What are the Latest Housing Trends?


Are you planning to remodel your home in 2015. Verify that the buyers are getting what they want for you to get the most for your money.

Top Real Estate Stories of 2014

Here at the Book Scan, my job is to not only review books and keep you in the loop with pertinent book news, but to learn what real estate professionals want to read about. In that spirit, I wanted to look at the top ten full-length articles published in 2014 (in terms of unique visitors) at REALTOR® Magazine Online.library_unsplash

As you’ll see below, our top ten is an interesting mix of design trends and business/technology advice. But another phenomenon that became clear when looking at all of the favorite blog entries and shorter Daily News pieces was your intense focus on safety in 2014. Readers were extremely engaged in stories about slain Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter in the daily news and in our blogs. Stories about staying safe on the job and other real estate pros facing harrowing situations in the field ranked high in our daily news feeds as well. And in the article list below, one piece on how to help clients stay safe was also a popular read, coming in at number six:

  1. 21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015: Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it’s not all flash; many new home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here’s a look at what’s coming.
  2. 5 Reasons You Won’t Make it Selling Real Estate: Unless you are fully committed to real estate and have a solid business plan, you will have trouble finding success. Sales coach Jared James outlines five situations that can bring down your career — and how to avoid them.
  3. 10 Things Real Estate Pros Need to Stop Telling Themselves: Words are powerful, and the words you say to yourself can make or break you as a real estate professional. Here are 10 things you need to stop saying immediately.
  4. 10 Facebook Dos and Don’ts: Facebook is a great marketing tool, if you use it wisely.
  5. Smartphone Photography Gets an Upgrade: At the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, several manufacturers are introducing ways to upgrade your mobile photographs with attachable lenses, cameras with more megapixels, and portable printers.
  6. The Safety Talk You Need to Have With Clients: Keep all parties safe in a transaction by offering buyers and sellers these important tips.
  7. 2013-14 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time: Home improvement projects across the board are giving home owners a greater return on their investment when it comes time to sell. Find out which projects “open the door” to buyers and where remodeling dollars stretch the furthest.
  8. How to Avoid Total Self-Destruction: You can’t miss out on an epic deal because you were too busy meditating. But you also can’t give yourself a heart attack. What is the answer?
  9. A Dozen Ways to Make Kitchens Sizzle: Whether they’re getting their house ready for the market or creating a dream kitchen in a home they just bought, clients considering a major kitchen redo will need guidance. Here are 12 tips and trends to help you serve as their resource.
  10. What Millennial Buyers Want (Now): Here are 10 trends in home amenities and interior design that elicit interest from the newest generation of buyers.

What were the most important stories to your business in 2014? What do you think will be the big themes of 2015?

Meg White

Meg White is the multimedia web producer for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine’s Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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Most Bike-Friendly Town in America


Minneapolis is the most bike-friendly city in the country this year, edging out cycling havens like San Francisco and Portland, Ore., according to Redfin’s Walk Score, which scored 154 cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods on the best places for bike riders. The rankings coincide with Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month.

“Biking is central to the healthy Minneapolis lifestyle and to a lot of people’s decisions about where to live in and around the city,” says James Garry, an agent with Redfin in Minneapolis. “In the past year, several of my clients have chosen to buy smaller houses in South Minneapolis rather than larger, similarly priced ones in the suburbs, simply so they could bike to work during the week and around Lake Harriet on weekends.”

For its rankings, Walk Score factored in the number of bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle.

The following are the large cities that emerged on top of the list as most bike-friendly:

San Francisco
Portland, Ore.
Washington, D.C.
Sacramento, Calif.
Tucson, Ariz.
Long Beach, Calif.
New York
Oakland, Calif.
Aurora, Colo.
New Orleans
Albuquerque, N.M.
Mesa, Ariz.
Santa Ana, Calif.
Source: “Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015,” Redfin Researc

201 Main St #4, Underagreement

Under Contract


What is Your Home Worth?

