Blog :: 06-2011

Staging. When is a Good Dusting and a Vacuum Enough?

Implications of an Aging Population on Real Estate

We all know the statistics on today's aging population. There are almost 40 million people aged 65+ in the United States (13% of the population), and each year more than 3.5 million boomers turn 55.

This is having a significant impact on the real estate industry which will continue for years to come. An article on aging trends has broken down the following statistics on income and home ownership:

  • Eighty percent of elders are home owners and 20% renters.
  • The median construction year for homes was 1969 and 4.4% of the homes have physical problems.

 

  • About 68% of older homeowners in 2007 owned their homes free and clear.

 

I am writing a few posts about these population trends, and relaying what we're seeing on the street. This first post relates to staging.

I spoke with an older friend recently, and she was contemplating selling the family home. This is a beautiful old home (out of state) that has seen six children grow up and move on. The house is tidy and structurally sound, but it has the taste of an older couple which is not necessarily the taste of today's younger buyers. There are photos, knickknacks, brass fixtures and three floors of wall paper.

She was overwhelmed by the recommendation of her realtor to strip the wallpaper, paint, remove all of her things and put them in storage, and stage it for a younger demographic. It would be a huge disruption, time-consuming, and given age, health and other considerations, it would be exhausting.

True, the house would probably sell for a higher price without wall paper and a fresh coat of paint. But at what cost? In this case, the seller is willing to settle for a lower selling price in favor of convenience.

Often we get caught up in over-the-top staging strategies we see on T.V.. This usually entails a team of people making major updates and changes - and sometimes spending a significant amount of money - to make a home appealing to potential buyers. It is important to remember there are times when a little can go a long way. Whether it is a good dusting and a vacuum, cleaning your windows, de-cluttering counter space, or edging the lawn, there are many small things that can have a big impact.

A good listing agent will take the time know to their audience. They will identify what is important to the seller, not his or her bottom line, and structure the sale accordingly.

Likewise, a buyer representative will see this as an opportunity for the right person to get a great home at a lower cost, and have a chance to make the improvements that suite their tastes specifically.

Stay tuned for my next post on the implications of an older demographic on the buying and selling process.

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    Oh What A Night!

    "The world is my lobster." Henry J. Tillman

    What better way to kick off summer and an usher in the Fourth of July weekend than with a lobster dinner among friends and neighbors?


    While lobsters don't have spines, this crowd had backbone. No one was shy about mixing and mingling, having a good time and diving into their clambake with both hands. We had a great group - all of whom are at different stages of the buying, selling, settling in and home ownership processes. It was interesting to hear your input and we enjoy hearing about your individual experiences.

    And we learned a few things along the way as well. Here's one fact that caught many of us (or at least me) by surprise- each lobster meal was served with an egg. Back in the day, an egg would cook along with the lobster. When the egg was done, you knew your lobster was ready. I'm sure Jasper White relies on more high-tech methods these days, but it is an interesting concept.

    So don't miss the photo montage on Flickr and see a recap of the evening (and share it with your friends!). You'll also want to keep an eye out for more social media promotions on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You'll see a Tweet (or 'Tweah' as it's known in some circles) about it soon!

    Again, we would like to thank all of you that 'Liked' us on Facebook and joined us for the fun. We appreciate your social media enthusiasm, support and participation.

    Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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      YourHomeForSale Fans Get Tasty Benefits

      Not only do Facebook fans of YourHomeForSale get insightful industry updates and the latest on the Arlington housing market, but 25 lucky fans have won a free lobster dinner at the Summer Shack!
      Tomorrow night the Lucky 25 will dine on lobster, mussels and steamers, corn on the cob and lot's more deliciousness. We are hosting this summer soiree for our fans as an opportunity to connect, reconnect, and kick off our social media presence - no strings attached.
      Follow our Twitter feed and you'll see live updates from the event. We will also have a party-in-review on the YourHomeForSale blog with pictures and a complete recap.
      So if you haven't 'Liked' us yet, don't delay! You'll be on our radar for future social media promotions and giveaways, and we have more client/fan appreciation events on tap for the fall and winter.

      'Like' us or not, it is our pleasure to provide you with all of your real estate needs, and we look forward to working with you in the future!

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        Your Weekend Update

        It may be a dreary Friday, but it's perfect for planning your weekend house hunting strategy. There are a number of new homes on the market this week. And one of them could have your name on it! Best of luck finding your new home.




        Address

        Rooms

        Beds

        Bath

        Style

        Price

        273 Gray St.

        6

        3

        1/0

        Colonial

        $429,000

        221 Waverley St.

        7

        3

        2/0

        Cape

        $498,500

        374 Ridge Rd.

        7

        3

        2/1

        Raised Ranch

        $519,000

        65 Bellington St.

        6

        3

        1/1

        Colonial

        $519,000

        83 Glenburn Rd.

        7

        3

        1/1

        Colonial

        $547,000

        147 Park Ave.

        8

        4

        2/1

        Colonial

        $549,900

        259 Wachusett Ave.

        7

        3

        2/1

        Colonial

        $585,000

        28 Twin Circle

        8

        4

        2/1

        Multi-Level

        $599,000

        900B Mass. Ave.

