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What to Expect from Boston Real Estate in 2022

What to Expect from Boston Real Estate in 2022

12/23/21 Nouné Karapetian

As the calendar heads toward 2022, home prices in the greater Boston area remain high but there are signs that give buyers hope they might finally get into a home in the new year.That’s good news for buyers who have faced sizzling prices, a tight inventory of homes, and sometimes insane competition among buyers desperate to buy homes in Belmont.Many buyers have had no choice but to offer several thousand dollars over the list price of homes just to be competitive. They’ve also followed the potentially dangerous practice of waiving all contingencies, including having a home inspection performed before closing in order to find out if there are any serious problems with the home. Market Factors Real estate experts believe they are starting to see signs that 2022 could bring some factors that will ease the concerns of homebuyers, including those shopping for Belmont houses for sale.Those factors include an increase in listings and a slight drop in the number of sales, which help ease pressure on buyers. Mortgage interest rates remain low, which is a definite benefit for buyers trying to snag that ideal home, although they could rise during 2022.According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, there were 1,051 detached single-family homes that sold in October, representing a 27.6% decrease from the previous October.Although the median sales price rose to a record for the month of October, $700,000, it was just a 0.1% increase from October 2020.There was also a decrease in the sale of condos, although the median price reached a record high for the month of October at $609,000, up 6% from a year earlier. Strategy Real estate agents advise buyers to try to get into the market for Watertown homes for sale as soon as they can. For starters, while certain market conditions appear to be easing, prices remain a lot higher than they had been before the onset of the pandemic. Even when prices level out, the new normal is that they will remain high. By getting into the market now, buyers can avoid any further price increases, especially if prices spike for some reason.Another factor buyers should keep in mind is mortgage interest rates. Although interest rates have been at near historic lows, they are expected to rise in the new year. If interest rates do rise, it will mean buyers might not be able to afford a house in their preferred price range.Buying a home is one of the biggest investments many people will make. The sooner they are able to close a deal on Waltham houses for sale, the sooner their investment starts appreciating. Plus, they will be able to begin to take advantage of certain deductions on their tax returns.Rather than get discouraged and drop out of the market, buyers are advised to reconsider both their budget and look beyond the neighborhoods they had been focusing on. Look for less-expensive homes, or even shift your focus from single-family homes to Watertown, MA condos for sale. Look at the Suburbs When the pandemic struck, some people chose to leave the crowded central areas of many big cities, including Boston. In the Boston area, they were able to find bigger homes farther out, where they felt more comfortable and also could work from home. The trend of remote working is likely to continue for some time, so moving farther out from central Boston remains a smart strategy.Here's a look at some popular suburbs in the Boston area: Belmont Belmont is a community of about 26,000 located about 10 miles west of Boston. It is a quiet and peaceful suburb, as well as affluent. Belmont is favored by families but also works for busy professionals who can either work from home or have an easy commute into Bostonhttps://boston.curbed.com/2019/5/21/18633971/best-cities-for-commuting-into-boston.The price of homes in Belmont is higher than the median for the greater Boston area, but the lifestyle is worth it. Among the styles of homes are Tudor, Colonial, and Craftsman. Watertown Historic Watertown is another preferred western suburb, located just south of Belmont, with a population of just more than 35,000. Its location is also perfect for both professionals and families. Watertown is a more affordable suburb and the median price of Watertown houses for sale is lower than the average for the greater Boston area. Waltham Waltham is a big, populous suburb of about 63,000 that is just west of Watertown. It has become a popular place to live because of its different neighborhoods and busy downtown area.Waltham is also more affordable than other places in the greater Boston area. One great option for homebuyers looking to get into the market remains condos for sale in Waltham, MA. Hire a Knowledgeable Agent The search for affordable Belmont houses should always start by hiring an agent who has several years of experience helping clients find comfortable homes, particularly in the western suburbs.Look for an agent who has a great track record of success since the onset of the pandemic, which sent the housing market topsy-turvy for a while. As you interview agents, ask them to illustrate how they maneuvered through the market on behalf of buyers as conditions changed, including how they handled the market when it was red-hot. Once you’ve found an agent you know you can trust, sit down and lay out your budget and specifics of what you would like in Belmont houses for sale. Once your agent understands the kind of home you have in mind, he or she will be able to narrow down properties to view. Line up Financing You also need to visit a few mortgage lenders and compare rates and terms in order to find out how big a mortgage you can afford. Once you’ve locked in a lender, get a letter of preauthorization so you can shop for Watertown houses for sale with confidence. This letter will let sellers know you are serious and that your financing is solid. If you are interested in finding great Waltham houses for sale in the coming months, let Nouné Karapetian put her vast knowledge of the area to work for you.    

