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Home Selling in Cambridge : Real Estate Advice

  • All157
  • Local Info7
  • Home Buying43
  • Home Selling9
  • Market Conditions6

Activity 19
Sun Nov 19, 2017
Dipiazzadenise answered:
This depends...if you are renting the home, will this be a "legal" bedroom with the egress window in your area? If so, it may be worth it. 3 bedroom rentals do bring in a higher price, however a bedroom in the basement won't be great for every family. For instance, a set of parents with two girls and a boy would want three bedrooms, but if all of those children are under the teen ages- then they would probably not want a basement bedroom. Yet, a family with teenagers, or a single mom that wants to share her space with an adult friend to help with housing costs may love the split design. (If you are renting section 8 homes, you also get more for three bedrooms and there is a higher demand- but the codes may even be more strict than those for regular rentals- you will have to check with HUD for your area.)

If you are selling the house? I would say "no." You could very easily get a few quotes to have the egress window and show it to prospective buyers. Listing it as a "possible third bedroom." This may give buyers who want three bedrooms an incentive to purchase your home, for a little more than a 2 bedroom might go for, if it is just a simple conversion. They may see it as a "deal," and you may get a bit more money for this on your home. However, putting in the window and trying to just push it as a "three" bedroom might not fly with perspective buyers, and it probably won't bring you the same money as other three bedroom homes in your area.

Hope that helps! Good luck.
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Mon May 16, 2016
RBman answered:
Patty - I think it's very admirable that you're trying to sell without an agent. We tried ourselves in NYC and it was a disaster for several weeks. Then we found out about how to get on the RLS (version of MLS here in NYC) via an agent assisted FSBO listing and things improved quite a bit.

It sounds like you did some sort of flat fee MLS listing as well but are still getting harassed by agents. In NYC it's quite a bit better because REBNY (real estate board of new york) is quite strict about solicitation by agents of other agents' exclusive listings. I've included a link to a good fsbo tips article from the guys at Hauseit which is a fsbo website I used in NYC. The fsbo tips should still be pretty applicable for you. Good luck!
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0 votes 54 answers Share Flag
Thu Jan 7, 2016
Louis Wolfson answered:
Lisa, I see you are either looking or selling in Cambridge. Depends on location within Cambridge, size of the home, whether it can be converted to multi units, parking, etc. I suggest you contact an agent or two to get their sense on what you can expect. If it is Priced it to sell it will get multi offers well above that price until it reaches an equilibrium. . ... more
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Thu Nov 5, 2015
Doug McNeilly answered:
Not that important. An assessment is the value placed on a property by the town by the Assessor's Office for the purpose of determining the property tax due. Recent sales are a much much better indication of value. I have seen assessment be off by $100,000 plus either way. ... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Tue Mar 4, 2014
Jeremiah Schuur asked:
what is the defintion of egress needed for a basement bedroom in cambridge?

And is there a square foot minimum?
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Fri Feb 28, 2014
James Daniel answered:
Good question. In my opinion selling now is the best course of action. The reason is simple: supply and demand. As of today, there are just 19 condos for sale in Somerville and 22 in Cambridge. In 25 years of selling homes in Cambridge and Somerville I have never seen the inventory so low. The demand for housing right now is great and most sellers are getting multiple offers for their property, and I do mean MULTIPLE!

Two years from now I fully expect there to be more sellers putting their homes on the market . I say this because by that time buyers needing to trade up, that purchased at the top of the last market cycle, will have more equity due to the rise in prices happening now. With those new sellers finally entering the market there will be an easing of prices. Prices will still be rising two years from now, but not anywhere near the current pace.

Now here is something else to consider: what will be the condition of your place after being rented for two years? Most tenants are responsible but typically not to the same extent that an owner living in their home would be. You may need to put some money into your loft to get it ready to sell. If the tenants have moved out in two years you will most likely have to paint as well as have the place staged.

Hope this helps!

