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In It to Win It: Land Your Dream Home by Avoiding These 7 Mistakes on Your Offer

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You’ve seen every house on the market and you’ve finally found the spot you can’t wait to call home. In fact, you’ve mentally decorated it and planned your new life, down to the barbecues and block parties you’ll have with your awesome new neighbors. Sweet!

Slow down there, dear buyer. As you know, you still have one giant hurdle to overcome: You’ve got to make the offer that wins the house. And in a highly competitive housing market, that can be easier said than done. Don’t blow your chances with any of these common home offer mistakes.

  1. Dragging your feet

If you love a property, the worst thing you can do is wait to make an offer. Of course, you’re allowed to have some feelings of uncertainty—after all, this is likely the biggest financial decision of your life. But the longer you vacillate, the greater the chances you’ll set yourself up for failure.

“Time kills deals,” says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties, in New York City. “Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property all together.”

Not only should you be emotionally ready to pounce, but be logistically ready as well. That means pulling together all of your paperwork—bank statements, pre-approval letter, and any documents supporting proof of funds—while you’re house hunting.

“Get everything ready so we can act fast when we find a home you love,” Sandholm says.

  1. Offering your max pre-approved amount

Today’s sellers are often besieged by multiple suitors, and the successful buyer will be one who’s prepared for a bidding war. The best way to arm yourself for battle is to make sure you’ve got a strong financial arsenal. That means getting pre-approved (do this now, if you haven’t already) to show a seller you’re financially prepared to buy a home—their home.

But when you make an offer, beware of submitting a price that exactly matches the amount you were pre-approved for, says Chuck Silverston, principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline, MA.

“Many buyers come in with a pre-approval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength,” he says. “An exact pre-approval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.”

“In this market I often advise buyers to look at homes under their max loan amount,” echoes Denise Supplee, a Realtor® with Long and Foster Real Estate in Doylestown, PA. “When you have to bid against multiple offers, they will need some room to go up, and if they are at their maximum amount, that may not happen.”

  1. Using an obscure lender

Also consider using a well-known local mortgage lender or bank, suggests Realtor Megan Tolland, with Realty Executives Boston, who often sees online pre-approvals from out-of-state lenders or unknown online entities.

“Agents, and therefore sellers, are generally more comfortable with a local lender they know,” she says.

  1. Lowballing

Trust your agent and bid accordingly—even if it means offering a little more than you think you could get away with. If you lowball the seller in the hope that it’ll spark a negotiation, it could backfire—especially in a seller’s market.

“A lowball offer that isn’t backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely,” Sandholm says.

  1. Waiving the inspection contingency

“I don’t care whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her—get it inspected,” says Joshua Jarvis of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, GA.

An inspection is the only way to uncover potential flaws that could cost major cash to fix. And if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you stand to lose your earnest money if you back out.

  1. Letting outsiders sway your offer

When you’re buying a home, you probably want a second opinion. And probably a third, fourth, and maybe even 10th. We totally get it. But beware of letting these people—who mean well but haven’t seen the many, many other homes you’ve seen—influence your offer.

“The ‘adviser’ does what they think is best and tries to protect the buyer and usually slams the home,” Jarvis says. “Unfortunately, they don’t have the education in seeing the other 10 homes or understanding the market.”

If you’re going to rely on outside advice, Jarvis says, then ask that the person accompany you through as much of the process as possible.

  1. Not selling yourself

Wait, isn’t it the seller who, you know, does the selling? It might not sound quite fair, but in a seller’s market, you want to make sure you—the buyer—look as good to the seller as that picture-perfect house looks to you, Silverston says.

And it’s not just about looking good on paper. In fact, Silverston says, the offer process begins the moment the buyer steps through the door at the open house or showing.

“In today’s highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with,” he says.

That’s why buyers should avoid pointing out defects, asking a lot of nitpicky questions, or even insulting the owner’s taste by discussing changes they want to make.

“Basically buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers,” he says.

And, don’t forget to help seal the deal with a love letter—a personal touch could be enough to boost you to the top in the seller’s mind.

Interested in speaking with Chuck and his real estate team? Let us know or contact him directly on our website.

About Chuck Silverston

Chuck SilverstonChuck has been a top agent for over ten years and even earned the designation by Trendgraphix as the number one buyer’s agent in Brookline. Chuck is a Principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty. He has owned the Paris Creperie Cafe for over 15 years and has lived in Brookline for 20 years. Chuck has one daughter, Lilli, that attends Brookline High School. He served as co-chair of the Pierce School PTO from 2010-2012 and currently serves on the Board of the Brookline Education Foundation.

See the original article on realtor.com.

