Saturday, July 28, 2018

Massachusetts Single-Family Home Prices Hit a Record High

If you are searching for a new home in Massachusetts, get prepared to pay record high prices. According to a market report from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released on Wednesday, the median sales price for a single family home in the Greater Boston area just a hit a record high last month at $652,500. This marks the highest median sales price the organization has witnessed since they first started recording data in 2004. The median sales price of single-family home sold in the Greater Boston area rose by 7.1%, from $609,250 in June 2017, to $652,500 in June 2018.

The median sales price for condominiums also increased by 10.6% since last year in June 2017, jumping a median of $520,000 in June 2017 to $575,000 in June 2018. The report provided by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors follows trends from last summer, when single family homes in Massachusetts surpassed the median sale price of $400,000 for the first time.

How are these numbers affecting the real estate market? The number of single-family homes sold in the Greater Boston area decreased by 6.2%, however, these homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. The number of condominiums purchased decreased by 5.2%, but units spent an average of 29 days on the market. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums have remained steadily strong in June, however less home-owners are selling their properties due to continuously appreciating home values. Although property sales prices continue to steadily increase, the number of homes for sale are decreasing, leading to a very low inventory of available homes on the market. Additionally, closed sales have been down for 2018, despite the median prices of homes skyrocketing.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Expert Tips For Saving Space in Your Boston Rental

Finding an affordable apartment in Boston with plenty of room and extra storage space is becoming challenging, as property prices skyrocket. Fitting all of your belongings in a small one-bedroom apartment can be extremely difficult, and requires creative space-saving style solutions. Creatively managing your storage and minimizing clutter will overall make your small apartment appear larger, cleaner, and more open. Luckily, we consulted with top interior designers on how to save space and create more storage without comprising on style. Here is what they recommended as space-saving style solutions for each room in your apartment:

1. Bedroom

Utilizing the space under your bed for storage is key, and makes your room look less cluttered and cramped. If you are looking to conserve space, designers highly recommend using your bed as storage, either finding a frame with drawers included, or using plastic boxes and woven bins that slide under your bed for easy access. If you are feeling extra creative, you can even purchase a loft bed. Loft beds are one of the best ways to make the most of a really tiny space. If you don't mind climbing up a ladder to your bed, loft beds completely open up the space underneath your bed for storage, a desk, or lounge area. Furthermore, nightstands are another useful opportunity for storage in a stylish way.

2. Living Room

While decorating your living room, aim to decorate the space in a vertical way, which will open up the space and make the apartment appear larger than it actually is. Using bookshelves will make the room look more open and inviting, while serving as convenient storage opportunities. Interior designers recommended purchasing an ottoman or table with inner storage compartments, which will help hide clutter without comprising on style.  Ottomans with storage spaces can even be topped with trays to make them multi-purposeful.

3. Kitchen

When it comes to decorating your kitchen, storage spaces are not only limited to cabinets and counters. Installing freestanding shelves and racks will open up countertop space while serving as useful storage areas. If your kitchen doesn't already come with recessed lighting, interior designers recommend purchasing sconces that can be plugged into an outlet. 

4. Bathroom

Standard bathrooms include storage space below the bathroom sink and above the vanity, but interior designers recommend installing freestanding shelves above the toilet. Furthermore, install removable hooks to the backs of doorways and mount adjustable tension rods to allow easy access to towels and other necessary items. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

How to Prepare your Home for Summer Storms

As the summer of 2018 commences, it's time to prepare your home for extreme summer weather conditions and the possibility of dangerous summer storms. Every season hold it's challenges, and it's important to always protect yourself and your property. Stay safe from severe summer weather with the following tips from home experts:

1. Manage Your Gutter

Keeping water from harsh rain storms out of your property should be a leading priority, and can prevent expensive property damages. Water needs to be directed off the roof, which means gutters need to be checked for any excess leaves, tree branches, or debris. Ensure that downspout elbows are unclogged, allowing water to flow freely from the roof and away from your home. While inspecting your rooftop gutters, look for any missing shingles or holes in your roof which will allow water to slowly seep into your home. Cracked and damaged roofs lead to leaking which can cause excessive water damage, mildew, and mold.

