Greater Boston Real Estate News & Market Trends

There are a number of aspects of the Greater Boston real estate market that are included in this section of our website. A wide range of topics are covered, including local market statistics, home values, new developments, available off-market properties, and local events. This section provides information about the booming tech industry that is a part of Greater Boston and Massachusetts as a whole.  

There are several key factors driving Greater Boston real estate development. First, the city's booming economy and job growth have attracted a large influx of residents, resulting in a high demand for housing. Additionally, Harvard University and MIT have made the Greater Boston area a top choice for students, further increasing residential property demand. Also, the city's commitment to sustainable development and infrastructure improvements makes it a good place to invest in real estate. In addition to its history and cultural heritage, Boston has become one of the world's most desirable real estate destinations.

In the Greater Boston Area, transportation infrastructure plays an important role in shaping real estate development. Improvements to public transportation systems, such as the Green Line Extension and the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit, have opened up previously underdeveloped areas to development. Taking advantage of these transportation improvements, developers are creating mixed-use developments with easy access to public transit, catering to the growing demand for walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods. In response, neighborhoods like Somerville, Allston, and East Boston are experiencing a surge in commercial and residential real estate activity.

 

 

 

 

Feb. 8, 2024

Unveiling the Importance of MA Condo Documents in Real Estate Deals

A digital image of condo documents.

 

Condo Documents | A Crucial Part Of A Real Estate Transaction 

Due diligence is an essential part of real estate transactions. Understanding the importance of MA condo documents becomes crucial when purchasing condominiums in Massachusetts. As part of a real estate transaction, these documents provide vital information about the property's financial health, rules, and regulations.

In this article, we explore MA condo documents and how they impact real estate transactions. In order to protect your interests and make informed decisions, understanding these documents is essential.

In this article, we will explain the purpose and information provided by every document belonging to the association. We'll also discuss common red flags to watch out for, so you don't get caught by surprise.

The information in this article will prepare you to navigate MA condo documents like a pro, regardless of your level of experience.

 

Types of MA Condo Documents

A variety of financial and legal documents accompany MA condo documents, and they are essential for buyers, sellers, and agents to review. Understanding these documents will help you make informed decisions when investigating a property. Next, we'll look at some examples of MA condo documents.

 

The Master Deed

This document formally declares the property to be a condominium and provides for its administration. In accordance with section 183A of the general laws, this document must include a complete description of the land and buildings intended for condominium use and of the common elements, as well as proportionate interests for each unit and floor plans; a statement of the purpose for which the building and units are intended, the method for amending the Master Deed, and the name of the organization responsible for governing and regulating the condominium. The condominium is governed by a Board of Trustees, which is elected by the unit owners.

 

The Declaration of Trust and Bylaws

 Unlike the Master Deed, which describes the basic structure of the Condominium, the Declaration of Trust outlines the day-to-day operating rules and regulations for the Condominium. As part of the Declaration of Trust, the following may be provided:

 

  1. The way in which the necessary maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common elements and the payments associated with them are handled.
  2. The manner of collecting from unit owners their common expense shares.
  3. The procedure for hiring all personnel, including whether or not a managing agent may be engaged.
  4. The method of adopting and amending administrative rules and regulations governing the details of the operation and use of the common elements.
  5. Explaining the restrictions and requirements for using and maintaining the units.  Additionally, it discusses the use of the common elements not included in the Master Deed.
  6.  The requirements for obtaining funds for repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of common areas, which will be financed by regular or special assessments paid to the Condominium Trust in accordance with each unit's percentage interest. A lien is placed on each owner's interest in common elements for the owner's share of these expenses. By adding this clause, the Condominium is assured that the common funds will be collected.
  7. Along with the provisions required by law, the Declaration of Trust includes numerous other provisions deemed necessary for managing and regulating the condominium. Among these are items such as method for rebuilding after a fire or casualty, or for condemnation, as well as items tailored to each condominium's needs and characteristics.

The Rules and Regulations

In addition to the declaration of trust and bylaws, many condominium associations have a number of specific rules and regulations that unit owners must adhere to. The rules cover topics such as pet policies, noise restrictions, parking regulations, and more. To ensure that your lifestyle and preferences are aligned with these MA condo documents, you should carefully review them. If you violate the rules and regulations, you may be fined or subject to other penalties. In certain situations, rules and regulations, declarations of trust, and bylaws are interchangeable.