Featured Listing: Beautiful Three-Unit Multi-Family in Roxbury

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30 Edgewood Street – Roxbury

Offered at $825,000

Rarely available,  three-family home sitting on a beautiful double lot (7428 sq.ft). The extra lot of land is 3712 sq.ft. It is nicely landscaped and features a large paved drive way and patio.This building is well maintained and clean with many updates. Including a new kitchen on third floor. All of the units are spacious with high ceilings. All have separate utilities. Apartments two and 3 have washer/dryer hookups in unit. Apartment one has a washer/dryer in the basement. Each unit has ample closet space and a very nice layout.

Listing Agent: Celdra Allen-Harding, 617.283.8375, celdra.allen@unlimitedsir.com

View more information on 30 Edgewood Street here or visit unlimitedsir.com for more available homes.

About life in Roxbury:

Once a farming community, Roxbury is home to the historic Shirley Eustis House, the only remaining country house in America built by a British Royal Colonial Governor. Today this neighborhood is undergoing a renaissance. Hundreds of new business and housing initiatives have revitalized the neighborhood’s Dudley Square, Crosstown, and Grove Hall areas.

The dramatic transformation of Blue Hill Avenue from a street lined with vacant lots to a dynamic business district is one of former Mayor Menino’s proudest achievements. The Roxbury Center for the Arts, Culture, and Trade, which opened in 2005, celebrates the cultural richness of the community through the visual and performance arts.

Featured Listing: City Living at its Best in this South End Condo

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83 Dartmouth Street, Unit 1 – South End, Boston

Offered at $1,099,900

Unbeatable location on the South End/Back Bay border, at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Columbus Avenue is this spacious 2 bedroom condo with 2 full baths, 1,205 square feet with a private, fenced-patio in a brick Victorian era row house. The unit provides separation between the master bedroom/ensuite bathroom and the living area. Open kitchen and living room concept with a breakfast bar and dining room area. Entertain and enjoy your summers out on the patio area with your BBQ grill. In-unit laundry. Central Air Conditioning. Great storage space. City living at its best! Only a short walk to the Prudential Center, Back Bay Station, restaurant row in the South End, Boylston and Newbury Streets. Easy access to the Mass Pike and 93, Logan airport is 15 minutes away. Pet friendly. Would make a great long term investment to add to your portfolio.

Listing Agent: Jon Ufland, 617.901.9977, jon.ufland@unlimitedsir.com

View more information on 83 Dartmouth Street in Boston here or visit unlimitedsir.com for more available homes.

Featured Listing: Classic Colonial Condo in Jamaica Plain

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180 Arborway Street, Unit 2 – Jamaica Plain

Offered at $849,000

This Sunny Jamaica Plain Arboretum Classic Colonial Condo in 2 family across from the main entrance of the Arboretum has everything you want: 2220 square feet on 2 floors. Living level has formal living room with fireplace, sunroom and is open to the dining room with built-in hutch, modern updated Kitchen is partially open to dining room with a wonderful blend of original glass built-in with modern cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, 2 bedrooms, and full classic white tile bath. 3rd floor has open area used as master bedroom, 3/4 tile bath, extra sink and storage area (could convert to laundry room), 3rd bedroom with closet and built-ins. Ample storage throughout as well as storage and laundry in basement. Shared fenced in landscaped yard, 1 garage and 1 parking. All in easy reach of Centre Street shops, T, Arboretum & Pond.

Listing Agent: Mary Wallace, 617.293.8002, mary.wallace@unlimitedsir.com

View more information on 180 Arborway here or visit unlimitedsir.com for more available homes.

Featured Listing: Quintessential Home in Avon Hill

21A Lancaster Street, Cambridge MA 21A Lancaster Street, Cambridge MA 21A Lancaster Street, Cambridge MA 21A Lancaster Street, Cambridge MA

21 Lancaster Street, Unit A – Avon Hill, Cambridge

Offered at $1,100,000

Quintessential Avon Hill location! Wonderful, chic and sun-splashed two-level condo with a private deck, yard (shared with top floor unit), and parking for 1 car! Exposed brick, open living room and dining room, fireplace, tall ceilings, oversized windows. Main floor library or 3rd bedroom with built-in bookcases. Eat-in-kitchen with slider to deck. Walk Score 93!

Learn more at 21lancasterunita.com

Listing Agent: Margie Kern, 617.686.0981, margie.kern@unlimitedsir.com

Featured Listing: 32 Lourdes Avenue, Jamaica Plain

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Featured Listing: 32 Lourdes Avenue – Jamaica Plain

Offered at $700,000

Single Family Alternative. Corner townhouse boasting three full floors of modern living space. Three private outdoor spaces, large bedrooms, bathroom on each level, a full basement for storage and off-street parking are a few of the amenities. Kick your shoes off in the foyer, enjoy the toasty gas fireplace while looking out your double glass doors for your private porch. Open kitchen/dining/living layout on the first floor. Second floor is a great space with two bedrooms and full bath. Third floor master suite with bonus office/sitting room. 3 zone heating. Dog Friendly Association. Colorful landscaping foliage: perennial plantings – peonies, hydrangea bushes in front, lilac, forsythias, blueberry bushes, and burning bushes in back. Live the good life at 32 Lourdes Ave.

