Industry News

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?   2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

Is it Time to BUY or SELL your Home?  2 Local North of Boston Experts answer this question!

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group in North Reading and Tom Patch, Loan Office of Mortgage Equity Partners in Lynnfield know the local market and want you to be in the know too.

Tom Patch says, “Everyone can benefit from low mortgage interest rates!”

You don’t want to miss out on the opportunities available right now in the housing market.  Mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been since October 2016.  Everyone can benefit whether you want to buy a home, sell a home, or refinance your current home.  This is a unique time in history where no matter where you fall in the housing market, everyone can benefit.

Home values have been appreciating for several years now. The annual appreciation rate has nearly doubled since 2012.  It is projected to dip beginning 2020 and not come back up until 2023, according to Home Price Expectation Survey 2019 2Q.  That means it is an excellent time to sell if you want to get the most for your home.

Mortgage Interest Rates are the lowest they have been in 3 years.  That means it is a good time to buy, sell, or refinance. A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment and the ability to afford more home for your money! 

If you bought a home more than 2 or 3 years back and thought you didn’t want to move because you will never get a rate that low again, now you can move up to a bigger home and still get a super low rate.

If you already own a home and you don’t want to move, you should review your current interest rate.  It has been widely shared that 8.2 million homeowners now have refinance opportunities.  Anyone who owns a home right now should be contacting a loan officer. If you have a rate that is higher than 4.25% you can save money even with closing costs and the other charges associated with closing a loan, in most cases.

 

 “Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”

--Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae

 

Geri Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group believes that the data (specific to North Reading) continues to show a very strong housing market

The North Reading Transcript has recently had several articles about the Real Estate market in general, but how does our Hometown North Reading market look?  The market from Jan 2018 to July 31st, 2018 to the 2019 market in the same time period was surprisingly similar. 

From January 2018 to July 31st 2018 there were 96 homes sold, and 30 condominiums sold.

From January 2019 to July 31st 2019 there were 101 homes sold, and 30 Condominiums sold.

The average days on market for single families in 2018 was 45.41.

The average days on market for single families in 2019 it was 68.27.

There was a significant increase to the days on market this year.  The reason for this is twofold.  List prices have started a little higher this year coming off such a successful/robust market from last year.  Secondly buyers were willing to sit back and wait for price decreases if they felt the property was priced on the higher end of the market. Also, buyers continue to be savvy, studying the internet and determining the home’s value prior to ever stepping foot in the property. 

“HOME PRICES ARE RISING!”-Geri Farrelly

In 2018 the average list price was $589,724.00 for single family homes.

In 2019 the average list price was $617,602.00 for single family homes. The average list price increased by approximately $28,000.00

In 2018 the average sale price was: $591,156.00

In 2019 the average sale price was: $622,168.00

An increase of $31,012.00, the increase appeared to be a steady climb as compared to last year as the prices where increasing at a much more rapid rate. A steady increase is much healthier for our community’s economic outlook.

The award-winning school system, amazing park system, the proximity to Boston and North Shore/New Hampshire Beaches, as well as the reputation of being such a great community which offers an excellent quality of life for its residents.  North Reading housing inventory continues to be low which leads to a seller’s market, as of today there is 1.76 months’ worth of inventory.  The market is balanced when there is 4-5 months’ worth of inventory on the market.  So, you can see we are significantly below the balanced market.  Which indicates it is an opportune time to sell, if you are thinking about doing so.

The combination of interest rates at the lowest they have been in years and a strong healthy real estate market make both experts say the answer is YES to the question “Is it the right time to buy or sell your home?”   The good news is there’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make that change. Reach out to your realtor and mortgage loan officer today to get things moving in the right direction. 

 

 

Tom Patch, MLO#142695,  is a mortgage professional at Mortgage Equity Partners, NMLS#1936. 

Geralyn Farrelly is the Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group, North Reading, MA License # 9533996

 

Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Moving into an Accessible Home

Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Moving into an Accessible Home

 

Are you in the market for a new accessible home? Navigating the home-buying process can be stressful, especially when mobility issues are a concern. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can make your move so much easier. Here’s how to get started.

