Behind The Transformation — 56 Brookbridge Road

From the distressed to the daring, every property contains a great deal of potential.  Believe us — small changes make a huge difference when it comes time to sell. Did you know? Average real estate agents will dramatically discount a house based on poor appearance because they, like many buyers, can’t see the transformation possibilities underneath the clutter and outdated decor.

Luckily, our Erica Covelle was born with a gift of making things look fantastic. It’s what she loves most about her job selling real estate, and it’s this talent (and experience as a professional interior designer) that sets her apart from all other agents. She transforms “what it is” to “what it can be,” building equity and setting the scene to achieve top dollar numbers! Intrigued? Buckle up — we’re taking you “Behind the Transformation” at 56 Brookbridge Road in Stoneham.

Here’s how the home looked before our renovations and staging:

56 Brookbridge fit the definition of “lived in,” but loved. An elderly brother and sister lived in this home for many years. They inherited this home from their parents and had been the single owners of this well-cared for home for years. But when the brother fell ill, the sister couldn’t live alone in this big home by herself. The time had come to sell.

The sad reality here is that people think they can take advantage of the elderly, and oftentimes — they succeed.  Neighbors came around offering this family an extremely low price. One even offered as low as $200,000 for a home that we priced at $600,000! We make it our practice to treat every home and family as we would our own. We abide by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Erica procured the listing and set forth on a journey to transform this home and bring it from 1970 to 2018. Here’s just a snippet of how we transformed this home:

Kitchen

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  1. Removed dated countertop and backsplash with new and stylish current trends.
  2. Updated the flooring to open up a more neutral space with fresh hardwood flooring.
  3. Replaced the backsplash with a monochromatic tile to widen the space.
  4. Updated center light to act as a focal point of the room.
  5. Changed cabinet knobs to add a golden contemporary finish.

Here are some standout before and after shots from other areas of the home:

Living Room

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Goodbye, blue carpet! Hello hardwood and chic modern decor.

Basement

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A deep clean was in order. Underneath? Untapped space!

Bathroom

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From drab to fab — freshly painted and staged with a new vanity top and hardware.

Master Bedroom

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With brighter furniture, less clutter and a modern feel, this space really opened up.

Home Exterior

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From average home to luxury single family, we pulled off a major transformation.

In the end, we sold this home for more than $600,000! We transformed what was a shabby single-family to a thriving residence for any stylish buyer. With COVELLE & COHEN by her side, this seller MADE MONEY — and avoided potentially leaving $200,000 on the table.

Selling your home? It’s clichéd but it’s true — you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Don’t leave money on the table. COVELLE & COHEN GREATER BOSTON REAL ESTATE helps clients sell two times faster for an average of 1.4 percent more. At an average sale price of $600,000, that’s $24,000 more! Call us today to hear more about our top agents offering an exclusive white glove service: covellecohen.com/contact-us  


How to Qualify a Realtor

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coming to an end, you now have time to focus on those New Year’s resolutions. If selling your home is one of them, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing your realtor.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to qualify a professional realtor:

    1. Ask them how the property will be marketed.
      Any real estate agent can give you a price, but it is critical to hire realtors that know how to correctly price and effectively market your home. Not only are we highly analytical and transparent in our suggested pricing, we use an effective strategy that will get your listing in front of the right people. From professional photography to custom email marketing, open house brochures, exclusive property videos, and targeted 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!

      Within one week on the market, COVELLE & COHEN received multiple offers over the asking price on this Cambridge condo, listed for $1.1 million!
    2. Find out how many listings they have marketed and sold and what their average ratio of listing price to selling price is.
      Experienced realtors have solid reputations in the industry, strong negotiation skills, and can guide clients through closings smoothly. The COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate Team are seasoned realtors with tenure and experience coupled with talent and originality. During the past few years, we listed and sold more than 100 properties, and represented buyers in over 60 property sales. Our list to sale price ratio is 105 percent.  With an average list price of $700,000 — this means an extra $35,000 for our sellers!

