What A Year...
Striking Gold on Gold Street
New to market in South Boston, nestled on the West Side close to the T, restaurants and shops, is this gorgeous single family home. Just listed for the first time, 205 Gold Street was built from the ground-up in 2018. Among its many features is its huge, 3-car heated garage -- a true luxury in the city.
This home also offers 4 spacious bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms and 2 outdoor spaces -- a deck and a fenced-in patio. The show-stopper kitchen has an oversized quartz island, a 5-burner gas stove with hood, wall oven, and gorgeous white and navy cabinetry. The kitchen opens to the living room and a dining alcove with room for a table seating 10 of your friends and family.
The soaring 11' ceilings and abundant amount of windows on this level make the home feel airy and bright. Red hardwood floors grace this home, which also has 3 zones of heating and cooling; one for each level.
Floor plans and a virtual tour are available so that you can tour the home from the comfort of your couch, but you can also see this home in person, by appointment. It's a very rare offering for South Boston -- there are extremely few 4-bedroom single families, and nearly all are older renovations, not new construction. And you'll be looking forever if you want to find another home with a 3-car garage, for it does not exist in this neighborhood! Don't miss the chance to call this spectacular home yours.
I'm overdue on posting about this beautiful condo that we launched in February. Located just a short block and a half to Roslindale Village, this 3-bedroom unit with parking is situated close to many fantastic breweries and restaurants, as well as the commuter rail.
Selling this condo has personal meaning to me, as I represented the seller when she bought this unit eight years ago. It needed a lot of work and she spent significant sweat equity transforming it into what you see today. It's very gratifying to see her get such a sizable return on her investment. The Boston Herald even wrote a full-page article about it in its print edition. Here is the e-version of the story.
It's also really nice to see Roslindale finally get its due after being in the shadows of Jamaica Plain for so long. It's a wonderful community and your money will go farther here. I have offered tours of the neighborhood to potential buyers in the past to show them the sights, and they quickly see that it's a great place to live.
The condo received multiple offers and is slated to close in mid-May. Fortunately, the Registry of Deeds allows e-recordings of closings, so transactions are able to still happen even though the coronavirus has caused the Registry's physical location to close.
Want to know more about living in Roslindale? Drop me a line!
How is the Market Doing?
I've been reaching out to a lot of my clients recently to see how they are doing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm relieved to report that so far, no one I directly know has been diagnosed with the virus. I hope that everyone continues to stay in good health and that we all come out on the other side of this relatively unscathed.
Numerous people I've contacted have understandably asked me how the market is doing, and if homes are still selling. The short answers are: better than you would think, and yes. If there’s one thing to be said about real estate is that there will always be situations in people’s lives that cause them to have to find a new home, no matter what is happening in the world. And so while things have slowed during this time when we are all staying at home as much as possible, the market has not ground to a halt. Prices are holding steady for now, depending on specific price-point and neighborhood. Generally speaking, buyers have less competition from other buyers than they would in a typical spring, but we aren’t seeing the “fire sales” that people expected either. Bidding wars are actually still happening.
I want to be very open that no one predict exactly what the future holds in regard to housing, myself included. I've witnessed a lot of other agents say that everything is fine and will continue to be. While I agree that the Boston market is extremely resilient, having weathered the housing crash in the late 2000's substantially better and faster than much of the U.S., we are in unprecedented times. I'm personally refraining from opinion-spouting and prefer to focus on what we actually know to be true: the data.
And so with that, I've compiled some research on how the market performed in Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31, 2020) as compared to recent years. I will plan to post Q2 results as soon as they are available, and believe that those figures may be more indicative of the impact of the coronavirus, since non-essential businesses only closed in Massachusetts on March 23... basically at the end of Q1. So, check back for that in July!
Without further ado, let's take a look at Q1 2020...
According to LINK, a real estate listing and reporting service for Boston, prices in Q1 citywide were at an all-time high, with an average sales price of $1,579,980. This represents a 36% increase over Q1 2019 and an average price per square foot of $1,147, a 21% increase. The number of sales also jumped 15%, likely due in large part to the lack of snow in Boston this year. Interestingly, despite the mild weather, the average days on market was 90, which is three weeks longer than in Q1 2019.
Delving deeper into some specific neighborhoods...