201 Main St #4 Woburn, MA 01801

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half | List Price: $ Get Current Price | 1290 + Basement square feet

Call for a private showing Sunday 11:00 – 2:00:

Move right into this 3 Bedroom 2.5 Bath TOWNHOUSE offering brightness and openness at the most sought after complexes in Woburn, Village Estates. Very desirable location. This end unit features first floor open floor plan, hardwood floors,aliving room with wood burning fireplace, sliding doors to a stamped concrete patio and a dining area. A fully equipped kitchen with plenty of cabinet space lazy susan in the corners and a breakfast bar. Second floor has a spacious master bedroom with cathedral ceiling,tiled bath with jaccuzi tub, 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom. Finished family/play room in basement, laundry room.1 attached car garage, 1 deeded parking.Beautifully landscaped condominium managed by an offsite management company and an owners board of trustees. Walk to horn pond, and conveniently locatedto I93, I95 shopping center, restaurants, and bus stop at your door andmore..Subject to seller finding suitable housing.

Get the Sales Price!

Janine Elkhoury
Real Estate Specialist
Email Me Now
Licensed In: MA
License #: MA9055037

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5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent


5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent | Keeping Current Matters

We are pleased to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today’s post. Nikki has extensive experience working with seniors and is the Founder & CEO of the Senior Real Estate Institute. Enjoy! – The KCM Crew 

If you have not bought or sold a home in a few years (or maybe decades) it is likely that there are more than a few new trends in real estate that you will encounter as you begin to interview real estate agents.

One particular trend now common among many real estate brokerage firms is called the practice of “going paperless.” This can be a bit scary for some people, especially senior adults who are not accustomed to using computers in their personal or professional lives.

If you are one of the many with reservations about the paperless process, you will want to talk with your agent about any concerns or questions you have. In this article we have provided some basic information about the paperless process and some key questions to ask your real estate agent.

How your agent handles your questions may just help you determine if he or she is the right agent for you!

What does it mean to go paperless?

Going paperless simply means that instead of printing out every contract, form or disclosure for your signature, you may be asked to sign certain documents electronically.

This could mean:

  1. Typing your name into a designated field included in a form (received via email)
  2. Signing your name on a digital touchpad (laptop, netbook, smartphone, etc.)

While some have experienced this type of technology before and are perfectly willing and comfortable using it, others are not. Frankly, the first time I was asked to sign a real estate document electronically via email I was a bit perplexed and required some guidance.

If you have not been exposed to this type of technology, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially if introduced to it in the midst all of the other things going on during a move. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on the front end, mitigating potential delays, avoiding unnecessary frustration, and preventing surprises down the road.

Here are 5 simple questions you should ask before you ‘sign on the dotted line’

1. How do you typically communicate with your clients (phone, email, text, instant messaging, etc.)?

Good agents know that the best method (and frequency) of communication is the one that best serves the client, so getting this agreed upon early in the relationship is paramount — for both you and the agent.

If you want to communicate strictly by phone, be sure that you and your agent agree on the protocols for leaving and returning messages, hours of availability, and which phone numbers are best for certain times of day. Similar discussion around email, text messaging, and other modes of communication should be had as well, if that is your desired method of information delivery.

2. What method(s) do you use for getting client signatures?

The goal here is to find out your options. Many agents are still in the conversion process of going paperless and they are more than willing to use “more conventional” methods of getting signatures.

Some may be required, however, by their respective brokerage firms to utilize only paperless systems. If this is the case, ask the agent to show you examples of the types of things that may be asked of you during the course of working together.

If after a quick tutorial, you aren’t comfortable with the electronic signature process, it’s “OK” to choose an agent who can better accommodate your preferences.

3. Can you assess my devices to insure they are compatible with the systems you use?

Even if you are completely prepared to enter the paperless world with no reservations whatsoever, it can only be done if you have the right equipment. Before agreeing to a paperless process, ask the agent to do a “test run” using a non-official/non-binding document on your system to insure its functionality.

4. Will you provide technical support if I am not “techy” and need some help?

My dad (self described “non-techy” and proud of it), has a computer, printer, smart phone, email address, and wifi. He does not, however, have the faintest idea how they work or how to pull up attachments in his email.

