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      3 Ways to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time

      With careful planning and a little luck, you can shuffle properties without taking on too much financial risk.

      For a lot of people, the biggest financial transaction of their lives is buying a house -- and it gets even bigger when you already own a home and are trying to buy a new one. Generally, there are three ways to manage this tricky situation.

      Sell first, then buy

      This scenario is the most common because it's the most financially feasible. You start this process by selling your home, then getting pre-approved for your new home so you know how much you can afford. Your lender's affordability analysis will first look at your available cash for down payment, then determine your monthly obligations.

      Suppose your down payment will come from the sale proceeds of your home, which perhaps you bought 10 years ago for $200,000 using 10 percent down, and are now selling for $250,000. Thanks to IRS tax benefits for owner-occupied homes, you're exempt from paying capital gains taxes on gains up to $250,000 for a single person, and up to $500,000 for a married couple. But you will pay about 6 to 7 percent of the sale price for all the fees associated with selling a home, including real estate agent and marketing fees, transfer tax, and title fees.

      Calculating conservatively, estimated net proceeds from your sale will be about $85,000.

      Using this $85,000 as your down payment on a new home purchase of $350,000 with a 30-year fixed loan, your total monthly obligations on the new home are $1,644 -- comprised of a $1,227 mortgage payment using today's 30-year fixed rate of 3.75 percent (mortgage rates change throughout each day), property taxes of $350, and homeowners insurance of $67.

      To afford this $350,000 price with $85,000 down, you'd need to make $63,000 per year and have no more than $300 per month in non-housing debt obligations.

      To prep before you talk to a lender, you can calculate your own monthly payments using any down payment and purchase price you want, and you can also calculate how much new home you can afford.

      Buy without selling first

      This scenario has become common in recent years as tight inventory in many markets has made it harder for people to find a new home while they sell their existing home.

      To buy without selling first, you need enough cash for a down payment on a new home, and you'll need to assess with your lender whether you can afford two sets of housing payments.

      Using the example above of living in a home you bought 10 years ago for $200,000 with 10 percent down, you might have a total monthly obligation of about $1,215 -- comprised of a $859 mortgage payment, assuming you refinanced along the way into a 4-percent rate, property taxes of $200, insurance of $67, and mortgage insurance of $89.

      If your target down payment was 10 percent on the new $350,000 purchase, your total monthly obligation would be $2,030 -- comprised of a $1,459 mortgage payment with a rate of 3.75 percent, property taxes of $350, insurance of $67, and mortgage insurance of $155.

      Both properties combined are $3,245 per month. If you add an estimated $300 extra for non-housing debt, you'd need to make about $99,000 to qualify for the new home.

      But what if your income falls short? Knowing you'll net about $85,000 on your sale, you can try to get a gift for this down payment and pay it back when you sell your existing home. Doing so means you'd only need $88,000 in income to qualify for the new home before selling your existing home.

      Buy and convert existing home to a rental

      This approach is for people who want to keep their current property as a long-term investment. Depending on the lender and your profile, you might be able to count rental income on the current property to qualify for the new loan.

      If you can't count rental income, your lender would qualify you as noted above with the full obligations of both properties plus non-housing debt, meaning you'd need to make $99,000 to qualify (using the sample home prices and down payments).

      If you can count rents, most lenders allow you to use 75 percent of rental income to offset expenses when qualifying for the new home. If we used this formula in a market like Denver -- where median rents are $1,650 -- you'd need to make $65,000 to qualify to carry both homes if you were being given credit for rents. Check rents in your city to see if this approach would work for you.

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      What Sellers Need To Know This Spring

      Believe it or not, spring is just over two weeks away (hooray!) and with the warmer temperatures, of course, comes the heating up of the real estate market. If you're planning on selling, brush up on some of the best advice from our first-ever "Sellers Week," a week's worth of coverage devoted to all things sales-related, which ran in February.