 

Take Some Stress Out of Your Home Search 

 

Before you find your perfect home, you may want to spend some time planning to reduce stress and tension for your family, and this includes the four-legged family members. Make the time you spend searching for a home and moving less of an issue by making pet care more simple. An automatic pet feeder is a perfect solution to keep those furry bellies full and happy while you are dealing with all the extra stress. Many of the top models allow you to adjust feeding schedules to fit your pets so you can manage their care and their weight with minimal effort.

 

Of course, you may also need someone to help you out with other pet-parenting responsibilities if you do need to spend a lot of time away from home. You can look online to find a dog walker who can drop in on your pet and make sure he or she gets some exercise during those hectic days. You should also ask your dog walker about additional pet boarding services, which can come in handy if movers will be in and out of your home. Moving with dogs can be stressful, but dealing with a lost or frightened pet will only lead to more tension.

 

Find Accessible Homes Without Spending Hours Searching

 

If you are living with a disability, finding a home with features that fit your mobility needs can feel like a hassle. Online searches tend to leave out filters for accessibility features, which can make shopping for a new home a struggle. That’s why working with a realtor is always a smart first move when it comes to buying a new home. Licensed local real estate professionals will have more access to pertinent information about available properties and can more easily locate homes with mobility features already built-in.

 

If you and your realtor are having a hard time finding a home with accessibility options, you can also consider looking for a property at a price that will allow you to make your own upgrades. With the help of an experienced contractor, remodeling for accessibility can be fairly easy and inexpensive for prospective homeowners. Plus, your contractor will be able to tweak these adjustments so that they fit your own mobility needs and lifestyle. You may even be able to factor modification grants into your remodel budget, which can give you more options for making an offer on your dream home.

 

Hire Professional to Make Your Move Safe and Simple

 

Helping your pets stay calm and comfortable during this big change can relieve some tension, but you also need to make sure your move is safe for you. If you are living with a disability, chronic pain, or mobility issues, packing and moving boxes can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your body. So, think about looking for experienced professional movers who can take care of all of those tedious tasks for you. They often bring their own supplies too, which can leave more room in your budget for other moving expenses.

 

You can use the savings to pay for other new home and moving expenses. You will want to do a deep clean of your new home to make sure it is free of any allergens or pollutants that could make your family sick. This means stocking up on cleaning tools and supplies that will make the work easier, or you can think about hiring professional cleaners to help you with this chore as well. Professional cleaners take the work out of getting your new house clean and leave you with more time to relax and feel at home.

 

Moving with mobility issues does not have to be a hassle. You can plan ahead to make the whole process smoother and take the stress out of settling into your perfect new home.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

Will Your Remodel Pay Off? The Best (and Worst) Ways to Spend Your Budget

 

Most new homeowners have something about their property that they want to change. And as family needs and design trends shift over time, many will eventually choose to remodel. Some homeowners make updates to their property before listing it to maximize their potential sales revenue.

 

Whatever your reasons are for taking on a home improvement project, it’s wise to consider how the money you invest will impact your home’s value.

 

We’ve taken a look at six popular home renovations and identified those that—on average—have the best and worst returns on investment. So before you lift a hammer or hire a contractor, take a look at this list and see if your remodeling efforts will reward you when it comes time to sell.

 

 

RENOVATIONS THAT PAY OFF

 

These three common home improvement projects not only add function and style to your home, but they also offer a strong return on investment. Making strategic upgrades to your property will help you increase its value over time.

 

Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the home,” and for good reason. Traditionally used for preparing food, it has morphed into so much more. Many of us now eat our family meals in the kitchen, it serves as a favorite spot for homework and kids’ art projects, and it’s the place guests tend to gather when we host events.

 

Because we spend so much time in our kitchens, it’s natural that we will eventually want to make updates and upgrades to better suit our needs and changing style preferences.