How to Choose the Right Listing Agent

How to Choose the Right Listing Agent

11/11/21 Nouné Karapetian

If you are ready to list your home among other Belmont houses for sale, you want to put your best foot forward so you can get the highest possible offers. In addition to prepping your house correctly, staging it, and choosing a competitive price for it, one of the best ways to ensure you achieve your selling goals is to work with an experienced Belmont real estate agent. However, choosing an agent is not as easy as selecting the one with the most experience or lowest commission. Here are some tips on choosing the right listing agent when you’re ready to sell your home. Ask for referrals One of the best ways to narrow down the list of Belmont real estate agents you may want to work with is to ask those you trust for referrals. Reach out to friends, relatives, and co-workers who have recently sold a home and ask who they worked with and why (or why not) they would recommend them. This will give you a better idea of different realtors’ levels of professionalism and customer service skills and help you steer clear of agents who provide a subpar customer experience. Do some online research Now that you’ve got the names of a handful of Belmont real estate agents you may want to hire, start researching them. Look at online reviews, check out their websites, and visit their social media pages to see what type of valuable content they provide to their followers. This can tell you more about each agent’s experience, background, and communication style so you can get a better feel for which would be the best match for your selling goals and your personality. Schedule some interviews Once you have two or three agents you are most interested in hiring to help you, set up a time to meet with them in person. During your interviews, consider asking the following questions: How long have you been listing Belmont houses for sale? This will give you a better idea of their local experience and how well they know the market. Keep in mind that the best agent is not always the one with the most experience, but that brand new agents may still be learning the ropes. On average, how many homes do you close per year? The average agent sells approximately 12 homes per year. If an agent you talk to is way below this number, it could mean they are only selling homes part-time. If they are way above, it could indicate they are more focused on volume than on giving quality customer service. Do you have references I can call? Belmont real estate agents who are reputable will be happy to let you speak with some of their past clients. If an agent seems hesitant about providing referrals, view this as a red flag. Will I be working with you personally? Some agents will secure listings for Belmont houses for sale, then turn the seller over to an assistant or different member of their team. Though choosing an agent with a strong team behind them is a good move, make sure you know who will be handling your listing during the selling process. Can you recommend other professionals in the industry? A well-connected, experienced Belmont real estate agent will be able to suggest reputable professionals such as mortgage brokers, contractors, stagers, and others you may need to work with while prepping or selling your home. How do you market Belmont houses for sale? A good agent will have the resources necessary to create a strategic marketing plan for your property. Ask how they have marketed properties in the past and if they have an in-house marketing specialist or partner with an outside agency that specializes in marketing homes. What’s your preferred communication style? Some Belmont real estate agents prefer talking on the phone or in person while others favor emails or texting. Though the best agents will be open to their client’s favorite way to communicate, it’s always a good idea to see which method is their go-to. How many clients are you currently working with? Though there is no “right” answer to this question, an agent who has very few (or no) clients could mean they’re doing something wrong while an agent with a long list of clients may not have the time or energy to best represent your listing. How do you help sellers price homes? Your agent is your best resource for pricing your home competitively. In most cases, the best way to do this is for them to perform a comparative market analysis that looks at what similar homes have recently sold for in the area. Ask some follow-up questions Once you’ve finished your interviews, reach out to each agent you are considering and ask a few follow-up questions. This gives you a chance to see how well they respond and/or how long they take to get back to you. An agent who returns your call or email promptly and patiently and completely answers any questions you have is one that will likely continue giving you a high level of customer service throughout the selling process. Go with your gut In the end, the Belmont real estate agent you choose to help you sell your home is the one you feel most comfortable with. You may be working with this person day in and day out for weeks or even months, so choosing one who makes you feel comfortable and valued is more important than anything else. Are you ready to start preparing your home for the market? Follow the above tips to help you choose a Belmont real estate agent who can best help you achieve your selling goals. If you’re ready to start scheduling interviews, consider trusted local agent Noune Karapetian. She would love to help you with all your selling needs.     

