boston real estate trends

The Booming Boston Real Estate Market

The Boston Real Estate Market is Booming!

To continue on with our recap of the Best Real Estate Markets in the Country — today we cover Boston MA.  Boston Mass has recently been mentioned in the news because of their high real estate prices.  Rising real estate prices are a double edged sword that cuts both ways.  Although higher prices make it harder for some to purchase their first home, for the existing homeowner — your real estate investment is really paying off.   With the home prices in Boston continuing to rise, we are seeing many home buyers purchase homes in nearby cities such as Quincy, Cohasset and Milton MA. Many of the Boston suburbs have done very well with the rise in Boston real estate prices.  One of the best tips for a first time home buyer may be to move to a Boston suburb and commute into the city for work.

Isn’t All Real Estate an Investment?

The real estate market in Boston appears to be improving into a kind of investor’s paradise. The prices of homes and the rates of appreciation have continued to eclipse the national average, and this has seriously benefited Boston investors.  The median home value in Boston is currently at $561,300. Over the past one year, the home values in Boston have gone up 8.5%, and the rise is expected to continue even higher.

The average price of a single-family home in Boston hit $410,000, having risen from $300,000 from a similar time last year. This is something that any potential home buyer must factor in when thinking of buying a home in Boston.

Current Trends in Boston Real Estate

Current fall trends compared with the summer, have seen a rise in rental prices with one-bedroom apartments in West Roxbury and Mattapan increasing by 8% and 12% respectively in the fall. This was higher than any other Boston neighborhood. This analysis also tracked vacant and available apartments, making the overall percentages more accurate. During the past few months, the area that saw the most decline was the West End. In West End, the price of apartments decreased by 6%. Generally, the rent of a median one-bedroom apartment in Boston was $2,200 a month as of the fall of 2017

On the other hand, two-bedroom single-house rentals were averaged at $2,610. In Beacon Hill, one-bedroom rent was at $2,575, while in Back Bay it was at $2,825 and was higher still in both South Boston Waterfront and South Boston, where the prices were averaging $3000 and $2600 respectively. From that analysis, it can be said that the most expensive areas for a one-bedroom apartment during the fall were the Back Bay, downtown Boston and the South Boston waterfront, which is also known as the Seaport District.

Boston Housing Market

In the first three quarters of 2017, the home prices in Bay Village soared up more than any other neighborhood in Boston. The median sale price in Bay Village, which happens to be the smallest official neighborhood in Boston, increased to $533,500. But Roxbury and East Boston should still be considered by those who want to stay in Boston.

During the past five years, the median sale prices in these two Boston neighborhoods have doubled. The second steepest price growth was witnessed in downtown Boston in the Financial District where the median sale price rose to $321,000 from the previous value of $294,500. The South End was number three in growth, and fourth was the Chinatown/Leather District with a median sale price of $285,000. Beacon Hill wasn’t so far from Chinatown with a median price of $280,000. One surprising fact is that the median sale prices in East Boston and Roxbury doubled from 2012 to 2017. Two of the Boston’s most affordable enclaves are twice as expensive as they were five years ago.

The ten most expensive and luxurious one-bedroom apartments in Boston vary in price starting at $1.2 million for a 948 square foot apartment. They are located in Millennium Tower, the recently developed apartment/condo complex in Downtown Crossing in a refurbished Back Bay brownstone. The other places where you’ll find luxury one-bedroom Boston condos: 80 Commonwealth Avenue – $2,100,000; 300 Boylston Street – $1,990,000; 50 Liberty Drive – $1,614,735; 22 Liberty Drive #3H, Seaport – $1,599,000.

The Pier 4-Condos in Boston

The longtime residence of Anthony’s Pier 4, an old-time Boston seafood joint, is slowly transitioning into a luxury condominium complex. The developer of the site recently signed a lease with Kristin Canty, a renowned farm-to-table restaurateur. Pier 4, a 9-story, and 106-unit luxury condominium building is expected to open in late 2018 at Boston’s former Anthony’s Pier 4 site. Having been designed by SHoP Architects and the Boston-based CBT, the condo property is currently being developed by Tishman Speyer.

The starting price for a two-bedroom unit at the Pier 4 will be over $2 million. Each of the homes developed here has its separate private outdoor space as well as water views, while the penthouse will feature private roof decks. Other facilities in this area include outdoor seating, an outdoor terrace, as well as a dining area with a fire pit. In addition to that, there is a 24-hour concierge service and as well as a virtual golf.