 

Luckily, a minor kitchen remodel is one of the best investments you can make in your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, it has an average 80.5% return on investment.1

 

The key to making a kitchen remodel pay off is to keep it modest in scale. Spend too much on custom or high-end selections, and you are less likely to recoup your investment. Instead, make an effort to keep your existing layout if it works for you and your family. Paint or reface cabinets instead of replacing them. Update countertops with low-maintenance quartz and swap out old light fixtures with modern alternatives. Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient models. The average cost for a minor kitchen remodel is $22,500, and it’s likely to recoup more than $18,000 at resale.1

 

Wood Deck Addition

A deck addition is a popular way to extend and enhance the use of your outdoor space. It’s the perfect spot for grilling, dining alfresco, and entertaining. In fact, 81% of surveyed homeowners said they have a greater desire to be home since completing a deck addition.2

 

For a 16 x 20-foot wood deck, you can expect to spend around $13,000. Fortunately, the money you invest offers an average return of 76%.1

 

Decks made of composite material are a popular alternative these days, as they don’t require the regular sanding and staining that wood decks need. However, at an average cost of $19,000 for a 16 x 20-foot composite deck, they are significantly more expensive. Plus, the expected return on investment is only 69%.1 Still, if you plan to hire someone to provide regular maintenance to a wood deck, then a composite deck may offer cost savings over time.

 

 

Siding Replacement

Everyone knows good curb appeal is important when selling your home. And while it may not be the most exciting way to spend your remodeling budget, new siding can make a big impression on buyers … and your selling price.

 

Your home’s exterior is one of the first things buyers see when they view your home. It sets the tone for what they are going to see inside. It also gives an impression of how well the property has been maintained. Worn, peeling, or rotted siding can be a major red flag for buyers.

 

Replacing 1,250 square feet of siding costs around $16,000 and will net you an average of 76% at resale.1

 

For an even greater impact, consider replacing a portion of your siding with manufactured stone veneer. It can have a dramatic effect on the visual appeal of your home. A 300 square foot area will run you around $8,900, but you can expect to see a nearly 95% return when it comes time to sell.1

 

 

RENOVATIONS WITH WEAK RETURNS

 

These three popular remodeling projects are homeowner favorites. However, don’t expect to see a high rate of return at resale. Instead, consider them an investment in your current quality of life. Just make sure you’ll be living in the home long enough to make them worthwhile.

 

Major Kitchen Remodel

If there’s one room the majority of homeowners dream about making over, it’s their kitchen. From custom cabinetry to high-end appliances, the possibilities are endless. But those dreams can come at a cost.

 

An upscale kitchen remodel with high-end cabinetry and countertops, commercial-grade appliances, and designer features can cost upwards of $130,000. And unfortunately, you’ll only get back around 60% at resale. Even a mid-range kitchen remodel that includes new semi-custom wood cabinets, laminate countertops, and energy-efficient appliances could run you around $66,000 and net you a mere 62% at resale.1

 

Of course, an outdated or non-functional kitchen could turn buyers off from your home completely …  and keep you from enjoying it yourself! So if your kitchen needs a major remodel, you shouldn’t necessarily scrap your plans. Just go in with the realization that you may only get back a fraction of what you invest. Then you can decide which upgrades are worth the splurge.

 

In-ground Pool         

Few additions deliver more entertainment or enjoyment than an in-ground pool. It brings families and friends together, provides a break from the summer heat, and offers a fun and convenient way to stay fit. Plus, you’ll be the envy of your neighbors! But before you dive into a pool addition, consider whether the benefits outweigh the (substantial) costs.

 

The average expense to install a standard 18 x 36-foot in-ground pool is $57,500. And the estimated return at resale is only or 43%.2 In addition to the installation cost, plan to spend money each year on maintenance, repairs, and additional insurance.

 

However, 92% of surveyed homeowners said they “have a greater desire to be home” since installing a pool, and 83% have “an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home.” For you and your family, the perks of a pool may be priceless.2

 

Master Suite Addition

If you own a house built before the 1980s, there’s a good chance it lacks a master suite, which is a feature that has become commonplace in most newly constructed homes.3

 

Master bedrooms have evolved from a simple place to sleep into a homeowner’s retreat—often featuring a sitting area, his-and-hers walk-in closets, and an attached bathroom with double vanities, a soaking tub, and a walk-in shower.