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      Questions To Ask Before Listing Your Home

      You plan to sell soon, and you've already chosen your agent. You are in the middle of cleaning, painting and prepping the home. As the listing period approaches, it is time to dig deeper into the final pricing, sales and marketing plan. The ultimate list price or go-to-market strategy may change based on inventory levels and the competition. As you get closer to finalizing the listing, there are some questions you'll want to ask your agent.

      What's the highest price my home could attain given its size, location and space?

      You can't up and move your house to a better location. And a fourth bedroom or a second bath isn't going to appear magically. So there will be a limit based on your home's layout, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, as well as the lot size. Better understanding what a fully renovated home with broad market appeal would sell for will help inform your price, and you can work backwards from there.

      Based on our list price, how long can I expect to wait before receiving an offer?

      Coming up with a list price should be a transparent and ongoing discussion. Your price will determine how long it takes to receive offers. If you chose to price it low, expect to see offers within the first few weeks, if not days. If you go for the high-end of the price range, expect six weeks -- maybe longer -- and also plan for a potential price reduction along the way.

      What is the open house and broker's open house strategy?

      Every market is different, so what worked for your Uncle Bob in San Francisco may not work in your smaller suburban town in the Midwest. But find out what does work. Agents should have at least one broker's open house or broker's caravan and a few Sunday open houses in the beginning.

      Many agents will tell you that open houses don't work. Others will advocate for them every weekend. Find out what other sellers are doing by studying the market yourself. One-size-fits-all may not be the best approach.

      If you have not narrowed down a listing agent at this point, use these questions as interview topics for potential agents. If you hear the same answers multiple times, chances are that is the best approach. If you are a serious seller, motivated to move your home and working with an experienced local agent, these final discussions should put you on the path to success.

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      Pro Tips For The Small Landlord Seeking A Renter

      If you're looking to rent out the top floor of your brownstone or sublet your apartment during a posting abroad, you'll no doubt want to find a respectful, financially stable renter.

      But where's the best place to lock one down? Take a cue from professional property managers and landlords, who let us know the best ways for smaller owners to locate good tenants.

      Post an online ad: The easiest way to reach renters is, not surprisingly, by posting ads on any number of apartment-listing websites. But you want to be strategic about it.

      The most popular sites among landlords are StreetEasy ($50 for your ad to appear for two weeks; $75 if you want your ad to be a featured listing); the New York Times real estate classifieds ($99 for your ad to appear for 14 days); and Craigslist ($10 for brokers; free to list by owner). 

      Savvy would-be renters tend to trust StreetEasy and the Times over Craigslist, since they don't have to worry as much that what they're seeing isn't what they'll get, says Dylan Pichulik, CEO of XL Real Property Management, which manages small condo and co-op buildings in the city, as well as individual apartments for owners.

      "The best way is listing through StreetEasy because they have web crawlers that pull information from other databases," such as brokerage websites, says Pichulik, drawing renters with a volume and variety of listings. In addition, he says that "people have grown a little apathetic toward Craigslist because there's so much garbage on there, and it can be very inefficient."

      Or, as BrickUnderground's small-landlord columnist Craig Roche put it last year, "putting an apartment on Craigslist, as often as not, is an invitation to scammers and local 'entrepreneurs' who will pose as me and try to 'rent' my apartments."

      But since Craigslist is free to landlords, it doesn't take much to put up an ad, points out Donald Brennan of Brooklyn-based brokerage Brennan Realty Services. "If you've been getting tenants that way for years, it'll definitely be hard to break that habit," he says.

      Also, for all its drawbacks, Craigslist continues to be the place where many renters start their search, Pichulik says, "because they think they'll find no-fee apartments."

      Tap your networks: Post the information on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and draw from a pool that's weighted more heavily toward friends and acquaintances.

      "It can be a good resource," says Pichulik, adding that typically small landlords who post on their own feeds "want more of a friend of a friend to move in, like if they're subletting their unit or breaking a lease."

