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May Housing Market Update

Sale Price as a % of List Price: May 2022We are fully into spring market and our agents are busy! May was another good month for home sellers in the towns north of Boston. Sale prices were up by more than 30% in Bedford, Carlisle and Lincoln, with our other office towns showing consistent price increases. Average days to offer was just 7 in Acton, Lexington, Westford and Winchester – a drop from last month in most cases. Overall the number of single-family homes sold was up on the previous month – and home sales jumped by 83% in Concord compared to May 2021. The competition for available homes has not let up, and as a consequence we are seeing homes sell for well over the list price – on average 16% over in Lexington and 13% in Acton.


Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update










The good news for buyers is that there has been an increase in the number of homes for sale compared to the previous year. The number of single-family homes on the market as of June 1st has more than doubled in Acton and Westford – which means more opportunity for buyers to finally secure their dream home.

Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update










So what happened to the slow-down that was predicted at the beginning of the year? Whether you are buying or selling, it’s important to remember that “slow-down” means exactly that - what we are expecting is a return to a more normal real estate market, not a collapse. If you cast your mind back to pre-pandemic times, it was typical for homes to be on the market for 2 or 3 weeks, and for buyers to make offers at, or even below the list price. That’s still something we are anticipating, so if you are thinking of listing your home you should talk to your agent about what the market is doing in your area.

Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update










Right now, demand is still high in the popular commuter towns north of Boston, and sellers looking to take advantage of that should consider whether to risk waiting for fall or take the plunge and list now. Our Pre-Listing Prep service can help you get your home market-ready with no up-front costs, and our Buy Before You Sell program can free you up to search for your new home. Ask one of our agents for full details.


Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update


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    5 Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid in a Seller's Market

    Home Buyers Searching for HomesIf you’re new to home buying or are just inexperienced, you might easily make some mistakes when purchasing real estate. Qualified, experienced agents like ours at Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty can make your homeownership dreams a reality. Together, we help you navigate the murky waters of buying a home in a market where supply can’t meet demand. Here are five home buyer mistakes to avoid in a seller's market.

    Not Getting Pre-Approved for a Loan

    Pre-approval for a loan is the gateway to owning your own home with the help of lenders, but some prospective homeowners fail to check this off the list. While it’s important to note that getting pre-qualified is the first step toward securing a loan, being pre-approved means that the lender is ready and willing to offer you the amount they agreed to during your pre-qualification phase. Completing the pre-approval process and securing these funds means you act more quickly. In a seller’s market, your timing could be the difference between getting the home you want or missing out.

    Making Poor Decisions Out of Desperation

    A seller’s market can be extremely stressful. There are fewer homes than people looking to purchase them and some homes will go from “new listing” to “under contract” in a matter of days—even hours at times. If you find yourself needing to move immediately due to a new job or even just a desire to live in a different neighborhood, you might also find yourself making decisions that are not wise for your situation. Waiving inspections and appraisals and agreeing to unreasonable closing deadlines are just some of the poor decisions you can make if you’re too desperate to secure a home. Although you need to act fast in a seller’s market, you should never compromise the home buying process—protect your investment by following through with these important steps along the way. 

    Overpaying and Failing to Stick to a Budget

    In a seller’s market, it can be tempting to get into bidding wars with other home buyers—it’s almost impossible to avoid—where you throw your budget out of the window. Making offers that are too high above the asking price is a common mistake, and it’s made even trickier because low-ball offers in a seller’s market can easily cause you to be outbid. The risk of losing out on a home you really want or need can lead many to go above budget and ultimately pay the price later when the market tanks. When it comes to making an offer, trusting your agent to help you choose the most reasonable offer and navigate the bidding process is essential.

