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House Hunting? Here's How To Win a Bidding War.

How to win a bidding war when buying a home from CNBC.

Today's housing market is arguably one of the most competitive in history. A record low supply of listings, coupled with extraordinarily high demand from the largest generation, mean fast-rising home prices and more people going after the hottest properties. Bidding wars are now the rule, rather than the exception.

So how do you win a bidding war? Best to be prepared before you even begin your search and to carry equal amounts of patience and humor with you … if possible.

Decide on your absolute maximum price. This factors in the monthly payment on your mortgage (if you need one), property taxes, homeowners insurance, potential homeowner association or condominium fees, and a general estimate of monthly upkeep (lawn care, pool guy, unforeseen repairs). Then start looking for homes priced slightly less than that maximum. This gives you some wiggle room in the bidding war.

1. Come with cash. Not everyone can do this, but if you can make an all-cash offer, you will have an advantage. In certain very hot markets, investors are heavy, and they usually come with cash. Sellers don't want to deal with the possibility that your loan might not come through, or they may not want to wait the extra time for the mortgage processing, so they prefer cash. In some cases they may even cut the price a bit to get the cash. Coming with cash can actually double your chances of winning a bidding war, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. You can always take out a mortgage after the deal closes.

2. If you don't have all-cash, try waiving the financing contingency.That is when the deal is contingent on your loan being approved by the lender. Be careful though, you don't want to end up on the hook for cash if the loan doesn't come through, so get a fully underwritten loan pre-approved from your lender before submitting your offer. This could improve your chances of winning a war by 58 percent, according to Redfin.

3. Try a personal letter to the seller. I did this once myself, and it worked on a deal I never expected to win. Selling a home is just as emotional as buying one, especially for sellers who have lived in the home a long time and have raised their kids there. Sellers want to know a little about the people taking over their precious nest. If you're a young family, write about how you can see raising your children in the cozy family room and how you already envision them playing in the back yard. Write about how much you love the neighborhood and want to become an active part of it. DO NOT tell the seller if you plan to gut the home. That could gut the deal.

4. Finally, don't be afraid to walk away. The last thing you want to do is get over-emotional and overstretch your budget. Don't be house-poor. That defeats the whole purpose of the investment.

And remember, there will always, always be another perfect home.

North Station-to-Seaport District ferry could launch in the fall

Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock

Curbed Boston: By Tom Acitelli  

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and a handful of private companies, including Vertex, are working toward launching weekday ferry service from Lovejoy Wharf near North Station to the Seaport District-slash-South Boston waterfront.

The authority has issued a request for proposals to underwrite the service for a year, with an eye toward extending it for three additional years. If the authority can line up the private funding—and it looks like it can—then service could start in late August or September.

It’s not clear what the price of a commute would be, but the effort would utilize what one authority official described as the region’s “blue highway”—its waterways and harbor—which are far, far less clogged with traffic than its real highways.

The ferry service would also be the latest big change in the area around North Station. Stay tuned.

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    Global Tumult Helps Keep Mortgage Rates Low

     Aaron Terrazas at Zillow Research

    Mortgage rates fell over the past week to their lowest levels in a month and are now below where they stood at the end of February.

    The week was a repeat of the familiar pattern we have seen repeatedly for the past few years: Just as macroeconomic fundamentals are poised to push rates higher, geopolitical fears seize the headlines, prompting a financial flight to safe assets and pushing mortgage rates downward.

    Looking only at interest rates and not at the broader context, U.S. home shoppers have been indirect beneficiaries of a tumultuous world buffeted by fears of financial instability in China and Brexit over the past two years, and now fears of a global trade war. The decline in mortgage rates is all the more telling because it occurred the same week that the Federal Reserve increased short-term lending rates. After steepening somewhat during the first two months of 2018, the yield curve is again flattening.

    Beyond ever-present (and difficult to predict) geopolitical risks, markets are likely to watch for inflation data due Thursday as well as speeches by two Federal Open Market Committee voters early next week. Markets will be closed for the Good Friday holiday, which could temper volatility, although borrowers should expect conservative pricing going into the long holiday weekend.

