For a post I just did for Curbed, I have been visiting Boston’s new apartment buildings. At each building I asked them what percentage of the apartments have been leased. You’ll see their answers in the collage below.

These are the latest occupancy number I could get.

These are the latest occupancy number I could get.

These Hub markets sold more condos in the first half of 2010 than they did in the first half of 2014.

These Hub markets sold more condos in the first half of 2010 than they did in the first half of 2014. Unemployment was 9.5% in 2010.

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Man's Hands Signing DocumentA buyer scours the market for the right home and finally finds it. Then, all of a sudden, their winning offer situation turns into a loser. What happened? Here are a few of things that over more than 18 years of brokerage experience have taught me can put the kybosh on an advantageous offer situation and turn it into a loser.


 #1 – The Buyers Left Their Offer on the Table Too Long

The longer an offer is on the table, the more time the listing agent has to use it as proof of the home’s desirability and encourage other buyers to make offers. As a result, the offer should force the seller to respond in as short a time period as is considered reasonable. How much time is reasonable for the seller to respond? It depends. At the first sign of my buyer’s interest in a home, I’m fond of asking the listing agent: “Is the seller easy to reach?” If the sellers are available, then I know I can tighten the time line. If the seller is in a remote area with little or no cell or internet, then of course the offer timeline has to be a little longer. If I want more specificity on the matter, I’ll ask the listing agent: “If my buyer makes an offer, how long is a reasonable time to expect a response from the seller?” Over eighteen years, my buyers have been able to scoop up homes from buyers who left their offer on the table for 24 hours or more.

(Click “continue reading,” to find out four more reasons why winning offer situations turn into losers)

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They are not Beats, but I bet I can hear the real estate channel real good with these headphones.

They are not Beats, but I bet I could hear the Boston real estate channel real good with these headphones.

Sometimes, I don’t hear my wife. It could be because my real estate channel is turned up so loud. My wife is the best thing that ever happened to me and I feel bad about waiting a little while to find out the errands I could be running, the chores I could be doing, and which one of my kids needs a talking to and why, but I think she knows that  keeping it at maximum volume is the only way I can hear the changes in the market. Want to know what I heard most recently? Check out my featured column in Curbed this week!

?????????????????????????????????????????????Hey, ask me why I’m the greatest comedian in the world,” my friend requested.

“Ok,” I replied. “Why are you the greatest …”

“Timing,” he interrupted, laughing.

Like good comedy, successful real estate buying is often the result of excellent timing.

One of my first real estate transactions involved a hard-nosed investor and a first-time condo buyer. The investor had the connections to find a great deal, the ability to negotiate extremely advantageous terms, and the fearlessness to obtain an aggressive rent. But when the tenants wouldn’t re-up, he sold it to a first-time homebuyer, who of course knew little about real estate, but had the good fortune to purchase the condo just before the market went on a run that doubled its value. As for buying real estate, seriously, who needs market knowledge, financial discipline or negotiating ability, when you have timing on your side?

(This post first appeared as my column for June 2014 in Banker and Tradesman )

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BeFunky_loan-against-fine-wine.jpgMLS market statistics show that a listing often needs some market time to find the right buyer…but they don’t need to age like fine wine before they’re ready to be bought. So when buyers notice that a home has sat on the market for a little while longer than they expected one of the most common questions they ask is, “Why has this home been on the market so long?”  Put simply, more often than not, the reason is that the market has rejected the price. Poor locations and awkward layouts hurt a home’s marketability, as do clutter, flaws in the condition and a host of other imperfections. Yet regardless of how long a home has been on the market, the location it is situated or the condition it is in, if we halved the listing price buyers would start crawling out of the woodwork!

So when a house has been on the market a long time without finding a buyer, it’s almost always a pricing issue.  It might not be necessary to halve the price, but a drop in the price would almost certainly introduce the home to new group of ready, willing and able buyers—many of whom probably didn’t even known the home was available. This new exposure often provokes its sale. If a seller is concerned about selling quickly and the price improvement doesn’t sell the home, the price might have to be continually cut until it does.

(Find out what happens to sellers who are more persistent about their price: Read more)

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Anger Pic

“It is good to learn what to avoid by studying the misfortunes of others.” –  Publius Syrius

I remember one of the first offers I put in on behalf of a buyer. It was so low that the seller might have let out a few expletives when he got it. Of course, there was no counter offer and, insulted by that seller’s lack of response, my buyer didn’t move on to the next property. He moved on to the next agent.

This embarrassing situation and loss of future income helped me quickly learn an important part of my job: I have to communicate to my clients what is going to happen before it happens. Predicting the future in any endeavor is challenging, without a doubt, but in real estate where every potential transaction can be as unique as a snowflake, it looked impossible. The only thing that saved me in this noble pursuit was that I was young and committed.

(What happened next? Continue reading to find out.)

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BeFunky_65 East India 5B Pool.jpgAt Dunkin Donuts, the coffee is more expensive than the donuts.

At McDonald’s, the fries cost more than the hamburgers.

At these condos, the pools should could cost more than the condos, LOL.

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Boston Condo Pendings

This chart shows that 9% of Boston’s 2013 condo pendings went under agreement  in July, making it it the best month to find a buyer in the second half of the year.

Is July a good time to sell your Boston condo? According to the numbers, many prospective buyers are just as likely to remember the offer paperwork as they are the bathing suit and sun tan lotion.  Last year, more Boston condo listings found buyers in July than found buyers in August, September, October, November or December.

Who doesn't like a super-fast closing? This closed in just 14 days.

Who doesn’t like a super-fast closing? This Brookline condo closed in just 14 days (9 business days).

When a property is vacant, time is money. So, in the competitive offer environment that we are in, it can be very advantageous to offer fast timelines for the home inspection, purchase and sale agreement, mortgage contingency and closing. On 1600 Beacon Street #1001, Brookline, my buyer completed their home inspection within 16 hours of the accepted offer and closed completely in just 14 days. The need for speed is the reason my buyer’s offer was accepted.


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