    Hesitating to Make a Decision

    On the other hand, when you fail to make decisions quickly in a seller’s market this often spells disappointment. It is still crucial to make a fair offer and to conduct all inspections and appraisals as you would in a more normal market, but indecision when it comes to selecting a home and other stages of the process can ensure that you don’t get the home of your dreams. Some home buyers may believe that they have time to wait for something better to come along or to get more information about the home or neighborhood. Making an informed decision is certainly a positive thing, but if you have fallen in love with a home while the market is hot then it can be detrimental to hold off on making an offer. It also kicks off the process and gives you time to find out everything you need to know about the home while you wait to go under contract.

    Choosing an Inexperienced Realtor

    Selecting an experienced and knowledgeable realtor who acts in your best interest is critical to the home buying process and can make or break your success. Realtors that are newly licensed or unfamiliar with the area, who are inexperienced in negotiating, or even the few who just want to make a quick buck, will probably not be able to get you the best deal—already difficult in a seller’s market—or make sure you’re taken care of in the process. Experienced agents like ours know the ins and outs—and ups and downs—of the home buying process, which will save you time and money. With little of that to spare in a difficult seller’s market, choose a Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agent before you start the search for your next dream home.

    If you’re thinking about buying a home in the Greater Boston area, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty can help you navigate the current market and secure the home you want. Contact us today to find out more!


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      Recipe for Success - The Key Ingredients for a Winning Offer

      It’s been a tough few months for home buyers, with prices continuing to climb and homes moving quicker than ever. Contrary to belief we are not experiencing a shortage of inventory, rather it is a surplus of buyers which is driving up demand. In order to stay in the game, buyers are having to make decisions quickly and submit offers on homes they have barely seen. Offering above list price, waiving inspections, and putting down larger deposits now seem to be commonplace, but more buyers are having to get creative to secure their ideal home. In a recent home purchase our agent sealed the deal for their buyers by agreeing to take on the donkeys and horse that lived at the property!  But you don’t need to resort to extreme measures to secure your dream home – there are actually a few simple ingredients that go into making a successful offer.


      1.     Experienced Team 

      Couple Working with Real Estate Agent

      In the current competitive market you need experienced professionals on your side. Chose a realtor who knows the market in your target towns, can work collaboratively with other agents and understands what you need in a home. Their deep knowledge and connections will ensure they can get you into the latest listings first, know what homes are currently selling for, and gauge the likely interest in a property. They will also work with the seller’s agent to understand if there are considerations other than price that could influence the decision. For example, do the sellers need a quick closing, or do they need time to find another home? The same goes for your attorney and lender – make sure you are working with someone who is active in the local area and understands the nuances of that particular market. Your agent will be able to make recommendations.


      2.     Solid Financials 

      Calculating Your Spending Power

      Understanding exactly what you can afford is vital to making a successful offer. Getting pre-approval for a loan is just the first stage of the process – you should also make sure you understand what difference a $5k / $10k / $50k increase in an offer will make to your monthly costs. Likewise, be aware of what effect an interest rate increase will have on your repayments – can you afford to keep waiting for the ‘perfect home’ if rates continue to rise? Be prepared to provide proof of any enhanced deposit you may offer and be sure you understand what would be refundable should the deal not be successful.


      3.     Realistic Expectations 

      Family Looking at Home with Realtor

      Let’s be honest, there is always going to be some compromise when purchasing a home, especially in today’s market. This is when it’s important to understand the difference between NEEDS and WANTS. For example, you might ‘want’ a 4-bed home so that you have space for a home office, but what you actually ‘need’ is a 3-bed home with office space - which could be a converted basement, or a space in a larger dining room. You want ‘move-in ready’ but would be prepared to take on some painting and minor renovation to get the location you want. When you break down your wish list into ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, you open up more homes for consideration. You could also look at homes in a lower price point and think about how you could alter or improve those homes to suit your needs. An experienced agent will be able to help you see past the décor and current layout and explore options to turn a house into your dream home.


