170 Pleasant St, Cambridge

Market Analysis for:

The estate of Ellen Leotsakos

I've done a market analysis on your triple decker home at 170 Pleasant St in Cambridge and have prepared this document to help explain how I've arrived at a price for your home. I perform a market analysis and calculate a price taking into consideration a home’s location, size, configuration, number of bedrooms and baths, lot size and general condition. I also scrutinize the home for issues that, in my experience, will impact the price of a home making it more or less valuable. Then, I look at your current competition - the other homes that buyers in your price range will be viewing, to help determine your price.

Contents

  1. Description of Home
  2. Market Dynamics
  3. Analysis of Relevant Properties
  4. Pricing Recommendation
  5. Marketing

Description of home

Please note that these comments do not relate to marketing, but are included purely to ensure that we have captured the information and reflect the major components of your home.

The home is a 3 family home(triple decker) located in the Cambridgeport area, which is a desirable location of Cambridge with views of the Charles River and walking distance to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Microcenter and a short distance to Central Sq, MIT and Harvard University.

Public record has the home as 3465 sq ft over 3 finished units, built in 1894.  For the purpose of this analysis we will assume equal sq footage on all 3 units = 1155 sq ft each.  Each unit in the building has a foyer, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, pantry (in unit 1 there is a washer/dryer hookup, in unit 2 there is a pantry, and unit 3 there is a pantry along with a washer hookup), access to front stairs, access to back stairs, and access to the basement is via Unit 1.  The home is on 0.08 acres, has 3 car tandem parking, concrete patio under a pergola, and up a few steps and a small retaining wall is a level garden area beyond, surrounded by a fence.  Access to the driveway is via a steel fence which extends to the front of the home.

Each unit in the home is in great shape with very little cracking in walls or ceilings. Each unit has an almost identical layout with entry into a foyer from the front door, with the living room to the right and full bathroom to the left. The bathrooms are in great shape, albeit dated. The bathroom has ceramic wall tiles, tub/shower, sink and toilet. The living room has a bay window with a brick chimney logically separating the living room from the dining room.  There is a bedroom off the dining room. Original gumwood moldings are throughout the home. Access to the kitchen is from the dining room.  Each kitchen has oak cabinets, laminate counters, tile backsplashes and wall tiles, ceramic floor tiles and white appliances. Each kitchen has a brick chimney in the kitchen and access to the back stairs is from the kitchen. The kitchens are large enough for an informal dining area. The kitchen on the second floor has a wood paneled wainscoting. The second bedroom is off the kitchen, along with a pantry.  Heat is provided by steam radiators.

In the basement the foundations appear straight and true. Boilers are fueled by gas and all appear to be relatively modern. The rubber roof on the flat roof was replaced sometime between the last 5-10 years. Access to the roof is via a hatch in the ceiling of the back staircase on the third floor. Electrics appear to be updated. 

 The front stairs are partially carpeted and have wallpaper walls, along with wood paneled wainscoting.


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Market Dynamics

We have been experiencing shortages of housing inventory in Cambridge over the last 6 years or so. There are always a number of buyers looking to buy in Cambridge because of the community dynamics, vibrant urban lifestyle, ease of public transportation, proximity to higher education facilities and great commute into Boston. People come from afar to have dinner at the many restaurants or micropubs, or just stroll around the area watching the world go by, chatting with folks who are out and about. 

The Cambridge market has seen increasing prices over the last few years given the limited inventory. The demand for homes in Cambridge far outweighs the supply and each month a snapshot of available homes for sale shows the declining inventory levels.

Average prices in Cambridge have been increasing dramatically over the last few years which is associated with the dramatic lack of inventory in the corresponding time frame. 

Sales distribution statistics for multi family homes show that the $1M-$1.5M price-range is the most active in Cambridge. The next busiest price range in Cambridge is the $1.5M - $2M price range, and then the $2M-$3M price range. 

