A fantastic opportunity to live in desirable Wayland in an updated, bright and chic three bedroom bungalow. Located in the Claypit school district, this one-story home is situated in a very convenient neighborhood, on a dead-end street with easy access to Route 20 and the popular new Wayland Town Center. Stunning updates include trendy dark hard wood floors, a gorgeous kitchen and bath. With features like a living room with fireplace, dining room with built-in china cabinet, a flat, level backyard, central air conditioning, a four bedroom septic system, walk-up attic and a full basement, this home has everything you’re looking for.
Come by the Open Houses we have showing this Weekend!
Sunday, December 14th:
Amy Mizner is a Principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. in Wellesley and Weston
Your home is probably the most important and expensive purchase you’re ever going to make, and it’s not only a big undertaking, it’s often an emotional experience, too. There are lots of highs and lows. You need a broker by your side that you trust; to guide you through the process and make sure you don’t let anything negatively affect your decision. Trust is also important when going through the lending process, especially for the first time. Your broker should be someone you feel comfortable sharing your financial information with — and overall like being around. Interview brokers until you find one you connect with, and who clearly has your best interests in mind.
Compare the Listings He or She Has Online to What You’re Looking For
It’s crucial to find a real estate agent who knows the area you want to move to, and is used to dealing with the type of properties you’re interested in. He or she should be part of the community — familiar with the different neighborhoods and acquainted with many of the residents. After all, you really hire an agent for his or her network. Find out about your broker’s working history in the business, check reviews on him or her and make sure they have had success with their buyers in the past. Typically it’s best to find someone who works full-time and has been in the business for several years.
Experts say that more than 85% of potential buyers find their listings on the internet nowadays; so having a broker who knows how to navigate the new technologies and real estate tools is a must.
If you have friends or family members who recently bought or sold their home; ask if they would recommend their agent. Referrals are a great way to ensure your broker is professional and knowledgeable about the market. Another way to find a broker is to go to an open house. It doesn’t have to be the specific property you’re interested in, but it will give you an idea of their experience and work ethic. Take a business card and follow up on your own time if the broker was someone you would like to work with.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Asking a broker a list of important questions before deciding to work with them is perfectly acceptable. You should interview whoever is handling this major transaction, and there are certain things you need to know when jumping into the real estate market. A professional broker will be able to help you through the process, so be sure to ask them the following:
1. How will you communicate with me?
Communication is essential for real estate brokers; a missed phone call can be a missed opportunity, so ask if they’re available to text or email throughout the day. Make sure your agent will touch base with you in a way that works for your schedule.
2. Are there any Costs with the sale; who pays the broker commission?
There are several fees to consider when buying or selling a property; so make sure your agent is upfront about all commissions and closing costs. They can differ slightly, depending on the property, agency and market, so always know what they are before you sign on.
3. Do you have references?
An honest and successful broker won’t mind letting you contact past clients, so asking for references is a great way to make sure your broker is really working for you.
There’s a well-known quote in real estate that “20% of the brokers sell 80% of the properties on the market.” Make sure your broker is part of that 20%, to ensure a seamless buying experience.
Debi Benoit is a Principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. in Wellesley and Weston
Come by the Open Houses we have showing this Weekend!
Sunday, December 7th:
Last night we had our Benoit Mizner Simon company holiday party at Seasons 52 restaurant in Chestnut Hill. It was a fun evening celebrating another great year for all our agents!
The top 10 sales associates were announced. Our 2014 BOLD Achievement Premier Associates are: Traci Shulkin, Burns & Karpowicz, Donahue & Maley Team, Tanya Tanimoto, Jared Parker, Betsy Hargreaves, Jane Wemyss, Wilk Greenbaum Team, Jessica Allain and Alice O’Connor.
Here’s to another happy and prosperous new year!