      "Erica and Mike's combined knowledge, expertise, attention to detail, and hands on approach sold our home in a timely manner and for $25,000 over asking" - Mike Marra

    3. Investigate their online presence.
      How is their online presence or do they even have one? Many real estate agents tend to let their brokerage handle all of the marketing. While we agree that a brokerage should market properties, in our practice, we ensure that our clients’ properties are marketed in a more omnipresent way. Your realtor should have their own established brand, look, and following that is polished and professional. In a digital world, a robust online presence is critical to reach buyers and sellers. You should be able to tell the amateur from the professional just by taking a look at their established presence online.

      No other real estate team has a stronger online presence than ours! With a fierce social media and digital advertising strategy, we’ll get your listing on phones and feeds of local, interested buyers. With more than 7,000 local followers, we reach tens of thousands of people daily on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see for yourself!

      COVELLE & COHEN market where people are — on their phones and in their feeds!
    4. Get to know them.
      Getting to know your realtor is key! It is essential to work with someone you can connect with and trust. COVELLE & COHEN truly has all of their clients’ best interests at heart, and strives to provide white glove service.

      Erica Covelle was born with a gift of making things look fantastic. Her interior design background and top notch creative marketing skills set her apart from all other realtors. Mike Cohen’s niche is in effectively putting and keeping a deal together, providing great communication along the way, selling all kinds of property for top dollar and under the best terms possible. Together, they’ll make your home come alive and get it sold faster and for more money.

      In an image driven society, COVELLE & COHEN creates the image that drives the sale.
    5. Ask for references.
      The biggest compliment a realtor can get is a referral from a past client. Successful agents should always be able to provide this for you and you can find many of our testimonials on our website, Facebook, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

      "The Covelle & Cohen team ensured that I made informed decisions and guided me through the home buying process from beginning to end" - Maggie Toomey

New year, new home. If 2019 is the year you’re planning on buying or selling your home, contact us today and get to know the COVELLE & COHEN difference.

5 Kitchen and Bath Trends Dominating 2018

If you’re thinking of making improvements to your home, a kitchen or bath remodel is a surefire investment to increase your home’s value. Why? Because buyers are most interested in seeing updated, beautiful kitchens and baths! And in a hot housing market like Greater Boston, a kitchen or bath remodel often returns more than 100 percent of the cost.

Of course, getting started can be overwhelming. First, know what’s out, what’s in, and what’s likely to stay! Read on for the top trends dominating 2018, followed by tips and tricks to maximize your money:

1. Countertops

Stone countertops are in. In fact, they’re the top item to splurge on because everyone loves a clean kitchen.
Photo: @finding__lovely

Stone countertops are in. In fact, they’re the top item to splurge on because everyone loves a clean kitchen. High-end developers and luxury homeowners go for Calacatta, a bright white marble with thick veins that range in color from gold to brown to beige to dark gray. It’s a gorgeous historic favorite sure to stay in style.

Tip: Love this look but not the price tag? Engineered quartz is eclipsing granite as the most popular material for countertops, according to Houzz. Quartz is cheaper but more durable than marble — perfect for wear and tear in a family kitchen.

2. High-End Appliances

Without a doubt, new appliances reel in buyers in Greater Boston’s hot housing market.
Photo: @marieflaniganinteriors

Without a doubt, new appliances reel in buyers in Greater Boston’s hot housing market. Who doesn’t want an induction stove, a warming drawer, a smart refrigerator, or a wine cooler? If you personally enjoy cooking and entertaining, high-end appliances are worth the splurge. Enjoy your chef-inspired kitchen now, and profit when it’s time to sell!

Tip: Be savvy. Keep in mind the best time to buy appliances. After a new release, you can often find the previous year’s high-end model for a fraction of the price!

3. Darker Tones for Cabinets

 Darker colors returned to 2018 kitchens this year — think navy, hunter green, walnut, and slate gray.
Photo: @neptunehomeofficial

While white kitchens will always be popular, designers are moving away from minimalist toward realist design. Darker colors returned to kitchens this year — think navy, hunter green, walnut, and slate gray. Many designers are even opting for two-tone cabinets, where the upper cabinets are light and the bottom cabinets are dark.

