67 Newport St, Unit 67, Arlington

Market Analysis for:

Jennifer and Ralph Firneno

We've done a market analysis on your home at 67 Newport St, Unit 67 in Arlington and have prepared this document to help explain how we've arrived at a price for your home. We 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. We also take into account your reported condition and how, in our experience, that will impact the price of a home making it more or less valuable. 

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, a first floor condo in a two-family home, was built in 1917. It is located on Newport St, between Gray St and Spring St, in Arlington Heights on a block with other two-family homes, some of which have also been converted into condos.  It is an excellent, centrally located property in the highly desirable Brackett Elementary School district and is within walking distance of Ottoson Middle School and Arlington High School.  It is conveniently located near Robbins Farm Park, Menotomy Park, the Minuteman Bike Trail, as well as restaurants, shopping and public transportation.  Bus line 77 to Harvard Square and bus line 79 to Alewife T station (Red Line) stop nearby on Mass Ave, and bus line 78 to Harvard Square and bus line 84 to the Alewife T station (Red Line) stop nearby on the Route 2 service road, providing quick access to both Cambridge and Boston.
Public Record has your home listed as having 1,145 sq ft with 6 rooms total including 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.  The unit features ample natural light, hardwood floors throughout, period detail including original gum wood throughout the home, chair rails and crown molding.  The gum wood is unpainted in the front hallway, living and dining rooms and the sunroom.
Your home has great curb appeal with wooden shingles and a beautiful broad portico with columns leading to the front door.  From the sidewalk, a concrete walkway leads up to your condo’s private front entrance and into a short hallway with a coat closet.  The hallway opens into the sunny, expansive living room through a set of french doors. There is a large bay window with a window ledge/seat along the front wall of the living room and french doors on the far side leading to a heated sunroom.  A wide casement door connects the living room to a spacious sun-drenched dining room featuring a wall of windows to the right.
The dining room has a built in hutch flanked by two doorways.  The door on the right leads through a butlers pantry into the kitchen.  The door on the left leads into a small foyer with 2 sunny equally sized bedrooms and a bath to the left.
The kitchen has two windows to the right, and a door to the back porch in the far right corner with an alcove to hang coats, etc.  There are stairs leading down to the basement in the back corner of the kitchen, and the stair wall is a half wall creating a spacious and open feeling to the kitchen.
The eat-in-kitchen has a wooden floor and original metal lower cabinets with a built in sink to the right and a single top cabinet to the left of the windows which was added at later date and will be painted to match the lower cabinets.  The stainless steel and black gas range is freestanding, as is the white side-by-side refrigerator. There is a door circling back to the foyer by the bedrooms and bath, and the foyer has a conveniently located linen closet.
The bedrooms, one on each side of the bathroom, are equal in size.  The one closer to the front door has a second door leading back out to the living room.  Both sun-drenched rooms have sizable closets and two windows.
The cheery bathroom has a claw foot bathtub, an older pedestal sink, a built in medicine cabinet and a classic b/w tile floor.
The wooden back porch is closed on the lower half and open on the upper half, and aside from the far end where the upstairs owners have a door to access the garden, the porch is solely for the enjoyment of the first floor owners. One takes a few steps down to the yard which is partially fenced in and very private in feel.  There are a few tall pine trees to the far left corner, and a lovely flagstone patio beneath the trees large enough for a dining table.  The two car garage is to the right, and the garage space on the left is deeded to your unit. The single width driveway is shared with the upstairs residents.
Your condo’s unfinished basement has lots of room for storage and will feature a new gas furnace, a new hot water heater, and washer and dryer hook-ups.

The HOA fee is $200/month and includes $94 for master insurance, $62 for water and $46 for general fund.

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Market Dynamics

We have been experiencing shortages of housing inventory in Arlington over the last 5 years or so. There are always a number of buyers looking to buy in Arlington 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 Minuteman bike path and conservation areas close by pull those who desire an outdoor lifestyle while still remaining within commuting distance to Boston.

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

Average prices in Arlington are well above average prices obtained in the peak of the market in 2010. Average condo prices have been increasing steadily since 2011. 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 condos show that the $500K price-range is the most active in Arlington. The next busiest price range in Arlington is the $400K 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 condos shows us that the average price per sq. ft. in Arlington around the $500K price range is around $485 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 in the 1910’s the average price per sq. ft. is $479. 

The chart below shows that condos in Arlington of similar size to your home in the 1,000 square foot range, have an average price per square foot of $449 but it increases to $486 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 condos in the $500K price range shows there is under a 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 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo was listed last September and was under agreement in 7 days.  It is located on a quiet, shady cul-de sac off Appleton St in Arlington Heights. This condo is a second floor unit which is considered more desirable than a first floor unit, but it does not have a garage. With 1,213 square feet, it is slightly larger than your condo, but like yours, has 2BR, 1 bath and an additional room. Your extra room is a sunroom with lots of windows whereas their extra room is more typical with just 2 windows. Your living room and dining rooms have more period details in the woodwork. Both their kitchen and baths are updated whereas yours are not. Both your and their units have basement storage, but their unit has attic storage as well. In addition, they have a new mahogany deck out back overlooking an expansive private backyard with no neighbors in sight.