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0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Wed Oct 31, 2012
Alex Haidar answered:
I would recommend you work with a Real Estate Broker to prepare the initial paperwork for a flat fee, then present the paperwork to your attorney for further processing. The attorney should know how to then prepare the Purchase and Sale Agreement and schedule the closing. Some brokers may provide you with "A-La-Carte" services for a smaller fee than a full commission. ... more
0 votes 16 answers Share Flag
Mon Apr 2, 2012
Louis Wolfson answered:

Congratulations, its always nice to hear feedback and the results.
0 votes 21 answers Share Flag
Wed Oct 12, 2011
Amy Uliss answered:
As mentioned previously, there are agencies that will place your home on MLS for a small fee. It will typically state in the remarks section of the listing that this is the case. It's not necessarily bad to use this limited service if you have a good handle on what is involved in selling or purchasing a home. There is so much more to the process that just placing the information on the internet for all to see. The real work starts when an offer comes in and what to do with that information when you receive it. Having a realtor by your side is invaluable and that is why many of us would not suggest pursuing this important transaction by yourself. ... more
0 votes 13 answers Share Flag
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Sandrine Deschaux answered:
It really depends on the price and the kind of property you own. Multi family buildings are flying; Single family are in shortage of stock and in high demand; And the condo market is more competitive but again depends on specific features of your home, and whether you price is accordingly and appropriately. All in all, we have a very strong market this season boosted by the Federal tax incentive. You can view on my website all the FY2009 statistics for Cambridge
Hope this helps.
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0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 17, 2009
Deb Nicholls answered:
I've been following your saga, and just yesterday wondered how you were doing! Congratulations!!

Deb Nicholls
1 vote 11 answers Share Flag
Tue Jun 30, 2009
Tim Cahill answered:
Hi Again,
I can only assume from the two words in your post that you're asking how the Riverside market is these days? :-) If so, without more detail as to whether you are interested in selling a single family home or condo, how many bedrooms it has, gross living area, etc., I can give you a breakdown of the number of active listings in Riverside over the past month (May 30 - June 30, 2009):

Active Listings
Price Range # of Listings Avg. Days on Market
$0 - $49,999 0 0
$50,000 - $99,999 0 0
$100,000 - $149,999 0 0
$150,000 - $199,999 0 0
$200,000 - $249,999 0 0
$250,000 - $299,999 0 0
$300,000 - $349,999 1 27
$350,000 - $399,999 0 0
$400,000 - $449,999 0 0
$450,000 - $499,999 1 62
$500,000 - $599,999 0 0
$600,000 - $699,999 1 33
$700,000 - $799,999 0 0
$800,000 - $899,999 1 7
$900,000 - $999,999 0 0

Total Properties: 4
Avg. Days on Market: 32
Lowest Price: $349,000
Median Price: $563,950
Highest Price: $829,000
Average Price: $576,475
Total Market Volume: $2,305,900
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Fri Jun 19, 2009
Sandrine Deschaux answered:
Usually Tuesday and Thursday anytime between 11 am to 1 pm. Objective: Previewing for our clients + connecting with our colleagues in the community + pricing properties. if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact. ... more
0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Wed Jun 3, 2009
Paul Shao answered:
Claire makes an excellent point. Agents are afraid of dealing with FSBO because of the homeowner's lack of knowledge/disclosures and the buying agent ends up doing most of the work because the homeowner doesn't know what they have to do. It's more of a fear of a deal falling apart due due to procedural problems and anything else. To help alleviate buyer agent's concerns, you should fill out a seller's disclosure declaration and also hire a real estate attorney to help with the processes, procedures, and contracts. You must also assure the agent that you will be available to handle all the tasks associated with selling a home(meeting with inspectors, fire department, 6D, water dept(if single house), title V(if Single house), appraisers, etc). Increasing the commission is also a good idea but keep in mind that you are paying someone to negotiate against you. I can email you a seller's disclosure declaration if you need one. Good luck! ... more
0 votes 11 answers Share Flag
Thu Aug 28, 2008
Michael Lefebvre answered:
Was yours the home that listed for $599,000 and sold for $565,000 in seven days? Apparently you DID lower the price on your end. Please don't trash Realtors by saying all we tell sellers is to "lower the price". I can see you didn't list with a Realtor before you listed by yourself, so I'm not sure what you are comparing your experience to. If you saved $15,000 in commissions (actually $14,125) but lowered your price by $24,000, was there really a savings there or was money left on the table?