Tip: Cabinets are not the place to pour thousands of dollars. Save that budget for tile flooring, backsplashes, counters, or appliances. Why? Because those updates help sell the house! It’s more likely that in nine years, the trendy cabinets you chose will look dated, and you’ll regret over-spending.

4. Wall Coverings

Wallpaper is back, and it’s not your mother’s ‘80s florals!
Photo: @deeelms

Wallpaper is back, and it’s not your mother’s ‘80s florals! Wallpaper is a fairly inexpensive way to freshen up any powder room with an accent wall. Designer wallpaper ranges from geometric and art deco to bright and large-scale florals to even an “ombre” effect!

Tip: Want to go bold? Go for it! Wall coverings are a place to express yourself, and they’re an easy fix when selling your home. We’d recommend Chasing Paper, a beautiful, well-designed removable(!) wallpaper that will stick to nearly any surface.

5. Metal Fixtures

Metal fixtures are the simplest way to give your bathroom and kitchens a luxury look.
Photo: @kerrykirkphoto

Metal fixtures are the simplest way to give your bathroom and kitchens a luxury look. Faucets, lighting fixtures, mirrors, and frames all look incredible in nickel and brass against bright white. This year, we’re loving the matte black that’s trending!  

Tip: Fixtures are an easy way to stay on trend at minimal expense. For tubs, toilets, and bathroom sinks, stay classic with pure white! It will never look outdated.

COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate provides cutting edge strategies that offer a proven road map to suit any real estate needs. Contact us here or call 857.529.SOLD (7653).

Behind the Transformation — 201 Franklin Street in Stoneham

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — staged homes sell faster and for more money! In fact, your average realtors will dramatically discount a house based on poor appearance because they, like many buyers, can’t see the transformation possibilities underneath the clutter and outdated decor.

It takes creative vision like that of our very own realtor and interior designer to transform “what it is” to “what it can be,” setting the scene to achieve top dollar numbers!

You’ll be amazed to see what a little face lift can do for a home. That’s why we’re introducing our new series, “Behind the Transformation,” where we’ll show you how COVELLE & COHEN can make your home a 10 and ultimately sell for thousands more.

201 Franklin Street

Another realtor in the area priced 201 Franklin Street at $350,000 after seeing it as it is in these photos.

After these sellers sought our help, we provided them with a staging consultation report. Here’s a snippet of it:

Kitchen

  1. Remove all items off countertops with the exception of a few pieces.
  2. Remove table in the kitchen and replace with the white island and the two stools too
  3. Paint our neutral shade selected for the entire first floor
  4. Paint cabinets Super White BM in a semi gloss finish
  5. Replace cabinet hardware
  6. Price out granite countertops with Brazusa Stone. We will ask them to provide an overhang to support extra stool for a breakfast bar.

We suggested paint and small aesthetic changes in every room. Because our professional strategies are tried, tested, and streamlined, we quickly arranged with our preferred vendors and trusted partners to stage this home to sell fast. We put these sellers in touch with the best in the biz — a professional house cleaner, a handyman, purveyors, and more. Here’s the finished result:

Here are a few standout before and after shots:

Kitchen

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Entryway

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Bathroom

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Deck Entrance

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In the end, we priced this two bedroom house at $450,000 — $100,000 more than the other realtor, and it sold for $490,000! That’s $140,000 more in this seller’s pocket and case in point that both staging and professional photography are a must.

Selling your home? It’s clichéd but it’s true — you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Don’t leave money on the table. COVELLE & COHEN GREATER BOSTON REAL ESTATE helps clients sell two times faster for an average of 1.4 percent more. At an average sale price of $600,000, that’s $24,000 more! Call us today to hear more about our top agents offering an exclusive white glove service: covellecohen.com/contact-us  

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.