Magnificent riverfront setting offers 5 acres of privacy and serene views only 15 miles to downtown Boston, and minutes to Needham and Wellesley Center. This spacious 5 bedroom colonial overlooking the Charles River is set amongst specimen gardens and gorgeous perennial flower beds. The gourmet kitchen with butler’s pantry is perfect for entertaining. The family room opens to the screened porch and overlooks the river. A gracious dining room, living room with adjoining deck, music room, conservatory and office round out the first floor. The second floor offers a master suite, three generously sized bedrooms and a small office with views of the grounds. The lower level features a guest room with walk out access to the gardens, a game room, wine room, media room, wet bar, exercise room and sauna. Additional guest/in-law/nanny quarters over the three-car garage. An incredibly private estate setting minutes to everything Dover, Needham and Wellesley have to offer!
A New Generation With A New Approach To Homeownership
Selling To Millennials Takes Patience And Skill
By Sheryl Simon, Special to Banker & Tradesman
If you’re starting to sell to the “Millennial” generation, you know that this ever-growing portion of the population, considered anyone under the age of 34, is starting to move the market. Millennials are generally first-time buyers, heading out of the city and into the suburbs to find their dream homes. Those who have been able to buckle down and save enough for a down payment and get financing are well- equipped for a home purchase, but many thirty-somethings are still wary of making the leap into home ownership, and are over-whelmed at the concept. If you’re a broker helping this demographic purchase a property, there are some tips to consider that may streamline the process.
Know your audience. According to recent Pew Research on “The Boomerang Generation,” nearly eight out of 10 25-34 year olds (78 percent) say they don’t have enough money to live the kind of life they want to. Unlike the Baby Boomers, who wanted to strike out on their own, Millennials aren’t as eager to cut the apron strings or give up some of their indulgences. They often spend thousands of dollars on exotic vacations. That’s a significant amount of money that could be put into savings for a home purchase. Add that to the Netflix, eating out – even that morning latte, at $3 per day, is over $1,000 per year. Educate them on ways to cut back if they want to make the sacrifice.
Provide real, concrete numbers. Many Millennials don’t actually know how much they can actually afford, and are often surprised at what they’re able to buy within their price range. Although lending restrictions have tightened, and standard down payments run between 15 and 20 per-cent, there are several products out there that require as little as 10 percent down. There are other options, including FHA loans and other products that offer lower down payment requirements. Help them do their homework and research all available options, and connect them with a bank or financial institution you trust to explain the implications of each choice. Urge them to get their credit score before applying for a loan so that they can fix any deficiencies before someone else points them out. Be sure to walk them through this entire process before showing them the first listing.
Give them a step-by-step plan. Many prospective buyers in this age group have never made such a big life choice, and find the whole process overwhelming. Consider putting a presentation together specifically for the Millennial first-time buyer that includes information on getting financing, and counsels them on what to look for in an investment. Walk them through the process of locating a real estate attorney, mortgage broker, inspector and any number of other industry professionals they’ll need. They will need every bit of your expert advice and should know they’ve come to the right place.
Lay out different housing options. Often, homes or con-dos that need work turn out to be smarter and less expensive purchases. Educate your Millennial buyers about holding off on expensive renovations – and why it’s smart to live with what they can and make improvements in their own time. This may be a tall order, given the fact that few want to sacrifice their personal luxury for an investment in their future – but the smart ones will do just that. Working on their home when they can afford to will help build equity, which will be helpful when they eventually decide to sell. Consider having them look at alternate cities and towns from the one they have their heart set on; it may be a cost-effective option and is a good way to build equity. They should also consider purchasing a multifamily home – they can generate rent income to help offset costs.