When he decided to purchase a new home this past year using a reverse mortgage, the lender was located out of state, which meant everything was done via email — electronically. Needless to say, I was dad’s tech support in this situation. If you do not have a trusted advisor who can help you with troubleshooting potential technology issues, make sure your agent or their staff is capable, patient, and willing to personally walking you through the steps.

5. Are you flexible if I choose to use phone and paper over electronic communication and documentation?

Options are the key. While some agents are extremely flexible in how they deliver their services, others may be married to a very specific process or style. Insure the agent you are considering is willing and able to do what is right for you, based on your comfort level, knowledge, and ability.

Bottom Line

It goes without saying that it is critical to have the conversation with your real estate professional about their paperless processes and communication methods.

Not only will doing so put your mind at ease regarding unfamiliar territory, but it may also provide your agent with necessary information so he or she can serve you more effectively.

4 Reasons To Move-Up This Spring

4-Reasons-to-MoveSpring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1.) Buyer Demand is High & Inventory Is Low
Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.6 months supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6.0 months needed for a historically normal market.

The National Association of Realtors, Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun put it this way, “Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer.”

Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.

2.) Prices Will Continue to Rise
The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home’s value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren’t careful.

3.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows
As we reported last week, interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now, and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.

4.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to family?

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to your dream home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.


New listing: 429 Chandler, Tewksbury

Unique Home That Everyone is Looking For!
Hidden by the snow banks this charming antique cape cod is in pristine condition and is ready for you to move in. Sunny home with lots of updates, a front porch waiting for some rocking chairs, and a screened back porch freshly painted with new roof, ceiling fan/light, swing day bed, and pergola with new wisteria. 

First floor has a light-filled living room, dining room, updated half bath, and 3rd bedroom used as an office. Kitchen has been remodeled with new custom cabinets with hardwood doors, stainless steel appliances, convection gas oven, microwave hood, dishwasher, farmhouse sink, plumbing, lights, and laminate floors. Silestone countertops/bar, and one butcher block countertop. Off the kitchen is a spacious mudroom with a large closet with built-in shelving, and matching laminate floors.

Second floor has 2 bedrooms with large walk-in closets with built-in shelving, and an updated full bath.  A charming windowseat on upstairs landing fits a twin mattress, with built-in storage cupboards underneath.  Fabulous level lot with white picket vinyl fencing and stamped concrete walkways.  Small perennial garden beds, and 3 raised kitchen garden beds with well-established blackberries/raspberries. 

2 car detached garage has a wood floor, shelving, cabinets, and heat, and is used as woodworking shop, and separate shed for extra storage.  The electrical system is completely new with 200amp service, hardwired fire alarms, all new lights and fans, and an exterior hookup and switch installed for a standard generator to power the whole house in case of outage (portable generator is not included in sale).

View the Virtual Tour for 429 Chandler, Tewksbury, MA
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Janine Elkhoury
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Woburn Homes for Sale and Sold Report for 2014 vs 2013

Woburn Homes for Sale and Sold Report for 2014 vs 2013

Woburn, MA have seen steady price improvement month to month as well as year to year as inventory levels remain at all-time lows.

The Numbers Year to Year in Woburn, MA

The median sales price for Woburn, MA was $387,500in 2014 compared to $360,000 during 2013 and $330,000 2012.

The number of Woburn, MA homes that sold was 250 in 2014 vs.271 in  2013 and 279 that sold 2012.

As of December 31, 2014 there are33 active homes in Woburn, MA of which 19 have offers with contingencies. 13 Homes for Sale that are in contract of the overall available inventory of 46 homes.

A few highlights of the current Woburn, MA Homes for Sale are shown below and represent a nice cross section of properties available, in contract and that have sold.

This Months Most Expensive

The most expensive of all Woburn, MA Homes for sale this year was listed at $999,000 and includes13 rooms 3 bedrooms,5 full baths, 2 half baths and has 4,970 sq. ft. of living area. Unfortunately I did not toured this home last year but the pictures are gorgeous and what impressed me the most was the natural light it got in the living room , black granite floors in the dining room and living room as well as the movie theater and the pool room. Unfortunately it is off the market but if you have any interest in the property click on schedule a showing and I will let you know when it is available. (schedule a showing).

