Why Buy a Home in Somerville?

Here's Why You Should Call Somerville, Massachusetts Home

They say home is where the heart is. If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re living in the right place, consider Somerville — a city north of Boston wherein heart, community, and opportunity permeate. And although there are many factors to consider when deciding where to live, here’s why we think Somerville is an excellent place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike to call home.

Sense Of Community and Culture

Only four-square miles, Somerville is the fifteenth densest city in America — and it packs a big punch. Somerville’s an incredibly diverse city built for everyone. In 2015, Somerville was awarded the All-America City Award, celebrating municipalities that engage residents in innovative, inclusive, and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges. Residents are given the choice to simply live in Somerville or to “Be Somerville!” and play an active role in shaping their community.

Beyond that, there’s always something to do in Somerville — from the many festivals that take place in its neighborhoods year-round, like the beloved Fluff Fest, Honk! Fest, and Porch Fest, to the independently owned and operated Somerville Theater, home to the annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. And if art is your thing, there’s a community waiting for you at the Armory or at Somerville Open Studios.

Curb Appeal

“Slummerville? Haven’t heard that name in years.” Over the last few decades (since the arrival of the Red Line) Somerville has been going through a renaissance, making it a desirable place to live. The 2010 Census found that the city has the second-highest proportion of residents between the ages of 25 and 34 in the United States. It’s a city that is becoming increasingly hip, replete with craft breweries, all-season farmer’s markets, and trendy restaurants that lure high-end chefs, yet it still maintains a mom and pop feel from yesteryear, with iconic mainstays like Lyndell’s Bakery, Vinny’s Ristorante, and more.

Somerville is city convenience with a suburban neighborhood feel — run into your neighbors biking  down the Somerville Community Path or strolling through one of the city’s many parks and open spaces, just steps from shops, cafés, world class universities, and more. And, the upcoming arrival of the green line makes it a commuter’s dream.

Bustling Economy and Real Estate Market

Future job growth in Somerville over the next 10 years is predicted to be 39.5 percent. Property values continue to rise — condominiums last year appreciated 9 percent, and the median sale price for a single family home was $734,000. And Somerville’s residential tax rate is $11.31 per $1,000 of assessed value — that’s one of the least expensive statewide, at a rank of 291 across 347 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

Sold on Somerville? The Covelle & Cohen Greater Boston Real Estate team successfully helps both homebuyers and sellers navigate the process. SELL FOR MORE, BUY FOR LESS — in Somerville and beyond! Call us today at 857.529.7653 or connect with us online.

4 Big Expenses to Expect When Selling Your Home in Greater Boston

Selling Your Home? Read Covelle & Cohen Greater Boston Real Estate's Blog First.

It’s obvious that buying a home can be expensive, but did you know that selling your home can come with serious costs as well? While some upfront expenses are a matter of choice, many more are important investments in successfully selling — and selling for the highest amount possible. Other costs come at closing and from taxes. The key is to know what to expect and plan ahead. Here are the biggest expenses you can expect.

1. COMMISSION

At closing, you can expect to pay between 5 to 7% of the sale amount in real estate agent commissions. This commission is meant to pay both your agent and the buyer’s agent. Hire a great agent, and you’ll be sure to still earn a huge amount of money in proceeds after paying commission. A successful agent will work hard for you, not settling until they’re sure that the offer they ultimately accept is for the highest possible price and under the best conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to greatly consider who to hire as your realtor!

2. TRANSFER TAX

Many cities and states require the seller to pay transfer taxes. Massachusetts is one of those states. Also referred to as deed stamps or excise taxes, transfer taxes in Greater Boston cost $4.56 per thousand of the purchase price on the deed. If your home sells for $600,000, you can expect to pay $2,736 in taxes up front at closing. You should know that there’s debate among tax professionals as to whether you can write this off as a tax deduction and also that Somerville has recently proposed to change the transfer fee in favor of owner-occupants.  

3. CAPITAL GAINS

A capital gain occurs when you sell something for more than you spent to acquire it. Capital gains are included in Massachusetts income, and you’ll have to report a gain from selling or exchanging capital assets on Massachusetts Schedule D. Long term capital gains (for property held more than one year) are taxed at 5.2%. Federal capital gains can range from from 15 to 25%.

FYI — If you do end up earning less than $250,000 on the sale of your primary residence (or $500,000 if you’re married and file taxes jointly) after subtracting costs of preparing the property for sale, you likely won’t have to pay capital gains taxes.