      Pro tip: If you own at least three apartments, consider the new Apartment Hunters tool on LandlordsNY, a free social network for landlords (and a BrickUnderground sponsor). Apartment seekers submit the basic qualities they're looking for in a rental--number of bedrooms and bathrooms, neighborhood, price and must-have amenities (like a pet-friendly building or a gym)--and the information is blasted to the 1,300 or so landlords who belong to LandlordsNY. Plans are also in the works to add a pre-screening feature that would run credit checks on tenants. 

      Hire a broker: Brokers manage the due diligence, make sure the tenant is the right fit, check their credit to make sure you're getting what you think you're getting--all at no charge to you, and a fee of anywhere from a month's rent to 15 percent of a year's rent charged to your tenant.

      "From a financial perspective, there are no risks to the landlord in using a broker," says Brennan.

      While you may be somewhat less competitive compared to bigger landlords who cover the fee (and thus, advertise their offerings as "no-fee" apartments), it probably won't make much of a difference in today's tight rental market, says Brennan.

      So how do you find a broker to help you in a situation like this? If one helped you get the apartment, call them back and get them on the case. If they're not the right person for the job, they can direct you to someone else in their brokerage.

      If you found the place on your own, try cold-calling a real estate brokerage to speak to a rental agent. Or check out StreetEasy to see who's renting comparable apartments in the same neighborhood, Brennan suggests. 

      Spread the word: Sometimes the oldest ways are the best ways. Ask friends, co-workers and other tenants in the building (if you have them) if they know of anyone interested in moving in. 

      Know other landlords? Chat them up and ask if they know of anybody looking for a place like yours. "Anybody is a potential source of leads," says Brennan.

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      Winning a Bidding War For Your Next Home

      The bidding wars are back. While not every local real-estate market is experiencing bidding wars, some homebuyers find themselves competing for houses because not many are for sale in their markets. The result? Many homes have 10 to 15 offers the day they go on the market, says Susan Paul, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Move Time Realty in Scottsdale, Ariz.

      To compete in a bidding war, buyers need to prepare financially for the home purchase. They have to be familiar with property values in their target neighborhoods. And they must know what they want.

      While offering the most money might seem like the best way to win a bidding war, sellers don't always choose the highest offer. Instead, sellers often prefer offers that are most likely to go through and that meet their conditions. Here are six tips to increase your chances of making the winning offer in a bidding war for the house of your dreams.

      1. Have a lender on speed dial "Too many buyers talk to a lender and start looking at homes at the same time," says Eldad Moraru, a real-estate agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. in Bethesda, Md. "You need to have everything (financial) done before you begin to look." Then you are more likely to win a bidding war.

      He suggests selecting a lender and a loan, completing everything the lender requires and having a preapproval letter in hand -- all before submitting an offer.

      "You need to make sure your lender is ready to issue an approval letter specific to the property at the drop of a dime," Moraru says.

      Paul recommends keeping a file folder constantly updated with your most recent pay stubs, all pages --even blank pages -- of recent bank statements and any other documentation the lender may need to make a quick loan approval. Then you are ready to make an offer.

      A strong preapproval is essential, especially if you are competing against buyers with cash to offer, says Alan T. Aoyama, vice president of Century 21 M&M Associates in Cupertino, Calif. Any hint that you might have trouble qualifying for financing could eliminate you from the seller's choice of buyers.

      2. Cash in your pocket plus the paperwork to prove it "An all-cash buyer can even waive the appraisal," Aoyama says. "If you're a noncash buyer, you need to have a copy of your proof of funds with your offer, along with a strong preapproval. At a minimum, you should offer a down payment of 20% if you know you'll be competing against other buyers. You need to show you have the funds to close and the ability to make up the difference if the appraisal comes in too low."

      Moraru says that in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, it's common to supplement your offer with a financial information sheet detailing your job history, salary and bonuses, 401(k) balance, how much you have for a down payment and where the money is saved.