 

And master suite additions have become increasingly popular—both in homes that lack one as well as those with aging owners who can no longer accommodate stairs to an upper-level bedroom.

 

But what’s the typical return at resale? Unfortunately, a master suite addition offers one of the lowest returns of any remodeling project. With a median cost of $125,000, most sellers will only recoup around 52% of their investment. Nevertheless, in a survey of homeowners, the majority were satisfied with their decision to add a master suite, giving it a “Joy Score” of 10 out of 10.4

 

 

WEIGHING COST VS. BENEFIT

 

It’s always wise to enter into a remodeling project with knowledge of how it will impact your home’s value. In most cases, upscale or highly-customized upgrades are less likely to offer a high rate of return. That said, home renovations that improve your quality of life and enhance your enjoyment may be worthwhile no matter the cost.

 

 

GET A CUSTOMIZED ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT FROM FARRELLY REALTY GROUP

 

We’ve been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual return you can expect on a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. If you have plans to remodel, call or send us the details. We’d be happy to conduct a free analysis to determine how the renovations will impact the value of your home or put you in touch with our many vendors to help tackle your upcoming projects! Call us at (978)664-3700.

 

 

Sources:

  1. 2019 Cost vs. Value Report -
    https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/
  2. NAR’ Remodeling Impact Report - https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2018-05-remodeling-impact-outdoor-features-05-23-2018.pdf
  3. Zillow -
    https://www.zillow.com/blog/evolution-of-the-master-bedroom-48286/
  4. House Logic -
    https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/bedroom-closet/master-suite-addition-return-investment/

Serious About Selling? 5 Steps to Make Your Home the best on the Block

 5 Steps to Make Your Home
the Best on the Block

 

 

We all want to be good neighbors. But when it comes to selling your home, it’s not just about “keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s about outshining them at every opportunity!

 

If you’re looking to sell your home fast and for the most money possible, you’ll need a strategy to set it apart from all the other listings competing for buyers in your area. That’s why we’ve outlined our proven, five-step plan for serious sellers.

 

Use these five tactics to help your listing get noticed, win over buyers, and net a higher sales price than your neighbors!

 

 

STEP 1: Stage Your Home to Show Its Full Potential

 

The average seller will do the minimum to prepare their home for market: clean and declutter, fix anything that’s broken, mow the lawn. And while those tasks are essential, today’s buyers want more than just a clean house and tidy yard. When they dream of buying a new home, they envision a designer house with modern finishes. Help them see your property’s full potential by staging it.

 

Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate—because it works! According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are professionally staged spend 73% less time on the market.1

 

So what exactly is staging? In a broad sense, staging is the act of preparing your home for market. The goal is to highlight your home’s strengths, minimize any deficiencies, and help buyers envision themselves living in the space. When staging a home, you might rearrange the furniture to make a room feel larger or remove heavy curtains to make it appear brighter.

 

Some sellers choose to hire a professional home stager, who has specialized training and experience, to maximize the appeal of their home to the largest number of potential buyers. Others may opt to do it themselves, using guidance from their agent.

 

We can help you determine the appropriate budget and effort required to push your home ahead of the competition in your neighborhood. The good news is, an investment in staging pays off. A 2018 survey found that 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than their unstaged neighbors homes.2

 

 

STEP 2: Draw Buyers in with High-Quality Listing Photos

 

You only have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers. And many buyers will view photos of a listing before they decide whether or not to visit it in person. In fact, 87% of buyers find photos “very useful” in their home search.3 Poor-quality or amateur-looking listing photos could keep buyers from ever stepping through your door.

 

Since good photography plays such an important role in getting your property noticed, we only work with the top local professionals to photograph our listings. But we don’t just rely on their photography skills when it comes to showcasing your home.