Before reviewing the price per sq foot charts it is important to throw in a caveat of using the average as the definitive guide. There is wide variability among agents as to what is included in the living area reported in MLS. In some instances, agents will include a finished component of the basement in the living area and this is acceptable so long as how the living area is calculated is disclosed. Others report the living area reported in public record, which never includes finished areas in the basement, but note in MLS that there is a finished basement. To this end, it is important to review each individual listing to determine the ‘true’ price per sq. ft. of above ground living area, but we also need to factor into this when a home has a finished basement.

Reviewing the price per sq. foot charts for multi family homes shows us that the average price per sq. ft. in Cambridge around the $1.5M - $2M price range is around $545 per sq. ft. It’s important to note that the maximum price per sq. ft. achieved varies across most price ranges, along with the minimum obtained for each price range.

When the year built is before the 1900’s the average price per sq. ft. is $534.

The chart below shows that multi family homes in Cambridge of similar size to your home in the 3,000 square foot range, have an average price per square foot of $552.

The chart below shows how many months’ supply of inventory there is in a given price range. It uses the assumption that given the same rate of sales over the prior 12 months, and considering current inventory available for sale, how many months it should take to sell the available inventory. This is referred to “Absorption” in the real estate world. 

Any price range where there is more than 7 months’ supply, we consider there to be an oversupply of inventory, also known as a ‘buyer’s market’. Anything between 4 – 6 months is considered a balanced market. Anything less than 3 months’ supply is considered a shortage of inventory on the market at this price range, also known as a ‘sellers’ market’. As can be seen, currently, absorption rates for all homes in the $1.5M - $2M price range is about 1.5 month’s supply showing a severe shortage.

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Analysis of Relevant Properties

The following map shows the  homes that we believe to be of value in determining the price of your  home. Below the map you will find basic information  provided for each home including the price the home was  listed at, and the price the home sold at (if sold), the listing date, Days on market, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, living area size and lot size.  Noted for each home is a classification of Relevance which outlines whether we think the  property is valued Less (L), Relevant/Comparable (R) or Higher (H) than  your home. The notes for each home outlines the similarities and differences between  your home and the one being analyzed.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is a short distance from your home.  It is smaller than your home at 2546 sq ft over 3 units in 2 floors. The second floor is split into 2 units with 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom each, while the first floor is 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom.  Your home is 3465 sq ft on 3 finished levels with each level having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It has 4 bedrooms in total, yours has 6 bedrooms and it has the same number of bathrooms.  It is on a similar size lot of 0.07 acres, yours is 0.08 acres. It has no off street parking while your home has 3 tandem parking spots. It was built in 1854, whereas yours is 40 years newer built in 1894. It was on the market for 38 days before going under agreement. I would anticipate it has sold for less than the asking price.

Relevance: Less.  Given the much smaller size, smaller configuration I believe your home will sell for more than this home.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This is an older sale occurring in late 2016. This home is almost 2 miles from your home and not in as desirable an  area as your home. This home was built in 1903 on a 0.07 acre lot while  your home was built in 1894 on 0.08 acres. It is smaller than your home  at 3,105 sq ft of living area over 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465  sq ft over 3 finished floors. It has a total of 6 bedrooms in total,  with each unit having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom as your home does. It  has 3 off- street parking space as does your home. It is in a similar condition inside as your home and it’s the first time on the market in  50 years. The units have an almost identical floor plan but a challenge  is that from the living room the only access to the rest of the home is  through a bedroom, so the floorplan is horrible. It may have had other  issues also as it went under agreement and then came back on the market  twice before finally going under agreement  for $385 per sq ft.