South Boston -- South Boston prices were up 17% over Q1 2019 to an all-time high, with an average sales price of $856,919. Average price per square foot was $749 (up 3%), but we also saw an increase in days on market -- 78 days vs. 57 the year before.
Back Bay -- We need to look at this in context. The huge (75%!) jump in prices over Q1 2019 is largely attributed to the development and sales of the luxury residences at One Dalton. Including those sales, the average price across Back Bay was $3,360,285, with the average price per square foot being $1,674.
South End -- Sales were down 19% in the South End during Q1 over 2019 due to the lack of inventory available. Since demand outweighed supply, prices were up 4% on average, and registered at $1,321,891. Like many other neighborhoods in the city, days on market were higher than in Q1 2019.
Finally, here's a cursory overview of many of the individual neighborhoods. As you can see, prices were up in most areas, with the exception of Fenway, the Waterfront and the West End which saw an average decrease of approximately 12%.
Data for Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline is not represented here, nor is it for some Boston neighborhoods outside of the Downtown core like Dorchester, East Boston and Jamaica Plain. If you would like the figures for any neighborhood or town not reflected here, please reach out and I'll put together a custom report for you.
Please take care and stay well!
Keep Calm and Carry On
There’s just only so many times you can watch Stranger Things. At some point, you have to get off the couch and become productive, mentally and physically, for your own well-being as well as for those around you.
And with that thought in mind, we've put together the following list of ideas to help you get started on taking better advantage of your time at home while in quarantine. Try to have a goal each week to do at least 2 of these things.
Spruce up your home. Good Housekeeping came up with this list of 33 spring cleaning tips. I’ve already gone through my make-up, much to the relief of my husband, and getting the patio furniture ready is next. Don’t forget to take before and after photos!
Stay physically active. Keeping up with your physical health can help boost your mood during times of uncertainty. Go for a walk outside, practice yoga, or join a virtual workout class at home. My gym, which I miss tremendously, is offering daily classes on Instagram. I’m also quietly contemplating the purchase of a Peloton…
Take a virtual field trip. While regular travel may be off the cards for the foreseeable future, virtual escapes are open to everyone with an internet connection. Tour the MFA or Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, visit the animals at the New England Aquarium or San Diego Zoo, or explore a national park.
Test out new recipes. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been cooking up a storm. I recently made Chrissy Teigen’s French onion soup and it was awesome. NYT Cooking also has some great easy recipe options.
Read something new. A study from the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress up to 68%. Use this time to read a new novel, catch up on articles you’ve been meaning to read, or learn about a new topic. New York Magazine suggests these books to read while you’re at home. You can even join a virtual book club so you can socialize with others.
Get crafty. It’s Good Housekeeping to the rescue again, with this list of at-home craft ideas. My sometimes-hobby, chalk painting furniture, made the list. There’s definitely something therapeutic about getting out your aggression while sanding down an old table and turning it into something beautiful.
Lend a helping hand. Even during a crisis that requires us to keep our distance from others, we can still come together as a strong, compassionate community. Some local organizations that could use your help are:
Practicing self care is as important as ever. Taking small daily actions like these to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community can help you manage stressful times.
I hope these tips help bring some calm into your daily lives.
Boston Mortgage Relief
On April 9, 2020, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a mortgage relief program to help Boston homeowners impacted by the Coronavirus.
As of right now, 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston will offer at least three months of deferred mortgage payments for homeowners who contact them and demonstrate they have been financially impacted by the public health crisis.
The list of lenders is:
According to the City, home owners will have the option to extend the three-month deferment for a longer period, if they need it. Other items of note:
If you do not live in the City of Boston, or if your lender doesn’t appear on this list, you should absolutely call your lender anyway to discuss your options. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act requires mortgage servicers to provide forbearance to any homeowner with a federally-backed mortgage.
A word of caution: never just stop paying your mortgage – that will cause your loan to go into default and you will face foreclosure proceedings after 60 days of missed payments. These missed payments will also impact your credit history. You must contact your lender first.
In terms of what else the City of Boston is doing, it has extended the due dates for property tax from May 1 to June 1 and Boston’s residential tax exemption from April 1 to June 1. The tax exemption gives Boston home owners a sizable portion off their annual property tax bill -- up to $2879 -- assuming they occupy the home as their primary residence and use the home's address on their tax return.