Relevance: Relevant, but higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours despite not having a garage because their unit is updated throughout, has attic storage and because of their large deck and private yard. Their condo sold for $ 407/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 101%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo, which is a block from your house but on a main street, was listed in October of 2017 and was under agreement in 5 days. It is the same size as yours and comparable in period details and condition, but instead of a sunroom off the living room, this unit has a more recent addition that extends off the back of the house. The carpeted room has a slider which opens to a sizable wooden deck which overlooks a nice garden though neighbors are very close by. It must be noted that the crafts-manship of the additional room is not as beautiful and high quality as the rest of the house. The bath and kitchen in their unit are not recently updated, but their kitchen has more cabinets than yours. Like your condo, its laundry hookup is in the basement.

Relevance: Relevant. We consider their condo to be comparable to yours - though their extra room is somewhat more useful than your sunroom, it is offset by their location on a main street. Their condo sold for $ 436/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 112%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo was listed on September 14, 2017 and an offer was accepted in 6 days. This home is on a very busy, cut through street in Arlington Heights, but it is a pretty neighborhood near many historic homes. With 1,242 square feet, this unit is slightly larger than yours which has 1,145 square feet. Like yours, it has 6 rooms including 2 BRs and 1 bath.  Like yours, laundry is in the basement, and they have a sunroom.  Their unit was updated in 2008 with a kitchen with wooden cabinets with stone surfaces and stainless steel appliances. They also added some recessed lights and central AC. Like yours, this unit has a back deck.  There are no pictures to show the back yard, but the unit has 1 garage space and 2 more spaces.

Relevance: Relevant, but higher. We would expect their condo to sell for a bit more than yours because of the more recent updates including central AC, but because of their location on a main street, less than a unit on a more quiet street. Their condo sold for $ 414/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 101%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo was listed on September 28, 2017 and an offer was accepted within 6 days.  The condo is located a block from your unit on a tree lined main street in Arlington Heights. Their unit, with 1,178, is a negligibly bigger than yours but has 1 more room than yours. Like your condo, this one has hardwood floors and period details throughout.  They have updated the kitchen more recently with wooden cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and stone countertops.  They also have an updated bath. Their condo has a weird layout with the living and dining rooms on the right side of the house, and their kitchen in the back left corner. They do not have a garage, but have a rather sizable backyard with a large stone patio. They do not have any trees, and as such, their backyard has no privacy from the neighbors.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours because of their updated kitchen and bath, though they do not have a private back porch and back yard like yours, and they are on a main street. Their condo sold for $ 480/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 113%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo was listed in November of 2017, and an offer was accepted in 6 days. It is located on a corner lot in East Arlington between Mass Ave and Broadway, just a block from the shops, restaurants, theatre and public transportation at Lake St. In addition, it is within walking distance of the Alewife T station. With 1,183 square feet, it is just slightly larger than your unit, but has only 5 rooms including 2BRs and 1 bath. Like yours, it has hardwood floors throughout and some period detail though their unit is painted throughout. They have added granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and recessed lighting although it looks as if they painted older cabinets. There is a detached garage, and their yard, though more public because of the corner lot, has a picket fence and lots of style, including raised beds and a well tended garden.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours because of the partial updates, the highly desirable location, in addition to the curb appeal created by their gardening. Their condo sold for $ 486/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 108%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