Relevance: Less. Given  the smaller size, inferior location, inferior layout, probably serious  issues your home will sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is an older sale occurring in Nov 2016 and is just under 3 miles from your home in a less desirable location than your home. It was built in 1907 on a 0.08 acre lot while your home was built in 1894 and is also on a 0.08 acre lot. This home is larger than yours at 3,564 sq ft of living area on 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465 sq ft over 3 finished floors. It has a total of 6 bedrooms with each unit having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom as your home does. It does not any parking with the home whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. Each unit has a similar layout as your home. Some windows are new and the first floor has been mostly renovated, but the top two floors are in original condition. The exterior needs extensive work, and they had some challenges with the foundations recently. They had competing offers on the home and it sold for $400K more than the asking price for $407 per sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given the inferior location, inferior condition and lack of parking  versus the home being just a little larger than yours I believe it is relevant to  your home but yours should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is just over 3 miles from your home and in an inferior location. It was built in 1893 so it is a similar vintage to your home built in 1894. It is on a larger lot of 0.15 acre whereas your home is on 0.08 acres. It is smaller than your home at 2,907 sq ft of living area over 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465 sq ft over 3 finished floors. It has a total of 5 bedrooms in total. First and second floors have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom each while the third floor has 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. It has a detached 2 car garage and 4 off-street parking on a paved driveway whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. The homes have large rooms with high ceilings, and open floor plan on the first and second floors, but the third floor is much smaller. The first floor has a private rear deck, an expanded living room space, plus a home office. The second floor has an enclosed front porch. The third floor has pine floors and lots of storage and they all share the one hot water tank. It has been owned and lived in for the last 60 years so in that regard it is similar to your home. It was sold for the price it was listed for and at $550 per sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given the smaller size, inferior location, smaller third unit so less  potential, versus the garage I believe it is relevant to yours but I believe yours will sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is 2 miles from your home in an inferior location just off Cambridge St. It was built in 1903 and is a similar vintage to your home built in 1894. It is on a lot that is half the size of yours on 0.04 acre and is also a triple decker. Your home is on 0.08 acres. It is smaller than your home at 3,209 sq ft of living area on 3 finished floors and includes a finished basement, your home is 3,465 sq ft on 3 finished floors. It has a total of 6 bedrooms. Unit 1 uses 2 levels with 2 bedrooms and 1 full and 1 half bathroom. Units 2 and 3 have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom as your home does. It does not have any parking associated with it whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. Each unit has been completely renovated with brand new heating and cooling systems, newly refinished hardwood floors, new kitchens with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, custom cabinetry with under mount lights, in-unit washer and dryer hook-ups, and separate zoned ductless air-conditioners. They played with the price as it was initially listed for $1,675,000 and price changed 1 day later to $1,668,000. 8 days later it went under agreement for a little less than the asking price and sold for $519 per sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant. Given the smaller size, and smaller lot, no parking, inferior location versus the completely renovated state of the home I believe it is  relevant to your home. The challenge with what they did with this home  is that they misidentified the buyer pool.  With having renovated it they missed out on the developers and contractors, but with not  condo-izing it they missed out on the buyers who wanted a renovated  condo, and the only buyers who would be interested would be investors  who just wanted to buy a multi as a rental.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is just over 1 mile away from your home the other side of Central Sq in an inferior location. It was built in 1894 the same year as yours and is on a slightly smaller lot of 0.05 acre lot, yours is 0.08 acre.  It is larger than your home at 3,933 sq ft of living area over 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465 sq ft over 3 finished floors. It has a total of 13 rooms, but each unit only has 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom whereas each unit in your home has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It has 2 off-street parking spaces whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. Each unit had been freshly painted but the third floor wasn’t an ‘equal’ to the other units with a different floor plan and heating was via a space heater. It was an estate sale and was being sold ‘as is’ and with existing leases on 2 of the units which really only appeals to investors, not developers. It had competition and sold for $426 per sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given the inferior location, smaller lot, inferior configuration versus  the superior side by side parking, move in condition and larger overall  size I believe this home is relevant to your home but yours should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This is an older sale occurring in Oct 2016.  Its almost 2 miles away from your home and is just south of Cambridge St so it is an inferior location than your home.  It is just a little larger than your home at 3631 sq ft, yours is 3465 sq ft and is also a triple decker.  It is on a similar size lot of 0.06 acres. It has 8 bedrooms, 2 more than your home . Interestingly the agent has that it has 8 bedrooms in total, although there are 3 bedrooms on the first floor, 4 on the second floor and another 4 on the third floor as per the floorplans. This adds up to more than 8 :-). There are 3 full bathrooms in the home as per the floor plans even though the agent has it as 3.5 bathrooms. The home was built in the same year as your home in 1894. There is a 2 car garage with 4 car tandem parking in the driveway. The home was more updated than your home, but it was still fairly basic.