Look for a motivated buying pool. Millennials could have a leg up on the competition if they consider purchasing a home in July or August, or during the holiday season. This is generally a slower time in real estate and sellers are more motivated to make a deal. With less urgency around signing a purchase and sale agreement, there’s a little more time for them to think through the decision. Home sales are becoming less seasonal, but there are still advantages to not buying when every-one else is. Also, have them look at inventory that has been sitting a while – those sellers are a bit more motivated to sell than those with homes just hitting the market with bigger buyer pools. The bottom line is, young, first-time home buyers are starting to really make an impact on the real estate market, and more and more of these “Millennials” are dictating trends. Many developers are now paying attention to their lifestyles and building to suit their needs. While it may require more work on the front end to walk them through the process, the end result will be an educated buyer who not only purchases his or her first home with your help – but becomes a repeat client far into the future. Explain to them that their first home is more of a stepping stone to homeowner-ship, and trading up in five to 10 years is always an option. Settling for less than what their dream home will be, and setting goals to achieve that dream home in the future, is good, solid advice. The short-term investment in time and resources will pay dividends in the long run for both of you.
Sheryl Simon is principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co.
Article was published in Banker & Tradesman on November 17, 2014.
New Construction Slow To Recover
Permits Up From Recent Lows
By Colleen M. Sullivan for Banker & Tradesman
Three years into the beginning of the housing recovery, one particular sub-sector of the housing market is still lagging behind: new construction. New construction has bounced back a bit from the depths of the housing crash: Data from the U.S. Census show 5,076 single-family home building permits issued in the Bay State through September, a 61 percent bump from their 2009 nadir, when only 3,153 were issued for that same period. But not only are those figures down slightly from the same point last year – 5,114 permits were issued in the first nine months of 2013, a 0.7 percent decline – they’re a molehill compared to the typical pre-crash figures. In 2004, for example, 10,591 single-family permits were issued through the first nine months. The relative dearth of new homes in part reflects a broader market shift: Across the country, home ownership rates have declined in the aftermath of the recession, as higher student loan debts and tightened credit guidelines have kept more households renting. Combined with a preference for denser, more urban living, that’s pushed builders to focus on bigger multifamily projects – while single-family permits made up two-thirds of the total permits issued in Massachusetts in 2004, in 2014 they’re less than half.
It’s not that the buyers aren’t out there. But “the challenge is that new construction is so time-consuming, and so laborious for the builders to meet all the local codes and go through the process, that the new construction is priced higher. If you’re in the Newton market, the Brookline market, there’s an appetite for new construction,” but entry-level buyers may find themselves out of luck, said Sam Schneiderman, principal broker with the Greater Boston Home Team and a buyer’s agents specialist.
Nationwide, the gap between the price of new construction and an existing home has widened to historic levels, hovering at more than $70,000 in recent months, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department and the National Association of Realtors. Massachusetts is no exception to the trend. For example, according to data from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, the median sale price for a single-family home in Plymouth through the first nine months of the year was $307,000. In the same town, new homes listed for sale on real estate portal Zillow range from $326,00 to $534,000.
It’s a similar story all over the Bay State, at a range of price points: Median sale price in Wrentham in the same period was $415,000; new home listings ranged from $538,000 to $573,000. In Holliston, median price was $439,000 through the first nine months; for sale new construction listing range from $748,000 to $830,000. In Reading, the median was $485,000; new construction listing range from $323,000 to $450,000. In Westfield, median price was $197,000, for construction listing range from $319,000 to $380,000.
Such gaps reflect the high – and rising – land costs, which have made building spec housing particularly difficult in recent years, said Amy Mizner, co-broker/owner of Benoit Mizner Simon. Even in her brokerage’s home base of Weston and Wellesley, “Everybody wants new construction. They want high ceilings, open spaces, and they don’t want to do the work. But we really don’t have a whole lot of land in the Metro-West,” she said. “With spec properties, the builders are having a hard time finding teardown lots that are affordable enough to do speculative homes.” That means that even for buyers who can afford new construction, acquiring such a property may mean commissioning a full-custom build, and signing on for months of delays and construction head-aches. “A lot of buyers, when they find out what it’s going to take to do custom, they’ll find they get better value if they [purchase an existing high-end home] and do some tweaks,” said Mizner.
Article was published in Banker & Tradesman on November 17, 2014.