2. Protect Your Appliances

Local property management experts recommend using a whole-home surge protector, which can be installed in your electrical panel. A whole-home surge protector will protect any plugged in appliances (including televisions and appliances), if there is an unexpected lightening strike or power outage. For further precautionary measures, you can purchase outlet surge protector power strips.

3. Trim Your Trees

Ensure trees on your property are properly trimmed and no branches are touching your house. In extreme weather conditions and high winds, branches can break and harshly damage your home exterior. 

4. Install Air Conditioners Sparingly 

As New England is expecting higher than average temperatures this summer, many homeowners are rushing to install multiple air conditioners. Experts warn to install air conditioners sparingly and with caution, and never install more than one air conditioner on the same circuit. In many homes, especially apartments and older homes, numerous rooms are wired on the same circuit. Installing air conditioners on the same circuit can damage the breaker and cause serious issues over time, including electrical fires.

Friday, July 6, 2018

4 Trends Driving Apartment Traffic in 2018

As the summer of 2018 begins, it's a great time to step back and review all your existing real estate marketing approaches, and analyze ways to adapt your advertising approaches to the ever-changing real estate market. It's important to study how renters are shopping for apartments in 2018, in order to better align your advertising approaches with those behaviors. By studying how consumers of all generations are searching for real estate properties and apartment rentals in 2018, some key trends are continuously appearing. Here are some of the top trends driving apartment traffic in 2018:

1. Virtual Tours

One very important visual tool in your apartment marketing approach should be virtual tours. In an age dominated by technology driven content, consumers are expecting more technologically advanced advertisements to hold their attention. People want to see every detail of the place they are going to live, therefore video tours and virtual tours are crucial to bringing in residents. Make the investment in your visual advertisements to show potential residents you are already serious about making them happy, and conducting your real estate business with professionalism and technologically advanced techniques.

2. Social Media 

The average millennial spends 15 hours a day consuming media, often multiple forms at once. What this research means for real estate companies is important. Today, it is imperative to spend most of your marketing budget geared towards social media, primarily on sending out advertising messages. Integrating advertising and social media is necessary to stay relevant and successful. 

3. Make it Easier for Prospective Clients to Do Business with You

When advertising real estate properties, your intent is to always bring in prospective clients to tour the property, and ultimately take the next step towards signing the lease. Make it easier for prospective clients to schedule apartment tours from their mobile device or computer, with online tour scheduling options. Calling directly on the phone can be a hassle sometimes, by quickly allowing prospective clients to schedule tours online you will increase the number of apartment tours. Also, consider installing a live chat & message feature on your real estate property advertisements. Small questions that may be holding up prospective clients, can be quickly answered and accelerate the rental process. 

4. Blogging

Creating user-generated blog content and keeping prospective and current residents in the know regarding your brand is imperative in today's competitive real estate market. Blogging has many key benefits, including bringing directed traffic to your real estate website from people searching general real estate topics on the internet. Furthermore, current residents will be impressed with your effort and ability to maintain communication and keep them updated regarding important real estate topics. Publishing detailed real estate blogs may answer many questions for both prospective and current residents, that will decrease the amount of questions your property managers and real estate agents are receiving. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Boston City Council Imposes Strictest Rules Yet for Airbnb Rentals. How Will This Affect You?

On Wednesday June 13th, 2018, the Boston City Council imposed the strictest rules yet in the nation regarding the Airbnb rental industry. In a move meant to control the popular short-term rental business and help regulate the tough housing market, the Boston City Council enacted numerous rules and regulations meant to slow down the increasing number of Airbnb rentals in Boston. The rules prohibit investors and tenants from renting their home through short-term rental websites such as Airbnb. However, homeowners and owner-occupants are allowed to continue operating short-term rentals through their property as they please. Mayor Martin J. Walsh first proposed this bill in January, and is now prepared to sign it into law.

What is Airbnb? 

Airbnb is growing company which operates an online platform allowing people to offer short-term leases and rentals from their home. Consumers have the ability to rent short-term apartments, home-stays, holiday cottages, and condominiums. Airbnb has swept the nation in popularity, becoming an affordable alternative to hotel stays in expensive areas, and a lucrative way to generate side money.