      A higher-than-customary earnest money deposit can sometimes impress sellers when there is a bidding war, Moraru says. Just make sure you fully meet all deadlines and terms of the contract so you don't lose your deposit.

      3. Make a fast, personalized offer To compete against other buyers in a potential bidding war, make sure you see a home the day it goes on the market, so you can move quickly, Paul says.

      "Your buyers agent should talk to the listing agent to find out what is motivating the sellers and what they need -- such as a quick settlement or a post-settlement rent-back," Paul says. "Be flexible, and work that into your offer. Make it as easy on the sellers as possible so your offer is chosen above 15 others."

      Paul says buyers should offer to help the sellers in any way they can, such as helping them find a home for their pet if they can't take it with them.

      Moraru says while price is important, sellers want to know the buyer can finance the property and meet any other conditions. If you don't know the date when the sellers want to settle, you can write "will settle on seller's schedule" into the offer.

      Aoyama suggests offering 30 days of free rent if the sellers want to stay in their home after settlement.

      4. Keep your home inspector on alert Most real-estate agents don't recommend buying a home without an inspection, but making your offer contingent on an inspection can weaken your position if other buyers are waiving an inspection contingency. Aoyama says buyers should carefully read all disclosures and reports that are available, because some sellers provide a home inspector's report for buyers. You can also have an home inspection done after your offer has been accepted that can provide information on the home's condition.

      "If you're serious about a particular house, you can have a home inspection before you make an offer, and then make a noncontingent offer if you're satisfied with the report," Moraru says. "You'll need to move fast, though, and have a home inspector ready almost the day the home goes on the market."

      Paul says you can bring a home inspector along when you first look at the home and say the inspector is a friend, just to get a feel for the condition of the home without an in-depth checkup.

      "If the inspector says the house looks OK, you can feel better about waiving the home inspection contingency," Paul says.

      5. Eliminate or reduce contingencies One of the best ways to make your offer stronger is to eliminate contingencies regarding home inspection, financing or appraisal, Aoyama says. That puts you in a more solid position to win a bidding war. If you have cash reserves to cover the gap between a low appraisal and your offer, you can waive the appraisal contingency, he says, but leave your financing contingency in place to protect yourself.

      "If you can't waive these, you can at least shorten the time frame, such as (by) reducing the loan contingency to 10 days if you know your lender can provide you with proof of financing quickly enough," Aoyama says.

      Offering to buy the home as is can be tempting, but make sure you have an accurate idea of the home's condition with an informational inspection for safety.

      Paul says buyers need to make their offer as strong as possible, so if you don't need a home warranty or help with closing costs, don't ask for them.

      6. Try an escalation clause -- maybe An escalation clause is an addendum to a purchase offer that authorizes your agent to offer a specified amount above the best offer the seller receives. It's a powerful way to wage a bidding war.

      "Buyers are offering escalation clauses a lot less often than when the housing market was booming, unless the home is priced way below market value," Moraru says. "I recommend that buyers who want to offer an escalation clause be very careful when choosing to go as high as they can with the understanding that they can live with the price if it goes to the maximum amount. They also need to feel that if someone else gets the house at a higher price, that buyer overpaid."

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      What Home Buyers Wished They Had Done Differently

      Ever had that feeling of remorse? That lingering notion that you shouldn't have done something that you just did. It's most apparent after buying something that you actually did not want or worse, did not need. If it has indeed happened to you (and we both know it has), then you know that that feeling sucks. In fact, "sucks" might just be an understatement. Imagine having that feeling multiplied a hundred fold, particularly when remorse is all you can feel after purchasing a big-ticket item, for instance a house. 

      Recent studies have shown that homebuyers nowadays are more and more concerned with aesthetics of properties they put offers in. In fact, a whopping 44% of home buyers these days are 

      You wanted a home with a pool but got a porch instead. A big back yard? No, you went with brick back yard just a bit bigger than your grill. What seemed to be a quiet neighborhood during the Sunday afternoon open house turned out to be because the neighbors were sleeping off their every-Saturday-night booze and brawl. Real estate regrets are many, and homeowners are quick to admit what they should have done differently.