Complete this Checklist Before Selling Your Belmont Home

Complete this Checklist Before Selling Your Belmont Home

10/5/21 Nouné Karapetian

If you’re hoping to list a house or condo for sale in one of Boston’s popular suburbs, you’re in luck. Belmont’s real estate market is currently one of the hottest in the country, with high demand and low inventory. But regardless of market conditions, if you want to make the largest profit possible from your sale, it’s important to properly prepare your home before putting it on the market.Below is a checklist of what you need to finalize before listing your Belmont home for sale. 1.  Hire a local Belmont real estate expert Foregoing a real estate agent in the hope of saving on fees is not a good idea for Boston-area sellers. While it's true you’ll pay a percentage of your home sale to your Belmont real estate agent, their fee will be repaid in full through the higher selling price your home fetches with their help. Your agent will be by your side through every step of the pre-listing, selling, and closing process, ensuring that you negotiate for the highest possible price for your home. A local real estate expert can also help you find a deal on a Boston-area house or condo for sale if you haven’t found a new place to live. 2.  Make repairs Most buyers searching for a Belmont condo for sale want one that is move-in ready. This means that all electrical and plumbing should be up-to-date and in working order. The kitchen must be fully functional, and bathrooms must be free of issues like low water pressure or leaky faucets. They should also be free of warping, buckling, or large stains—and obviously, there can’t be damage like holes in the wall or water stains on the ceiling. If you have a condo, you will likely not have to worry about exterior issues like siding or roofing, but these should be in good shape for houses being listed on the market. Walk through your home with a handyman or contractor to identify the areas that may need attention and create a plan and budget to have any issues repaired. 3.  Declutter and depersonalize  The next step in your pre-listing process is to remove clutter and personal items that could prevent Belmont buyers from visualizing themselves living in your home. Take out excess clothing, books, papers, and personal items such as family photos, religious symbols, diplomas, and hobby materials and put them in a storage unit. If you have large, bulky furniture, you may also want to store this and replace it with smaller, lighter versions that take up less space. This will make your home appear more spacious and create a blank canvas on which potential buyers can imagine their own unique styles and tastes. 4.  Deep clean it Most Belmont real estate professionals suggest their clients hire a professional cleaning company that specializes in prepping homes for the market. If this doesn’t fit into your budget, create a list and tackle all the deep cleaning projects yourself. After you’ve cleaned, have your Belmont real estate agent walk through and point out any areas that might need a little extra attention. 5.  Neutralize When it comes to interior colors—including walls, accents, and window covering—neutral is the way to go for your Belmont home for sale. Choose options like white, beige, gray, or other colors that are appealing to a wide variety of potential buyers and reflect light through the home. For the kitchen and bathroom, stick to neutral shades of blue or green. A fresh coat of neutral paint will make rooms look as good as new, and will also help to mitigate any lingering odors. 6.  Remove signs of pets If your condo allows pets, or you’ve been living with a cat or dog in your house, you will need to remove evidence of them before buyers come to look at your home. The deep cleaning step above will help with this, but you’ll need to follow up on cleaning before every open house. Belmont's condos for sale with obvious signs of pets (or the pets themselves) can make a bad impression on buyers, who may view odor as a sign that your home is unclean or not well cared for. Find a temporary sitter for your pets during your open houses and remove dishes, pet beds, toys, food, and other accessories that will tip buyers off. 7.  Get professional photos taken If you’re on a budget, you may consider skipping out on a professional photographer for listing photos. This is a big mistake when it comes to listing a Belmont condo or house for sale. Homes that have professional photography sell 32% faster on average, and for more money than those that include amateur photos. A professional photographer will charge anywhere from $100 to $125 per hour, but most photographers don’t take more than an hour or two. A wide-angle lens and clear images will make your space look larger, brighter, and ready for potential buyers.  8.  Price it competitively Though the Belmont real estate market is hot, don’t overprice your home in hopes of getting higher offers. The best way to drive traffic to your listing and encourage offers is to price it competitively, allow your agent to negotiate for you, and to show off your home’s best features with the staging tips above. Work with an experienced agent who can perform a comparative market analysis that looks at what similar condos or houses have recently sold for in your area. Keep in mind that many homes in the Boston area are selling above the listing price, so you’ll likely get more than you ask for anyway—especially if you receive multiple offers or a bidding war develops. If you’re ready to sell your Belmont house or condo, contact local real estate agent Noune Karapetian for expert guidance and negotiation during the listing and selling process, as well as the best customer service the Belmont real estate market has to offer.  

