346 Lake St, Belmont

Market Analysis for:

Randy & Tess Oxley

I've done a market analysis on your home at 346 Lake St in Belmont 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. I will also include in this report an analysis of what a builder would pay for your home as a teardown as part of the 'Buyer or Builder' program.

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.

Your home is located on Lake Street. This area appeals to buyers because of its proximity to Belmont Center and Alewife T stop. The home sits on a 0.24 acre near rectangular plot. Your home was built in 1850. On the first floor there is 1 half bathroom. On the second floor there are 3 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom. The lower level is unfinished. This gives 3 bedrooms, 1 full bathrooms and 1 half bathrooms. According to public records there is 752 sqft on the first floor (including the area beyond the kitchen – casual dining), 608 sqft on the second floor, the lower level is unfinished and is not included. In addition, there is a detached garage. The total sqft we will use for this market analysis is 1,360 sqft.

You enter the first floor on the side of the house through a farmer’s porch. As you enter you have the stairs immediately to the right, a half wall to signify the entry, and the large living room to the left at the front of the home. The living room has built in bookcases and cabintry and is open plan with the dining room. The dining room has a large picture window with side windows, and a large built in hutch. The kitchen has been remodeled and is wood with black appliances and slate countertop. There is no dish-washer but there is a cabinet designed to accommodate one. The washer/dryer is ‘hidden’ in a custom cabinet in the kitchen. It is full of natural light. There is a casual dining area/family room open to the kitchen at the rear of the home with half walls of windows flooding the home with natural light. There is an exterior door from the family room to the backyard. There is also a half bathroom off the kitchen. The first floor has ‘subtle’ paint on all walls. Floor covering is hardwood in living room and dining room. There is vinyl in the kitchen and casual dining area.

The second floor is accessed via stairs close to the front door. The Cherry handrail was recently added. The second floor is hardwood throughout, but, there is a portion of the front bedroom where its ply-wood – approx. 6’ x 3’ (where there used to be a closet).

There is a large bedroom in the front and rear with a smaller bedroom in-between. The smaller bedroom does need the walls and trim painted. There is an updated bathroom on this level.

Downstairs in the lower level there is an unfinished basement. Currently full of wood/metal working equipment. The furnace (oil + steam) is approx. 50-years old. Heating is oil/steam radiators. Hot water is ‘on-demand’. There is no A/C.

There is a 1-car detached garage and 4 off-street parking areas.


From the perspective of a builder the following represents your lot as per GIS.

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Market Dynamics

We have been experiencing shortages of housing inventory in Belmont over the last 5 years or so. There are always a number of buyers looking to buy in Belmont because of the strong school system, the community dynamics and vibrant downtown. People like the feeling of the downtown area, and want to stop and have a coffee, or have dinner at the many restaurants, or just watch the world go by, chatting with folks who are out and about. The conservation areas close by pull those who desire an outdoor lifestyle while still remaining within commuting distance to Boston.

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

Average prices in Belmont are well above average prices obtained in the peak of the market in 2006. Average single family home prices have been increasing steadily since 2009. The real estate market downturn that existed for the last few years is well and truly over and prices are continuing to increase each year.

Sales distribution statistics for single family homes show that the $1M-$1.5M price-range is the most active in Belmont. The next busiest price range in Belmont is the $900K price range, followed closely by the $800K 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 single family homes shows us that the average price per sq. ft. in Belmont around the $700K price range is around $526 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 before the 1900’s the average price per sq. ft. is $468.

The chart below shows that single family homes in Belmont of similar size to your home in the 1,000 square foot range, have an average price per square foot of $534 but it increases to $729 per sq. ft. when you decrease to the under 1,000 square foot range. It is common across municipalities to see an increase in the price per square foot for smaller sized homes, as it reflects the minimum cost of a home in a town irrespective of the property size.

