JP Real Estate Part IV: Real Estate Agents Offer Advice & Feedback from Buyers, Sellers

We’ve heard from Jamaica Plain real estate agents about what they’re seeing in the local market — now they’ll share what people have been saying to them and offer their personal and professional advice to buyers and sellers.

This is the fourth (and last) article in our series about Jamaica Plain’s real estate market. The first article was about the condo market, the second article was about the single-family home market and the third was about the rental market.

Anecdotally, what are you hearing from buyers, sellers and renters in Jamaica Plain?

Josh Muncey, Ellen, Janis, & Josh Real Estate Team

Sellers are generally blown away by the end result of their sale.

A lot of people who are moving out of their home are wondering whether to sell their home or keep it and rent it. Typically after going through the pros and cons of each option, they end up deciding to sell. A big factor in their decision is the capital gains tax exemption that they may qualify for after owner occupying for 2+ consecutive years, but can lose after moving out for a few.

Randal Engelmann, Focus Real Estate

Buyers are very motivated to secure property with the threat of rising interest rates in hopes of keeping their payments low. There are a lot of property owners who are ready to sell but they are scared to put their home on the market with fear of not being able to find a new place. Renters are finding very few options in the locations they prefer.

Tristan Rushton, Coldwell Banker 

Sellers are typically pleased and excited, especially if they bought more than 5 years ago. Buyers understand the competitiveness of the market and are ready to put their best foot forward and expand their search to other markets. Renters still find things expensive but are happy to have more choices.

Karen McCormack, McCormack & Scanlan

A few sellers are concerned about the capital gain taxes and reconsider their options after consulting with their accountants, but the far greater majority are happy with their potential sale price. There are of course those exceptions with dollar signs in their eyes who price too high and end up losing buyers as a result.

Josh Brett, Nextdoor Realty Team at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty

Our sellers have been elated to receive strong offers from well qualified buyers. Many JP condominium owners have been selling in pursuit of buying their longer term single family homes in and around JP.

Our buyers who have yet to find their next homes are staying strong in this competitive market. While most have been successful by submitting strong offers tailored to the sellers. It may take a few tries, yet this method has been working.

Susan (Scheele) and I mostly work with sellers and buyers in Jamaica Plain, but our colleagues tell us the rental market is still healthy and there is a lot of demand from people coming from other areas of the country who want to experience Jamaica Plain prior to setting down longer term roots and buying a home here.

Ice dams are common all over JP, including this Prince Street home. Taken Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to buy, sell or rent a home in Jamaica Plain?

Karen McCormack, McCormack & Scanlan

Work with a local Realtor. This seems like an obvious answer from a local Realtor, however its importance cannot be stressed enough. Local Realtors know the heartbeat of their own market.

There are times during a consultation that a buyer, a homeowner or a renter makes a different decision once equipped with all of the information provided by our guidance.

Maureen McElroy, Jamaica Hill Realty

My advice to those thinking of selling is that this is an opportune time. Those who need to sell to buy will likely have a buyer willing to offer them a leaseback option of up to 60 days, allowing sellers to get their cash out and still remain in their home while they look for another place.

It is tough out there for buyers unless they have a large down payment or cash, are willing to pay well above asking price and waive contingencies such as home inspection and/or mortgage contingency. I suggest they be willing to broaden their search area and to try to remain hopeful.

Tristan Rushton, Coldwell Banker

Talk to an experienced professional. They do this every day and can lend you all the advantages their experiences has gained. For sellers, that’s top dollar that the market will bring. For buyers, it means putting together a strong offer that increases your chances of a successful purchase. For renters, maybe you can get that place for a little cheaper.

Randal Engelmann, Focus Real Estate

Work with someone you trust to provide the best advice possible. This is a difficult market to navigate as a buyer, seller or renter. Establish a relationship with someone who knows the market and its finer details. Who you work with really matters.

Josh Brett, Nextdoor Realty Team at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty

If you are looking to buy your next home in JP be prepared, stay vigorous, put your best foot forward, communicate with your team and you will be successful. When deciding what price to offer be sure to factor in your total monthly housing expenses as well as how long you intend to live there. If you have to bid higher than the next buyer to acquire your next home, you should consider your timeframe because the benefits of homeownership are cumulative and the longer you live there or own it, the more you can justify paying just a little more than the next person to acquire it.

If you are preparing to sell your home in JP listen to your Realtor’s advice during the preparation, marketing, negotiation and follow through phases. Although we are in a seller’s market, it is not always easy to identify the buyer who is acting emotionally and/or trying to lock up the property while they decide if they want to move forward or not.

Josh Muncey, Ellen, Janis, & Josh Real Estate Team

Always hire a local agent. All real estate is local and it’s important to work with an agent that is an expert in that local market. Especially in the city where every street can have a different value and appeal.

If you’re starting to the home-buying process, be prepared for a learning curve. The market is very competitive, and sometimes it takes an offer or two to see how the bidding wars play. Talk to your agent about different strategies a buyer can utilize to have their offer stand out from the crowd.

There is plenty of inventory out there ready to come on the market but on hold. The issue is that many people who own condos around JP, are looking to trade up to a larger home, and do not want to list their home until they find a new home to buy.