For the last three years, the Boston housing market has benefited from incredibly high demand and significantly limited inventory. And the metro area is only getting more desirable: Job growth in Boston – particularly the city's burgeoning tech industry – will continue to drive demand as people from all over the country seek new career opportunities.
On the surface, this is good news for those looking to sell their Boston homes. But even in a seller's market, it's not always easy to snag a desirable offer quickly. According to real estate agent Robin Wish from Real Living Realty Group, Boston homebuyers are searching for the perfect combination of three things: location, price and condition.
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To attract the right buyers, you need to have a firm understanding of what they're looking for. According to some of the top real estate agents in Boston, these are the real estate trends Beantown sellers should be aware of before putting their homes on the market.
Buyers are increasing their search radius. Prospective buyers are no longer limiting their searches to the city center. "Traditionally hot neighborhoods are unreachable for most buyers in Boston," says Brian Clinton, a real estate agent with Donahue Real Estate.
This is good news for those selling homes in more affordable areas that are still close to city amenities. Properties in neighborhoods like Southie, Charlestown, East Boston and Dorchester, and in cities like Somerville and Chelsea, are now in high demand and at the forefront of buyers' minds.
To help homebuyers realize just how close they are to the most desirable aspects of Boston, Clinton suggests touting your home's proximity to public transportation. Easy access to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's extensive commuter rail, subway and bus services can help make your property seem like an extension of one of the city's hottest neighborhoods.
Outdoor space is often a must-have. If you have outdoor space, you have a major commodity, according to Clinton. "While many sellers will market a patio as outdoor living space or boast proximity to a local dog park, buyers want more," he says.
Indeed, nearby outdoor spaces, like parks and beaches, can make a property more appealing. Sellers in South Boston can point potential buyers to historic Castle Island and vibrant M Street Beach, which offer Boston residents yearlong beach access and a unique escape from the bustle of the city. And again, public transit can make public green spaces seem closer to home. Properties along the T's blue line or in East Boston are within easy reach of award-winning Piers Park, which offers stunning harbor views and cityscapes, quiet picnic spots, and event space for concerts, festivals and other community activities.
Price too high and people will notice. One of the biggest mistakes Wish sees first-time sellers making is pricing their homes too high. "Buyers' attentions are short so it's important to grab their attention early with the right price," she says.
It's critical to price your home appropriately based on how many other homes in your neighborhood are on the market and what they're selling for.
According to Clinton, if properties are listed for more than 14 days, you've probably priced too high. "Follow the market closely, price right and you'll get multiple offers," he says.
Boston homebuyers want move-in ready. Most buyers are looking for a property that won't require major renovations. You can often up your home's value by investing in updates to a few key rooms that pique a buyer's interest, like the kitchen and bathroom.
"Spending time and money revitalizing the spaces potential buyers pay the most attention to can drastically increase your odds of selling quickly, and at a price you're happy with," Wish says.
Painting, decluttering and planting flowers also can make your home appeal more to area homebuyers.
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