        8

        4

        3/0

        Contemp

        $829,000


        CONDO


        Address

        Rooms

        Beds

        Bath

        Style

        Price

        118 Decatur St. #7

        4

        2

        1/0

        Mid-Rise

        $215,000

        60 Pleasant St. #513

        4

        2

        1/0

        Mid-Rise

        $240,000

        27 Overlook Rd. #27

        6

        2

        1/0

        2/3 Family

        $299,900

        38 Tanager #1

        5

        2

        1/0

        2/3 Family

        $309,900

        65-67 Paul Revere Rd. #1

        5

        3

        1/0

        Garden

        $364,900

        65-67 Paul Revere Road #2

        5

        3

        1/0

        Garden

        $364,900

        900 Mass. Ave #B

        8

        4

        3/0

        Attached

        $829,000



        MULTI-FAMILY


        Address

        Rooms

        Beds

        Bath

        Style

        Price

        123 Hibbert St.

        14

        4

        4/0

        4 Family

        $675,000





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          Straight from the Horse's Mouth

          This is one of those odd little phrases that we use to describe our relation to the source of a piece of information. But where did it originate?
          According to The Phrase Finder:
          "In horse racing circles...The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, i.e. stable lads, trainers etc. The notional 'from the horse's mouth' is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, i.e. the horse itself."

          There's nothing like an unsolicited testimonial - from the source itself - to validate the work you do in helping people sell their homes. In this case, a recent client sold his home with us and he surprised us with this video testimonial.

          Here's a snippet of what he has to say:
          "We think his Home Advantage Team is a home selling machine."
          "...my advice to you is if you want to sell your home in Arlington fast, and for top dollar, you'll want to stack the deck in your favor by listing your home with Steve McKenna."
          But don't take our word for it. Check out the video, "How to Sell Your Arlington Home in Today's Market," and hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

          And thank you, Merle Braley, for your thoughtful video and kind remarks.

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            Take a Dip, In Your Own Backyard

            Picture it. It's hot and there's no relief in sight. You need a reprieve except it's a 45 minute drive to a beach, plus the hassle of traffic and parking, and forget it if you have young kids - by the time you get there they'll be tired and cranky and need a nap so you'll have to leave. You know the drill.
            Today is the first official day of summer, and there is a better way cool off - in your own backyard. The Arlington Reservoir (the Res, as it's known locally) was named one of the top 10 swimming holes in the state. The Res includes a filtered/chlorinated swimming area, bathhouse, vending machines and playground. The beach is supervised by certified lifeguards and other beach staff.
            Above and beyond the amenities listed above, here are an additional top 10 reasons to go to the Res this summer:
            ·         Residents and non-residents are welcome.
            ·         Parking is free, and while you do have to pay (on weekends it's $7 for residents, $10 for non-residents), it's still cheaper than paying for parking at most beaches.
            ·         There's almost always parking, and you don't have to lug your stuff ¼ mile to get near the water.
            ·         There are trees that provide shade on the 'beach.' So you and your family won't cook in the sun all day.
            ·         You can call iChef and have a pizza delivered for dinner (so worth it).
            ·         You can go for the morning, leave so the kids can take naps, and come back in the evening (your pass will be valid).
            ·         The ice-cream man comes by regularly.
            ·         There is a fountain for the kids to splash in.
            ·         There's plenty to do - in addition to the beach and the playground, there's a volleyball net, beach toys for the kids, or you can take a stroll on the path around the entire Res.
            ·         You almost always run into someone you know.

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              Your Weekend Update

              It's that time again - time to start thinking about the weekend and time to begin planning your open house strategy. Here is your weekly snapshot of what's new on the market this week. There is a broad spectrum of homes, offering up a little something for everyone. Happy hunting!
              SINGLE FAMILY
              Address
              Rooms
              Beds
              Bath
              Style
              Price
              259 Forest St. 
              7
              3
              1/1
              Cape
              $429,900
              29 Sagamore Rd. 
              6
              3
              1/1
              Colonial
              $489,000   
              36 Oakland Ave. 
              7
              3
              1/0
              Colonial
              $489,000     
              109 Scituate St. 
              7
              3
              2/0
              Colonial
              $539,000   
              65 Oakhill Dr.
              9
              3
              1/1
              Colonial
              $619,000     
              29 Addison St. 
              9
              4
              2/1
              Colonial
              $789,000   


               
               CONDO
              Address
              Rooms
              Beds
              Bath
              Style
              Price
              1 Belknap St. #6
              2
              0
              1/0
              Low-Rise
              $149,000     
              993 Mass Ave. #205
              3
              1
              1/1
              Mid-Rise
              $214,500     
              20 Hamilton Rd. #101
              3
              1
              1/0
              Low-Rise
              $215,000     
              1290 Mass. Ave. #2
              7
              4
              2/0
              2/3 Family
              $458,876     
              50 Mount Vernon St #50
              8
              3
              2/0
              2/3 Family
              $499,000     
              150 Medford St. #2
              7
              3
              2/0
              2/3 Family
              $599,000


               
               

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                The Home Team Advantage*

                This is my inaugural post for the YourHomeForSale blog, so I'd like to introduce myself and let you know that you will also be hearing from me, in addition to Steve.