Listed on September 28, 2017, the owners accepted an offer 5 days later.  Located on Churchill Ave in Arlington Heights just a few blocks up from Mass Ave and Arlington High School and amidst larger, single family homes, this unit is comparable in size to yours with 1,166 sq ft. Like yours, it has 6 rooms including 2BRs, 1 bath, and a sunroom. Laundry is in the basement.  The living room has a fireplace, and the bath has been fully updated.  The kitchen has been mostly updated w granite countertops, new white appliances and subway tile backsplash, but it appears as if they painted the original cabinets.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours because of the fireplace and the updates.  Also, having seen the unit, I believe it was newly painted from top to bottom and the floors were refinished. Their condo sold for $ 581/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 120%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo was listed on September 7, 2017 and an offer was accepted 6 days later. It is located on Silk St in East Arlington just a few properties away from Broadway, and just a few blocks from route 16 and North Cambridge. Situated on a tree lined street with other 2 family homes, it is near light industry and a cemetery on the other side of Broadway.  One can walk to the Alewife T or access many bus lines from their location. Their condo is slightly larger than yours with 1,200 sq ft, and like yours has 6 rooms including 2 BRs, one bath and a sunroom off the LR.  Their back porch is fully enclosed. They do not have a garage but do have a storage shed. They have an updated kitchen, including wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, stone surfaces and a  peninsula.  Whereas your kitchen has a wooden floor, their kitchen has tiles.  Additionally, they have a washer and dryer in their kitchen, though it is in plain sight and central to the kitchen which, though not optimal, is more convenient than having it in the basement.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours, despite their not having a garage, because of their updated kitchen and bath, the laundry in-unit, the enclosed back porch and the location convenient to North Cambridge and Alewife. Their condo sold for $ 516/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 126%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This unit, listed on February 6, 2018, had an accepted offer within 8 days.
It is located on a corner lot on tree lined street with other 2 family homes in East Arlington and is just a block from the shops and restaurants at Lake St. It has 1,134 square feet and is slightly larger than your unit.  Like your condo, it has 6 rooms in-cluding 2 BRs,1 bath and an enclosed porch out back. It has a garage and plenty of storage in the basement. This home has original period details throughout including an archway and columns in the living room. The kitchen and dining room are open concept - newly renovated with high end cabinets, stone surfaces, stainless steel appliances and a center island.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than yours because of the myriad high end upgrades and renovations, plus their prime location in East Arlington and it’s easy access to shops,restaurants and public transportation. Their condo sold for $ 575/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 119%.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo, listed on April 4th, was accepting offers as this CMA was being prepared.  It is located a few properties up from Mass Ave on Menotomy Road in Arlington Heights, and is in the same sought after Brackett School District as your condo. From the front yard, you see Mass Ave and an apartment building to the right, and across the street and to the right, you see the back parking lot of a small strip of shops.  The location is convenient to the buses that run on Mass Ave to Alewife T stop and Harvard Square.  It has 1,105 square feet, making it slightly larger than your unit.  Like your condo, it has 6 rooms, including 2 BRs, 1 bath, basement storage and a slightly smaller sunroom. With period detailing like yours, their living room has a fireplace, and their open concept kitchen and dining room feature custom cabinetry, stainless appliances and stone surfaces.  They too have a garage but theirs has a garage door opener. They have a screened in back porch and a larger yard than yours, with 2 tiers, raised beds for gardening.  Their garden does not feel secluded like yours.

Relevance: Not relevant.  We would expect their condo to sell for slightly more than yours because of it is a bit larger than yours and completely updated with open concept. We will look to see what it sold for if it sells before you list your home.

Your details: Living area 1145 sq ft | 2 beds | 1 bath | Built 1917 | detached 1 car garage, 2 offstreet parking space

This condo, listed in December of 2016, is an older comp but I am including it because it is across the street from yours.  An offer was accepted 7 days after it was listed. Similar to your layout, it has 1,148 sq ft and 6 rooms including 2BRs, 1 bath, a sunroom, and basement storage. Like yours, they have left the original gum wood unpainted in the front part of the house and have hardwood floors though out.  From the pictures it is hard to tell the exact condition of the unit. The kitchen has been updated with new stone countertops with a fresh coat of paint on what appears to be older cabinets, and stainless steel appliances have been added. However, they do not have a garage. They have a sizable back yard but no trees or shade. We would expect their condo, if sold today, to sell for slightly more than yours because of the updates but perhaps not as much as one might expect b/c they lack a garage.

Relevance: Not relevant. Given that this condo sold over a year ago and knowing that condo prices have appreciated since then, we predict that this same unit sold today, it would sell for at least 5% more than the 510K it sold for. Their condo sold for $ 444/sq ft with a sale to list price ratio of 106%.

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Pricing Recommendation

Our analysis of the relevant properties suggest a market value of $ 490,000–530,000.  

Given the current market dynamics in Arlington, we suggest listing your home at the lower end of this price range estimate to attract more interest and potentially multiple offers.
If the market deems your home to be worth more than the list price, then the sale price will be pushed over the market value of your home, and sometimes well over that when we get multiple offers.  You can see many examples in the above mentioned properties that came on the market for a lot less and competition pushed them up to a higher final sale price. The challenge in estimating a price for a home is ‘would this home have sold for this price if they had priced it for higher’ or was competition the driving factor that got to this price.  Experience tells us that competition is why they sold for what they did, so we have to be careful with pricing.  
A few recent examples of competition pushing a price higher than market value is 19 Silk St which came on the market for $489,000 and sold for $620,000, 36 Churchill Ave which came on the market for $ 479,000 and sold for $ 581,000, and 47 Everett St which came on the market for $ 549,000 and sold for $653,000.  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 your 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.  
A final note - most condos of this square footage and Arlington classic 2 family layout list for under $ 500,000 irregardless of the condition and upgrades present to make sure the property appears in buyers’ searches.  Many buyers use $ 500,000 as a cut off point, so it’s good to price below that.  Notice that many of these condos listed for $ 479,000, $ 489,000 or $ 499,000…

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.  

When  determining the right price - it 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.   We are excellent negotiators and know how to push a price up if we have  the market activity. We 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.

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

Our team and I know how to stage and  market your home, and we understand its value, but we can only sell it for  what the market or a buyer will pay. We 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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