Boston Winters / 10 Winter Survival Tips

Boston Winters / 10 Winter Survival Tips

08/21/21 Nouné Karapetian

If you are moving from warmer climates to Boston your main concern might be the cold winters. How cold does it get in Boston? How long are the winters? Can I do anything during winter months?    I am going to give you 10 tips on how you can not only survive but enjoy the winter in Boston!    Usually, we do not have a lot of snow in November-December. The temperatures are in high 30s and low 40s. Snow accumulation usually happens January-March. The same happened this year, we had couple of small snowstorms in December, but then it started snowing more at the end of January. When it starts snowing end of November constantly, we know it’s going to be a very long winter. Usually, March weather is very unpredictable - summer one day and winter the next day. By the end of May, you can definitely store your winter jacket . . .      Tip #1 – Shoveling Snow   When you move here first, make sure you rent or buy a place that has snow cleaning services. It will make your transition a little easier. Buy a house with a garage, hire a plowing service. If a garage or a carport is not an option, then you have to plan an extra 15 min to clear the snow from your car in the mornings and another 30+ min to shovel your driveway.   To de-ice your car, you can fill a water bottle with windshield wiper fluid and spray it before clearing the snow and ice from your car. Make sure to have plenty of gas in your car before a snowstorm. In Boston, it is totally legal to claim the space you shoveled out in the first 48 hours after a snow emergency.  Well, unless you're in the South End, where they're now banned.     Tip #2 – Wool, wool and more wool   If you will be using public transportation, that means you will be staying out a lot. Thermal under-ware is great. Don’t have thermal under-ware, just wear layers. Make sure to wear wool leggings under those jeans. Marino wool hats and socks will keep you not only warm but if you get into a puddle and your socks get wet, the Marino wool will dry out fast, it can absorb 30% of its weight worth of moisture. It’s a great insulator.    Tip# 3 – Warm Gloves    Those are a must, especially the ones with touchscreen points. Your hands can get frozen in minutes.   Tip#4 – Down Coats and Waterproof Boots   Go for insulated coats that are lightweight and can protect you in temperatures below 0. In Syberia people wear fur, the warmest coats ever. Fox fur coats can be as warm, sometimes, but they are heavy and bulky. Go for down coats which have the best heat retention. You should have at least 3 coats – one fabric for formal occasions, one extra warm, full length coat and one for Nov-Dec and April weather in  40s and 50s.   For boots – the snow eventually becomes slush and freezing rain, which happens a lot. Things to look for – extra warmth, waterproof and non-slip soles.   Tip #5 – Darkness   From mid-November to February 1st, it gets dark at around 4pm. That is what most MA residents complain about, it’s not the cold, it’s the darkness that gets us. If you are working a 9-5 job in an office with no windows, it can get extremely depressing, you go in and get out when it’s dark. Vitamin D supplementation is helpful. Also, use a light therapy lamp. Those can be inexpensive and highly effective.   If you are working from home or have many windows at your office or school, you will be in good shape because Boston winters are surprisingly sunny from 10am to 3pm.    Tip #6 – Winter Outdoor Activities   Make sure to participate in winter sports and spend as much time outdoors as possible. There are many ski slopes around Boston – Nashoba is the closest. If you can’s downhill ski and can’t do cross country skiing, snow shoeing or skating is great. Skiing places have snow shoeing rentals. Skating can be done locally – every town around Boston has a skating rink. Right in Downtown Boston there is the Frog Pond in the Boston Common, they have outdoor skating area, and you can rent the skates there too. For people who were born in warm climates and have no winter sports skills, snow shoeing is the best bet.      Tip #7 – Hot liquids   If you are the type of person that doesn’t like hot liquids like soups or even drinks their coffee cold, be prepared to change your habits. If you get caught in the snowstorm and you come home frozen, the hot liquids are a must after a hot bath.    Tip #8 – Heating System Maintenance   If you own your home make sure you do yearly heating system maintenance in September/October because heating systems tend to break on the coldest day of the year, that’s just how Murphy’s law works. If you are renting, your heat might be set up at a certain level that is not very comfortable for you. Check with the management to see if electrical heaters are allowed. Sometimes the older buildings can’t handle the extra appliances.   Tip #9 – Go Places!   When it gets really cold, people start to feel like hibernating inside, it’s too cold to go out to the theater, restaurants, meet friends or go to movies. Force yourself to do those things. You will feel much happier!   Tip #10 – Love that winter!   Find the things you love about winter. The first snowfall is beautiful. Everything is clean, soft, and silent. The world stops for a moment. The world turns into a magical elegant palace.   If you are moving to a town in MA and would like to know more, schedule a Zoom call with me using this link here