      Nine out of every ten buyers felt prepared when they bought their home, but after the fact, well more than half (56%) wish they had known more about the financial process involved in buying a home. The loan closing process was at the top of the should-have-known-more list (22%), followed by making an offer and negotiating (19%) and financing (15%), according to a new survey by Chase.

      Nearly four in ten (39%) said that knowing what they know now, they would have bought a different-size or different-priced home, perhaps even in a different neighborhood. Most recent homebuyers were surprised by how long the purchase process took, too: 40% said it took longer than they expected.

      More than one-third (34%) said owning a home cost more than expected. And while more than 80% of buyers considered their home move-in ready, nearly as many (76%) now admit they've done, or are planning to do, renovations to their home soon.

      A survey fielded one year ago by Trulia found similar results. More than one third (34%) ofhomeowners with regrets responding to a March 2013 poll said they wished they had chosen a larger home.

      Other regrets included:

      • Wish I had done more remodeling on the home than I did (27%)
      • Wish I had more information about the home before I decided (22%)
      • Wish I had made a larger down payment (18%)
      • Wish I had been more financiallysecure before buying (16%)
      • Wish I had chosen a home with a shorter commute to work (15%)

      It seems buyers may find fewer homes to choose from combined with higher prices this year. Pending home sales rose in March, the first gain in nine months, according to the National Association of Realtors. While home sales are expected to trend up for the balance of the year and into next, NAR expects total sales to fall below last year's pace, with existing-home sales predicted to total just over 4.9 million this year - well below the nearly 5.1 million sold in 2013. But, with ongoing inventory shortages in much of the nation, median existing-home prices are expected to rise between 6% and 7% this year.

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      Boston's Best Off the Beaten Path Parks By Neighborhood

      img1If you're one of those who are still trying to get in tip top shape before the big day, check out our list of parks and paths across the city that's sure to liven up your day and prep you for Monday. And aside from the providing a path for your exercise, these parks also serve as refuge to those who might just need a little space away from the crowds.

      But if you're going away for the weekend to escape the marathon madness, don't worry - spring and summer should also provide a good time for you to sneak into these off-the-beaten path parks across the city - whether to go for a run, or simply to take a stroll during sunnier days. Here are the parks, organized by neighborhood for your convenience:

      DOWNTOWN BOSTON

      Norman B. Leventhal Park Yup, Post Office Square can be beautiful. The private park features a green oasis in the rough-and-tumble Financial District as well as a music series during the summer. It is also easily accessible via the subway, bus, or by foot. Make sure to head over to the Fort Point after your visit, and grab a bite to eat in one of the up and coming hotspots sprouting up there.

      Check out listings in Downtown Boston >>

      CAMBRIDGE, CHARLESTOWN & KENDALL SQUARE

      Cambridge Center Roof Garden This hidden, not-so-secret garden in Cambridge's Kendall Square is a perfect way to take a break from work, for those on the other side of the river. Complete with an excellent view of the city, the rooftop garden is lined with real, green grass and dotted with trees, flowers and benches. To get there, just go to the parking garage of 4 Cambridge Center and follow the signs to the urban oasis.

      Paul Revere Park This relatively new, 5-acre park (completed in 2007) in Charlestown includes a pier overlooking Boston Harbor with fish-cleaning stations that, according to the city, make it a "perfect spot for some friendly fishing." It's about a 10-minute walk from North Station.

      Fresh Pond Reservation The 155-acre lake here has been part of Cambridge's reservoir system since the 1850s, and has 162 wooded acres surrounding it. These acres include a 2.25-mile perimeter road for jogging, biking, walking, etc.