                I've been in the real estate business for more than 18 years, almost as long as Steve, and that's saying something. I've been working with The Home Advantage Team for the past six years, and we've established ourselves as the #1 real estate team in Arlington, MA. But you knew that.

                What you may not know, is that with the Home Advantage Team, you also get the Home Team Advantage. According to
                baseball analysts:

                "Over the course of modern baseball history, the difference between playing at home vs. on the road has been about 80 points of team WPCT [winning percentage] - a road team will win about 46% of its games, and a home team will win about 54% of its games, all else being equal."

                Stay with me here. Just as the home team wins more on their own turf, so do clients who use local, knowledgeable real estate agents.


                I represent buyers in a Buyer Agent capacity. Whereas Fenway Park may be one of the Red Sox's most lethal weapons, having a real estate agent that knows the ins-and-outs of the town you're interested in, is yours.

                Buying a home is an intensive and time consuming process - there are a lot players that need coaching - inspectors, lawyers, brokers, lenders - and when you're buying a home, you definitely don't want to swing and miss. So I hope you'll come back regularly and look for some of my insights and tidbits of information that you can use as part of your house-hunting strategy.

                *Disclaimer: An exception to the rule of the home team advantage applies to the Stanley Cup tonight, where the Bruins will surely win on the road and bring the cup home. Go Bruins!

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                  Arlington Housing Market Analysis - How This Year is Shaping Up

                  Housing news is always a hot topic. One reason is that is considered an economic indicator and lets us know whether we should splurge and order that flat screen TV, or stuff the bills in the mattress. 

                  We are constantly bombarded with housing news, analysis, trends and predictions. We hear things like, 'It's Time to Buy!' 'It's Time to Sell!' 'It's Time to Rent!' This makes it very difficult to understand what's relevant in our own market because there are so many regional, local and personal factors that come into play when buying and selling a home.

                  So if an analyst or organization says 'It's the right time to buy,' they may be correct from a market perspective, but not necessarily your perspective.

                  For example, not every housing market is in a nosedive. Arlington has consistently bucked the trends with stable home sales and a steady market overall.  As we approach the half-way point of 2011, we pulled together some statistics to help buyers and sellers in Arlington educate themselves about the local market.
















                  As a result of Mother Nature and all the snow and rain we received since the beginning of the year, the spring market was off to a slow start as evidenced by the above market snap shot.
                  Comparatively, volume and prices remained relatively stable.

                  ·         For sellers: It is important to note that a decrease in supply of single family homes has driven up the average price.  So, it is a good time to be a seller of a single- family home in Arlington.
                  ·         For buyers: On the flip side, for a first-time buyer or someone looking to downsize, prices of condos and multi-family homes have come down, making them an affordable option to a single family home. 

                  As the weather improves we are seeing a significant upswing in activity, so if you are thinking of selling or buying, call us today for guidance with your real estate needs.

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                    Your Weekend Update

                    TGIF and you know what that means - time to scope out the new listings, see who's on the move, and start imagining yourself in your new home.



                    Here is our weekly update with a snapshot of the new listings on the market for the upcoming weekend.  Get a jump on your house hunting plans and put your strategy together. You won't want to miss these!


                    SINGLE FAMILY


                    Address

                    Rooms

                    Beds

                    Bath

                    Style

                    Price

                    83 Wright St.
                    6
                    2
                    1/0
                    Bungalow
                    $359,000
                    11 Amherst St.
                    7
                    3
                    2/0
                    Colonial
                    $429,000
                    41 Rublee St.
                    6
                    3
                    1/0
                    Ranch
                    $449,000
                    31 Hillsdale Rd.
                    5
                    3
                    1/0
                    Cape
                    $519,000
                    81 Thesda St.

                    8

                    3

                    2/0

                    Ranch

                    $659,900

                    26 Lorraine Terr.

                    7

                    4

                    3/0

                    Colonial

                    $729,000


                    MULTI - FAMILY


                    Address

                    Rooms

                    Beds

                    Bath

                    Style

                    Price

                    35-37 Boulevard

                    10

                    3

                    2/0

                    2 Family

                    $299,000 


                    CONDOMINIUMS


                    Address

                    Rooms

                    Beds

                    Bath

                    Style

                    Price

                    1 Watermill Pl. #317

                    3

                    1

                    1/1

                    Mid-Rise

                    $269,000

                    1 Watermill Pl. #324

                    4

                    2

                    2/0

                    Mid-Rise

                    $319,000

                    14-16 Waldo Rd. #14

                    7

                    3

                    2/1

                    Townhouse

                    $539,000  

                    4 Bacon St. #4

                    6

                    3

                    2/1

                    Townhouse

                    $579,000

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