How Will This Affect You?

Supporters are thrilled about the new laws regulating Airbnb's, hoping the legislation will decrease constraints from Boston's tight housing market. Currently, an estimated 2,000 apartments are being rented on a nightly basis through Airbnb in Boston, instead of through a traditional 12 month lease. After nearly three years of evaluating the subject, the Boston City Council decided it was time to enact serious rules and regulations.

The new rules officially take effect on January 1st, however current Airbnb hosts (who are not homeowners or owner-occupants) have until September 2019 to continue operations. This change was enacted to prevent landlords from facing numerous apartments vacancies, while also giving the hundreds of renters hosting Airbnb stays to find a new source of income.

The new rule also requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city of Boston annually, and pay a $200 fee. The registration and fee is meant to give city officials a clearer picture of the short-term rental business, to better understand and improve the future of Boston's housing market.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Soaring Taxes on Newbury Street Causing More Vacancies

Walking down Newbury Street, you may notice the dozens of vacant buildings and storefronts, which were once full and bustling with shoppers. Soaring property taxes and rents might be to blame, as store owners struggle to maintain steady profits. For decades, Newbury Street has been one of Boston's main attractions, home to some of the biggest names in retail fashion, luxury retail boutiques, and prominent restaurants. Rising demand for Boston's famed shopping area has caused a high increase in property values, leading to higher property taxes and rents for businesses. One of the most recent businesses to move is Hempest, who has been on Newbury Street for over twenty years. Hempest was forced to change store locations due to soaring rent costs, and has moved one block away from Newbury Street.

Newbury Street has become a great way for realtors to generate income, however many store owners have been struggling to manage the soaring rent costs and ability to maintain profits. Furthermore, Boston's retail scene has been changing in recent years. Established retail stores that would traditionally flock to Newbury Street are finding new opportunities in other fashionable Boston neighborhoods, including Seaport District and Downtown Crossing. 

Building values on Newbury Street have increased an average of 29% compared to the average 11% throughout the rest of the city. Commercial property tax rates are based upon building values, leading to increased rents. Financial analysts have linked the empty storefronts to the increased rents.

Despite increasing property taxes and rent prices, storefronts and restaurants located on Newbury Street enjoy enormous advantages. Back Bay's Newbury Street is one of Boston's most famed tourist destinations, and attracts large amounts of foot traffic. Newbury Street also commands considerable amounts of foot traffic and attention around the holiday season. Furthermore, a CBRE New England market outlook expects rents to stabilize in 2018.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

With Sea Levels Rising, Boston Harbor May Need Barrier Wall Protections

As sea levels dramatically rise, reports have been spreading on the idea of creating a colossal, multibillion dollar wall in Boston Harbor to protect the Seaport Neighborhood and nearby Boston neighborhoods from coastal flooding damages. Extreme flooding is expected in the coming years and decades, as climate change causes sea levels to rise.

A research team at the University of Boston is researching harbor barriers to protect the city from damaging floods. The smallest barrier proposed, would connect Logan Airport in East Boston with Castle Island in South Boston, thereby safeguarding the city's inner harbor and downtown from detrimental tidal floods. The wall barrier was also recommended in Boston's Climate Ready Boston report last year. The report stated that the barrier could potentially work well in Boston's shallow waters, but it would have to be created in a way that minimizes negative impacts on navigation and the environment. Another one would stretch 3.8 miles from Winthrop to Hull, and cost between $8 billion and $11.8 billion to build.

Another study suggested that Boston embrace the water, and convert streets into canals, similar to Venice. Researches have also suggested solutions taking place on shore, which would cost a fraction of the proposed protective barrier wall cost. These suggest shore-based systems include protective flood walls, on a small smaller scale than the proposed harbor-wide barriers. Other shore-based solutions include changes to zoning laws, and raising of the land using berms. Another great benefit of shore-based solutions would be the much smaller time frame the projects would take to reach completion. Shore-based alternatives could be built in a matter of years, while the proposed harbor-side barrier stretching from Winthrop to Hull, would most likely not reach completion until 2050. If the city of Boston decides to move forward with protective harbor-wide barrier plans, it could potentially take decades of planning and billions of dollars spent before barriers are built.