      4.     Patience 

      Barrett Sotheby's Sold Sign in Front of House

      This is perhaps the ingredient in shortest supply! Along with managing your expectations, any good agent will tell you that you are going to need some patience to secure your new home.  Good things come to those who wait – there are new homes coming on the market daily and buyers are successfully securing those homes, but it’s likely going to take some time and several offers before you get the right one. Don’t get disheartened if your first offer is not accepted, instead understand that it is part of the process and focus on the next home. Your persistence will pay off and once you are in your new home the “ones that got away” will be a distant memory.



      Putting together the offer that secures your dream home is not an exact science, but if you balance your ingredients correctly you’ll have the recipe for success! Talk to a Barrett Sotheby's International Realty agent today to start your homebuyer journey.


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        Local Fairs and Festivals You Won't Want to Miss

        People on a Ride at Local FairSpring is here, the flowers are in bloom, and the fair is coming to town! One of the best things about spring in New England is the chance to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather at some of the fun family events that happen in our communities. We have some awesome fairs and festivals coming to a town near you over the next few weeks, plus some events unique to this time of year. Check out our list and get involved!

        May 11th -15th: Apple Blossom Festival, Westford. Hosted by the Westford Kiwanis, there will be carnival rides running Wednesday thru Sunday, with a parade and fireworks on Saturday May 15th.

        May 20th – 21st: En Ka Fair, Winchester. Enjoy rides, food and a huge book fair from Friday evening and all day Saturday. There’s also a parade on Saturday morning.

        May 25thProm Stroll, Bedford. Back for the first time in 2 years, watch the class of 2022 celebrate prom night!

        May 27th – 28th : Fairy Homes and Gardens Tour, Lexington. Use the map and follow the fairy scavenger hunt to find the hidden fairies around town!

        May 28th : Discovery Day, Lexington. Kick off Memorial Day weekend with a street fair along Mass Ave! Local businesses will have booths with giveaways and prizes, plus food and entertainment for the whole family.

        June 4th : Winchester Town Day. Another street fair with local businesses providing games, entertainment and shopping for visitors, rounded off with an evening firework display.

        June 4th : Stow Street Block Party, Concord. An event for the whole community, including Touch a Truck, music, food, and games.

        June 5th - 12th: Charlestown Parade Week. A week of events and celebrations, including Touch a Truck day and a Talent Show, culminating in the Bunker Hill Day Parade (the oldest in the country).

        June 30th - July 4th: Lexington Lions 4th of July Carnival. The carnival is in town for 5 days across 4th July weekend, with rides, food and fireworks.

        If you want more ideas for things to do in the warmer weather, our Beyond Boston magazine has some great tips for places to visit in the Patriot Trail region. And check back next month for our list of local outdoor music events this summer!


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          April Housing Market Update

          Sale Price as a % of List Price: April 2022April showers bring May flowers, but did they also bring more homes to the market? Unfortunately, compared to last year, the answer was no. With the exception of Bedford, each of our office towns saw a decrease in the number of homes sold compared to April 2021. However things are looking more positive for May, with more homes available to buy in Westford (up 18%) and Winchester (up 42%) than the previous year. But for buyers, that might be where the good news ends, as prices continue to climb. Average sale price for single family homes was up almost 30% year on year in Acton and Concord. Bedford, Westford and Winchester also saw increases, while prices in Lexington remained static compared to the prior year. There’s also no let-up in the speed at which homes are selling – during April homes in Carlisle, Winchester and Bedford had an accepted offer in under a week, and the average days on market in Bedford and Westford was just 15. Hardly surprising then, with all that competition for homes, that the average sale price is still greater than the list price – by more than 20% in Carlisle and Acton.

          So how long is this Seller’s Market set to continue? Whilst we can’t say for certain, all the signs are that a change is coming. Further increases in mortgage rates are predicted – an average 30-year fixed rate term is now well over 5% - which will in turn affect how much people can afford to borrow. The cost of living is also having an impact – gas prices are still up near $4 / gallon, supply shortages continue to affect the cost of groceries and utility expenses are also on the rise. Plus a poor-performing stock market has reduced the value of some investments, which could impact a buyer’s ability to put down a deposit on a home. While there is still a limited inventory of homes for sale, sellers are able to achieve the maximum value for their home – but hesitate for too long and you may find it’s the buyers who are in short supply.

