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.

Organization Overhaul-Declutter Your Space

Organization Overhaul:

Being organized is not for everyone, but when it comes time to sell your home it’s essential to present your space in order for a buyer to envision themselves (and all of their belongings) comfortably fitting.

Organization

HOW do you begin this organizational overhaul??

Take it one step at a time and start with organizing the most noticeable areas in your home.

This means COUNTER TOPS, COFFEE TABLES, and any other FLAT SURFACES that may be accumulating a stack of junk.  If that pile of bills, magazines, and other items are in need of shredding what better time to get rid of them then at our free SHREDDING EVENT on Saturday, March 25 from 9:00am-11:00am at The Dairy Dome in Stoneham. De-clutter and you’re well on your way to becoming more organized!

In addition to throwing out unused items laying around, you need to craft a place for these items to temporarily live in as they continue to accumulate in the future.  Otherwise, the vicious cycle of counter-top clutter will never end!  One of our favorite solutions to creating more storage that doesn’t currently exist is to maximize the space by adding shelving.  Corner shelves, narrow shelves or even doors with shelves can add vertical storage for pretty much anything you need.  (Helpful tip:  Using jars, canisters and decorative boxes will help to conceal nick-knacks preventing a messy appearance on your new shelves.)

  

Once you’ve cleared the flat surfaces it’s time to dig deep into those closets!  Home buyers will look in your closets to gauge the storage space.  This is the perfect time to donate some of your clothes that you’ve been crossing your fingers would make a fashion comeback, but just hasn’t caught on yet.  If you haven’t worn it in two years, you aren’t going to wear it… LET IT GO!!! And you can feel good about it by donating it to the Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army will even come to your house and pick it up for you, so no excuses.  And if you’re feeling really ambitious (like me), color code your closet to make it appear more spacious, and visually appealing to those potential home buyers.

Now that you have tackled the two biggest areas in need of organization there’s no limit to what you can do next!  Work on your kitchen cabinets, garage, under bed storage, home office, linen closest… but if that sounds as exhausting as I think it does you could always hire COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate to stage and sell your home with minimal organizing on your own!  We can’t wait to stage, organize and sell your home!

It’s a Seller’s Market with Multiple Offers Rolling In!

2017 is starting off the year as what is defined as a Seller’s Market.

What exactly does this mean?  This means that inventory is at an all time low creating, in most cases, a multiple offer situation.  And what seller doesn’t love multiple offers on their property? Although some parts of it can be stressful, more often than not our seller clients describe a multiple offer situation as an exciting, gratifying, and ultimately a rewarding experience.

To give you a visual of what inventory levels are looking like this month, we used Somerville, MA 2+ bedroom, single family homes as an example.

Of the 2+ bedroom, 0+ bath Single-family homes in Somerville, MA in the last 3 months, 28 homes have sold and 32 are currently on the market. Plus, 36 new listings came on the market and 28 were sold. This means there is 3.4 months of inventory in the market today. A balanced market is defined as having 5 – 7 months of inventory, while a seller’s market has less than 5 months of inventory and a buyer’s market has more than 7 months of inventory.

So ultimately, what we’re saying is if you’re looking to sell you have a better chance of receiving multiple offers due to the lack of inventory.  At COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate we like to ensure you can get top dollar for your listing with a few simple steps:

WE SET AN ASKING PRICE THAT IS REALISTIC:

While some will disagree with us, we’ve never been fans of underpricing a property in hopes of getting multiple offers. It’s a risky strategy and can set false expectations for buyers.

WE WORK WITH YOU TO GET YOUR HOME READY:

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so when it comes to your home, our team ensures a great first impression.

WE IMPLEMENT AN ENTICING MARKETING STRATEGY FOR YOUR HOME TO GET THE RIGHT BUYERS TO COME THROUGH YOUR DOOR:

Everyone will know your property is for sale, but we have tried and true methods to reach both a broad and a refined target audience.

WE MAKE SURE YOUR OPEN HOUSE IS WELL PUBLICIZED AND WELL ATTENDED:

Simply put, the more people that attend your open house the better.

We would love to discuss, in detail, how we can tailor these strategies for your home.  Call us at 857-529- 7653 or email at info@covellecohen.com to start the conversation.

What to Ask When Looking to Purchase or Sell a Home

Purchase a Home

Are You Looking to Purchase a Home? Looking For a New Place to Call Your Own?

Buying or Selling a home is one of the biggest purchases you may make in your lifetime. You want to be sure that any purchase you make is the right choice for you and your partner/family. Knowing the right questions to qualify an agent is pertinent to selecting a REALTOR® that will guide you through the process.

I’m Courtney Herlihy, Director of Operations for COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate.  Being new to the Real Estate industry, but a self professed web-surfing-real-estate-junkie, I wanted to sit down with Erica Covelle, REALTOR® and Interior Designer, to uncover what questions a home buyer or seller should be asking and the answers we would be looking for.

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell in 2017 or years down the road I’m sure you’ll find value in this list of questions for when you’re in the position to hire an agent.