Over the last 6 months, homes in Needham in the $500K's have been on the market for an average of 53 days and have sold for an average of 98% of their listing price. Yours sold for 94% of your listing price. So the 2.5% you saved in listing commission may have been traded for a 4% lower price than the current market average of homes being sold in Needham in your price range. Sellers need to look at their NET gain.

No, none of us (Realtors, homeowners, anyone....) owns a "magic wand" but GOOD Realtors (with the emphasis on GOOD) do own specific market expertise that can help increase the NET return that homeowners can expect on the sale of their homes.

You're right, it's a challenging market out there right now and in order to increase your chances of maximizing your NET gain on the sale of your home you need to look at ALL the angles. A GOOD Realtor (again, emphasis on GOOD) is worth their weight in gold!

If you're willing to simply accept a lower price than the market is currently bearing for your home, then maybe FSBO is the way to go. You saved $14,125 in commissions and took $24,000 less than you wanted for this home. Personally, I would have rather waited the 53 days (average for Needham in the $500Ks) and benefited from the extra roughly $7,000 net gain.
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0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 25, 2008 answered:
Wow, mike rafone (below) ... Does that kind of degradation actually get you business? Completely unnecessary.

Great responses below (minus mike the so called "real estate pro"). .
0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 4, 2008
J R answered:
Because........telling her "return the check and write cancelled" on the contract only answers the question she asked.
My impression was that she was looking for the answer to the question she asked. I also got the impression that when she said "we will decline the offer today", that she had decided to decline the offer. The question did not appear to me to be open to as much interpretation as is being implied.
As a professional, and a real estate agent, I can tell you there IS more to it than what was asked. Obviously I wasn't the only real estate professional who thought that.
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2 votes 33 answers Share Flag
Thu May 8, 2008 answered:
I agree with Eileen, is he the best BUYERS AGENT for you? We see this all the time ... and actually we get calls about this all the time (got one yesterday in fact) ... People often feel this sense of guilt or obligation when it comes time to buy and their listing agent has suggested they use his/her service, or a family member who is an agent suggests you use his/her service because they "have your best interests in mind," but the reality is this is not a personal relationship purchase, it is business transaction where thousands of dollars are on the line. it is, in fact, one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make and you need to find the best BUYERS agent. So, before you sign on with your listing broker, I would at the very least, suggest you do some homework on alternative brokers. That way if you end up choosing your listing agent you know you have done all the educating you could possibly do.

Again, Sellers Agents and Buyers Agents require two different skill sets because they are two different types of transactions:

Sellers agent should be:
A great marketer
Good at staging
Great at pricing
A very effective salesperson

A Buyer agent should be:
an effective consultant and educator
great at market data analysis (including local trends, absorbtion rates and property comp's)
A fantastic negotiator (working hard to get you the best and lowest price)
Someone who can identify property faults

I am actually curious as well about how you found the other house. Did you see it on your own at an open house or did your listing agent show you the property (is it one of his/her listings?) ? Or is it a neighbors/friends or FSBO?

Good luck and definitely don't feel obligated in any way to use your listing agent as your buyers agent. Do some research and find out your options before locking yourself in to this other agent.
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0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Wed May 7, 2008
David - Appraiser answered:
I figured it had to be converting attic space or extending an upper level floor over an open area or something to that effect. The problem is, including that extra square footage in your listings total square footage could be deemed misleading due to the fact there were no permits issued, disclosed or not. When a buyer agrees to purchase the condo, and their lender orders an appraisal, that non-permitted additional square footage would not be included in the appraised GLA (gross livable area) and would not receive any value. In addition the appraisal would have to disclose the non-permitted addition and have a cost-to-cure adjustment to the value and the lender may require the additional space be removed or inspected by the building inspector for code compliance and included in the recorded square footage which would increase the property taxes. If the financing is FHA, two appraisals would be required by two different FHA appraisers both doing an interior/exterior inspection (being a condo) and subject to FHA requirements. Now you have to ask yourself - do you feel lucky? Can you gather all the players involved in the transaction (seller, buyer, agent(s), loan officer, lender, appraiser(s), reviewer, underwriter, title company, home inspector) to look the other way (ethics violations, regulation violations, felony coersion, appraisal fraud, mortgage fraud) for the deal to close? There are many players across the country that are willing to do it - I read about them every day in Mortgage Fraud Blog - ... more
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