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given the inferior location, yet larger size and superior condition I believe this home is relevant to your home but your home should still sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is about 0.5 miles from your home. The home is also an estate sale and was also a triple decker in a similar condition. The home was built in a similar vintage as your home in 1905, and yours was 1894. It is on a similar size lot of 0.06 acre lot. It is a similar size to your home at 3,435 sq ft of living area, yours is 3,465 sq ft. It also has 3 finished floors, all with 2 beds and 1 bath for a total of 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. It also has 3 heating units, one for each floor. It does not have any parking associated with the home whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. It was listed for $467 per sq ft. The agent has noted in the comments that the seller has accepted an all cash offer without contingencies WAY over the asking price.

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given the similarities between the two homes but that you have parking also I believe this home is relevant to yours but yours will sell for more than this one.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is just over 0.5 mile away from your home in Riverside.  The home is also a triple decker and was built in 1903 so it’s a similar vintage to your home built in 1894. It is also on 0.08 acre lot the same as yours. It is larger than your home at 4,018 sq ft of living area on 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465 sq ft over 3 finished floors. The first floor unit has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. The second and third floors both have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom as does yours. It has 2 car tandem parking whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. All units were vacant and were relatively updated and each had different characteristics from each another. It had competing offers on it and it sold for much higher than the listing price at $478 per sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant, but higher. Given a similar location versus the home being larger, an extra bedroom,  superior condition of the kitchens I believe it is relevant to your home but it will sell for higher than your home.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This triple decker is less than 0.5 miles away from your home. The home was built in 1855 which is 40 years earlier than yours in 1894. It is on a larger lot of 0.14 acre, yours is 0.08 acres. It is larger than your home at 4,098 sq ft of living area with 3 finished floors, your home is 3,465 sq ft over 3 finished floors. It has a total of 6 bedrooms with each unit having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom as does yours. It has 6 off-street, parking spots with 3 sets of 2 tandem spots whereas your home has 3 car tandem parking. The home is in similar condition to your home. It had competing offers on it and sold for over asking at $512 per sq ft.

Relevance: Higher. Given the similar condition, similar location vs larger size, larger lot  size, larger number of parking spots I believe this home will sell for more than your home.

Your details: Living area 3,465 sq ft | 3 units | 6 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.08 acres | Built 1894 | 3 car tandem parking

This home is less than 1 mile from your home in the Riverside area of Cambridge and is also a triple decker. This home was built in the same year as your home in 1894 and is on a slightly smaller lot of 0.06 acre, yours is 0.08 acres. It is smaller than your home at 2,663 sq ft of living area which does not include the basement, yours is 3,465 sq ft. It has a total of 5 bedrooms. The 1st  floor unit has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, the 2nd floor unit has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, ond the owners unit has 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom on the third floor. Your home has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom in each unit. It has 2 off- street parking spaces whereas your home as 3 car tandem parking. It has an elevator up to the owners unit on the third floor, raised ceilings in the third floor unit, large custom windows overlooking the backyard, decks on each floor, a fenced garden, cobble-stone paved off parking, and upgraded electrical and plumbing. The home had been nicely updated. It was listed for $712 per sq ft and had competing offers on the home.

Relevance: Relevant. Given the size differential of your home, and that your home is in such  good overall condition I believe this home is relevant to yours.

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Pricing Recommendation

My analysis of the relevant homes outlined above suggests a final market value for your home of $1,900,000-$1,950,000.  

