Tory Keith Real Estate

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33 Bradford St
Concord MA 01742


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home Improvements When Selling: Most Bang for Your Buck

To gain an edge in the current real estate market, many homeowners are choosing to improve some aspects of their home. Often, this money can be well spent and will attract buyers who are willing to pay more for the home. In other cases, improvements are too personal or too costly to make much of a difference. Addressing major problems or very dated cosmetic aspects of a home will almost always bring a good return, while building an addition or upgrading things that don't necessarily need fixing could be a waste of money.

Based on Remodeling Magazine's '09-'10 Cost vs Value report, the top five projects for return on investment in New England are:

1. Front door replacement
2. Siding replacement
3. Deck addition
4. Attic bedroom
5. Window replacement

Kitchen remodels were next on the list, and when considering taking on this kind of project, as with others, it is important to compare your home to similar homes in order to create an appealing space without "over-improving". For anyone planning on staying in their homes, they will want to remodel with both themselves and potential buyers in mind, making changes that they will be able to enjoy while they remain in the home, but that aren't overly personal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Metrowest Market Snapshot 6/19/11

In Natick, there are currently 77 active single family homes on the market for an average list price of $621,000, having been on the market for an average of 110 days.
There are 62 homes under agreement, with an average list price of $529,000. These homes were on the market for an average of 65 days.
In the past month, 27 homes sold for an average of $430,000 (list prices averaging $442,000), after 73 days on the market.

In Wellesley, there are currently 138 active single family homes on the market for an average list price of $1,677,000, having been on the market for an average of 133 days.
There are 37 homes under agreement, with an average list price of $1,404,000. These homes were on the market for an average of 150 days.
In the past month, 40 homes sold for an average of $1,145,000 (list prices averaging $1,210,000), after 88 days on the market.

In Newton, there are currently 217 active single family homes on the market for an average list price of $1,282,000, having been on the market for an average of 101 days.
There are 123 homes under agreement, with an average list price of $975,000. These homes were on the market for an average of 63 days.
In the past month, 63 homes sold for an average of $905,000 (list prices averaging $929,000), after 68 days on the market.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When to buy, sell, and stay put

Is now a good time to trade up, even if I've lost equity in my current home?

Generally, a buyers' market is a great time to trade up, even when your home has lost value. Here's an example to illustrate why:

A family who bought a home for $350,000 in 2005 at the peak of the market, could have seen their home lose 10% of it's value, selling now for $315,000. The home that they want to trade up to may have been priced at $500,000 in 2005, but assuming it's price also decreased 10%, it would now be worth $450,000. So, while this family would lose $35,000 in value on their first home, they would be getting a discount of $50,000 on the new home form what it would have cost 6 years ago, meaning they would be ahead by $15,000 in the end. And, to further improve the situation, interest rates are almost a full percentage point lower than they were in 2005.

Should I rent for a while to see if prices fall further?

Renting can be a great option if you are planning on staying in an area for less than a year or if you are new to an area and want to determine your favorite towns and neighborhoods before making a commitment. However, if you already know where you want to be and think you'll stay put for more than a year, buying is usually a better option. Even though prices aren't expected to make a big recovery, they also aren't expected to fall significantly further, and by buying now rather than waiting, you'll have more years of tax savings and potential appreciation. Another reason to buy instead of rent: Vacancy rates took the steepest decline in the first few months of this year since 1999 (Rising Rents), meaning fewer options, and rents are increasing. Combined with low interest rates and tax savings, homeowners could actually spend less monthly on a comparable property than renters.

Rent vs buy calculator

My House Needs Repairs and/or Updating. Should I sell now or stay where I am?

In this case, it is best to stay as long as you need to in order to make some improvements to the home, if at all possible. Buyers are looking for homes that are attractive, move in ready, and don't need any major repairs. If you must sell without addressing flaws, expect to price your home well below market value to attract a buyer willing to fix it up themselves. Even if there isn't much money available to update the home, if you can spend a few weekends on do it yourself projects, there is a lot to be gained when you do sell. While some things require a professional, homeowners can tackle things like paint, landscaping, and small things that can make a big difference, like changing cabinet hardware and clearing out clutter. (Homes with great curb appeal)

The projects that will provide the biggest return? In my experience, kitchen appliances and countertops, light fixtures, paint, bathroom vanities along with replacing outdated tile, and landscaping are the best updates to make. Of course, if there are any problems with the home's structure or major systems, it is important to find the right professionals to take care of the job.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer is Here (Almost)! Great Local Beaches and Fun Daytrips

There are lots of great local options if you don't feel like driving far or just have a little time on your hands.

Dug Pond in Natick opens for the season on June 11th. Beach tags are available at the Cole Center until the beach opens, when they can be purchased at the pond. Bathrooms, a playground, and a dock are available, with parking across the street from the beach.

Morse Pond in Wellesley opens June 8th, and beach tags can be purchased online, at the pond office, or at the Parks & Rec department. Several special events will be held at the beach during the summer. It is located at the end of Turner Road.

Crystal Lake in Newton will open June 13th with limited hours, and offers a small beach with lifeguards, bathhouse, and docks.

Of course, if you have the time, there are lots of beautiful beaches within about an hour of the metrowest area. 

Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester has lots of white sand, especially when the tide is out. It is very clean and has a small snack bar and bathrooms. 

Crane Beach in Ipswich also has beautiful sand and views.Outside showers, a beach store, concessions, and bathrooms are available.

Duxbury Beach is 6 miles long, and parking is less expensive than some of the north shore beaches. It is also a clean sandy beach.

June can be a great time to beat some of the summer crowds and hit the beach early. Remember your sunscreen!

Friday, June 3, 2011

$369,900: Holliston Colonial, updated & ready for summer entertaining

New patio dining set free at closing so you can enjoy summer on a huge deck - perfect for entertaining! Designer selected paint colors, updated bathrooms, 1st floor laundry, heated towel rack, new refrigerator, refinished hardwood floors, finished basement, professional landscaping, newer heating system & water heater, roof heat coils & much more! Spacious, flexible floorplan allows for first floor family room or master suite. One of Holliston's best neighborhoods. Title 5 in hand.

4 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
2410 square feet