    Boston in springtime: Photographic reminders of city's beauty as winter holds on

     

    By Tom Acitelli  

    Curbed Boston Newsletter

    A little late March snowfall can’t stop time: Spring has technically arrived in Boston, and soon springtime weather will as well.

    Here are several photographic reminders of just how gorgeous the city can look.


    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ The Public Garden tulips will soon bloom in oceans of red, orange, and yellow, including around the famed statue of George Washington.

    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ Back Bay is one of the best Boston neighborhoods for inhaling springtime. And it’s pretty historic, too.

    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ Speaking of especially beautiful neighborhoods in springtime, Beacon Hill is probably the city’s most aesthetically pleasing year-round, what with its narrow lanes, brick sidewalks, antique townhouses, window boxes, and the occasional cobblestone street.

    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ The South End, too, with its Victorians and vegetation, can provide walks to savor when the blooming starts.

    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ The Charles River Esplanade provides not only a fantastic hangout for the warmer months, but fantastic views of Cambridge across the Charles River. Here’s Harvard from Boston.

    Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

    ↑ Can’t go wrong in the spring with Boston Common, what with its hidden gems and its many activities (swan boats, anyone?).

    Lorna Wu 2/Shutterstock

    ↑ The Harvard-owned Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain provides 281 acres of springtime reminders. Plus: Bike paths.

    Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

    ↑ A number of fabulous waterfront parks, including Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in the North End, can provide excellent vantages for soaking up the warmer temps.

    Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

    ↑ And have we mentioned the Public Garden in spring?

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      Marsh Properties Sponsors the 23rd Annual Taste Of The Back Bay!

      Courtesy of NABB  

        

             at the Prudential Skywalk

      This Year's Lineup of Back Bay restaurants and purveyors:

      Abe & Louie's

      Kashmir

      Atlantic Fish

      Kings Boston

      B3 Restaurant & Bar

      La Voile

      Back Bay Wine & Spirits

      L'Espalier

        Bauer Wine & Spirits

      Lucca Back Bay

      The BeBop

      Mooncusser Fish House

      Capital Grille

      Off the Common

      DeLuca's Market

      Papa Razzi

      Eastern Standard

      Sorellina

      Eataly

      Stephanie's on Newbury

      Flour Bakery + Cafe

      Top of the Hub

      Georgetown Cupcake

      Towne Stove and Spirits

      Joe's American Bar & Grill

      This year a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Women's Lunch Place.

      Musical entertainment provided by the Berklee College of Music.

      For more information about this truly enjoyable night out and how to buy tickets, click on the link below:

      http://www.nabbonline.com/event/taste_back_bay

      Tim Marsh Lists a Two Bedroom Condominium on the Front of the Four Seasons!

      Four Seasons two bedroom overlooking the Boston Public Garden!

      Priced to sell at $2,575,000 or $1,798 per SF; $621 below the average sale price per SF of the last five front facing residence at the Four Seasons at 220 Boylston Street.  At 1,432 SF with two bedrooms, two baths, garage parking and views into the Public Garden, that leaves plenty of room to put your signature on this luxury condominium property and still be "in the market".

               

      Check out this properties web site!  http://220boylston1013.com/flyer/pdf.ashx?oid=2202685&ot=213&title=220boylston1013.com

      Or view it on MLS.  https://h3v.mlspin.com/MLS.Reports/ListingDetails.aspx

       

      Contact Exclusive Broker Tim Marsh at 617-548-7145 or tim@bostonluxuryrealestate.com for more info or to set up a private viewing.

      Back Bay's 1000 Boylston Street could start construction in 2018

      Curbed Boston: By Tom Acitelli  

      A scaled-back proposal to build a primarily residential tower over the Massachusetts Turnpike next to the Hynes Convention Center won a key approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency on March 15.

      Developer Weiner Ventures had originally proposed building two buildings where Massachusetts Avenue meets Boylston Street: One 566 feet and 39 stories, the other 283 feet and 24 stories.