4. MOVING

Roughly half of all people who move use professional movers, whether they’re moving short or long distances. Often overlooked, the cost of hiring movers locally can be as much as $2,000 for a four bedroom house. The cost to move out of state averages about $1,000 per room, with an average cost of 50 cents per pound.

Moving for work? In Massachusetts, you might be able to list reasonable moving expenses as a deduction on your taxes if your new commute will be at least 50 miles farther than old commute.

Planning a move? With tenure and experience coupled with talent and originality, Erica Covelle & Mike Cohen are top agents offering an exclusive white glove service. We are skilled negotiators who can help you get the best possible terms and price for your property. Call us today at 857.529.SOLD (7653) to learn about SELLING YOUR HOME with COVELLE & COHEN GREATER BOSTON REAL ESTATE: covellecohen.com/contact-us.

5 Do’s and Don’ts for Springtime Home Renovation

Spring is a great time to update your home! With the arrival of warmer weather and longer days  comes the itch to improve our dwellings, both inside and out. However, some renovations simply aren’t worth the investment or the effort. In many cases, you can achieve the same goal by spending less and focusing on key fixes. Get more bang for your renovation buck with Covelle & Cohen’s do’s and don’ts.

1. PAINT

DO — Go for a neutral wall color. Our go-to is Super White by Benjamin Moore in a Semi Gloss Finish. There’s nothing like the fresh look and smell of a new coat of paint. And, if you do it yourself, it’s a relatively inexpensive home upgrade. And don’t forget about that trim — today’s buyers want white woodwork.

DON’T — Paint a room just to shake things up. While you might have impeccable taste, the majority of buyers are going to be turned off by a deep red wall. When it’s time to sell, you’ll probably find yourself painting over it.

2. KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS

DO — White bathrooms with natural vanities, brass fixtures, and patterned floors are in. Luxury fittings such as free floating bathtubs and shower stalls not only look incredible, but they’ll hold their value overtime. In kitchens and baths, buyers love all white walls, with white subway tile and gray grout. In the kitchen, go for a timeless look with quartz countertops, contrasting islands, and warm flooring.

DON’T — Go nuts. In kitchens and baths, the truth is that you only receive 50 cents on the dollar for every renovation dollar spent. If you splurge on designer lighting and fixtures, save on cabinets where Ikea will do. We call this the high-low game.

3. FLEX ROOMS

DO — Utilize every inch! Finish that basement or attic. As more people than ever are working from home, it pays to transform unused areas into combined living and work space, such as a movie room, office with built-in desks and storage, or even a Pinterest-worthy upscale laundry room. Most buyers will pay more if they’re able to envision just how lovely life at your home is with these amenities.  

DON’T — Build more. Still want more space? Before considering an addition, make sure you’ve maxed out all your “flex rooms.” Building up and out is costly — only expect a fraction of a return on that investment.

4. FLOORS


DO
— Where do you typically find money? On the floor! Have your floors been carpeted or tiled over for decades? Uncover them. Chances are, you’ll find original hardwood flooring underneath.

DON’T — Splurge on carpets. While the plush fibers of a brand new carpet feel great on your feet, a carpet’s short lifespan means that the expensive stuff isn’t worth it. Because carpets stain and wear overtime, consider them a temporary installment.

5. UPGRADES


DO
— Install new technology like keyless entry, security cameras, and “smart home” and efficient home upgrades, such as smart refrigerators, lighting fixtures, and Nest thermostats. Buyers love high-efficiency everything, and these upgrades eventually pay for themselves because you’ll cut energy costs using them.

DON’T — Some things just will not add more value to your home. We find that buyers are not willing to pay more for new roofs, sprinkler systems, A/C units, or windows. We call these things “stabilizers.” Replace these only if necessary for you to enjoy life in your home.

Your home is your greatest investment. We’re always happy to strategize how you can both build equity as a seller and uncover potential equity as a buyer. Contact Covelle & Cohen today!

Selling Your Home Takes More Than Luck: 4 Reasons to Hire a Pro

Selling your home takes more than luck — hire Covelle & Cohen Greater Boston Real Estate.

Why not FSBO? Any realtor will tell you that for-sale-by-owner when selling your home is a risky move, one that ultimately costs you both your time and money. It goes without saying, but selling a home is a lot of work! From the paperwork to the negotiations, here’s why you might want to leave the heavy lifting to us.