 

We go the extra mile to ensure your listing photos showcase the true essence of your home. We’re always on site during the photo shoot to help the photographer capture the best angles and lighting, and to let them know about unique or compelling selling features that they should photograph. The extra effort pays off in the end. In fact, listings with high-quality photography sell 32% faster than the competition … and often for more money!4

 

 

STEP 3: Price It Properly From the Start

 

This is a Farrelly Realty MUST! All of our listings are encouraged to price right from the moment their home comes on the market.  Even in a strong real estate market, there are homes that will sit unsold for months on end. This can be the “kiss of death” in real estate, as buyers tend to imagine that there must be something wrong with the property, even if it’s not the case.

 

But why are those houses still on the market in the first place? It’s because they are often priced too high.

 

Every buyer has a budget. And most will be viewing listings within a particular price range. If your property is overpriced, it can’t properly compete with the other houses they’re viewing that are priced correctly. Which means it’ll sit on the market until you’re eventually forced to drop the price.

 

Alternatively, if you price your home aggressively, it can be among the nicest homes that buyers have seen within their budget. This can lead to emotionally-attached buyers, who are often willing to pay a premium or settle for fewer seller concessions. And in certain markets, it can lead to a multiple-offer situation, or bidding war. The end result? More money in your pocket.

 

We can help you determine what that ideal listing price is for your home in the current market. Pricing it properly in the beginning is the best way to ensure a fast and profitable sale.

 

 

STEP 4: Put on a Good Show at Each Showing

 

Once buyers are interested enough to schedule a visit, it’s crucial that you put on a good show at each showing.

 

The first step is to make your home readily available—and often on short notice—for buyers to see it. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home. If you set too many restrictions on when it’s available to view, busy buyers will simply skip over your listing and move on to the next one. Our agents go above and beyond for their clients and because we work as a team there is ALWAYS an FRG agent available!

 

Part of making your home available means keeping it relatively show-ready as long as it’s on the market. Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect the day-to-day reality of our busy (and sometimes messy) families. But a little extra effort spent keeping your home clean, fresh-smelling, and ready for buyers will help it sell faster … which means you can get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible!

 

 

STEP 5: Use a Proven Promotion Plan

 

Most agents are still marketing their listings like they did 20 years ago  … put a sign in the yard, put the listing in the MLS, and pray that it sells. Yet, we know that 93% of buyers search for real estate listings online.3

 

That’s why we invest in the latest training and technology—to ensure your listing appears in the places where buyers are most likely to look. Our dual-level promotion strategy includes both pre-launch activities designed to seed the marketplace and post-listing activities to ensure your home stays top-of-mind with potential buyers.

 

By utilizing online and social marketing platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property gets maximum exposure to prospective buyers. Our contacts are your contacts!

 

 

LET’S GET MOVING

 

Are you thinking about listing your home? Get a head start on your competition! Or call us to schedule a free no-commitment consultation. We’d love to put together a custom plan to maximize the sales potential of your property!

 

 

Sources:

  1. Real Estate Staging Association - https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548
  2. Home Staging Resources -
    https://www.homestagingresources.com/2018-home-staging-statistics/
  3. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2018-real-estate-in-a-digital-world-12-12-2018.pdf
  4. RIS Media -
    https://rismedia.com/2018/12/12/shocking-stats-importance-photography-real-estate/

 

 

A Boutique business in a Box business world!

Personalized service is becoming a rare commodity in 2019.  From my own recent experience, you can travel from coast to coast and be surrounded by people but not interact with a single one.   Automation and artificial intelligence is taking over!  In some situations it makes perfect sense but in the real estate world with your biggest investment on the line you deserve more.  You deserve personal attention not a one size fits all box approach!    You deserve a local market expert!   You deserve a team approach where you are the top priority!  Farrelly Realty Group is just the firm you deserve. Geri Farrelly, the Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group is keeping her firm "Boutique Size" where personalization is the corner stone of the business. Geri and her team believe "Your Roots are Their Foundation".  Check out the recent press on this unique personal approach to real estate.   

 

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