Moving to Boston I Pros and Cons of Living in the City of Boston

Moving to Boston I Pros and Cons of Living in the City of Boston

07/21/21 Nouné Karapetian

Can I tell you something you don’t know already? From the famous eateries to our beautiful fall season, what else does Boston have to offer? People move here for plentiful of jobs, great education and, highest level of healthcare. Complaints from people moving away usually include some kind of language about cold winters and the cost of living.   Here are some pros of living in Boston     #1 – Walkable City   It is a very walkable city. If you are living in Boston Proper, you can probably walk to a lot of places yourself, and you might not need a car. The public transportation is great and gives you many options. You have the bus, the subway, the commuter rail, even ferries. If you are living in Back Bay, Beacon Hill, or the downtown area, you can walk practically everywhere. Neighborhoods further away like East Boston, or Roxbury require you to use public transportation.   #2 - Diversity   Boston is a very diverse city with all kinds of different neighborhoods, and every neighborhood is slightly different with its characteristics and quirks. You will find a lot of diversity in the population, and in the cuisine. The North End is the Little Italy of Boston, and this is where you will find many Italian restaurants and cafes. It is a wonderful experience to go there on a weekend to just walk around. To live there, you can own one of the apartments in many buildings, there are no single-family homes in North End.   In North End, the famous Arya Trattoria serves mouthwatering Italian dishes, and it has hosted many celebrities over the years. You can see the pictures of the celebrities on the wall.   Many North End restaurants remove their glass walls in the summer to create an experience of Al Fresco dining. I like the North End panini much better than the ones in Italy, honestly.   Back Bay is where the famous Prudential center and Eataly are where you can have your dinner, do your grocery shopping, and spend your whole day there shopping. I think many Bostonians do that during winter months.     Chinatown in Boston has all kinds of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. It has a large grocery store where they sell a lot of Asian produce and dry goods. My favorite restaurant, The Q restaurant, serves the most amazing and delicious hot pots and dim sum. Boston's Chinatown is one of the most densely populated areas of Boston. It is also the second-largest Chinatown after New York City. There is a Chinese -owned bus line that goes from Boston to New York City, connecting those two Chinatowns.   Close to the South Station is the Japanese, award-winning O Ya Restaurant. You do not want to miss their sushi, their bluefin tuna, and smoked salmon sashimi. Well, I am digressing, I am talking about restaurants and neighborhoods when I need to talk about the pros and cons of living in Boston.   #3 -Brainiacs   We have Harvard University and MIT in our backyards, practically. The Boston area has so many incredible universities and schools. Just to name a few, Boston College, Brandeis University, Boston University, New England Conservatory, Northeastern, and Tufts universities. Even the community colleges will give you a pretty good education. But the other perk of having amazing colleges is you get all those professors that are teaching at MIT and Harvard living in that area. So generally, the IQ level is pretty high.   #4 – Parks and Trails   We have wonderful parks and trails. Well, the oldest park in U.S. is right in Boston. That is Boston Common, where you can spend an afternoon watching the swans or take a stroll around the area. It is beautiful, it is green. The landscaping is amazing. Be it summer or winter, there is a lot to do. In the winter, there are many hockey games happening by the youth on the snow and ice of the empty pond, the Frog Pond is also a great place to rent skates and skate away the winter blues.   Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is not just pretty. It is packed with activities with seven water features, a carousel, art installations, and a long way to walk from one end to the other.   