31 Lawrence Lane, Lexington

Market Analysis for:

Susie & John Boulos

I've done a market analysis on your home at 31 Lawrence Lane in Lexington and have prepared this document to help explain how I've arrived at a price for your home. I perform a market analysis and calculate a price taking into consideration a home’s location, size, configuration, number of bedrooms and baths, lot size and general condition. I also scrutinize the home for issues that, in my experience, will impact the price of a home making it more or less valuable. Then, I look at your current competition - the other homes that buyers in your price range will be viewing, to help determine your price.

Contents

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

Description of home

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

The home is a ranch style home on 0.48 acre lot in a culdesac in a desirable location of Lexington which has easy access onto Route 2.
As you walk up the driveway you have stairs going up and along the home to the front door. There is a small covered porch near the front door.  As you enter the front door you enter a hallway directly in front which leads to the living room & bedroom wing, or to the right leads to the dining room. The living room is a great size, with a wood burning fireplace surrounded by stone, and a stone hearth running the length of the stonework. The dining room is open to the living room and to the kitchen. The kitchen has lovely maple cabinets, a laminate counter and stainless steel appliances. It also is large enough for a small table as an eat in kitchen. The floors in the kitchen are a granite floor tile.  Along the hallway from the front door we have a full bathroom on the left, which has been renovated and has ceramic floor tiles, and ceramic wall tiles surrounding the tub/shower. The vanity has a corian(?) counter. The master bedroom is large with a full bathroom. The full bathroom is modern with an upgraded vanity, and shower with ceramic wall tiles. Another large bedroom is adjacent to the master, and another smaller bedroom is on this level.

Downstairs is a finished basement with ceramic floor tiles throughout.  At the bottom of the stairs is a large area perfect for a family room with a wood burning fireplace surrounded by brick and with cabinetry built in overhead. The laundry is in the finished area of the basement. The basement has a full walkout exit to the backyard. A bonus room currently being used as storage is off this area. A semi-kitchen has been installed in the lower level and could easily be an aupair suite. A full bathroom that is modern and clean is in this area. There is another large family room area beyond the full bathroom and kitchen, along with a bedroom in this area. The bedroom has a cedar closet.

The home has central air conditioning, and hot water baseboard supplied by a Weil McLain boiler, fueled by oil. There are replacement double paned windows throughout. 2 car garage.
As a summary, the home has 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 2 car garage, central A/C, and 1674 sq ft above ground. Based on what I saw I believe the basement has been fully finished, although the layout is a little disjointed, it could be used as an aupair suite quite readily.  With the area in the basement considered to be 1674 sq ft also, this means a total of 3348 sq ft in total.

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Market Dynamics

We have been experiencing shortages of housing inventory in Lexington over the last 5 years or so. There are always a number of buyers looking to buy in Lexington 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 Lexington market has seen increasing prices over the last few years given the limited inventory. The demand for homes in Lexington far outweighs the supply and each month a snapshot of available homes for sale shows the declining inventory levels.

Average prices in Lexington are well above average prices obtained in the peak of the market in 2005. 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 Lexington. The next busiest price range in Lexington is the $1.5M - $2M price range. This is an indicator that new construction is having a significant impact on the average single family home prices in Lexington. The number of new construction homes being built in Lexington in 2013 was 55 homes, 70 homes in 2014, 71 homes in 2015, and 66 homes in 2016.

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 Lexington around the $1M - $1.5M price range is around $385 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 1950’s the average price per sq. ft. is $410.

The chart below shows that single family homes in Lexington of similar size to your home in the 3,000 square foot range, have an average price per square foot of $385 but it increases to $397 per sq. ft. when you decrease to the 2,000 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 $1M - $1.5M price range are just under 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 analyzed.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This garrison colonial style home has similar size with your home having 3,277 sq ft of approx. living area including a finished lower level whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home has an extra half bathroom, having 3.5 bathrooms while your home has 3 full bathrooms. It sits on a larger 0.52 acre lot while yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1954 while your home was built in 1957. It has an attached single car garage whereas your home has an attached 2 car garage.
This living room has a fireplace with white mantel and brick facing, crown molding, picture windows and hardwood floors. It has access to the formal dining room which has picture windows, crown molding, and hardwood floors. The family room is also on this level besides a family room. Both have hardwood floors. The kitchen has mismatched appliances where some are stainless steel, hardwood floors, and an informal dining area but all feels quite dated. The informal dining area has vaulted ceiling with skylight, and an exterior access to the deck through sliders and another to a porch. The master suite is on the upper level and it has a dressing room with walk in closet, an attached bathroom. On this level are 2 more family bedrooms that share a bathroom. All rooms on this level have hardwood floors. The finished lower level is a playroom/ recreation room which has panel board walls, lots of built ins and wall to wall carpeting.
This home is located in the popular Manor neighborhood. It was initially listed for $949,000 but price was dropped to $899,999 after more than a month on the market. Its price was dropped again to $899,000 on the same day before it went under agreement and was finally sold for $865,000.