 

The Financial Statements & Budget

A condominium association's financial statements and budget provide insight into its financial health. There are details in these MA condo documents about the association's income, expenses, reserves, and any outstanding debts. When you review these documents, you can assess the financial stability of the association and determine whether there are any potential financial risks. For ongoing maintenance, repairs, and other expenses, making sure the association has sufficient funds is essential.

 

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes of a Massachusetts condominium association, also known as condo association minutes, are written records of the proceedings and discussions that occur during the association's meetings. An association's minutes are usually taken by a designated individual, such as its secretary or a professional minute-taker, and are an important part of its official records. It records the meeting of condo owners and what was discussed.

 

The Insurance Policy

Typically, condominium associations are responsible for obtaining insurance coverage for the building's common areas and structure. A thorough review of the insurance policy is essential to understanding the extent of coverage and any exclusions or limitations. To protect against potential liabilities, such as accidents or damage to the property, the association should have adequate insurance. Additionally, you may need separate coverage for your personal belongings and individual unit if you are a unit owner.

 

MA Condo Docs & Their Importance In Real Estate Transactions

A digital image of an attorney looking over condo documents.

 

All parties involved in a real estate transaction need to understand and review MA condo documents. These documents are essential to the success of any transaction, regardless of whether you are a buyer, seller, or agent. MA condo documents are important for the following reasons:

 

Protecting Your Interests

Condo documents in MA provide transparency and ensure that all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities. By reviewing these documents, you can identify any potential issues or red flags that could affect your interests. If the financial statements reveal significant debt or insufficient reserves, financial instability may exist within the association. The knowledge of these risks allows you to make informed decisions and negotiate terms that will protect your investment.

 

Avoiding Surprises

You can avoid surprises down the road by thoroughly reviewing MA condo documents. Information about the property, its rules, and any restrictions are provided in these documents. The rules and regulations may prohibit certain activities or limit the number of occupants in a unit. A better understanding of these restrictions helps you avoid possible conflicts or violations that can lead to legal troubles.

 

Assessing the Association's Management

A condominium association's documents offer insight into its management and governance. You can assess the association's financial stability, decision-making processes, and overall management practices by reviewing its declaration of trust, bylaws, and financial statements. For buyers, this information offers valuable insight into how the association operates and whether it aligns with their expectations.

 

Making Informed Decisions

The ability to understand MA condo documents empowers you to make informed decisions. A comprehensive understanding of these documents is essential whether you're considering purchasing a condo, selling your unit, or representing clients as an agent. You can evaluate the risks, benefits, and potential complications of the property and the condominium association. This knowledge will enable you to negotiate favorable terms, mitigate risks, and ensure a smooth real estate transaction.

 

Understanding The Master Deed

Due diligence on MA condo documents involves reviewing each document thoroughly, paying close attention to details, and seeking professional advice if necessary. Following are some steps to follow when conducting due diligence on MA condo documents:

1. Ensure you read and understand all MA condo documents carefully. Be aware of any provisions, restrictions, or requirements that may affect your interests.

2. Consult a real estate attorney or a real estate agent if you have any questions about MA condo documents. As experts, they can help interpret the documents and provide guidance.

3. Reach out to the condominium association or its management company if you have questions or concerns about the MA condo documents. To ensure that you thoroughly understand the property and its governance, ask for additional information or clarifications.

4. Check the property physically: While MA condo documents provide valuable information, they may not give the full picture of the property's condition. You may want to consider conducting physical inspections or hiring professionals to assess the property's structural integrity, electrical system, plumbing, and other key components.

Follow these steps to conduct thorough due diligence on MA condo documents and make well-informed decisions.

 

Realty Trusts vs Condo Trusts

In a real estate trust, one or more individuals or corporations declare, in a written declaration of trust, that they will hold any property they acquire as trustees on behalf of one or more undeclared recipients.

Trusts are commonly used in estate planning, when property is an investment rental property, and when someone wants to keep their name private.  Most banks will not allow residential buyers to buy or lend in trust names, so it is usually cash deals or they transfer to the trust after closing

 A condo trust is a trust in which certain trustees are enabled and encumbered to act on behalf of the condominium (and its respective owners). Condominium owners are therefore the beneficiaries that the trustee acts on behalf of. And, the trust property is the condominium itself. This is the kind of trust you will come across. They have the elements below

 

Conclusion: The Role of MA Condo Documents in Real Estate Transactions

Due diligence is crucial when it comes to MA condo documents. You should carefully review these documents, seek legal advice if you need it, and ask any pertinent questions to ensure that you understand the property and its associated obligations.