Learn more at 32lourdes.com

Nextdoor Realty Team
Josh Brett | 617.543.4185
Susan Scheele | 857.472.4653
nextdoorrealtyteam@unlimitedsir.com

Boston and the International Luxury Housing Market

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A new report on the international luxury real estate market, “The Global Property Handbook” has now been made available.

The report, generated by Wealth-X in collaboration with Warburg Realty and Barnes International Realty, reviews the real estate buying habits of the world’s wealthiest people. These so-called ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals are worth at least – or more than – $30 million and have largely come by their fortunes from their own brilliance and ingenuity. Their property choices are a reflection of practical and personal values, two qualities that make Boston an attractive destination.

According to the new Alpha Cities Index, which catalogues the most desirable cities in the world for UHNWIs to reside, Boston is placed amongst the top 15 world destinations, beating cities like Singapore, Moscow, and Rome for a chief global ranking. Boston is a strong city for practicality, emotional appeal (shopping, cultural richness) and finances (ease of doing business and high property value).

Boston comes third on a world scale for practical factors alone: strong education, air travel connectivity, environmental friendliness, and personal safety culminate our appeal. Boston beats out other US cities like New York, San Diego, and Chicago by “lead[ing] its national peers” in this assessment.

Boston is consistently ranked one of the best cities to live in for all types of individuals: there’s something for every runner, scientist, student, and entrepreneur, just to name a few of the lifestyles drawn to Beantown. With such a high quality of life for the average Bostonian comes even more value for UHNWIs.

Our school smarts are of particular interest. More than fifty higher education institutions in the greater Boston area make it a sought-after destination, as UHNWIs will buy homes close to their children “while they are being educated in schools or universities away from home, or which provide a base for their descendants to live in while pursuing their studies.”

One of the biggest draws to luxury real estate is its value retention even amidst political and economic insecurity. “Real estate assets provide multiple benefits for the wealthy investor … they both offer a hedge against inflation and portfolio diversification, while also affording today’s global citizens unique opportunities for travel and enjoyment.” In other words, a luxury property must be both practical and exciting for both domestic and foreign buyers – a point driven home as two of the three indicators in the Alpha City Index.

With the new luxury properties coming to market throughout downtown Boston, including those at the newly-built Millennium Tower, one would think that downtown areas are the primary aim for the multimillionaires of the world. Despite the gorgeous skyline and harbor views, however, many will actually look just outside of Boston for both privacy and a slower pace of life. With world-famous businessmen, celebrities, and leaders looking at Greater Boston for their new home, a community feel is one of the finest benefits to life beyond the busy epicenter.

Altogether, the next neighborhood the wealthiest will move to must have the following characteristics: proven value retention in the housing market, unbeatable quality of life, easy access to educational institutions, vibrant entertainment options, and a peaceful element to living. When price is no barrier to real estate options, UHNWIs can guarantee their desires will be met in their next home.


Three neighborhoods in particular best fit this description: Newton, Cambridge, and Brookline, all of which lie close to Boston’s amenities and venues. Besides their proximity to Beantown, each neighborhood has unique, enticing features that amplify their charm and appeal.

Newton’s single family homes are priced at over $1.2 million on average. Lasell and Mount Ida College both call Newton home, and its villages are within a ten-minute drive to Boston College and Brandeis University. Besides being ranked one of the best places to live in America, Newton has a lot to offer its residents that enjoy the outdoors, including many public playgrounds, parks, and the illustrious Crystal Lake.

Brookline homes continue to increase in value, with single family prices hovering just under one million dollars. It’s not only a stone’s throw from the universities in the Longwood Medical area (including Wheelock, Simmons, and Emmanuel colleges) but also houses parts of Boston College and Boston University. From popular villages with great restaurants and shopping to grand homes in the shadow of The Country Club, Brookline makes for a great place to live.

Cambridge is most distinguishable on a global scale for being the home of multiple top universities, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The average price of a single family home is roughly $1.9 million, making it one of the most expensive markets in the Boston area. Steeped in colonial history, Cambridge is a hotbed of historical architecture with residences, churches, and other buildings that stretch back hundreds of years. Additionally, their breadth of museums provide rotating exhibits and content for all ages to enjoy.

Whether the world’s elite are looking to set down roots or secure a vacation retreat, Boston and its neighborhoods are sure to impress even the choosiest of home buyers.