          If you are thinking about making a move, and want to know what your home is worth in today’s market, get in touch. Our experienced agents can give you a no-obligation market analysis, specific to your home, to help you decide if now is the right time. They can also advise you on what you might need to do to get your home ready for sale, and walk you through some of the many ways we market your home to the widest pool of potential buyers.

          Ready to take the next step? Contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today!

          Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update










          Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update










          Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update










          Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update


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            Spring Decor Ideas to Brighten Your Home

            Spring Flowers on Fireplace MantelThe spring season is in full bloom with brighter, longer, and warmer days. There’s no better time than now to brighten up your home with these easy spring decor ideas and bring some of those beautiful spring colors and life indoors. 

            Do a Seasonal Declutter

            Just like spring cleaning, a nice seasonal spring declutter works wonders. You don’t always have to add decor to make your home more appealing. Decluttering your visible spaces can really show off the things that are working well. For example, put away some of those extra knick-knacks on the shelves. 

            Display Fireplace Foliage

            Now that you’re done using your fireplace as a fireplace, add some fresh flowers or foliage. Use spring colors like pink, blue, and purple on your mantel. You can also put some candles with spring colors and sents inside your fireplace and light them on occasion, or add a beautiful vase on the outside. 

            Lighten Up

            Think about swapping out your throw pillows and bedding for some lighter fabrics and lighter colors. Also, consider putting away any heavy drapes or window coverings and using sheer curtains. And don’t forget about your towels and shower curtains. You can also replace any outdated light fixtures with modern LED lights, which will also help save on your electricity bill.

            Sprinkle In Spring

            Anywhere in your home that you’d like to give a touch of spring, add some spring flowers, plants, and baskets. This is a quick and easy way to bring spring into your home. Just make sure the plants get enough light and water. If you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of beautiful faux options to choose from. 

            Painting the Walls

            If you’re up to the challenge, and if your walls could use a fresh coat of paint, you can create accent walls in your favorite spring colors. If you have a couple of spots to hide, but don’t want to break out a paintbrush, you can buy some spring art to hang on the walls or do some modern spring wallpapering. 

            If you’re thinking about selling your home in the Greater Boston area this spring, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty can give you some custom tips on decorating your home to sell, home staging, and much more. We can even take care of the hard work for you with our White Glove pre-listing prep services. Contact us today to find out more!


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              MAR Market Review - Qtr 1 2022

              Local Real Estate Market Update Reports from MARThe Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) has published the latest housing market report for the towns and cities in our state. Our summary covers Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Westford and Winchester, along with 54 other towns and cities where we have represented buyers and sellers. This report includes property sales data from the year so far and compares that to the previous year, giving a good indicator how the market has performed in the first quarter. Whether you are buying or selling, these reports can give you an insight into trends in each town. You can look at days on market to see how fast homes are moving, check how many homes sold compared to the previous year to understand the demand, and see how the list prices compared to sale prices to comprehend how competitive the market is. However for a full market analysis you should talk to an experienced realtor. They'll be able to give you a more detailed evaluation of your home, taking into account specific property and neighborhood details and including information about recent comparable sales, to give you the true picture.

              Looking forward, we are already seeing signs of change – inventory is increasing as the spring market heats up, interest rates are on the rise, and more people are returning to work in person, all of which have an impact on demand. If you are thinking about selling, there is still time to take advantage of the fast-paced market we’ve seen in the first quarter of the year. Click here to find out what your home is worth and get in touch to realize the full value of your home in today’s market.