Boston is Currently Facing an Affordability Issue

Boston home buyers will soon have to consider a $2,000 studio as a very lucrative value. Although it appears like a scary situation, according to some experts, it’s right where it needs to be in the current economy. Boston has witnessed high cost of land and construction, and this has led to most developments being priced at $1500 per square foot.

Although not the current real estate market in Boston may not be the greatest thing for the first time home buyer, the Boston real estate market has proven to be a great investment if you can afford to get in or already own some of this prime real estate.

Enjoy our articles on the best real estate markets?  Check out what we had to say about New Orleans!

vr and the future of real estate

VR and the Future of Real Estate

Technology is at the forefront of almost any industry that comes to mind. As the technology changes and advances so do the ways that we humans interact with things in that industry. The real estate market is no exception to this trend.

Virtual Reality

In recent years, the tech industry has brought forth some very interesting technologies that are going to revolutionize the way people interact with the real estate market. Everything from the way the agent lists the property online, to the way the consumer browses those listings. The internet alone was a game changer in the 90s allowing pictures of homes to be posted online giving the potential buyer multiple views of the property or home.
As big of an impact that the internet brought to the Real Estate industry, as big as it was, is small compared to what is coming.

Virtual Reality in Real Estate

We are talking new VR technologies in the making that are hitting the markets now. Virtual Reality will allow consumers to view an entire home or property from the comfort of their own home. In the past some pictures did not do well for selling a home. The picture may have been bad or some other issue, albeit not provided a good image of the home. With 4k image technology readily available and affordable, bad images are mostly a thing of the past.
Agents in the past spent much of their time moving back and forth around their area meeting people all over to look at homes. Today, VR will allow the agent to essentially walk through the home one time to create the virtual tour of the home. Once it is available online the consumer can view the listing and do a virtual walk-through from home. With image quality being high the virtual representation of the home is no longer computer generated, but rendered as an actual image looking as real as the real thing. Not having to walk through homes to show them to potential buyers all the time will save the agents and the consumers a lot of time.
This technology is also being implemented into new construction. This is allowing builders and consumers to work together and modify a home before it is built. Giving clients a walk-through of the home unfinished in a virtual environment where the consumer can pick and choose the interior and exterior aspects of the home. These would be things like wall colors, tiles, fixtures, doors, and so on. Essentially giving the buyer the ability to customize their new home with anything the builder has available. This will potentially save the consumer and the builder many hours over time.

Demo of VR in Real Estate Sales

New listings or new construction, VR is a new game changer for the real estate industry. The ability to save time and money makes VR a worthy investment on both sides. As VR becomes more available and more affordable, the ability to produce the virtual breakthroughs will become cheaper and easier while reaching a larger audience.

flood insurance

Flood Insurance….. Do You Need It?

The Price You Will Pay

The average price of flood insurance in the United States is around $600 annually, though it can depend on the flood zone in which you live.  In some flood plains, you are likely going to be required to purchase flood insurance even if the property has never flooded.  Flood Insurance is purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Shopping for an agent to provide flood insurance will not change the rate, as it is set by the  NFIP.

It Can Be a Safe Choicegutted home

But what if you aren’t required? Should you spend that extra money every year? What if the area you have lived in has never flooded?  These are all questions to consider. A Homeowner’s Insurance plan is not going to cover water damage from a flood. And flood damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more depending on the level of destruction.

Weigh the options—any place that has never flooded in recorded history can still flood, and it can cost you a whole lot of money (that you may not have) to get back into your home. You could pay a minimal (in comparison to the potential) fee every year and still be protected just in case.  Recently, areas of Louisiana that did not require flood insurance, flooded catastrophically.  Many homes did not have flood insurance.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did have to step in and provide shelters, mobile housing and money.  LAflooding

Flood plain maps can also change—the land around you is constantly changing and one day you could be in a historically non-flood area,  and the next day your home could be in a flood zone.

Flood Insurance When Buying a Home

Buying a home can be overwhelming.  Whether or not the homes for sale in the area that you are looking in requires flood insurance will make a difference in your overall affordability.  When financing a home, your mortgage lender will let you know if you are required to have flood insurance.