1. We have the experience to close the deal. 

We’re a team of seasoned realtors with tenure and experience coupled with talent and originality. We offer proven success! As skilled negotiators, we can get you the best possible terms and price for your property in the shortest amount of time. We’ll help you avoid all the many pitfalls you could face when trying to sell your home, ultimately saving you time and getting you the best price possible. After inspection, our team will expertly navigate any negotiations that may arise. As we come closer to the actual closing date, we’ll handle all the critical documents for you, including but not limited to smoke and carbon alarm inspections, final utility readings, and Title V regulations. While we handle the paperwork, you pack those bags!

2. We have connections in the industry you’ll need.

Our team develops a strategy with our clients to lead successful broker open houses, commuter tours, public open houses as well as exclusive invitation events and daily agent showings. We strongly recommend hiring an experienced real estate attorney to assist in your transaction. We’re happy to connect you to one of our many preferred and trusted attorneys with whom we’ve conducted business before. Planning a huge move? We work globally with major companies who transfer employees and have a full-time relocation department. We also have partnerships with reputable moving companies, home inspectors, electricians, and plumbers in the area, saving you time and headache.

3. We guide you through professional staging.

In an image-driven society, it’s the image we create that drives the sale. We happily offer a home staging consultation to make it impossible for buyers not to fall in love! Staging your home gets it sold faster and for more money.

4. We build a custom marketing plan. 

Our goal is to create a vision that begins with the subconscious, through a strong online presence and creative marketing efforts. From professional photography to custom email marketing, open house brochures, exclusive property videos, and social media advertising, we pull out all the stops to get as many eyeballs on your listing as possible. That’s something that can’t be said for every realtor!

Contact Covelle & Cohen today for help selling your home: info@covellecohen.com

5 Ways to Make Buyers Fall in Love With Your Home

Home staging can help buyers fall in love with your home.

It’s clichéd, but it’s true — you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Before your home hits the market, it may need a little facelift. We know you love your home (it’s yours!), but will others? Sometimes all that love over the years means your home is looking just a little… too lived in. It’s important that buyers are able to envision a life of their own. Here are a few tips to be sure potential buyers get hit with Cupid’s [real estate] arrow of love.

1. Landscape

When selling your home, you should make the outside as appealing as the inside.

It’s all about that curb appeal. The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see and sets the tone. Before even going inside, dead grass and a cracked driveway full of weeds could give buyers the impression that you haven’t taken care of the property. While you’re at it, give the windows a pressure wash, replace the weather-worn mailbox, give the front door and porch a fresh coat of paint, and maybe even create a small outdoor living space.

2. Declutter

Before showing your home to potential buyers, organize those closets!

It goes without saying that your countertops should be clean and clear, but what about the closets? And that junk drawer? Pack away anything you won’t need in the next few months. Clutter eats equity. Nobody can see how nice and big those closets are when they’re filled to the brim! After they’re clean, keep them open. A tidy open closet can make a room look bigger.

3. Make it sparkle

A clean and decluttered kitchen will help sell your home fast.

Did you know that it’s often the kitchen that sells a home? Clean the oven inside and out, wipe down everything twice, and give the floor a good wash and wax. When in doubt, hire a professional cleaner. They’re trained to hit all the nooks and crannies you might look over. Everything should sparkle. And before the showing, clear the air. Light a scented candle.

4. Stage it to be inviting

When selling your home, stage it to look clean and inviting.

Now that the clutter is gone, add a few appealing elements. Think tasteful seasonal decorations, a vase of flowers, plants, or a basket of fresh produce on your counter. Style the dining room table with vases down the center, or even set it for dinner (nothing too formal) to make it look inviting. In the living room, rearrange the furniture. Symmetry always looks good, and furniture arranged facing each other can create an inviting conversation area. Just before the showing, clear the air and light a scented candle.

5. Paint

Selling your home? A fresh coat of neutral paint is crucial to help a buyer fall in love.

Put a fresh coat of paint on all the walls. White is alway nice, but neutrals can create a rich, sophisticated tone, too. When you’re done, it should look clean and bright. Now is not the time for the fun and quirky bright orange accent wall. The point is to avoid creating any distractions that could prevent others from seeing the potential of your home.

As Barbara Corcoran says, “Home staging used to be optional. Today it’s a necessity in selling a house.” We couldn’t agree more. Contact us today for help selling your home: 857.529.SOLD (7653)