Given the current market dynamics in Cambridge, I would suggest listing your home at the lower end of this price range to attract more interest and potentially multiple offers.  If the market deems your home to be worth more than the list price, then the price will be pushed over the market value of your home, and sometimes well over when we get multiple offers. You can see many examples above that came on the market for a lot less, and competition pushed them up to the price they sold for. The challenge in estimating a price for a home is ‘would this home have sold for this price if they had priced it higher?’ or was competition the driving factor that got to this price.  Experience tells me that competition is why they sold for what they did, so we have to be careful with pricing. A couple of good examples of competition pushing a price higher than market value is the listing at 16 Surrey St which came on the market for $1,895,000 and sold for $2,268,000, and 23 Magee St which came on the market for $1,549,000 and sold for $1,920,000 with competition occurring on just under 60% of the homes in this report. With the market so strong, the question has to be asked 'Why didnt all of them sell for over asking?'. The reason for that is that the buyers viewed some of them as overpriced.

When homes are overpriced they end up sitting on the market and ultimately selling for less than market value, whereas homes priced realistically can often sell for well over market value. Competition is what will get us the highest sales price. As we see time and time again, if the buyers consider the market value of your home to be realistic in relation to the asking price, then competition will push the price up higher and often over the market value of the home. The challenge with overpricing is that the buyers are very educated – they go week after week to see homes in their price range so they KNOW what the prices are and what ‘feels’ right. The buyers in this market have shown that they have no qualms in offering $300-400K over the asking price if they deem it as a home they want to buy and it was priced well to begin with.

I have to stress that these are recommendations.  If you decided to sell your home, then we would bring your home on the market at whatever price you deem to be appropriate.  

Determining the right price all depends on your motivation and your risk tolerance level. We know that homes that are priced at the 'strike price' will sell quicker and may generate more than one offer.  I’m an excellent negotiator and know how to push a price up if we have the market activity. I also know that some sellers want to put their home on for a higher price than I might recommend, which I’m willing to do, so long as it is understood that putting the home on for more than the majority of buyers perceive its value, could mean that your home will have a much longer market time and sell for less than it should have had it been priced properly out of the gate.

I DO NOT DETERMINE THE PRICE - the market dictates the value - what a buyer is willing to pay. My job is to make sure that you have the best market exposure and that your home is positioned well in the market.   I do not believe in projecting more money than I think your home will sell for just to get your business.

My team and I know how to market your home, and I understand its value, but I can only sell it for what the market or a buyer will pay. I strongly believe that a home should be priced compared to the current competition, not just on what has sold in the last six months.  At the end of the day, you will be competing for the buyers looking for a home like yours and in the same price range. You can do far more 'damage' to the resultant price we get for your home if we overprice. The prospective serious buyers will see your home within the first weekend of your home coming on the market, and they will have seen everything else in this price range.  In other words, the serious buyer knows what is priced well.  If they don't see value in your home at its listing price and are not motivated to make an offer, then they will move on and keep looking.  In times of increasing prices, it is often hard to predict what a home will sell for, but be assured that even if we price your home lower than what market value is currently, market dynamics will bring the price of the home up to where it should be.  Prospective buyers should walk in thinking the price 'feels right' and are motivated to make an offer in the short term, rather than letting several months’ pass.

It is important to stress the value of marketing your home to capture the highest price.  In times of low inventory, we know your home will sell by doing the bare minimum to market it, BUT that is not going to get you the maximum price for your home.  Key to getting the maximum price for your home is to prepare a comprehensive marketing plan that incorporates all avenues available to us to expose your home to the maximum number of buyers out there looking.  Exposure, and feet in the door, is what will get you the highest price for your home. Basic ratios help explain this.  If 10% of the buyers who walk in your door fall in love with your home, then if you only have 10 buyers walking in, then potentially there is only 1 buyer - if you have 100 buyers walking in your door then using the same ratios, you will potentially have 10 buyers falling in love with your home.  10 buyers will push the price up versus only one buyer.

 New statistics state that over 100% of potential buyers search the web as their primary search vehicle.  Thankfully, your home will show fabulously in photos. With historically low interest rates likely to increase and inventory at a 7-year low, there are still homes that do not sell in this market.  I’m making my recommendations to ensure that you are one of the sellers who will have success in the first month of being on the market, but optimally the first weekend.

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