This Years Least Expensive

The least expensive of all Woburn, MA homes for sale came in at$174,000 and sold at 193,500 a contractor purchased it …

 Click to see the full report

Below are highlight properties for Woburn Homes for Sale and Sold Report for 2014 vs 2013. See more at the full report:
Highlights Photos Maps & Local Schools
Status: Make an Offer
45 Main St, Woburn MA

Status: Active
12 Hamilton Road, Woburn MA
LISTING MLS ID: 71787671
Listing Courtesy of: RE/MAX of New England, RE/MAX Legacy

Status: Just Sold
28 Carter St, Woburn MA
LISTING MLS ID: 71773623
Listing Courtesy of: Gregory DiGiorgio

Status: Under Contract
35 Independence Dr.
LISTING MLS ID: 71738444
Listing Courtesy of: Carol McDonald

Status: Active
6 Sunset Avenue, Woburn MA
LISTING MLS ID: 71772248
Listing Courtesy of: MLS Property Information Network

Status: Active
1 Carson Road, Woburn MA
LISTING MLS ID: 71784317
Listing Courtesy of: MLS Property Information Network

See the Full Woburn Homes for Sale and Sold Report for 2014 vs 2013
What is Your Home Worth?Search All Homes For SaleWoburn Homes For Sale

Woburn Condos For Sale

Burlington Homes For Sale

Homes Close to Where You Work

Avoid Foreclosure

Janine Elkhoury
Real Estate Specialist

Information valid as of January 28, 2015. Please contact us for the most current information and status of these properties.

Something’s Wrong With the Market

Despite a strong year, the number of home sales is trending historically low.

This year was great for real estate for home-price increases, the ability for sellers to sell, and practitioners to get homes sold. But the big problem that seems to have evaded a lot of chatter is the number of homes sold.

Home sales declined 3.8 percent between January and October of this year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Other real estate data show a startling long-term downward trend: According to DataQuick, home sales each month this year have averaged about 14 percent below monthly levels in 1988, when DataQuick began tracking such data. If you think about how many more homes are built every year — and how much larger the population is — it defies logic that there would be fewer sales than 25 years ago.

This has nothing to do with buyer demand or their ability to qualify for a mortgage. That’s evident in the fact that almost three-quarters of home sales garner multiple offers. Look to the selling side: A six- to seven-month supply of homes for sale is considered a normal market; we were at a 5.1-month supply in November, according to NAR. We were trending up in August, but that trend has reversed dramatically in the last 90 days.

The real question is: Why aren’t more sellers putting their homes up for sale?

One explanation could be that people are staying put longer. The median tenure of a home owner has increased from six years to nine years between 2001 and 2013. But that doesn’t explain everything. We do know that first-time landlords are at an all-time high. This began when prices were low and people were buying a new home while renting out their current home, waiting for prices to rebound. Now prices have rebounded, and they are still keeping them rented.

Low interest rates have also contributed. Many people are able to pull money out of their current home and rent it rather than sell. A $1 million mortgage today can carry a $2,600 monthly payment on a three- or five-year fixed rate. That enables people to borrow more.

Another issue is the loss of stated-income loans. Many home owners who would sell and buy another home are self-employed. They write off too much to qualify for a mortgage and need to stay in their old home that they bought and financed before 2007. Although a few lenders do have these loans, they are hard to get and much more expensive. Mortgage reform pretty much put an end to these loans, as verifying income was required on owner-occupied loans.

Lastly, many people aren’t applying for mortgages because they think they won’t qualify for a loan. In a recent DataQuick study, two-thirds of people who thought they would not qualify really would have. Perhaps many home owners who would move up are not doing so because they feel they can’t qualify for a new home if they sold their current home.

This trend may reverse a little in 2015, as people who rented their homes decide to sell because they think the market may be topping out. We could see some more stated-loan options as lenders push for more ways to loan out money — this trend of fewer sales has hurt them as well. A build-up in home equity, combined with lower down payment options from lenders, will also help. An increase in sales in 2015 over 2014 is expected, but unfortunately, they will likely remain below average levels. This will also place more upward pressure on prices: NAR is forecasting a 4 percent rise in prices over 2014. Anytime you have more buyers than sellers, you are going to see prices go up.