For additional questions or programs, please visit boston.gov/coronavirus or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline.
Well, that is one headline I never thought I'd write.
To say that a lot has changed in the world over these last couple of months would be an understatement. We are all confined to our homes, are wearing masks in public and are standing in line to get into grocery stores. What seemed to be tremendously rude at first, not shaking hands upon greeting people is now the norm. How quickly we all adapt. I like to think that this is evidence of how resilient the human race is in times of adversity.
On the real estate front, it's been a mixed bag. Many sellers and buyers have opted to put their housing plans on hold until conditions improve. But homes are still selling in Boston and its suburbs, even in the midst of COVID-19. The Governor has declared that real estate agents and their brokerages are essential and may continue operating as long as they adhere to CDC guidelines. And there are certainly people out there who, due to their unique personal circumstances, need (or want) to move now. Fortunately for them, we have a variety of technology solutions to showcase and sell homes while being safe and respecting social distancing guidelines:
Virtual Open Houses -- For my listings, I've been hosting virtual open houses. Using Zoom, I am able to set up a specific time where I can be in my client's home and invite interested parties to log into the "open house." I can then give them a tour of the entire property and answer any questions they may have. Listing sheets, floor plans and other documents that one may pick up at a regular open house can be shared within the Zoom platform or emailed individually to attendees.
Video -- I just rented a condo in South Boston "site-unseen" -- meaning that the tenants never actually came to see the unit in person. This was really important to the current tenants who were still living there and who were justifiably concerned about people coming in and out of the unit to view it. By taking a series of videos and posting them on YouTube through a private link, interested people were able to get a very accurate depiction of what the unit looked like in a way that photos just can't accomplish. We all know that photos will sometimes make a place look nicer than it actually is due to Photoshop, special lighting and the specific lenses that photographers use. But, there's really no disguising things in video. The new tenants felt comfortable enough after viewing the video to submit an application for the unit. We signed the lease yesterday!
FaceTime -- Similar to Zoom, I can give people a tour of my client's home using FaceTime on my phone. The difference is that instead of logging into a group meeting in Zoom, I can give tours to just 1 or 2 people at a time. This is slightly more intimate, as the people will have my undivided attention and I can cater the tour specifically to what they'd like to see or particular questions they have.
Virtual -- or Actual -- Staging -- I've spoken about virtual staging before. It's a fantastic tool we can utilize to digitally add furniture and decor to a vacant space, making the photographs much more visually interesting and compelling than they would be if the rooms were empty. While I believe that staging a home with real furniture is the preferred solution in most cases, there is no denying that virtual staging is cost-effective and efficient. And, during this time when we are all trying to socially distance from one another, not having an actual staging and moving crew come into the home may be the safer option. I recommend you discuss both options with your REALTOR® to determine what is best for your specific house.
3D "Matterport" Tours -- Matterport is the end-all and be-all of virtual tours. Using a three-dimensional camera system, Matterport can be used to create a fully-immersive, realistic experience that replicates what a prospective buyer or tenant would see if they were actually walking through the home. Check out these Matterport tours I've done for some of my past listings like 66 Tuttle in Dorchester or 125 B St. in South Boston -- just click on 3D View at the top of the page.
In-Person Showings -- Okay, this has nothing to do with technology. Even with all of the aforementioned tools, there are still people who understandably want to visit a home before they purchase or rent it. We get that. As such, we are taking precautions for all face-to-face meetings. For starters, we are not doing public open houses so that we can avoid too many people congregating together. Private showings are being arranged, with adequate time in between each showing so that we can wipe down any doors or other surfaces that may have been touched. Lysol, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, soap and gloves are all part of our arsenal. Additionally, all attendees are sent a document before each showing which outlines the ground rules before they enter the home. We all need to take responsibility for doing our part to help reduce COVID-19's spread. If you'd like to see this list, or have any questions about how to go about selling or buying during this unsettling time, just reach out to me.
Only time will tell regarding the true impact that COVID-19 will have on our lives and the world. In the meantime, may you and your loved ones stay safe and may we all see one another in person very soon. I raise a virtual toast to your health!
Author: Donna Charpentier
© 2020 DONNA CHARPENTIER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Introducing Unit 109 at the Allele
2019: Our Year in Review
Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that another year has passed since my last year in review -- and that it's practically mid-January already.