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                Vacation Week Fun on the Patriot Trail

                Family Walking on the Patriot TrailSchool’s out next week for April Vacation, and if you are staying local there’s plenty to see and do in the towns along the Patriot Trail! Patriot’s Day itself is Monday, April 18th and our historic region will have plenty of ways to celebrate. Lexington is hosting many events across Patriot’s Day weekend including the famous re-enactment at 5:30am on Monday, and a Patriot’s Day Parade in the afternoon. There is also a parade in Concord on Monday morning, and Concord Museum is celebrating by offering free admission all day Monday.

                If you want to cheer on some modern-day heroes, the Boston Marathon also takes place on Monday – check out the route to find a good place to watch the runners (we recommend Hopkinton or Natick for the first half of the race, Newton or Brookline if you want to see the second half – and of course the finish line in Copley Square).

                Here are some other suggestions for ways to make the most of your local area during vacation week

                For more ideas visit the Highland Street Foundation website – they’ve partnered with a whole host of local businesses to offer free days out for families during April vacation week.

                We are fortunate to live along the Patriot Trail with all these amazing activities on hand. Please consider supporting these and other local businesses and organizations by paying them a visit this vacation week and beyond.

                Advance booking is required for some events - check their websites to find out more.


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                  Expert Advice - Complimentary Downsizing Seminars

                  Get Expert Advice with Complimentary Virtual SeminarsMoving to a smaller home? Gain valuable advice about paring down and learn what you really need in order to maintain a comfortable, beautiful lifestyle in less space. Join Marie LeBlanc from Transitions & Liquidations Services, Jan Poulain and Liz Larson from Perfectly Placed for You, and Barrett Sotheby's International Realty owner and CEO Laurie Cadigan for tips, tricks, and resources for stress-free downsizing. Seminars will be held virtually on Saturday, April 23rd at 10am and Thursday, April 28th at 6pm.

                  Email to register and receive the zoom link


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                    March Housing Market Update

                    March 2022 Housing Market UpdateSpring is on its way, and with it an increase in home buying activity! We’ve seen an uptick in activity in March from both buyers and sellers, and the early spring market is showing some welcome signs of increased inventory and activity. Acton, Bedford and Winchester all had more sold homes than the prior month, and Concord also saw a 45% increase in the number of homes sold compared to March 2021. Sellers are still able to command higher prices though, as available inventory has not kept pace with the demand. Average prices jumped by more than 10% over last year in Carlisle and Concord, and Lincoln and Winchester also saw higher prices. If you find a home you like, the pressure is still on to make your offer quickly. Homes were under offer in less than 10 days in Lexington, Lincoln and Winchester.


                    Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update











                    Making an Offer

                    Perhaps the biggest indicator of market robustness is the sale price to list price ratio. This shows how much over the asking price people have been paying for homes, and gives you some idea of the level of demand and interest in homes in certain towns. In March, homes in Lexington sold on average for 12% over the list price, in Winchester it was 10%, 7% in Acton and Bedford, Carlisle and Concord were 5% and Westford homes sold for an average 3% over list price.


                    Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update











                    Getting ready to list

                    So, as a seller, how do you take advantage of this active spring market while it’s still hot? Your first step is to talk to an experienced agent today. They can give you a complimentary assessment of your home’s current value and talk about the specifics of the market in your zip code. They will also be able to advise on what (if any) home improvements or updates are necessary before you put your home on the market – which might be less than you think, as more buyers are prepared to take on some work to get into an area they like. Our agents also have access to White Glove Services, a program that takes care of any necessary repairs and renovations without you paying upfront. Ask a Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agent for more info.


                    Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update











                    Tips for buyers

                    As for buyers, things are finally looking up with more homes coming to the market in the next few weeks. If you are about to start your house hunt, get connected with an agent who knows your target towns, so you can be first to know about new properties as they come live. Read our Tips for Buying in a Hot Seller’s Market to make sure you are fully prepared.


                    Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update










                    You don’t need to wait for the flowers to bloom to start the moving process – talk to us today!


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