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 $700K price range is around 1 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 analyze

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is a ranch and is a little larger than your home at 1428 sq ft which includes 348 sq ft in the finished basement, so yours has more above ground living area. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home with 3 bedrooms. It has 1 half bathroom less than your home with 1 full bathroom, whereas yours has 1.5 bathrooms. It is on a smaller lot than your home at 0.17 acres in an inferior location with the train line directly behind the home, yours is on 0.24 acres on a busier street.  It does not have a garage whereas you have a 1 car garage. It was built in 1960 whereas your home was built in 1850.
The home had wall to wall carpet in every room except the bathroom and kitchen. The kitchen is quite dated with knotty pine cabinets, laminate counters, older appliances. The bathroom was a little dated and could have used some paint to smarten it up. The backyard had a lovely patio area and lots of green grass and was very appealing (except for the train :-) )

Relevance: Less. Given the smaller above ground living area, less half bathroom, smaller lot size, inferior condition and inferior location, no garage, I believe this home will sell for less than your home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is also an antique being built in 1880, yours was 1850. It is larger than your home at 1754 sq ft of all above ground living area. Your home is 1360 sq ft of all above ground living area. It has the same number of bedrooms at 3, and the same number of bathrooms at 1.5, and is also on the same lot size of 0.24 acres. It also has a detached garage. It is located on a busy street as is yours.
The home has wall to wall carpet in the living room and dining room with laminate in the kitchen and foyer area. The dining room has a wood burning fireplace and a built in china cabinet. Its open via a cased opening into the large kitchen. The kitchen has an informal dining area, oak cabinets, laminate counters. The half bathroom, foyer, stairs up and the master bedroom all have wallpaper which buyers hate. There are 2 additional bonus rooms on the second floor as well as the 3 bedrooms but there is less utility in these rooms as they connect bedrooms. The full bathroom on the second floor is very dated and a buyer would immediately think they have to renovate. The home is set well back off the road and all of the yard is at the front of the home which has less privacy and is less desirable. The small backyard is concrete so it is less desirable also. They overpriced this home and it had several price reductions and finally sold for $700K when they dropped the listing price to $759,000 and after 111 days on the market.

Relevance: Less. Given the larger size, similar characteristics, yet inferior condition I believe your home will sell for more.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is smaller than your home at 1187 sq ft which includes the finished lower level, whereas yours is 1360 sq ft which is all above ground living area. It has 1 less bedroom than your home at 2 bedrooms, whereas yours has 3 bedrooms. It has the same number of bathrooms as your home. It is on a smaller lot of 0.16 acres on a busy street, whereas yours is 0.24 acres on a busy street. It has a 1 car garage as does yours. The home was built in 1950 whereas yours was 1850. As you enter the home you enter into the living room which has a wood burning fireplace and bay window. Via a cased entry you have a larger dated kitchen with laminate counters and older appliances. There is no dining room in this home just the dining in the kitchen. Off the kitchen is a large mudroom with a side entry and leading into the garage. The mudroom has pine plank walls and older ceramic tile floors. There are 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom on the main level. The bathroom is original but is clean and fresh, but dated. Downstairs is a family room with a wood burning fireplace, half bathroom which has dated ceramic floor tiles. The backyard is lovely with green grass. The home sold for competing offers when it came on the market.

Relevance: Less. Given the smaller above ground living area, inferior condition, similar busy location, smaller lot I believe your home will sell for more than this home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is a desirable colonial with an attached garage. It is larger than your home at 1550 sq ft which includes the finished basement and is 1248 sq ft of above ground living area. It has the same number of bedrooms at 3 bedrooms. It has the same number of bathrooms at 1.5 bathrooms. It is on a much smaller irregular size lot of 0.12 acres at a busy location opposite the town playing fields. Your home is on 0.24 acres on a busy road. The home was built in 1938 whereas yours was 1850. As you walk in the front door you enter the living room which has a wood burning fireplace and is open to the dining room. The dining room has a built in china cabinet and is open to the kitchen. The kitchen is large enough for informal dining, oak cabinets, tile backsplash and would be appealing to buyers although it has a wallpaper border. The bathrooms are not renovated but nor are they dated. There is little room in the backyard as the home is on a triangle plot with a large amount of land at the front side of the home.