      Check out listings in Cambridge >>

      BROOKLINE

      Larz Anderson Park The largest park in Brookline, Larz Anderson is a prime destination for both a day spent outdoors and a quick afternoon trip. In addition sprawling fields, awesome views and open space, Larz Anderson provides picnic areas for outdoor grilling and celebrations. The park is available on the Green Line's D train at the Reservoir station.

      Amory Park Amory Park is nestled conveniently between Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street for easy access. With a field in the center, Amory's standout destination for those seeking a quiet, shady spot is Hall's Pond Sanctuary, a trail in the woods around a pond that leads to a public garden with trees, flowers and benches. There are also tennis courts and picnic tables on the grounds. The park is accessible by the Green Line's B train at BU West, or the C train at Kent and Hawes Street.

      Chestnut Hill Reservoir This parkland offers plenty of recreation, including tennis courts and the Cassidy Playground. The adjoining reservoir has 1.6-mile loop for jogging, striding, and more. There are also hidden paths on the sides of the loop, leading into sometimes creepy but most of the time serene parts of Brookline - including the first church in Boston, and the oldest cemetery in the state.

      Check out listings in Brookline >>

      JAMAICA PLAIN

      Jamaica Pond Also on the Emerald Necklace is the Arnold Arboretum (pictured), a beautiful destination to take in the trees in bloom this season, and also watch for birds as they return for spring. Guided tours are available starting this weekend, on April 19. To get to the arboretum, head to the Forest Hills T stop on the Orange Line.

      Arnold Arboretum Also on the Emerald Necklace is the Arnold Arboretum (pictured), a beautiful destination to take in the trees in bloom this season, and also watch for birds as they return for spring. Guided tours are available starting this weekend, on April 19. To get to the arboretum, head to the Forest Hills T stop on the Orange Line.

      Check out listings in Jamaica Plain >>

      SOUTH BOSTON

      Castle Island Located on the Boston Harborwalk in South Boston, Castle Island is a popular summer destination for picnics, parties and swimming at Pleasure Bay. If you need to get away for a day, head there to take in the atmosphere and walk through Fort Independence, a National Historic Landmark you can explore yourself. To get to Castle Island, take bus lines 5, 7, 9, 10 or 11.

      Federal Reserve Lot A small, lush alcove owned by Federal Express on the South Boston waterfront, along the Harbor Walk. It's got access to what the city calls "secluded" beaches and you can also take in the cruise ships docking at Black Falcon Terminal.

      Check out listings in South Boston >>

      EAST BOSTON

      Piers Park Located on the Boston Harborwalk (a prime destination in itself for springtime) in East Boston, Piers Park is a waterfront destination somewhat off the beaten path, complete with a great view of the city and lots of salty air. There's also green space and a fountain area for kids to play. To get there, take the Blue Line to Maverick Square.

      Condor Street Urban Wild This former marine industrial site was redeveloped into an urban wild with salt marshes, meadow grasses, walking paths, a boardwalk, sculptures, and a viewing platform overlooking Chelsea Creek. Take the Blue Line to Maverick.

      Check out listings in East Boston >>

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      Big Ideas For Construction Downtown Financial District

       

      Developers have their eyes on the sky with proposals such as the Trans National Tower.

      Developers have their eyes on the sky with proposals such as the Trans National Tower.

      As if there isn't enough going on in the Downtown Financial District, a new tower could soon further reshape the Boston skyline under competing redevelopment proposals for the retired Winthrop Square garage.

      Eight developers are vying to put their permanent imprint on the city's skyscraper set up with a potential superstructure that could rise as high as 780 feet, rivaling the 750-foot Prudential and 790-foot Hancock towers in the Back Bay.

      As you could recall, Mayor Marty Walsh's administration in February called for new proposals for the city-owned garage where former Mayor Thomas M. Menino once envisioned a 1,000-foot building. That call came after Trans Nat?ional Group -- which originally planned a 1,000-foot project at the site in 2006 -- had restarted city talks last fall about a smaller 740-foot project.