Read the full Global Property Handbook report here.

See current luxury offerings in Greater Boston here.

Boston by the Numbers: Singles Edition

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If you’re on the lookout for that special someone, your best bet may be trying your luck in Boston.

Boston ranked in the top five in a recent nationwide survey, beating more high-profile cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. The WalletHub ranking surveyed 150 cities for the best places for single individuals, using such metrics as cost of living, number of attractions, and dating opportunities to narrow the list. Although Boston is an expensive area to live in, its wealth shines through in the countless events to attend and opportunities to take advantage of.

It’s no secret that Boston is one of the nation’s top places to live, and for good reason with its strong job market and high quality of living. US News and World Report commends Boston for its seamless blend of tradition and innovation, offering perks and amenities for all interests and ambitions. For singles especially, Boston’s restaurant and cultural scenes are unbeatable in both variety and quality: from heritage trails and museums, to film festivals and mouthwatering cuisine, there’s no other city with quite this much unfolding year-round.

If we’ve convinced you to move to Boston and find your other half, these five neighborhoods should be at the top of your list:

Brookline

The charming town of Brookline is hard to beat with its amenities, character and close proximity to Boston. From popular villages with great restaurants and shopping to grand homes in the shadow of The Country Club Brookline makes for a great place to live.

Single Population: 45%
Married Population: 45%
Gender Ratio: 45% male, 54% female


Newton

Recently rated by Money Magazine as one of the top places to live in America, Newton Massachusetts is one of the most sought after communities in the Greater Boston Area.  Located minutes from Boston on the Mass. Pike, Newton offers its residents the convenience of city living in a more suburban environment.

Single Population: 34%
Married Population: 55%
Gender Ratio: 46% male, 53% female


Jamaica Plain

Home to many of the jewels in the “Emerald Necklace”, Jamaica Plain has an abundance of green space for the outdoor enthusiast. This, combined with its artsy flair, easy access to downtown, and community feel make Jamaica Plain a top destination for Boston area residents.

Single Population: 53%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 45% male, 54% female


Cambridge

As one of the most sought-after places in greater Boston to reside, Cambridge has ample charm to go along with its history and intellectual fame. First established when America was still under British rule, it has aged so gracefully that its ivory towers and historical churches blend seamlessly with its thriving science and technology hubs. Combine all of these perks with easy access to the Hub of the Universe and Cambridge becomes a city almost unbeatable in its desirability.

Single Population: 56%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 48% male, 51% female


Somerville

Named Best-Run City in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe, Somerville packs an urban-planning punch only two miles from the Boston city center. It’s won the All-American City Award three times since 1972 for its ideal walking and biking routes, and Cities throughout Massachusetts and New England look to become “the next Somerville” in terms of its roaring success in residential initiatives.

Single Population: 55%
Married Population: 33%
Gender Ratio: 49% male, 50% female

As the icing on the cake, eighty percent of Bostonians have attended college, so your significant other will be one smart, successful cookie.

Demographic information provided by point2homes.com.

Featured Listing: Millennium Tower Two Bed Condo

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1 Franklin Street, Unit 4207 – Boston

Offered at $2,295,000

Millennium Tower Boston is one of the city’s most anticipated new construction projects over the last few years! Drenched in elegance, amenities available leave nothing to be desired to include a 75 foot indoor lap pool, expansive health club, doorman as well as a 24-hour concierge, screening room, billiard parlor, library, private function room, and an outdoor terrace. Steps away from everything Boston has to offer from theatre to shopping, restaurants, nightlife, the Financial District, waterfront and coveted Boston Public Garden and Back Bay. Stunning features include marble and hardwood flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows, State of the art kitchen with Poggenpohl kitchen and bath cabinetry, Sub Zero refrigerator, Bosch and Wolf appliances, gas cooking. A premier unit!

Listing Agent: Margie Kern, 617.686.0981, marjie.kern@unlimitedsir.com

Featured Listing: 2 Bed at the VICOMTE in Allston

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59 Brainerd Road #212, Allston

Offered at $548,000

Stunning 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath, luxury townhouse with 2 car garage parking at the “VICOMTE”- one of the most desirable buildings in Allston. The home features high ceilings, an open floor plan w/ kitchen, dining, & living rooms, hardwood floors, master suite, washer/dryer in the unit, extra storage. Modern brick professionally maintained building on Allston/Brookline line boasts central A/C, elevator, an incredible roof deck, a party room, and pet friendly. Fantastic location! Convenient & direct access to Boston Sports Club, near public transportation (T-stop & bus), restaurants and minutes from Coolidge Corner, Brookline. An excellent investment opportunity or primary residence!

Listing Agent:
Tatyana Anokhina, 617.669.6112