For instance, if the homes in a particular area do NOT require flood insurance than even if you choose to acquire it, it will be much less expensive.  If the homes you are looking at DO require flood insurance, you will want to get that flood quote and factor that into the overall note of your new home.  In most instances, if you are purchasing a condo, the condo association will have flood insurance — but that may not cover your contents.  You will want to review the condo documents for your association to make sure.

Flood Insurance When Selling Your Home

There are a few things to keep in mind, about flood insurance, when selling your home.  For the same reasons as mentioned above, its important to let any potential home buyers be aware of not only what flood zone your home is in, but how much you pay per year for flood insurance.  Its also good to note that National Flood Insurance is assumable.  So in many instances, the new homeowner will request to “assume” your current flood policy.

There are a variety of reasons that may not be possible, such as your current flood policy insures the home for LESS than you are selling it for — or if the policy is about to expire.  Although as the home seller, you should work with any buyer in letting them assume your current flood policy, the act of acquiring the flood policy does fall on the home buyer.

What Flood Insurance Does & Does not Cover

Flood insurance covers both the structure and the contents of a home. Many plans cap out at certain amounts and are dependent on the amount of damage, but you can also purchase supplemental plans. If you have anything that is particularly valuable, it may be best to take out a separate insurance policy.  It is best to do your homework ahead of time on what is, and what is not covered.

Also, important to note is that not all water damage is created equal. In other words, flood insurance is going to cover water damage if your area floods. However, if your water heater leaks or your roof caves in during a storm, your regular Homeowner’s insurance should cover that.

Who Decides

Unless required by your mortgage lender, who holds the mortgage on your home, the question still lies with you—to get flood insurance, or to not? Whether or not you decide to purchase flood insurance, you should still set aside emergency money for repairs just in case of a disaster as seen in the recent Louisiana flooding of August 2016.

FEMA and Flood Insurance

Tips for Selling Your Home

Tips for Selling Your Home

Finding a good agent is definitely one of the first and most important things you can do when you are trying to sell your home. But, don’t think that getting an agent is enough. When placing your home for sale, there are many things that can help you to ensure that your home sells and sells quickly. Here are a few tips:

Monitor Your Agent

Monitor what your agent is posting online on sites like ActiveRain. Most homebuyers start shopping for a home online before they do anything else. Make sure your home is one the best real estate websites, showing many other homes for sale.  Many won’t even get in the car to see a home if the online listings aren’t compelling and compelling means pictures! According to Trulia, a popular real estate site, listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers and listings with no pictures are at the bottom of the list.

Make A Video of Your Home

Post your own video about your real estate. Let buyers see your home and neighborhood through your eyes. Tell prospective buyers about what you like best and what your family loved about the house, your favorite coffee shop or a story about a good neighbor. Make it personal, home buyers want to know that a home was well-loved, and it gives them the opportunity to visualize living there too.

Tips to sell your homeGet the Neighbors Involved

Invite your neighbors to your open house to create an opportunity for your neighbors to sell the neighborhood. Encourage them to let their friends know who might be shopping for a home and who may want to live in the area.

Market on Social Media

Post your home on Facebook, the great connector of people. Do the math, if you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!

Include Extra Stuff

Leave some good stuff behind. Sweeten the deal by leaving behind personal property that you may have bought just for this house. Maybe the stainless steel kitchen appliances or a flat screen TV, or maybe the golf cart if your home is on a golf course, or a 4-wheeler. Buyers love the little extras offered.

WDIR – Termite Inspection

Get a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and repair all the little things you can. Make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired.

Declutter

Finally, pack up all the personal pictures and personal clutter. Give the buyer an opportunity to see their pictures on the shelves. Clearing the space and decluttering will go a long way in getting your home off the market.

lakeshore cove

The Hottest Real Estate Developments

The Hottest Real Estate Developments In The Country

We work very hard to pull out the best real estate markets in the country.  With everyone claiming to have “the best real estate market”, we feel that its important to point out some truly outstanding real estate developments.

Today, we will be looking at some of new real estate developments that are making waves.

Lakeshore LA – Luxury Condos

lakeshore coveLakeshore Cove Condos are the most recent development for Lakeshore LA – which is the largest luxury real estate development in South East Louisiana.  Lakeshore features multiple waterfront subdivisions including Lakeshore Estates, The Villages at Lakeshore, Marina Villa East and now Lakeshore Cove Luxury Condos.   The brand new luxury condos at Lakeshore are now for sale and starting at $325,000 which is considered a very affordable price for brand new, luxury waterfront condos. All of the new condominiums featured two bedrooms and two full baths and are 1295 square foot of living area.