There is the Charles River Bike Path that goes for many miles, and you can bike or run after work to get that circulation going.   Well, once you have all that fun over the weekend, it is time to go back to work.   #6 – Many Jobs   There are plenty of jobs in Boston and surrounding areas. There are many biotech and tech companies and jobs in education. The biggest employer in Boston is Mass General Hospital. The medical field is huge here.   #7 - Boston is historic and old   You walk, and there is history on every street. You see all those big, beautiful Victorian brownstones, and you imagine how people lived 100, 200 years ago. It also has a European feel. It does not feel like a city in America, and some areas are extremely new and fresh, like the Seaport District, it feels like a completely different city, you don’t feel like you are in Boston anymore.   #9 – Location   Boston’s location is great. To travel to New York City, it is about three and a half hours. You can spend the weekend there and come back. I used to do day trips. I would take the bus to New York City for opera auditions and come back the same day. To Montreal, Canada is about a five-hour drive. Another popular destination is Providence, Rhode Island, which is only one hour away. The beautiful nature of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont are also couple of hours car-drive away.   The flights to Europe are inexpensive and short. I had clients who relocated from Seattle to Boston. And one of their main reasons for moving was they needed to have a shorter and less expensive flight to Israel and living in Boston was so much more convenient for them. Can you see yourself living in Boston?   After hearing about all those positives, it is impossible to think that there will be any negatives, but yes, there are...   Con # 1 – Cost of housing   The rents keep going up. Many young people decide to have roommates or housemates so they can share the expense.   Generally, it comes to $1,000 per person for rent when living with housemates. Of course, if you choose the suburbs of Boston, you will get much better deals, but you will be further from downtown Boston. The down payment for rental in Boston is usually the first month, last month, security deposit, and agent fee. The agent fee most of the time is equal to one full month’s rent.   To buy a single-family in Boston, you have to think $800K and up, most of the time $1M and up but do not let that scare you away. Because of the diversity of the neighborhoods, you will be able to find a more affordable home in one of up-and-coming neighborhoods.   Con #2 – Not pet friendly   Many people have pets, especially dogs and cats. And I saw on some chats people were saying, "Boston is not pet friendly", and some people were saying, "What are you talking about? Everybody has a pet in Boston". Okay. Let me explain what is happening. You see people walking their dogs all the time but when you go to rent a place, not many landlords are excited about having pets as tenants. I looked it up on MLS and out of 2,856 rentals in Boston, only 163 were accepting pets.   Con #3 - Traffic   Like any other big city, Boston has a lot of traffic, but they are in certain directions and certain times. Driving in the city, yes, it is crazy, but not like New York City where everybody is honking and honking. Boston is a little more civilized.   Con # 4 – Cold and Long Winters   It gets dark pretty early, like 4:30 PM in the winter and some people complain about getting seasonal depression. The only thing that can help you with that is to be active, to be involved in sports, to be involved in other things, so you will not notice how dark it is. And those dark months go pretty quickly. Another thing that a lot of people in Boston do is take a vacation in tropical climates. If you can afford it, it is the best way to break the monotony of the cold winter. And, as one of the long-time Boston residents would say – Be glad you weren’t living here 50 years ago, winters were much worse then.   Do you have any questions about living in Boston? Please do not hesitate to contact me.

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