Shrinking Inventory

  • The total inventory of homes available for sale fell in December for the first time in 16 months.  The decline was very modest of less than 1 percent from the comparable month the year before.  Nonetheless, it represents a reversal to the general growth of listings that had been occurring throughout 2014.  Months supply is already low at 4.4 months.  More inventories are needed, not less.  Or else, home prices could re-accelerate.
  • Specifically, at the end of December there were 1.85 million properties listed for sale, down 11 percent from November and down 0.5 percent from one year ago.  The monthly decline was fairly normal which occurs every year from November to December.  But what is of interest is the year-over-year decline in inventory because this hints at possible acceleration in home prices in upcoming months.
  • For those technically minded, after applying statistical seasonable adjustment factors, the inventory has declined for two straight months, implying a genuine tightening of supply.  Therefore, home prices could re-accelerate.
  • Home prices in fact appear already to be re-accelerating.  In spring and summer of last year, the median price was rising at 4 to 5 percent.  In November and December, the price increased by 6 percent.
  • Do not expect any help to inventory from distressed properties.  The shadow inventory – those homes already in the foreclosure process or with serious mortgage delinquency – has greatly shrunk.  Hence, far fewer newly foreclosed properties will be hitting the market.  Those REALTORS® who specialize in distressed property sales should be aware that there will be less business opportunities in this field going forward.
  • Because of shorter supply, distressed properties are no longer being sold at deep discounts.  Many buyers of these previously thought to be worthless properties have done well in terms of rental return and price appreciation.  From this experience, buyers are now eager to bid up.
  • As a country, America has been a fine real estate investor.  What was thought to be worthless properties were acquired on the cheap.  France sold the vast ‘useless discovery’ made by LaSalle – the Louisiana Territory – to America for a mere $15 million.  Few years later, the ‘insect infested’ land of Florida was bought for $5 million from Spain.  The mocked ‘icebox’ of Alaska was purchased at 2 cents an acre from Russia.  (The mocking ended when gold was discovered).  But the paradise island of Cuba was not purchased or even given the chance after serious and realistic considerations during President Buchanan’s term.


Med SalesForeclosure

Lawrence Yun, PhD., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.

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Janine’s Thoughts: Thank You for Another Great Year

blog thankyou“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if I’ve gone away from you.”

Pueblo Indian Prayer

Now that the holidays are here, I take a break from all my routine emails to thank everyone in my business. I hope your holidays are joyful. My team and I would like to wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Thank you to all my sellers who have trusted me and listed and sold with me.

Thank you to all my buyers who have chosen me as their agent and purchased a home with me this year.

Thank you to all my landlords who keep giving me their listings.

Thank you to all my prospects that see the difference in me, and cherry pick me as their agent knowing they have the choice of working with another agent.

Thank you to all the home inspectors on my team who make the home inspection issues feel like an icing on a piece of cake. They help my buyers make a wise decision whether the house has good bones and needs some work or a money pit and need to move on to the next house.

Thank you to all the mortgage brokers, underwriters, and appraisers on my team who make the mortgage commitment letter an easy process although they have to go through 100 hoops to make money come to the closing table.

Thank you to all the attorneys and paralegals on my team for reviewing the purchase and sale, writing extensions, reviewing the mortgage commitment, preparing HUD statement and  getting all the parties to the closing table without any tears.

Thank you to my team at RE/MAX Legacy for all their support, my fellow Realtors that are on the other side of the transaction, the fire fighters for smoke inspections, the utility companies for the final readings, and everyone that plays a role in my team.

Thank you (last but not least) to my husband and my son who have to deal with a mom and spouse who has to juggle a crazy schedule, not be around at dinner time, absent at sports events and squeezing a pick up between two showings.

Thank you to my friends that trust that a business relationship does not affect a friendship but makes it stronger.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone who held my hand this year, thank you for your trust, your knowledge, your patience, your support and your commitment.

Thank you for making my year such a successful year and my job such a fun environment. Thanks for letting me know if I can help anyone of your friends or family members buy, sell or rent in 2015.