Prices for the brand new luxury condominiums range from $325,000 to $365,000 depending on how spectacular you want your view to be.  Looking over Lake Pontchartrain, Lakeshore Cove condos feature a plethora of hi-end luxury amenities including:

  • In-ground Community Pool
  • Your Own Private Beach
  • Direct Access to Lake Pontchartrain
  • Clubhouse
  • All Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Absolutely No Carpet
  • Luxurious Waterfront Living

Pecan Plantation – Luxury Homes For Sale

pecan plantationPecan Plantation is a luxury development in Granbury Tx that has taken the area by storm.  With a variety of home options, Pecan Plantation features everything from mansions to ranches, single family homes and even condos.   Pecan Plantation even still has vacant land still available if you have home plans and would like to build the perfect home of your dreams.

Pecan Plantation is a private, gated community with its own golf course.  Additional luxury amenities include a high end fitness area, its very own air park for private pilots, lots of green space and parks, walking trails, stables and even archery.  At the center of Pecan Plantation is the luxurious clubhouse which has private swimming, tennis courts, pro golfing, four star dining and even 18 hotel rooms.

Located 35 miles South West of Fort Worth Tx, Pecan Plantation was previously known as deCordova Bend, after Jocob deCordova who was the surveyor who planned out most of the area within Hood County Tx.

Panama City Beach Condos

Panama City Beach is known for vacations and Spring Break.  In certain times of the year, Panama City Beach has an huge influx of people, all wanting to enjoy the sandy beaches.  Because of this, the beachfront condominium market for Panama City Beach has been growing for years.  Many condo owners actually live in other cities — own a vacation condo on the beach in PCB and lease it out throughout the year to offset their investment.  Needless to say, there are many homeowners who enjoy the year-long beachfront lifestyle.

All in all — Panama City Beach’s real estate market has been solid for years and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  Some of the additional draw is the ability to leverage your 2nd home as an investment.  Some of the more popular condos on the beach are Calypso Towers, Majestic Beach and Edgewater.

 

Check back soon! We will keep you informed with more of the hottest real estate developments in the country.

new orleans - downtown

New Orleans Real Estate Rebound?

New Orleans Real Estate Rebound?  

Apparently, it never lost it in the first place.

In our ongoing quest to bring you information on the best real estate markets in the country, we will be spotlighting New Orleans.  New Orleans has had its fair share of disasters in recent years, but fared quite well during the real estate crash of 2008.  So what has happened since????

Real Estate in New Orleans

While not quite back to pre-2007 recession levels, real estate values across the country are showing their strength and making a noticeable comeback.  At its worst, some of the nation’s hardest hit real estate markets lost more than fifty percent of their peak housing values in just a matter of months.  Places like Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and most of Southern California suffered the worst, while other real estate markets, buffered by strong local economies like Wilmington NC, Bentonville Arkansas (home of WalMart), Huntsville Alabama (a national technology hub), Tri-Cities Washington (a national energy and technology hub), Cohasset MA, Baton Rouge Louisiana,  and a number of smaller areas such as Granbury Tx, saw very few losses at all.  Even within some of the states that were hit hard – some cities seemed to be immune such as Panama City Beaches condo market.

What may come as a surprise to many is that, among the top cities least affected by the Great Recession, New Orleans, LA is also on the list.  This may seem baffling to many readers who recall the devastation and subsequent challenges faced by the Crescent City following the infamous and wide-spread destruction literally poured out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Although the city’s population was greatly reduced following a mass exodus of many of the hardest hit residents, and a temporarily devastated tourism industry, New Orleans’ unemployment rate remained lower than national averages.  

To assist in bolstering its economy, a majority of New Orleans banks refrained from issuing many of the risky loans that contributed to the real estate housing boom and subsequent burst in 2007.  Following Katrina, many industries and businesses invested heavily in New Orleans re-construction, rebuilding and reinforcing levees, as well as rebuilding and expanding local oil refineries and many of the city’s small businesses.  Also, as the number one crude oil producer in the nation, and with New Orleans being the energy, shipping, and transportation hub for the state, it’s no surprise to learn that New Orleans is on the list of the top recession-proof cities in the country.  By the time the Great Recession hit, New Orleans was already mid-stream up its own river towards recovery.  