Condo buyers should also ask the condo association for additional information, such as meeting minutes, maintenance records, and pending or planned special assessments. A thorough understanding of the property's history and potential expenses can be gained from this additional information.

It can be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent or attorney who has experience in condominium transactions to streamline the due diligence process and ensure that all necessary information is obtained and reviewed. These professionals can guide buyers through MA condo documents and identify any potential red flags or concerns.

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 4, 2023

The First Impression – Top 5 items that will increase your home's curb appeal

 

 

 

You have certainly heard how important any first impression is. Well, it is just as meaningful for your home as you start to present it to prospective buyers. Within the first 15 seconds of seeing your home, a buyer has developed an opinion of your property. This is why it is crucial to create the right first impression to ensure a successful sale 

 

Buyers need to “feel at home” and curb appeal can help to do this before they even enter your home. Buyers are affected by color, smells, and sounds both outside and inside. Buyers tend to like a neutral environment where they can imagine their things, pets, family, friends, and all the bits that make up their world fitting into your property.  

 

 

  1. Your home’s curb appeal is not just the landscaping but everything from the street to your doorway.  The easiest way to “see what a buyer will see” is to start with the view of the street and sidewalk to insure it is free of litter and debris, if needed give it a quick sweep. Sidewalks can also have weeds that may be growing between the cracks, removing these gives a clear line of sight. 

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2. Before you get to the house you may also encounter a fence, mailboxes, or a light fixture. All these items get exposed to the elements and because of this they tend to have a tired look to them Maybe the fence is squeaking, or the paint is peeling, or the light fixture is from 3 decades ago or rusting. Taking the time to paint the fence, fix the squeaking gate, or update the mailbox and light fixtures can go a long way toward the visual appeal of your home.

 

3. The driveway and walkway are both paths that can add or take away from the charm and allure of your home. Similar to the sidewalks, your walkway should be clear of weeds growing between the cracks and the landscaping should be clear of the edges. The driveway and walkway are used daily and because of their daily use the surface condition can be damaged. If there are stains or cracks they will look worn. For your walkway, you may consider having the sections that are cracked repaired. For the driveway, you can always reseal it to smooth out the surface and hide the stains.  

 

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4. Landscaping is vital to keeping the yard well maintained. You want your shrubs to be neatly trimmed and the lawn to be freshly mowed. You also want to be aware of the overall the health of your landscaping.  Nicely cared-for lawn or landscaping should also look healthy. If your grass has spots beyond help, a bit of sod goes a long way to improve the overall look of a well-maintained healthy lawn. You can add some plants to the edges of the walkways or where you need “filler”. A Great plant to add is the hosta plant. They are hearty and easy to plant. They also provide great coverage and come back every year.

 

5. Your house’s exterior is a large part of your curb appeal. The property may have a painted exterior or siding, both of which can use freshening up. The doorway is the focal point of any house. Be sure to repaint the door, maybe replace door hardware, and you could install a more modern style of house numbers if it has been a while since you have upgraded them.  With siding, you can have a professional do the power washing or maybe you already own the equipment, and you can do this. Having your home power washed can prove to be a vital thing to do to your home but only when appropriate. There are times when power washing would not be the best idea-(historic homes,wood,etc). Maybe your home has paint outside instead of siding, a fresh coat of paint can be one of the smartest investments you can make to increase the value of your home. If you’d prefer not to spend the money to paint the whole house you can always just touch up the shutters and the front of the house. Don’t forget about the gutters and downspouts! These should look neat and crisp on the house with extenders to direct the water away from the house. Lastly, your roof should be well maintained, as this will speak to the care you have put into the home. If you have any broken or missing shingles/tiles, replace them, repair flashing if needed, and paint eaves and fascia boards.

 

 

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All and all when you invest a bit into updating your home’s outdoor aesthetics it can really affect the final amount a buyer feels your home is worth, bringing you the most money possible.

 

Posted in Home Selling
March 19, 2022

Bidding wars are on, how to prepare for victory!

It is imperative that buyers make as compelling an offer as possible when an attractive house is available in this highly competitive market. A good strategy is to hire a real estate agent who is experienced in dealing with multiple offers and is also familiar with the complications that come with this. An expert will then be able to assist the buyers during the bidding war and offer some of the following tips that will enable them to set their offers apart from the rest of the competition.

