Blog :: 12-2013

Ring in the New!

The New Year is a great time for a fresh start. Maybe you want to lose five pounds, get organized or save more money (these were the top three resolutions for 2012, btw). Maybe you're with the 45% of Americans who make resolutions, the 38% who absolutely never make resolutions, or the 8% who are successful in achieving your resolutions (I'm 100% impressed if that's you).

The Home Advantage Team keeps practical, tactical resolutions. Besides our #1 resolution to provide the best possible real estate service to sellers and buyers, we're also ringing in a new Website.

We've been transitioning content over so by now you've probably seen the clean lines, easy navigation, mobile-friendly layout and visually pleasing site. What, no? Well then, go take a look! We're still in the process of pulling in more detailed features so be sure to check back in.

In the meantime, best wishes from our team to yours for a happy, healthy and safe 2014!


*image via: NVTOfficeClips


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    Top 5 YourHomeForSale Posts of 2013

    The top posts trending at the YourHomeForSale blog for 2013 include fun facts, new construction, best deals, fall buying, and inventory!

    In addition to our topical posts, our most popular Spotlight Home of the Week was this one from September, featuring five beautiful homes - a welcome sight for buyers eager to find a home this fall.

    Take a spin through the list and let us know if you agree (or disagree), or if there was a favorite post that you think should be included.

    As always, we appreciate your feedback. So let us know what you'd like to see more (or less) of in 2014!


    Fifteen Fun Real Estate Facts (11/4)

    #4:  Historically, the best month of the year to sell is April. Although we would dispute that -maybe it's the most common month, but often sellers fare better in the 'off months' of summer and winter.

    Introducing Holly Glen (1/25)

    Holly Glen is the newest development of its kind at a time when housing inventory outside the Boston area and inside I-95 (route 128) is near record lows.

    The Best Deal in Town (7/1)

    The best deal in town isn't going to get you a free coffee, or extra toppings on your fro-yo, or even discounted theater tickets. But it could result in thousands of dollars in your pocket.

    Big Fall Rush (9/25)

    Fall is often overlooked as a time to buy or sell a home, but in reality the last months of the year can be a catalyst for action. This year in particular, there are some pretty compelling reasons to buy or sell a home in Greater Boston.

    Chicken and the Egg of Housing Inventory (10/8)

    Yes, the market is low on inventory - right now. But this is not the time to chicken out of the housing market. Homeowners who are considering listing their homes have plenty of opportunity to land sunny side up when it comes to buying on the flip side.


    *image via: Microsoft

    Make a List (Check it Twice)

    Making a list can alleviate all kinds of stress - particularly around the holidays when it seems that the to-do's will never get to-done.

    The same goes for preparing to buy (or sell) a home. If you've written off the home search for the holidays, and you think spring is a better time to buy when more inventory will be available - think twice.

    Sellers list their home for all kinds of reasons that are not tied to the seasons - job relocation, need for a bigger house with a growing family, or they don't want the competition of the 'busier' months of spring and fall.

    ListThere's no reason why your dream home couldn't come on the market in January or February - so best to be prepared:

    1. Get preapproved (#1 must-do)
    2. Know your credit score
    3. Understand how much you can afford
    4. Calculate your down payment
    5. Bump up your savings account
    6. Ask for referrals (for mortgage brokers, lenders, and real estate professionals)

    Start ticking down the list one at a time and all of a sudden it won't seem like such a daunting task - and you'll be ready to move quickly when the home you've been waiting for becomes available.

    Feeling better about the home-buying process? Check.


    *image via: Microsoft


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      Real Estate Year in Review, 2013

      What a difference a few years can make. Why, just 24 short months ago the real estate market was described as 'oversaturated and underperforming with low housing prices and long market times.'

      Turn that statement on its head and you have a view of the current real estate market.


      It's not very difficult to sum up the year 2013 in local real estate. If you've sampled the Arlington market either through buying, selling or perusing, you've experienced these three things:

      1. Rising home prices

      2. Shrinking inventory

      3. Low interest rates

      Nothing shocking there. However, if you dig a little deeper there are some interesting nuances.

      First, interest rates have hovered, perhaps longer than expected. Maybe due to the government shut-down debacle this past fall, maybe not. Low interest rates make it very attractive for home buyers to get into the game, but like two opposing forces, pricey homes have often kept them out.

      Because rising home prices can scare off buyers it is more important than ever to consider the price vs. cost dynamic. Yes, home prices have been on the rise, but an increase in prices doesn't necessarily mean buying a home costs more (wait, whaaat?).

      This infographic from KCM sums it up nicely. For example, an interest rate increase from 4.2% to 5.2% on a $250,000 mortgage will result in $150 increase in payments per month, making a home purchase actually cost more in the long run.

      (By the way, sources are saying that an interest rate increase is likely within the next twelve months).

      Second, 2013 was a year where move-up buyers trumped first-time buyers. Even with low interest rates, those high home prices we just mentioned caused many first-time buyers to get bypassed (or outbid) on the road to homeownership. The fact that move-up buyers stood to make some money on the sale of their existing home put them in a better position to buy-up.

      "First-time buyers play a key role in the housing market's health and strength of the economy...It used to be: You rent first, and then buy. Now, you live in a basement, then rent, and then buy. That pushes a lot of spending to later in life, and the economy needs that spending." - Jed Kolko, chief economist for

      Next, senior downsizing was a big trend. Except these 'seniors' were not elderly folks in rocking chairs who were not able to care for the family home. These were active empty nesters more interested in getting out to travel, visit friends and family and take advantage of local shopping and restaurants. This funny Toyota commercial gives an interesting perspective :).

      Finally, home equity loans also contributed to near-ridiculously low inventory levels with many people choosing to renovate vs. move. If you've ever watched HGTV's Love it or List it you know how tough that decision can be. It depends on a number of factors, some financial, some emotional. Not everyone wants to leave their neighbors or undertake a home search. Yet not every renovation is worth the time, money, effort and aggravation.

      What to expect in 2014? We don't think you'll see a lot of real estate drama next year - more likely you'll see much of the same. 2014 has all the makings of a transition year, with prices and interest rates continuing to rise, but inventory of available homes increasing, too.

      Sellers: There is still time to capitalize on higher-than-normal home prices, but expect the demand to slow a bit in the coming months. Also, don't be put-off by selling in the 'off' months of the holidays and winter. There are serious buyers out there who are tired of waiting - and they're not likely to pass up a home because of the season.

      Buyers: There is still time to capitalize on lower-than-normal interest rates, but don't expect any major drops in home values yet. With interest rates now at 4.5% for a 30 year mortgage, it's tough to know if they will continue to rise or dip again. But don't miss the perfect home waiting for lower interest rates. Opportunities to refinance later can offset those costs.


      *image via: Microsoft


      Spotlight on Holly Glen

      Tis the season for new construction in a beautiful single-family home development in Burlington!

      In addition to being a holiday staple, did you know the holly shrub is often the focal point of a garden, providing a colorful, vibrant, hardy landscape that provides shelter and protection?

      There are plenty of vibrant homes at Holly Glen awaiting you. But as fast as construction is moving along, Holly Glen homes are selling almost as fast.

      Azalea Drive... Marigold Way... You'll love meandering through the tree-lined streets of Holly Glen. It is quiet and peaceful yet close to Burlington dining, shopping, 95/128, Lexington Center, and it is an easy commute to Cambridge and Boston.

      Check out the latest pictures to see the progress, and give us a call to reserve your Holly Glen home today!

      Connemarra Front