So Hows The Real Estate Market?

Is New Orleans a good place to invest for real estate?  Some experts say “Yes!”  Boasting one of the most diverse real estate markets in the entire nation, New Orleans and its surrounding communities have way more to offer than initially meets the eye.  Sure, you can find many traditional homes for sale in the greater New Orleans area, too.  But why bother with traditional when extraordinary is on the menu.  Known worldwide as a “Sportsman’s Paradise”, Louisiana has even adopted the phrase as their state motto.  Where else can you hunt for alligators in the morning, go boating in Lake Pontchartrain in the mid-day noon sun, seine muddy creeks for for Crawfish in the afternoon, and go frog gigging under the flickering glow of lightning bugs in the evening?  

There aren’t many places where you can buy a cabin in the swamp, a stilt-house in the bayou, or a floating houseboat on one of Lake Pontchartrain’s many canals or river tributaries.  Luxury lakefront homes, riverfront real estate, and floating houseboats on just about every type of water body imaginable are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to homes for sale in the New Orleans area.  Don’t forget about the Northshore of New Orleans, just on the North side of Lake Pontchartrain.  Homes for sale in Covington and Mandeville have seen tremendous growth in both residential real estate as well as commercial.  People have flocked to the Northshore because of the new construction, great schools and low crime.  Areas such as Jahncke Street in Covington sports live oak trees that hang over the streets reminiscent of St. Charles Ave in New Orleans.    The Covington real estate market has been under priced for years and somewhat overshadowed by Mandeville, but is coming back strong. 

Visit New Orleans

So do yourself a favor… don’t come to New Orleans just for Mardi Gras, a quick trip to the French Quarter, to savor some world class Cajun cuisine, or to listen to the world’s most inspiring Jazz musicians.  Yes, that’s all fine and dandy, but don’t overlook its incredible real estate opportunities.  The next time you’re in New Orleans, make some time, grab a local REALTOR, and check out some of the most amazing and diverse real estate offerings available anywhere in the world.  In the words of the late, great, world-famous Cajun Chef, Justin Wilson, “I wanna told you something:  you’re gonna be glad you did… I gaw-ron-tee!”

 

 

security deposit disputes

How To Avoid Security Deposit Disputes

How to Avoid Security Deposit Disputes

Property management can be a lucrative business, but if not handled properly, deposit disputes can be an arduous, ongoing pain. A great way to avoid security deposit disputes from the start is to have a really good pre-move out inspection. By law, we are required to offer it but the tenant is not required to take it. Our recommendation is to do it because it will help you avoid bigger issues down the road. You can talk about any damages or repairs up front and the tenant will know what to expect. This will eliminate any surprises when the security deposit is charged. This inspection is your first line of defense, so push to get it done.

Be Fair

It’s very important to adopt clear policies on how you will handle items across the board. Normal wear and tear items such as paint and carpeting will really be subject to personal considerations on what is normal wear and what is not. Therefore, we give a five-year shelf life to all paint and flooring. With this general rule in place, we avoid any claims we are being unfair to our tenants or our property owners. It is an across the board policy that any paint and floors in our properties will last for five years and the value will decrease by a set amount year after year.

Be Flexable

If a tenant is reasonable and you feel they make a good case for why they should not have to pay for something, a good policy is to just split the cost with them. At the end of the day, it will be much cheaper to go this route than it will be to get involved in a long, drawn out court battle. Court will cost you more money whether you win or lose.

Be Reasonable

It’s also sometimes appropriate to ask your tenants if they want to do the repair work themselves. If you have conducted a move out inspection and you think there are simple items the tenants can come back and fix themselves, that may be an option for you. You can supervise if necessary. This is not a reasonable option for every tenant, but if you have something that can be reasonably fixed, it might be better for the tenant to handle it at a low cost than to have a more expensive repair person or maintenance worker do it.

 

Offer a reminder on common areas of security deposit reductions. Your tenants don’t think about this every day like we do, so you might need to tell them to shampoo the carpets or change the air filters before they move out. Remember to document everything. Do a very thorough move in inspection with photos so you can have a detailed report on how the home was received by these tenants. Time and date stamp those photos. If there is a dispute, you have the evidence you need to support your side, or even to support the tenant’s claim, if it turns out they are correct.

 

If you have any questions about security deposits or the process of avoiding disputes, please contact us.