 

Letter of Pre-Approval

The lender should keep your pre-approval letter current, within 20 days, and if you can, specific to the house you're bidding on. When choosing your lender, you should take into account whether they'll go the extra mile for you in case there's a bidding war. A mortgage lender should be respected in their specific area, be highly skilled in their area of expertise, and be highly regarded in their local community. When the lender is prepared to advocate on your behalf, he or she will contact the listing agent, if necessary, after business hours, informing them of your eligibility; along with your qualifications and a thorough assessment of your documents.

Prepare a customized letter

It is common for sellers to want to do business with a buyer they feel comfortable with. Most people view their homes as their most precious possessions, and they want to be sure that you will treat the home as well as they have. You can convey your appreciation of the home by writing a letter. You should make sure to address their feelings in the letter. If the family raised its children in the home, how you could imagine raising your children there. If the family home has been passed down through generations with the same care and love, describe how excited you are to be the next custodian of the home, preserving its beauty and detail for future generations.

 

Bid more than the asking price

Pricing homes aggressively often leads to bidding wars. If there are multiple offers on a house, you know before you make an offer the home will likely sell for more than its asking price. Identifying how much a home will likely sell over the asking price is the difficult part. It is best to submit a generous offer, but also one that is comfortable. Do you think you would be prepared to give up your dream home for an extra $9K? That translates to roughly $5 a day - is that really worth giving up your dream house? Say you offer 80K more than the asking price on an 800k house. You will be able to recover the cost of the offer within a few years as the property values have been increasing at an annual rate of about 10%.

Think about looking for homes that are slightly below your budget so you can put your best foot forward with the funds that you have to work with. Adding homes $50K below your ideal price to your house search may help you win a bidding war since you can offer much more than the asking price. Recent years have seen a growing number of homes sold over the asking price, which is especially common now.

Here are five recent sales that exceeded the asking price:

 

Escalation Clause

 

Escalation clauses can boost your odds of beating other offers in certain situations. This allows you to offer the seller a certain amount over their highest offer up to a fixed maximum price.

Waiving inspections may be an option

To demonstrate your seriousness about a property, you can decide to waive the home inspection. An alternative is to have an inspection performed and state that you will cover the estimated repair costs up to a certain amount. If you choose to go this route, make sure the number is high or it won't be as appealing to sellers. Typically, buyers allow for repair costs of $10,000 - $15,000. However, in a bidding war, these numbers might not be sufficient. Sellers will be confident that you do not intend to back out or renegotiate the sale as you have shown them that you are fully engaged in the purchase.

Reduce contingency timelines

You may want to shorten contingency dates on inspections, purchase and sale, and mortgage. To figure out the earliest mortgage contingency date, speak to your lender.

Make Your Down Payment Larger

Sellers may consider a buyer who makes a larger down payment, such as 10-20%, to be more qualified than one who makes a smaller down payment, such as 3.5-5%. If you can, consider putting down more money. If you can, borrowing from your investments or retirement accounts could be a useful method to bring your down payment to 20%. This option may be more sensible, rather than paying mortgage insurance that comes with an upfront fee and a monthly fee if you put less than 20% down. An additional way to strengthen your bid is to submit a larger deposit. It is common for buyers to submit a deposit of $1,000 with their offer, followed by a second deposit with the purchase and sale. Wouldn’t it make sense to put $5,000 upfront if you were going to have to at the end anyway?

Be willing to adjust on Closing Date

In some cases, sellers have rigid circumstances and must sell to a buyer who can accommodate their schedule. If you want to stand out from the crowd, be as accommodating as possible.

Lease Back

 

Consider allowing a use and occupancy agreement or also known as a “lease back.” Before moving into their new home, some sellers need to live in their current home while they wait.

A U&O agreement is a great option if a buyer is under a lease that they don't want to break or if they're selling a home and don't want to worry about packing and moving right away. In addition, by closing earlier, you are more likely to lock in an attractive interest rate. If you wait until the seller's timeline can be accommodated, you might have to pay for an extension of your rate lock.

If you are thinking of purchasing a home, you hope to find the right house at the right price and make the winning offer. Getting what you want the first time is not always simple and you may not always get what you want the first time. You will stand out to sellers and their listing agents if you have the best real estate professionals behind you. To beat out other offers and ultimately win the house you want, you need to do your due diligence, hire the best agent, and use the right lender.

Posted in Home Buying
July 31, 2017

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates