listing Agent a successful buyer strategy?

The answer is NO.

Skeptics will say – well of course a Realtor is going to say that, so here’s the analysis …

We looked at the 2013 transactions in Lexington – that’s 383 transactions. Of these 193 were competitive (we define that as a situation where the sale price was larger than the list price and the time between being listed and getting an accepted offer was low). In this competitive situation, in only 18 transactions did the listing agent write the successful offer. Overall in less than 5% of the transactions (18 out of 383) did the buyers use the listing agent when it mattered.

So, when your told “by somebody by the water-cooler” use the listing agent – ask them for the figures to backup this claim.

For a detailed explanation of the role and benefits of using a buyer’s agent see the newsletter The Benefits of using a Buyers Agent (or if you’re on your smartphone – The Benefits of using a Buyers Agent)

The MA Properties Online team produce a newsletter on a monthly basis on topic of interest to both buyers and sellers – to see a complete list visit www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and look under the Newsletters tab.

The MA Properties Online Team know its not just about buying a house its about buying the RIGHT house. Our focus on information (through real estate statistics and information on the buying process) and working closely with buyers to understand their needs and wants means that buyers who work with our team make the right choices.

For information on over 40 towns (and a lot more information on buying/selling) can be found on our website www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Myths, Mysteries and Mistakes of Homeownership

FREE Home Seller’s Seminar

Prospective home sellers will learn how the market forces set sales prices and how effective strategies maximize sellers equity in successful sales.

Like anything else, success is in the preparation. It’s never too soon to find out how to best spend money you’ll get back on your largest investment your home.

What brings value when you sell your home is often counter-intuitive. Before you spend money on your home, learn what home improvements have the best ROI. This seminar will help you increase the value of one of your largest investments, your home.

Tuesday, April 8th
7:00pm-8:30pm
The Lexington Depot at 13 Depot Square

For more information contact Dani Fleming Email or phone her on (617) 997-9145.

Lexington Agent’s Marketing – Not Focused on Today’s Buyers!

A recent study to The National Association of Realtors® and Google* looked at how today’s buyers look for their new home. Three points stand out:

  • 90% of home buyers searched for a home online during their home buying process.
  • 51% use a mobile device to read information about a home.
  • 70% of buyers view the inside of a home using online video.

Interestingly the study also highlighted that it’s not just the younger buyers who are turning to technology to search for their new home.

  • 52% of first-time buyers started their search online.
  • 75% of seasoned buyers go online to search for a home.

The MA Properties Online team have been using a marketing strategy that addresses the needs of the today’s buyer as outlined in this study for many years now. For ALL listings regardless of list price we provide:

  • 30 photos (the maximum MLS allows) with more on the dedicated website,
  • Floor Plan,
  • Video tour of the home (not just pictures joined together into a video),
  • A dedicated website (with a name that matches the property address) that highlights key features of the home and information on the community,
  • A mobile dedicated website with the same content as the main property website.

This got the MA Properties Online team thinking …

How do the marketing plans of other agents who sold in Lexington in 2013 match-up against the MA Properties Online approach?

The answer – they don’t even come close and clearly do not understand the needs of the today’s home buyer! Here’s the breakdown of the marketing plans for the 378 homes sold in Lexington in 2013.

  • 45% had fewer than 15 photos (the average number of photos was 17)
  • 60% had floor plans
  • 1% had videos
  • 10% had dedicated websites

Clearly the MA Properties Online marketing plan outperforms the competition with 100% of the homes listed by the team having 100% of the key components.

Does it matter that the majority of Lexington agents do the minimum amount of work necessary to sell your home?

Yes – the key to getting the maximum price for your home is Exposure, Exposure, Exposure and Information, Information, Information! The MA Properties Online approach maximizes the Exposure of the property to potential buyers and provides the maximum amount of Information when they need it, where they need it and however they want to consume the information.

What about the bottom line – Sale Price?

The average original list price to sales price ratio in Lexington in 2013 was 99%. For the properties marketed by the MA Properties Online team it was 105%. With the average price for a home in Lexington over $800,000 that could mean the difference of $50,000 to a home seller!

So, if you want a marketing plan that focuses on the needs of the modern buyer and clearly outperforms the competition contact the MA Properties Online team – Email or phone us on (617) 997-9145.

*Source: The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate
A Joint Study from The National Association of Realtors® and Google

74 Goden St, Belmont – Multiple Offers


Last weekend we put 74 Goden St Belmont on the market. The home was priced at $749,000. This solidly built 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home walking distance to the newly built Wellington ES, Chenery MS and Belmont HS area of Belmont. We expected lots of interest! Five offers were received on the property and after reviewed them on Monday evening the property went under agreement. The price was substantially over the asking price of $749,000. It seems that the high demand for homes in Belmont that we saw in 2013 is continuing into 2014. Here’s the data for the last 12 months – the orange line is the ratio between list and sales price (a value of 100% means it sold for asking). The ratio was greater than 100% for the majority of 2013 – expect the same for 2014 as demand exceeds supply in this very popular town.

This high ratio is (of course) driving up prices as buyers compete for homes:

A wealth of information about Belmont as well as over 40 other towns (and a lot more information on buying/selling) can be found on our website www.mapropertiesonline.com (or if you’re on your smartphone – mobile.mapropertiesonline.com) and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.