Relevance: Relevant, but less.  Given the larger size of the home, inferior lot size, attached garage, inferior condition but superior style and age I believe this home is relevant to your home but yours should sell for a little more.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is larger than your home at 1572 sq ft of above ground living area. Your home is 1360 sq ft of above ground living area. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home with 3 bedrooms. It has 1 extra half bathroom than your home with 2 half bathrooms. It is on a much smaller lot of 0.09 acres but is on a quiet side street versus your 0.24 acres on a busy street. It also has a 1 car detached garage. It has central a/c. The home was built in 1910, yours in 1850.
The home was presented well with strategically placed furniture around the home. As you walk into the foyer, you then enter the main part of the home via a french door into a hallway with the living room with a fireplace off to the right, which is open to the dining room via a large cased opening. The dining room has wainscoting, and a large picture window with a large window seat. The kitchen is large with stainless steel appliances, lots of wood cabinetry and ceramic tile floor. There is a ceramic tiled floor family room off the kitchen with sliding glass doors out to the backyard. Up the stairs are the 3 good sized bedrooms. The basement has been finished but not to a very high degree but the buyers will see that there is additional potential living area there. The full bathroom is on the second floor, the half baths on the first floor and basement.

Relevance: Relevant. Given the larger size, extra half bathroom, additional living area in the basement not included in the total living area, inferior lot size, superior location I believe that when all factors are considered it is relevant to your home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is smaller in total than your home at 1141 sq ft, but this does not include the finished basement in the home. Your home is 1360 sq ft of all above ground living area. The home has the same number of bedrooms at 3 bedrooms, but has 1 more full bathroom at 2 full and 1 half bathroom versus your 1.5 bathrooms.  It is on a smaller lot of 0.15 acres but on a quieter street, whereas your home is 0.24 acres on a busier street. It has a 1 car attached garage versus your 1 car detached garage. The home also has central air. The home was built in 1957 versus your home in 1850.
The home was in lovely condition with a wood burning fireplace in the living room, and a large kitchen with a dining area. The kitchen had granite counters, stainless steel appliances and ceramic floor tiles and was large. There was a lightfilled sunroom off the kitchen. There is a bedroom on this level, and up a couple of stairs are 2 large bedrooms with a full bathroom. In the uncounted living area in the basement (why would you do this?) there is a family room with a fireplace and a half bathroom, office with a full bathroom, and a bonus room. There is also access to the garage from this area, and additional storage in another lower level. The backyard is lovely and fully fenced. Competition pushed this home well up in price.

Relevance: Higher. Given the larger size of the home, the extra full bathroom, superior location, inferior lot size, attached garage, superior kitchen I believe this home will sell for more than your home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is larger than your home at 1494 sq ft of above ground living area, whereas your home is 1360 sq ft of above ground living area.  It has the same number of bedrooms as your home at 3 bedrooms, but has 2 full bathrooms versus your 1.5 bathrooms. It is on a smaller lot size of 0.10 size on a less busy street, versus your 0.24 acres on a busy street. It does not have a garage. It has central a/c. The home was built in 1870 and yours was 1850.

This home is in stunning condition and is very appealing to buyers. There is a lovely farmers porch on the home, with immaculate gardens, paths, steps. As you walk in the front door you have the living room with a large cased opening into the dining room. There is a french door from the dining room into the kitchen area along with the open plan kitchen/dining room. The kitchen is stunning with a cathedral ceiling, breakfast bar peninsula, skylights, stainless steel appliances, granite counters, custom wood cabinets to the ceiling. It is open to the sunroom with custom built in cabinetry and lots of light with the cathedral ceiling. A first floor bedroom and renovated full bathroom with frameless shower door. The other two bedrooms are on the second floor. The master has lots of closets, cathedral ceiling and lots of light and has an attached completely renovated full bathroom. There is a large deck out the back, with custom hardscaped area, and immaculate backyard. They came on the market overpriced and had to drop the price before they got an accepted offer of a lower price after 35 days on the market.

