What is a Walk Score?

Anytime we look at Boston listings in the MLS we see:
1 bed, 1 full bath
Home size:
Year built:
Days on market:
Walk Score®  ???
We understand everything but Walk Score. Just what is it?  Walk Score is a method which scores a neighborhood for being walker friendly. In other words you can navigate around the neighborhood on foot or on a bike. An example is Boston. As a whole Boston has a rating of 79.2% out of a possible score of 100, while sprawling Los Angeles  is far behind with a walk  score of only 65.9%.

Walk score  promotes walkable neighborhoods. This is great concept because walkable neighborhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health, and our economy.

Here is a list of the top 10 walkable neighborhoods in Boston.
1. Bay Village 98
2. China Town 97
3. Beacon Hill 97
4. Downtown Crossing 96
5. North End 96
6. Fenway 95
7. West End 95
8. Back Bay 95
9. South End 94
10.Downtown 94

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Time to Shop for 5 Star Luxurious Boston Living

The fixed mortgage rates are about as low as they can get, the luxurious Boston condos, town homes and beautiful lofts are fresh and new and selling as fast as they can be finished, lenders in Boston are lending and your experienced local Boston Realtor is ready, willing and able to put you into that beautiful new upscale condo or town home that you have always wanted, and fast too. Wonderful new luxury condo, town home and condo-loft complexes are setting sales records all over the city of Boston.

One Charles Boston

Ask your Boston Luxe Realtor to show you some of the top of the line
condos like ‘One Charles Boston’ condos. These are luxury homes that provide the most lavish and urban chic living available in Boston. ‘One Charles Boston’ is known for its modern and contemporary condos, spectacular views and upper high-end upscale amenities.

One Back Bay

For those preferring to rent check out: ‘One Back Bay’ the ultimate in luxury 5 star Hotel living. This is one of Boston’s newest and finest rental complexes offering full service luxury living.

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Brookline MA Condominiums

Brookline, which now has a diverse population of 58,732, was once referred to as  “the richest town in America”, because it was where the very wealthy built their summer homes. Brookline is still  regarded by many locals as a wealthier suburb of Boston because of the number of wealthy individuals who live there.

Today many of the beautiful homes of yesteryear are being transformed into Brookline MA Condominiums.that are envied by all.

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There is more incentive than ever for you to contact your Boston Luxe Realtor and talk about buying a new single family home, condo or town home. The average rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows. The rates are the lowest since the long term mortgages started in the 1950s. 30 yr mortgage rates fell to 3.53%, 15 yr mortgage rates fell to 2.83%. The continuing decline in fixed mortgage rates have certainly contributed to the rising sales of homes throughout Massachusetts in the last months.

Home prices are also beginning to rise slightly in most areas and builders are beginning to start many new home projects that were put on hold for several years. Sales of condos and town homes are booming across the country and especially in Boston’s neighborhoods.

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Buying a House or Condo: Make Sure All Work Was Permitted and Approved

If you are considering buying a home or Condo, whether old or new, make sure the sellers have had any work done on the property permitted and that work bought off by the city inspectors.

It’s unfortunate that many people buy a home thinking that it has the potential to be enlarged by either major or minor remodeling. After the escrow closes they find out that they can’t do any type of work for one reason or another.
Many of those people find out that work that has already been done was performed without permits or the permits they had were never finalized and bought off by the building dept. of the city. A good local Boston Realtor or real estate professional will usually have already checked this matter out for you.

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Boston Condos

More and more people are considering buying a condo in an established condo community or in one of the new condominium complexes going up everywhere and especially the beautiful new luxury condo communities in Boston. Those potential buyers need to check out, along with their Realtor, some important information prior to making that offer.  Remember that your Realtor also has many answers concerning condo purchasing and what to look for, and what to look out for.

Ask these 10 questions of the Condo Board:

1    How many of the total units are owner occupied compared to renter occupied?
In most cases, the more owner occupied units there are the more marketable the units are and you will find lenders are happier to get involved in the financing.

2    Get a copy of the CC&Rs which govern the property. Read it over, or have your Realtor go over it with you so you understand what you can and cannot do as a homeowner.
For example in some condo complexes, you might not be able to rent out your unit if you want.

3    Find out about the general expenses for the complex and ask the board how much money it keeps in reserve for emergencies. Is that money invested or in the bank or what?

4    Are the association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation?
Assessments are usually adjusted at least once a year. Your Realtor can look at the assessments and see how they compare to other rates in the area.

5    Find out what does and what doesn’t the assessments cover? Example: Do the assessments cover the common area maintenance, trash collection, and other normal upkeep costs?

6    Have there been any special assessments in the last few years, if this is an older condo complex?  Have there been repeated special assessments? What for?

7    Is there a large turnover occuring in the complex and why? You might want to talk to some residents and get their opinion of how the complex is managed.

8    Is there any litigation going on with the complex and with who, and for what?

9    If this is a new condo community, how does the construction look and is the developer reputable? Again, you might want to talk to a resident and get their opinion.