      The newly passed proposal includes plans for just one of those towers—and it would now reach to 484 feet and 27 floors. It would include 108 condos atop two floors of retail and restaurant space as well as two levels of parking.

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        Sellers: The Benefits of Staging Your Home.

        By: Kris Berg. HGTV

        Professional stagers are paid to bring out the best in your home. Don't take it personally.

        Bedroom: Stick to a Color Scheme

        Your home might be beautiful. Maybe it is immaculate, stylishly appointed to suit your tastes or highly upgraded with the finest materials and features. Perhaps it is all of these things. But, unless you are one in a thousand, it is not “staged.”

        Staging a home for sale is not a new concept, but it is a practice that has gained steam with our more challenging market. I see many home sellers confuse staging with decorating and consequently resisting the process and the recommendations of the staging professional. But the reality is that the moment you commit to marketing your home for sale, you need to commit to transforming your home into a place that potential buyers can easily picture as their home. This means that you need to be prepared to emotionally detach.

        Let your home speak to buyers.

        Your home speaks to you, but what is it saying to your potential buyer? Most sellers we encounter tend to take the staging process personally, and this is precisely the point. Our homes are personal, yet how we live is not how we sell. Our homes represent who we are; they are life-sized memory books of our travels, they trumpet our likes, our dislikes and our beliefs. They showcase our stuff -- all that stuff we have accumulated over time that speaks to us. The goal of staging is to make the home speak to everyone else, in a compelling and positive way.

        You are proud of your Hummel collection. Each piece acquired over time has a special meaning, but to your buyer, it is a collection of your things which serves only to draw his attention away from the main event. Likewise the personal photos, the too-tall centerpiece, the overstuffed china cabinet and the bookcase filled with National Geographic magazines dating back to the Paleozoic Era -- these are all treasures to be sure, but they serve only to sidetrack a buyer from the task at hand.

        Buyers tend to label the homes they see, as do agents. So, you can either be the “house with the beautiful arched doorways” or the “house with the Elvis throw rug and a bunch of office furniture where the dining room should be.” Both evoke emotional reactions, but unless the buyer is one who spends his annual vacations at Graceland, you will be far better served by eliminating distractions.

        Clutter may suggest your home doesn’t measure up.

        Most of us, if honest, will admit that our daily lives involve a certain amount of clutter. The little stack of mail and car keys and loose change next to the telephone, the “junk drawer” which has been busy propagating the species while no one was looking, and a bathroom with enough toiletries on display to groom the entire population of Northern Ireland are all examples. OK, I’m talking about my home here, but we all have our own flavors of clutter.

        True, clutter is just another perpetrator of distraction. More importantly, though, your clutter may be sending a message that you don’t have enough space. My own kitchen counter top is at this moment permanent home to a toaster, a toaster oven, a coffee pot, a butcher block of knives, a canister of utensils and a bowl of random items of fruit origin, the latter living out their golden years in a decorative bowl. This arrangement (except for the brown bananas) is functional, but to another person it might suggest I lack the cabinet space to properly store these everyday items. And, if I'm hoping that this other person will buy my home, I need to clean up my act.

        Don’t shoot the stager.

        The primary goal of staging is not to transform your home into the eighth wonder of the world. For most of us, this simply isn’t realistic. Rather, the best stagers will work with what you have, rearranging and reallocating all of your belongings, in order to present the property in its best light. Sometimes this means reallocating some of those belongings to the garage.

        Too often the tendency is take the process personally, but you shouldn’t. Staging is not a do-it-yourself sport, and only a third party specialist can bring the neutrality and objectivity needed to accomplish the goal. You may interpret the message that your favorite painting would look much better above the fireplace -- in your neighbor’s house -- as an indictment on your style and tastes. OK, maybe it is, but most likely it is not. Rather, it is probably the stager’s attempt to ensure that your appointments don’t upstage the home itself. That’s his/her job.

        Make no mistake -- professional staging is an inconvenience. Your daily routine will be turned, at least temporarily, on its head. And it can be unsettling as you watch your life rearranged to suit the tastes of others. But if selling your home in the shortest amount of time and for the most money is your goal, it is precisely those "others” who should be your focus.