Relevance: Higher. Given the larger size, superior condition, extra full bathroom, lack of a garage, cathedral ceilings in a number or rooms, smaller lot size but quieter street I believe this home will sell for more than your home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is larger than your home with 1267 sq ft of above ground living area but this does not include the finished areas in the basement. Your home is 1360 sq ft of above ground living area. It has 1 less bedroom than your home with 2 bedrooms. It has 2 full bathrooms and 1 half bathroom so it has an additional full bathroom than your home. It is on a smaller lot of 0.14 acres on a quieter street, yours is 0.24 acres on a busier street. It has an attached garage versus your detached garage.  The home was built in 1942, versus your home in 1850.

As you walk in the door of this cape style home you have the front to back living room off to the left with a wood burning fireplace, and to the left is the dining that is open plan with the kitchen. The kitchen has ceramic tile floors, a peninsula breakfast bar island, a fresh and updated kitchen with mostly stainless steel appliances and is open to the den. Upstairs the back of the home has been fully dormered and there is a full renovated bathroom between the 2 large bedrooms. In the finished basement is a beautifully finished family room, and a stylish full bathroom.  The home had a newly built patio out back, newly laid sod, new fence so the backyard was very appealing. Competition meant that the home sold for higher than listing price.

Relevance: Higher. Given the larger size of the home with the nicely finished basement, attached garage, extra full bathroom, superior location, yet 1 less bedroom I believe once all factors are considered this home will sell for more than your home.

Your details: Living area 1360 sq ft | 3 beds | 1.5 baths | Lot size 0.24 acres | Built 1850 | 1 car garage

This home is larger than your home with 1525 sq ft of living area with a small area in the finished basement. Your home is 1360 sq ft of above ground living area. It has the same number of bedrooms, and bathrooms. It is on a smaller lot of 0.07 acres in a popular quiet side street close to the Cambridge line. The home does not have a garage. It has central air. The home is a Victorian built in 1909. It is certified deleaded. 

The home is in stunning condition. Massive renovations have been done to the home and it wows. As you walk into the front entry area you pass a shaded landscaped garden area with incorporated seating area. You enter from the covered porch into the foyer with the living room off to the right. The living room is stunning with very high ceilings and is open to the formal dining room which is open to the stunning huge kitchen. The kitchen has a breakfast bar eating area separating the dining room and kitchen. Leathered black granite counters, high end stainless steel appliances, kitchen island with beverage bar and butcher block counter, 60" high end oven/cooktop, and wood cabinets to the ceiling. Both bathrooms had been beautifully renovated. Basement was nicely finished. Backyard was very appealing.

Relevance: Higher. Given the larger size, superior condition, similar configuration, superior location, yet smaller lot size and no garage I believe when all things are considered it will sell for higher than your home.

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Pricing Recommendation

My analysis of the relevant homes outlined above suggests a final market value for your home of $730,000-$770,000 when selling to a buyer.  

If you were to sell to a buyer, then given the current market dynamics in Belmont, 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 315 Beech St which came on the market for $699,000 and sold for $749,000, and the listing at35 Baker St which came on the market for $675,000 and sold for $781,000. 

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.

Its also worth considering the buyers 'fear factor' in buying a much older home, so the pricing needs to be 'right' to entice them to deal with their fear and make an offer.

I have to stress that these are recommendations.  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 stage and 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.

Summary

I believe there are 2 options at this point.  

  1. Obtain a wetlands assessment (potential cost anywhere up to $2K) and then I contact all builders in the town with the wetlands assessment in hand, and ask for their offer.
  2. Bring your home on the market with just minor paint work, and we stage your home for the buyers. You price the home realistically and let the buyers and builders compete for the home.  In this instance it would be unlikely that the builders will offer more than a buyer because of their concern with the 'unknown' potential wetlands circumstance.

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We look forward to working with you!   Please reach out if you have any questions at all about this market analysis or our plans to market your home! 

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