Posted by Marie Presti on 10/9/2017

 


 Zillow has been testing the market out with a program called Instant Offers, which some of you may have heard of by now. Zillow is claiming this program is a quick way for someone to sell their house to investors — all with no prep, no waiting, and no uncertainty. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? So I looked into it, and there are pitfalls.


This program is not available in all markets yet, but I found out that Instant Offer only showcases real offers, if a large Zillow investor is ready to buy the home and not an actual person who would live there. There are many other things you must understand before you determine if this service is right for you. The price the investors will offer you is based on the data that Zillow has on record. This data usually comes from the assessor's office of your local municipality. Most of the time, this information is right, but many times it’s not. In fact, in the past year, I’ve had only one out of eight properties listed accurately on the site. Either the lot size or the square footage was wrong. Or there were too many or too few bathrooms. In several cases, important features, like a garage, fireplace, and central air were not listed. Of course, these missing elements will sway investors’ offers. The bottom line: Make sure you know the real market value of your home before you consider selling.


Investors scouring Zillow’s site will also look at a ‘zestimate’ before making their offer. According to Zillow, the Boston market ‘zestimate’ has a median error percentage of 6.1 percent.  Let's look at the month of August, as the most recent example of updated figures. According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors,® the median sale price of a single-family home (in their jurisdiction) during that month was $610,000. That equates to a potential error of $37,210. Few of us can afford that kind of mistake!  


In The Presti Group’s market, Newton, Mass., the error rate is even higher.The year-to-date median sale price of a single-family home there is $1,295,000. With the Zillow error rate of 6.1 percent, the zestimate could be potentially off by $79,000. Maybe even more. Illustrating this point, one of our most recent listings was priced at $749,900. Zillow’s ‘zestimate’ listed the property at $802,000. I knew this was too high a price, as the house was in rough shape. We worked with the seller to fix up the place a bit, staged it, took professional photos, and executed quite a bit of online marketing. As a result, we got substantial traffic into the house in just its first week on the market. We received six offers and the house sold for $100K more than the original listing. Had the owners accepted an Instant Offer on Zillow, they would have washed at least $50,000 down the drain, because of the condition the property was in to start with. By using a Realtor®, they were able to use the complete services provided by The Presti Group to put the seller in the catbird’s seat.


While Zillow can give you a general idea of what's out there, it doesn't know the local market conditions, the property, neighborhood, or features of the house.  And it can’t help you decide to target a large investor or a first-time homebuyer. Or negotiate and advocate on your behalf. Most importantly, “Instant Offer” buyers may try to rent it out or fix it up and flip it for a profit. So they may not even live in the house and care for it the way that you did.


So when all is said and done, whom would you trust with one of the most important assets in your life? A national website that uses algorithms to compute a home’s value? Or a local real estate pro who knows the insides and outsides of the market and has the negotiating chops to get you the best price? I know what I would do. But whatever method you choose, don’t sell yourself short.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/7/2017

 
Each month, The Presti Group will be bringing you a vlog that covers all things real estate. We hope these are helpful!




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/7/2017

 

Check out The Presti Group's July Vlog! We hope you find it helpful.





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Posted by Marie Presti on 5/23/2017

 

 A friend of mine is flying the coop.


She is packing up her large house, counting the days until she and her husband move into a city condo. She dreams of meandering along, hand-in-hand, strolling to the theater and eating alfresco under the stars. All this, and no parking tickets! But after dropping another book triumphantly into a carton, her daughter screamed, “Stop it! I can't take it anymore!” Talk about ruining the moment.

 My friend had talked to her only child about moving far in advance. The high school senior is graduating from high school soon and was nonchalant at first. However, the reality of overflowing boxes and empty shelves set in, and the girl’s negativity reared its ugly head. This was something my friend hadn’t planned on. Fortunately, the daughter has come to terms with the move, but it’s traumatic nevertheless.  Imagine growing up in the only house you’ve ever known, only to be ousted right after you finish high school?  Won’t she miss her own bed when she comes home on break? As high school seniors prepare for graduation, the empty nest looms – for some parents. For others, maintenance-free living in smaller quarters dances in some parents’ heads like sugar plums. In fact, according to stageoflife.com, 36 percent of baby boomers will move out of their homes when becoming empty nesters. 

So before you start packing away the china, here are some things to consider:

Stress levels: If you are reeling because your only (or last) child is leaving the nest for college, have a very ill relative or are anticipating other difficult situation, wait. According to the Holmes Rahe stress scale, “a change in living conditions” ranks 30 out of 43 of life's most stressful events. The scale also shows that having a child leaving home is even more stressful (than moving), on the same scale. 

The importance of the house: How attached is your child? How does he or she feel about not returning to their childhood home? Arthur Kovacs, a San Diego-based psychologist, says caution is best when making a move, and be sure to talk about it with the kids. If parents move out of the family home, particularly while a child is away at college, it can be especially traumatic. “Young people don’t feel important. They feel like their life can be wiped away.”  On the other hand, if you have moved several times, your child may not be as attached to the home and moving will be much easier.

The relationship:  Some kids come home often. Some don’t. If you are close to your kid(s), consider that they will want to visit and stay overnight.  If you have more than one adult child, can they share a room?  Will he/she bring friends? During the holidays this will be a consideration. Many parents, no matter how young their kids are, dream of grandchildren. Will you have room for everyone? What if your kid(s) want to move back home? According to recent figures from Pew Research, 32percent of adults ages 18-34 live at home with their parents. What if they lose their job? Do you want to provide a safety net? 

Can you make money moving?:  That penthouse in the city sounds amazing. But if you are going to go into debt to move, it doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, if you get a good deal on a new condo in a  surrounding community, and can make a profit, it's a no brainer. Or, if moving saves you a bundle on property taxes. If your house is paid off, and you can pay cash for a new place, dismantling the nest is probably an easy decision.  

Bridging the Gap: Being able to move to a new home, before you put your existing one on the market, is the best case scenario if you can afford it.This enables you to move out gradually, clearing out clutter, a few boxes at a time. On the downside, carrying two mortgages is no picnic. For some people, a HELOC makes sense, so they can put a down payment on their new place. Retired homeowners might want to look into taking out a reverse mortgage. This can be used for the purchase of the new home. Once the current home is sold, the proceeds from that sale can be used to pay it back.

The cost of staying put:  Doing a simple exercise will help you evaluate whether or not you keep the nest intact. Calculate the cost of your empty room. Do this by dividing your total home expenses by the total sq. ft. of the house. Multiply that by the sq. ft. of the empty bedroom(s). That number will tell you how much you are spending to keep that room(s). 

Can you stay another 10-20 years? If you have a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor and have a large family who visits often, it might make sense to stay put. If you end up retrofitting your home to make things easier, think about how it will affect the resale value. I showed a house recently that had a closet in the dining room that stuck out like a sore thumb. If you install things like a stair climber, a walk in tub and grab bars, you won’t get the highest price you can. Many buyers want to move right in, with minimal repairs or renovations. 


 





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Posted by Marie Presti on 2/9/2017


Newton Broker Begins Term As President-Elect Of Greater Boston Association Of Realtors®






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