Best Places to Live 2015: The Boom in Four Case Studies

How hot is it? An inside look at home sales in four hot markets.

Left: 87 Sherman St., Unit 1, Cambridge. Right: 34 Ashland St., Arlington.

1. The Cambridge Investment
87 Sherman St., Unit 1, Cambridge

Listed: $489,900
Sold: $500,00

DAY 1: STRATEGY TIME Keller Williams real estate agent Ed Greable formulates a game plan with the seller around Thanksgiving 2014. The seller needs to move fast.

DAY 4: WE NEED BEDS! For $180, Greable secures furniture for an empty second bedroom to make it look homey. It’s part of his marketing package.

DAY 7: THE PRICE IS RIGHT Greable prices the home at $489,900, at the high end of area homes. “Pro photography and staging helped,” he says.

DAY 10: BUSY OPEN HOUSE An open house attracts more than 25 groups per day.

DAY 12: DUELING OFFERS Two offers come in quickly. “My seller was a capitalist. We went with the highest offer,” Greable says.

DAY 45: SUCCESS The home closes for $500,000.

INTEL “If someone is hell-bent on Cambridge, look in North Cambridge,” Greable says. “This is one of the most affordable areas of town.” (For now.)

2. The Hot-Town Overbid
34 Ashland St., Arlington

Listed: $699,000
Sold: $800,000

DAY 1: COSMETIC IMPROVEMENTS Avenue 3 real estate agents Karen Lilley and Lois Ardito ask the seller to declutter, eliminate chipping paint, and refresh landscaping for a May sale before Memorial Day weekend.

DAY 14: OPEN HOUSE The home hits the market on May 15, followed by a busy weekend open house. Six offers, many over asking, arrive by the Tuesday deadline.

DAY 17: REALIGNMENT Sellers come to an agreement with a buyer who had to increase the bid to beat out others.

INTEL“Listen to what the market is saying. When you have a rising market and need a mortgage, you can run into a situation where the bank doesn’t see the value. You don’t want the house to go back on the market,” says Avenue 3’s Deborah Heffernan.

Left: 54 Ames Rd., Sudbury. Right: 34 Grew Ave., Roslindale.

3. The Meticulous Suburban Manor
54 Ames Rd., Sudbury

Listed: $799,900
Sold: $800,000

DAY 1: PRIME CONDITION The seller’s house is in mint condition and doesn’t need staging.

DAY 5: LOW INVENTORY The home goes on the market before the spring frenzy. “Inventory was low in this price range, and the spring market was just gearing up,” says Libby Rankin Hamill, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stephan Real Estate.

DAY 9: BUSY OPEN HOUSE Multiple families attend a weekend open house, and several offers come in that Sunday.

DAY 9: A FLEXIBLE BID The sellers need time to move, so they want a buyer willing to wait. “It’s not always about price,” Hamill says. “The winning offer was appealing because of the terms; the buyer was willing to give us some time.”

DAY 90: SUCCESS The sellers find suitable housing and the home closes for $800,000.

INTEL “Put your house on the market the week after Super Bowl Sunday. There’s less inventory, and people going out in the cold are not window shoppers. You could sell your house before the ‘real’ spring market hits,” Hamill says.

4. The Urban Steal
34 Grew Ave., Roslindale

Listed: $454,000
Sold: $425,000

MONTH 1: A STARTER HOME Mike Romani and his wife, Dinali, buy their fixer-upper for a mere $292,000 via Redfin in 2013, with a same-day offer.

MONTH 2-12: TOP-TO-BOTTOM RENOVATION “We worked on it full time,” Mike says.

MONTH 13: CHANGE OF PLANS A year later, the couple decide to move to upstate New York to be close to family, and hire Redfin to sell.

MONTH 14: STAGNATION The house is on the market at $454,000 for three weeks with no offers.

MONTH 15: PRICE DROP They drop the price to $429,000—and receive a $420,000 offer within days. They negotiate to $425,000.

MONTH 16: SILVER LINING Even though the house sells for under asking, Mike is pleased. “We got a big return on investment because of our renovations,” he says.

INTEL “If you price your house right, it’ll sell quickly,” says Romani, who decided to get a real estate license after the sale.

 

Check out all of our Best Places to Live 2015 coverage.