10    Is the complex or community part of an umbel la corporation, where there are sub corporations under it? Who is the management company or is it self managed and how is the Board of Directors appointed or how do they get their jobs on the board?

Your local Boston Realtor can help you with any questions and research anything you want to research. The new condo communities in Boston are all wonderful with the best in construction and management. Your Buyers agent, or Realtor, is always there to help out and if he or she can’t answer your questions, he/she will find out the answer for you. Get the CC&Rs and go through them carefully with your Realtor, or an attorney, and then if everything looks good..GO FOR IT!

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Seller Must Disclose The Negative About A Property

It’s nice to not say much when people are going through your home open house. Not disclosing some items however can end up being very costly.

It is always wise to let your Boston  Realtor do most of the talking. Sometimes that’s impossible though. Big items and little items must be disclosed if it affects the value or desirability of the property. There some problems that are considered a higher priority. Remember that the laws vary from state to state. Keep in mind that even if you advertise a property to sell “as is”, the state’s laws must be obeyed.

Here are six items that are very important to disclose.

1    Any and all repairs need to be taken care of PERIOD! Be honest about the ones taken care of and those that will need attention.
2    Any Termite Problems, especially if the home has had past termite problems.
3    Any water damage and or mold or mildew problems.
4    Any lead materials on the property.
5    Natural Hazards.
6    An Infamous Past history must be reported.

Here is the bottom line: If there’s a question in your mind about whether or not you should disclose something, you probably should. Disclosed issues can merely become a point of negotiation between buyer and seller.

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The Importance of FICO

Consider this:  The last few years have seen turmoil of every kind when it comes to the current real estate market. If you and your family are getting ready to search for a home or other Boston real estate to purchase, you will find that the whole credit reporting industry has gone through some changes and most people are not aware of the depth of the changes and how they will affect real estate buyers right away. It’s time you became informed on the changes, how credit ratings really work, and more aware of your personal credit ratings. Everyone thinks that if we have a lot of cash in the bank, a great job and great income, we all think that all we have to do is find the home we want and get a mortgage loan and move in.

No matter how much cash you have in the bank, or how much money you make, if you want a mortgage loan, you must meet the lender’s FICO score guidelines, and those guidelines are getting tougher and tougher.

Most of us think that if we have no late pays and basically have no debt, then we will not have a problem getting our loan. False! Financial responsibility and good credit are two different things completely. Having no credit accounts or debts doesn’t give you good credit, it gives you NO credit. Another misconception: By checking your own credit score before filling out an application at the bank, because you can make sure you have no negative surprises.

The fact is that the Boston bank or mortgage loan originator must run their own credit report independent of your credit report and it might very well have a different score and other line items that the one you ran on yourself. Another myth: If you have had a foreclosure or a short sale on your record, you will not be able to get any credit for at least 7 years. This depends on your particular circumstances.

In some cases your credit score can be rehabilitated enough to secure certain credit. Having a short sale show up on your credit report will have less impact than having a foreclosure show up on it. The fact is: Short sales and foreclosures have the same impact on your credit score, according to the credit reporting agencies. There are exceptions and your own particular circumstances can determine which way the agencies will rate you.

Good Luck.

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Americans More Confident in Housing Recovery

According to Christine Harvey of Bloomberg,  Prudental real estate conducted a survey and the results showed a real optimism in the American consumer.

  • 60% of people surveyed last month had positive views about the housing market.
  • 70% expected property values to improve over the next two years, according to the survey released today. About
  • 63% percent of respondents said they considered real estate a good investment, up from 52 percent last year.
  • 90% + said the housing crisis is a reminder they must be more cautious in buying and selling property.
  • 80 % said home ownership is important to them,
  • 15% said the economic downturn made owning a home less important.

Stephen Van Anden, chief marketing officer for Prudential Real Estate, stated that “This is the second consecutive year consumer confidence in housing has improved, signaling the property market may “finally be climbing out of its deep hole”.

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Scituate’s “Bustling Harbor” Named One of Boston’s Best Neighborhoods

Scituate Harbor

After consulting with area real estate agents, town officials, Boston magazine’s March issue  has published what they believe to be the  14 “Best Places to Live” in Boston. Among the list was Scituate’s “bustling harbor”. Are you wondering for the reason for the choice.. Below is the direct quote from the magazine,

“A wave of development on Scituate Harbor, including retail, office, and condo projects, has energized the waterfront. “All of a sudden, it’s lively,” says Realtor David Drinkwater. On Front Street, you’ll find Wishbones pet boutique, food and gift shop Roman Table, the rehabbed cinema, and seafood eatery Oro. In 2009 three local families reopened the 29-room Inn at Scituate Harbor, and its Dogwatch bar attracts weekend crowds.”

Boston Magazine also published a separate list of the area’s wealthier communities. To check out all  communities that were chosen go to http://www.bostonmagazine.com/  for the full results.

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