Relevance: Relevant but less
This one scares me a little with the price they got for it. I believe they should have gotten more for it. Given that it is a similar size to your home, similar lot size, 1 car garage, inferior condition I believe it is relevant to your home but your home should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This ranch style home is smaller than your home having 2,990 sq ft of approx. living area including a finished lower level whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home also has the same number of bathrooms as your home does, both having 3 full bathrooms. It sits on a smaller 0.3 acre lot while yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1956 while your home was built in 1957. It has an attached single car garage whereas your home has an attached 2 car garage.
Entry from the small porch leads to the living room. The living room has bay window, a fireplace with white mantel, and hardwood floors. It is open to the formal dining room which has exterior access to the deck through glass doors, and hardwood floors. It has access to the kitchen which has an all-white concept with white cabinets and white appliances excluding a stainless steel fridge. It is separated from the family room/informal dining area through a half height wall. This room has cathedral ceiling, exterior access to the deck, wall of windows on 3 sides, and hardwood floors. The master bedroom is also on this level which has an attached full bathroom, bay window/s, and hardwood floors. The master bathroom has Jacuzzi, double vanity sink and white cabinets.  An office and 2 more family bedrooms are also on this level and they all have hardwood floors and share a family bathroom. The finished lower level can be an in-law or au-pair suite. It includes 2 more rooms/bedrooms, a family room, a kitchenette, an exercise room, and a cellar.
 It was listed for $925,000, went under agreement twice before it sold for $910,000 after 45 days on the market.

Relevance: Relevant but less
Given the smaller size of the home, 1 car garage and smaller lot size I believe this home is relevant to your home but your home should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This Dutch gambrel style home is smaller than your home having 2,540 sq ft of approx. living area excluding 240 sq ft in walk-out lower level whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home is half a bathroom less than your home having 2.5 bathrooms while your home has 3 full bathrooms. It sits on a smaller 0.28 acre lot while yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1942 while your home was built in 1957. Like your home, it has an attached 2 car garage.
The main level includes the living room which has a fireplace with white mantel. The living room also has crown molding, recessed built ins by the window, and hardwood floors. It has access to the family room which has triple windows and hardwood floors. The formal dining room has crown molding, chair rails, a china cabinet, and hardwood floors. The kitchen has hardwood floors, dated appliances, laminate counters, and exterior access to the deck. The master bedroom is on the upper level and has an attached bathroom and hardwood floors. On this level are 3 more family bedrooms and 2 of them having walk in closets. The partially finished lower level includes a playroom and has an exterior access to the backyard.
This home is located in the Manor neighborhood. It was listed for $875,000 and was sold as is for $963,000 after competing offers.

Relevance: Relevant but less
Given the smaller size of the home, with 2.5 baths vs your 3 baths, smaller lot I believe  it is relevant to your home but your home should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This colonial style home is smaller than your home having 2,976 sq ft of approx. living area which includes a 300 sq ft recreation room in the lower level whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home is half a bathroom less than your home having 2.5 bathrooms while your home has 3 full bathrooms. It sits on a similar size 0.44 acre lot and yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1966 while your home was built in 1957. Like your home, it has an attached 2 car garage although this one is tandem so is less desirable.
The main level includes the living room which is immediately accessible from the foyer. It has a fireplace with white mantel and brick facing, and hardwood floors. The kitchen has an open floor plan to the formal dining area and the family room. The kitchen also has a 2-tier breakfast bar peninsula, cabinets to the ceiling, ceramic tile backsplash, white appliances. The family room also has a fireplace, cathedral ceiling, picture windows, is open and airy, and exterior access to the patio. The master bedroom is on the upper level and it has an attached bathroom and hardwood floors. On the same level are 3 more family bedrooms. One having a walk in closet and them all share a family bathroom. The finished lower level is a recreation room with a fireplace with brick facing. This home has mostly hardwood floors. The bathrooms are quite dated in the home.
This home is located across from the Great Meadows. It was listed for $995,000 and sold for $1,016,000 with competing offers.

Relevance: Relevant
Given the smaller size of the home but greater above ground living area, inferior bathroom condition, tandem garage, but superior layout with the kitchen open to the family room I believe it is relevant to your home.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This mid-century modern style home has similar size with your home having 3,237 sq ft of approx. living area including a finished basement whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home has 2 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms while your home has 3 full bathrooms. It sits on a larger 0.64 acre lot and yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1968 while your home was built in 1957. Like your home, it has an attached 2 car garage.
The living room has a fireplace with natural wood colored mantel and brick facing, stunning condition cedar planked walls on 3 sides, picture windows, and wall to wall carpet. The formal dining room has stunning condition cedar planked walls, picture windows, and wall to wall carpet. The kitchen has wood cabinets, mismatched appliances, and laminate floors and has an open floor plan to the family room. The family room has a wood burning fireplace with brick facade, stunning condition cedar planked walls, laminate floors, and exterior access to the deck through double glass sliding doors. An office with wall to wall carpet and stunning condition cedar planked walls is also on this level. The master bedroom has an attached bathroom and dressing room is on the second floor. Also on this level are 3 more family bedrooms and a family bathroom with double vanity sink. The lower level is a full walkout with full size picture windows and is a huge open space with a fireplace, stunning condition cedar planked walls, a wet bar, half bathroom and a full walkout exterior access to the private backyard. This home has an attached 2 car garage as does your home.
Located walking distance to Bowman School, Wilson Farm, and just a mile from Lexington Center and around the corner from the new Community Center, Minuteman Bikeway and Tower Park. It was initially listed for $1,188,000 but prices dropped to $1,088,000 before it sold for an even lower price of $1,070,000 after being on the market for 33 days.

