Real Estate Math

Real Estate Math

Of the various maths involved in residential real estate, calculating the value of home improvement projects is the most difficult. Return on investment is ultimately determined by the market. There are no definitive answers, unlike there are in the problem above.

A quick quiz: Which of these projects tends to provide the best return on investment for sellers?
   A. Back Yard Patio Installation
   B. Garage Door Replacement
   C. Minor Kitchen Remodel
   D. Window Replacement

Buyers are very much into move-in ready homes right now. They want what they see on TV, which is often updated, neutral, and sparse.

In most cases it does not make sense for a seller to do updates in order to list a home for sale. However, pretty much any seller can make progress towards making their home neutral and sparse.

We’re happy to help you decide how far to go as you prepare for the market, and to recommend contractors if you need help completing the work.

Our goal is to suggest projects that will either make you more money on the sale, or help the property sell more quickly, or both.

By the way, the Remodeling’s 2019 Cost vs Value Report says that answer B is the best response … replacing garage doors tends to provide sellers in the Hartford area the highest return on investment. Check out their website for the return on investment numbers for all 21 projects included in their report.

Shopping Around: $1,600/month Rentals

It’s always fun to survey different markets to compare prices. Today we have three $1,600/month rentals for your consideration:

Option 1 is a totally updated 2 bedroom at 33 Charter Oak Place in Downtown Hartford.

Option 2 is a spacious 3 bedroom in a great location at 151 Maplewood Avenue in West Hartford.

Option 3 is … whatever this is in NYC:

Clearly $1,600/month will get you different things in different locations!

81 Fern Street, Hartford’s West End

81 Fern Street, Hartford

Don’t miss 81 Fern, a stylish Victorian that has been updated to impress!

The home receives high marks for character, with an oversized front porch, double entry, natural woodwork, fireplaces, and turned stairs. The foyer, living room, and dining room are all open to each other, providing a comfortable environment to relax and a wonderful space to entertain.

However, it’s the thoughtful updates that will make you fall in love.

The kitchen features stone counters and stainless appliances as it wraps through the butler’s pantry to the dining room. Thoughtful features include a wine fridge, ample cabinetry, and a high-end gas range. The master bedroom has a fireplace, private balcony, walk-in closet, and an en-suite bath with double sinks and a luxury shower with rain head. A suite like this is rarely available in Victorian homes.

You’ll love coming home to this charming space with large rooms and a great feel.

Also included is a sunroom that overlooks the level back yard. There are two additional bedrooms, an office, and a hall bath on the second level. The top level is currently set up as an au pair suite with two large rooms, a full bath, and a kitchenette.

The home’s convenient location in the West End is close to parks, schools, coffee shops, and restaurants. Downtown Hartford and West Hartford Center are a short ride, with reliable public transportation available.

Come visit today … this is the property that you will want to call home!

81 Fern Street is offered at $385,000. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

January Contracts: Getting the Year Started Right

2019-02-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2019

The Hartford County single-family home market opened 2019 with 604 contracts in January. The total matched last January’s deal count almost exactly, and set the stage for another strong year in the real estate market.

It is far too early to even consider looking at town-by-town trends in detail. We typically don’t even try to interpret the nuances of the market until after the majority of the spring market rush has passed.

At this point in the year we focus on the County-wide activity level and inventory. I like what I’m seeing in terms of the number of deals. The number of active listings is traditionally quite low at the end of January, so seeing 2.7 months of inventory looks about right (In last year’s report it was 2.6 months).

Now is the time to start thinking about your real estate goals for the year. We’re here to help – call Kyle at 860-655-2922 to get started.

2019-02-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2019 by Town

New “Coming Soon” Rules for Spring Market

2019-02-04 New Coming Soon Rules

Have you ever seen properties advertised as “Coming Soon” either online or with a sign in the yard?

That type of pre-market promotion has been like the Wild West for agents.

Individual agents each handled it a little differently since there was no real guidance. There were many misunderstandings, and some questionable practices, as both agents and buyers struggled to understand what “Coming Soon” meant on a property-by-property basis.

Although most agents promoted their listings responsibly, enough complaints were registered that someone decided to step in and act as a regulator.

Beginning today (February 4, 2019) new rules issued by the local Multiple Listing Service regulate how MLS members (basically all agents) must manage their listings at each stage of the listing process.

Specifically, two types of pre-market listings have been defined:

Delayed Listings: An owner has hired an agent, but the property is not ready for marketing. The agent is allowed to help the owner prepare the property during this time. However, the agent is not allowed to publicly market the home, and no showings are allowed. When the property is ready, then it is listed in the MLS and marketing and showings may begin.

Coming Soon Listing: An agent can publicly market a property before it is available for showings by entering it into the MLS in the “Coming Soon” status with a specific “Go Active” date. Although public marketing is allowed, showings are not allowed and the owner may not accept an offer until the “Go Active” date passes. Importantly, the “Go Active” date may not be moved up once it has been publicized. A property can only be in the “Coming Soon” status in the MLS for a maximum of 14 days.

Another new rule covers listings that are withheld from the MLS.

Withheld Listings: An agent can opt to not enter a listing into the MLS. This is discouraged since marketing properties in the MLS is the best way to maximize exposure to buyers. However, in some situations withholding a listing may be appropriate. An agent who withholds their listing from the MLS may not publicly market the property.

The new rules define “Public Marketing” to include open houses, displaying the listing anywhere on the internet, advertising the listing in written publications, placing a sign in the yard, sharing the listing on social media, or distributing the listing via email.

These rules mean that if you see a property advertised by an agent, whether it is “Coming Soon” or not, then you should be able to find out about that listing from any agent because there is a corresponding MLS entry. Public marketing is not allowed under these rules unless the property is already listed in the MLS. This is good for buyers, and it is good for agents representing buyers.

We’ll see how the new rules work in practice over the coming months. In order to be effective the agent community needs to know about the new rules, understand them, and buy in to the changes. There also needs to be a reasonable enforcement mechanism.

Amy and I have already discussed small changes to our pre-marketing strategy in order to make sure we comply. Our expectation is that other local agents will comply too.

That said, it will be interesting to see what happens this spring. The rules represent a meaningful reduction in the flexibility we previously enjoyed while building awareness of new listings.