BUYER & SELLER

  • Are you a licensed REALTOR®? Have you had professional training?There is a common misconception that all Real Estate Agents are REALTORS®, but that is not the case.  At COVELLE & COHEN we are not only licensed Real Estate Agents, but part of the National Association of REALTORS®, a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional that subscribes to a Code of Ethics.  “Professional training” is an understatement!  At RE/MAX Leading Edge we are blessed to have some of the best support and training in the industry.  We encourage all of our REALTOR® friends to check out Linda O’s Bootcamp, just one of the many trainings RE/MAX Leading Edge has to offer.
  • Are you primarily a Listing Agent or a Buyer’s Agent? Do you have a team that can handle both and all aspects of real estate as well as the details.The benefit to the team approach at COVELLE & COHEN is that we have agents that specialize in both buying and selling.  While also having a Director of Operations our 5 person team is capable of handling all aspects of a real estate transaction in conjunction with providing white glove customer service preventing any detail from slipping through the cracks.
  • Can you provide a least three recent references?At COVELLE & COHEN we pride ourselves on our positive client reviews and testimonials.  We provide our clients with tangible reading materials, as well as, links to our website and FaceBook page where they can view personal stories from past client experiences.  You can tell a lot about who you’re going to be working with from reading reviews and ratings from a client’s perspective.
  • How many properties have you marketed & sold in the past 12 months?We successfully marketed and sold 68 properties in 2016 resulting in over $40 Million Dollars worth of sales.

SELLER SPECIFIC

  • What are your average Days on Market?In Massachusetts as a whole, the average amount of days that a house sits on the market (generally speaking) before signing a purchase & sale is roughly 70 days.  In 2016 COVELLE & COHEN averaged 33 days on the market.  We essentially sell your home in half the amount of time in comparison to the competition.
  • What was is the average ratio between your listing price & the final selling price?Every seller is crossing their fingers to get offers pouring in at their asking price or higher and COVELLE & COHEN can proudly say we average 103.3% list to sale price ratio, resulting in happy sellers!
  • Will my home be enhanced and what efforts will you use to market my home?WILL.YOUR.HOME.BE.ENHANCED?  That’s our forte.  As an Interior Designer, having a passion for design and eye for detail, it is my personal goal to make sure that any home that goes on the market looks it’s best.  I could go on forever giving you the inside scoop on how we market your home from start to finish to get you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time, but no one wants to read a novel!  Give us an hour of your time and we can show you our presentation outlining what we do best.
  • Do you have a feedback system and if so, how does it work?We have several systems in place where we are able to gather feedback regarding our clients’ property.  Communication is important for the realtor-client relationship to work.  We note feedback we get from the open house and private showings, on top of that, we send weekly updates from our team regarding our marketing schedule and activity report.

Now that we’ve supplied you with the questions, ask yourself, can your agent answer these? …based on our answers we’re sure you know who to call!  😉

Increase Your Chances of Winning a Bidding War

Bidding War

This can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for home buyers and can downright drive buyers’ agents to drink.  One of the most uncomfortable parts of any agents’ job is calling a buyer client to tell them that their offer was not accepted.  It simply sucks!  Unfortunately, most buyers in our market do lose out on a few bids before finding a home. There are a few simple strategies that can increase a buyer’s chances of getting an offer accepted.

 

1.  AN IRON-CLAD PRE-APPROVAL SPEAKS VOLUMES:  

Working with an experience local mortgage broker and bank with a solid reputation means security.  It means if they put their name on a pre-approval, they are nearly certain that the deal will happen.  If you have this and your competition has a pre-approval from a larger bank with a mortgage professional that is not local and does not know the market, you have a HUGE advantage.  Don’t take this step lightly…  Prioritize getting a solid pre-approval today.

2.  MAKE SURE YOUR REALTOR® IS ACTING AS YOUR DETECTIVE:  

A good buyer’s agent will gather as much intel as possible, and find out what is important to the seller.  What is the seller’s time frame?  How many decision makers are involved in selling the home?  These questions should be pretty easy for a buyer’s agent to obtain, but many agents often forget.

3.     MAKE SURE YOUR REALTOR® IS ACTING AS YOUR AMBASSADOR:  

A good buyer’s agent will act on your behalf as your diplomat or ambassador.  They should have a friendly conversation with the listing agent, show them they are working with a fellow professional, and let them know that you are a great buyer(s).  I cannot tell you how many times over-zealous buyer’s agents blow deals for their clients because they fight with the listing agent.  Remember, a listing agent is looking for the best offer to move forward.  The price and terms will have to be solid, but the listing agent is also looking for a partner in peace that they can work with to ensure a smooth and successful sale.

4.     MAKE YOUR OFFER STAND OUT FROM THE REST…..IN A BIG WAY:  

This is where you can really shine and increase your chances of getting the offer accepted if you do one of all of the following:

·      CONDUCT YOUR HOME INSPECTION BEFORE SUBMITTING THE OFFER

·      INCREASE YOUR EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT WITH THE OFFER 

·      CONSIDER AN ESCALLATION CLAUSE (Example, buyers’ will pay $x above the highest bona fide offer, up to $x).

·      WAIVE ANY CONTINGENCIES YOU CAN WAIVE (There are a host of contingencies you can waive, but you should consider the risk of waiving each contingency. Discuss with your real estate agent, mortgage professional and other advisors before taking this route)

·      INCLUDE A LETTER WITH YOUR OFFER (It can be corny, I know, but it allows an opportunity to make you stand out.  A good agent can help you with this.)

Although there is no silver bullet or magic pill to use in a bidding war, using as many of these strategies as possible will greatly increase the chances of your offer being accepted!

If you are considering purchasing a home, contact COVELLE & COHEN and we will make you happy house hunters and happy home owners. #NEWYEARNEWHOME