Relevance: Relevant, but a smidge higher
Given the similar size but all of the living area being fully above ground, larger lot, inferior kitchen condition I believe this home is relevant to yours but will sell a little higher than yours.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This split entry style home is larger than your home having 3,500 sq ft of all above ground living area whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has 1 extra bedroom more than your home does, having 5 bedrooms, while your home has 4 bedrooms. This home has the same number of bathrooms, both having 3 bathrooms. It sits on a similar size 0.46 acre lot while yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1980 while your home was built in 1957. Like your home, it has an attached 2 car garage.
As you enter the main level, the living room is on the left and the family room is in front. The family room has a full brick wall fireplace to the ceiling, a wet bar, and is open to the kitchen. It has access to the sunroom through a glass slider. The kitchen has a 2 tier breakfast bar peninsula, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, ceramic tile back splash, and white cabinetry. It is a galley style kitchen with an informal dining area, a built in china cabinet with some glass panels, chair rails, and exterior access to a deck through a sliding glass door. The formal dining room has access to the same deck through glass sliders. The master suite is located on the main level with a master bathroom with granite countertop and white vanity cabinet. Another bedroom and another full bathroom are on this level. The lower level includes 2 bedrooms, an office, a utility room, a large storage room and another full bathroom. The entire home is sun-filled with huge windows. The main level of living has gleaming hardwood floors while the lower level has wall to wall carpets. It came on the market at too high a price and went under agreement shortly after its price reduction and sold for less than the asking price after 39 days on the market. It was initially listed for $1,175,000 but  price was dropped to $1,125,000 before it went under agreement and finally was sold for $1,125,000.

Relevance: Higher
Given the larger size of all above ground living area, superior condition I believe your home will not sell for as much as this home.

Your details: Living area 3,348 sq ft | 4 beds | 3 baths | Lot size 0.48 acres | Built 1957

This contemporary colonial style home is larger than your home having 3,915 sq ft of approx. living area including a finished basement whereas your home has 3,348 sq ft of approx. living area including the 1,674 sq ft finished lower level. It has the same number of bedrooms as your home does, both having 4 bedrooms. This home has 1 extra bathroom more than your home does, having 4 bathrooms vs your home having 3 bathrooms. It sits on a larger 0.69 acre lot while yours sits on a 0.48 acre lot. This home was built in 1955 while your home was built in 1957. It has an attached single car garage whereas your home has an attached 2 car garage.
The living room is sunken and has an open floor plan with the formal dining room. It has picture window/s and hardwood floors. The formal dining area is raised compared to the living room, has picture windows, hardwood floors and has access to the sunroom/playroom through French doors. This sunroom/playroom has vinyl flooring, bay window, and an exterior access heading to the patio. The kitchen has large cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, ceramic tile backsplash, hardwood floors, an informal dining area, and an exterior access to the patio. The backyard has an in ground heated swimming pool. The main level also includes the family room which has bay windows, hardwood floors, and an attached bathroom. A family bedroom is also on this level with a full bathroom with double vanity sink, white cabinets, and ceramic tile floors. The master suite is on the upper level and it has a cathedral ceiling, picture windows, hardwood floors, 2 walk in closets, and an attached full bathroom. The master bathroom has a cathedral ceiling, and ceramic tile floors. There are 2 more family bedrooms on this level and a shared bathroom with double vanity sink. The finished lower level has wall to wall carpeting and includes an office, a media room, and an exercise room. The media room has a fireplace, and a cedar closet. The exercise room also has exterior access to the backyard with pool.
This home is located in Sun Valley neighborhood near Harrington school, steps away from Sun Valley Swim and Tennis Club. It was listed for $1,099,000 and was sold for $1,153,000 after competition.

Relevance: Higher
Given the larger size of the home, on a larger lot, superior condition I believe it will sell for more 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 $1,000,000-$1,050,000.  

Given the current market dynamics in Lexington, 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 60 Gleason Rd which came on the market for $875,000 and sold for $963,000, and 7 Fiske Road which came on the market for $1,099,000 and sold for $1,153,000, and the home at 31 Circle Road which came on the market for $995,000 and sold for $1,016,000. 

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.

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

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

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

My team and I know how to 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.

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