This time of year is typically a time of reflection for most people, and I spend much of January analyzing my business: what I'm most proud of, areas that can be improved, my team's performance and goals for the year ahead.
2019, as we started to get hints of in fall 2018, saw change for the Greater Boston real estate market. We began to see a shift away from the very strong market that sellers have enjoyed since 2013 to a more balanced market. While no one would say that we are now in a buyer's market, buyers definitely had more power in 2019 than in previous years. Inventory was slightly up, meaning that home shoppers had more to choose from when making their purchase. As a result, some properties took a little longer to accept an offer and we saw more price drops than we have in recent memory. Bidding wars and sales prices over-asking were no longer slam-dunks. It was critical to price a home right from the get-go, so that it didn't languish on the market.
We are proud of the results we achieved for our sellers in 2019 despite this changing market. We defied what others in our industry and those looking to sell experienced. Here's a quick round-up of our listings:
351 Dorchester St. #1, South Boston (January)
List Price: $345,000 | Sale Price: $349,000 (1% over asking price; multiple offers received)
216 W. 9th St. #2, South Boston (April)
List Price: $465,000 | Sale Price: $465,000 (100% of asking price; multiple offers received)
66 Tuttle St., Dorchester (June)
List Price: $769,000 | Sale Price: $830,000 (8% over asking price; 8 offers received!)
351 Dorchester St. #4, South Boston (June)
List Price: $499,900 | Sale Price: $487,500 (98% of asking price)
925 E. 2nd St. #7, South Boston (June)
List Price: $639,000 | Sale Price: $639,000 (100% of asking price)
95 Greenwood Lane, Waltham (July)
List Price: $599,900 | Sale Price: $710,000 (an amazing 18% over asking price after receiving 10 offers!)
45 West Broadway #301, South Boston (July)
List Price: $839,000 | Sale Price: $839,000 (100% of asking price)
**We got so much press for this truly unique and spectacular home, and it was even included in this roundup of the prettiest homes that hit the market in 2019.**
165 M St. #3, South Boston (August)
List Price: $675,000 | Sale Price: $690,000 (2% over asking price; multiple offers received)
15 Cotton St. #1, Roslindale (November)
List Price: $459,000 | Sale Price: $475,000 (3% over asking price)
**Boston Magazine gave a shout-out to this home; no surprise we received 5 offers.**
66 Tuttle St., Dorchester (yes, we sold this house twice in 2019; the 2nd time in Dec.)
List Price: $875,000 | Sale Price: $875,000 (100% of asking price)
We are pretty pleased with these results. While we achieved, on average, for our sellers a sale price that exceeded the listing price, we were able to do the reverse for our buyers. On average, our buyers in 2019 bought their homes for less than the listing price, saving them money. At its simplest, this is exactly what a real estate agent is supposed to do for you: get you the highest price possible when you sell, and get you the lowest price possible when you buy. I wear these results as a badge of honor.
Other highlights in 2019: We sadly said good-bye to Kristin Otto who left to start her nutrition career with a prestigious gig at Mass General, while welcoming Hannah Brooks to the team as our Transaction Coordinator. We also held a Client Appreciation Event at Bully Boy Distillers in November. Joined by 50 of my past clients, it was a fun night and was the least I could do to show my appreciation for their loyalty and trust. Thank you to all who came and to those who were there in spirit.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2020!
We are thrilled to announce our latest listing for sale: 15 Cotton St. #1 in Roslindale. Located in the Peters Hill section, just around the corner from the Arnold Arboretum, is this elegant home that the press just had to write about (thanks for the shout-out, Boston Magazine!).
We aren't sure what we are loving more: the coffered ceilings in the dining room, or the dining room's built-in hutch, the living room with all of those fantastic windows, or the plentiful outdoor space (a porch, a deck AND a yard). This two-bedroom condo also comes with 1 off-street parking space, huge deeded storage, and loads of curb appeal. Cotton Street is one of the prettiest streets in the neighborhood --- and if you love nature, then you'll swoon over the proximity to the Arboretum. Literally, walk down Cotton, turn left onto Fairview and -- viola! -- the park gates are right there.
First open houses are this weekend, Sat. Sept 14 and Sun. Sept. 15 from 11:30 - 1:00. Hope to see you there!