      As a response, well-known Boston developers submitted proposals last Monday for their vision of the site. Big-named developers such as HYM Investment Group, Millennium Partners, Fallon Co., Trinity Acquisitions, Lincoln Property Co. are amongst the "Big Eight" that revealed their plans, as detailed below:

       

      Millennium Partners is proposing what it calls the 'Great Urban Room,' above, along with a 750-foot tower in its plans submitted for development of the site of the former Winthrop Square garage in the Financial District. -Handel Architects Rendering

      Millennium Partners is proposing what it calls the 'Great Urban Room,' above, along with a 750-foot tower in its plans submitted for development of the site of the former Winthrop Square garage in the Financial District. -Handel Architects Rendering

       

      HYM Investment Group: A public plaza amid a new 500-seat St. Anthony Shrine Church, a new Friary and Ministry Center, and a new 50,000-square-foot Boston public school. The current St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street would be replaced with a 780-foot, 69-story tower with 700 apartments and condos.

      Accordia Partners: A 750-foot tower with 140 condos, a 275-room Le Meridien hotel, retail, civic space and a public gallery.

      Lend Lease Development, Hudson Group North America and Eagle Development Group: A 750-foot, 68-story tower with innovation economy offices, 156 condos, 288 apartments, a 300-room hotel, retail and a public green.

      Millennium Partners: A 750-foot tower with 360 residential units atop 14 stories of office space, 41,000 square feet of retail, a market arcade "winter garden" with artisanal vendors, restaurants and performance activity that Millennium compares to Leadenhall Arcade in London's Financial District.

       

      Developers have their eyes on the sky with proposals such as the Trans National Tower and suggest a new street-level look for what was the site of the Winthrop Square garage, pictured, as envisioned by Accordia Partners. - Handel Architects Rendering

      Developers have their eyes on the sky with proposals such as the Trans National Tower and suggest a new street-level look for what was the site of the Winthrop Square garage, pictured, as envisioned by Accordia Partners. - Handel Architects Rendering

       

      Trans National Properties: A 740-foot, 54-story tower with 700,000 square feet of innovation economy offices, apartments, 100 condos, 300 hotel rooms, a retail-lined public galleria, and a Boston Public Market outpost. It would also have a 21,500-square-foot Entrepreneur Innovation Center, an Innovation Sculpture Park and Innovators Walk of Fame. It would combine the site with 133 Federal St.

      Fallon Co.: Two residential buildings on a street-level retail podium: a larger 700-foot, 53-story building with 32 floors of apartments and 18 floors of condos; and a smaller 75-foot apartment building. Plans call for a galleria-style open concourse with 25,000-plus square feet for shops.

      Trinity Acquisitions: A 51-story tower with 328 apartments, 261 condos, a 276-room hotel and retail.

      Lincoln Property Co.: A 47-story tower with 29 floors of office space, a 250 to 300-room hotel, six floors of condos, and retail.

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      Need For Speed: The Boston Condo Sales Edition

      BOScondosThis weekend, Boston finally welcomed spring weather in the city. Temperatures have finally spiked up, and both house hunters as well as home sellers sparked up the ever-so-busy spring real estate season.

      On that note, we've compiled data on how fast you should be heading to open houses - particularly for condominium units, as more and more buyers are hustling after their winter hibernation. Sellers are keen to go to market, too, albeit not enough to replenish inventory levels from a year ago.

      Between the period of January 1 to April 12, there were 859 condominium units sold in 2014, a significantly higher figure that this year's 719. That's enough reason right there to list your unit now, as buyers' demands are apparently up by 18 percent this year compared to 2014. Buyer demand, which is measured by the number of offers, open house visits, and general inquiries received by listings actively on the market, is a strong indication of the pace of the selling season to come.

      Slide1

      (Click to enlarge. Data courtesy of MLS.)

       

      Currently, 2015 is slightly trailing the previous year in terms of how fast units are being sold. In the same period last year, 325 condo units were sold in under a week; this year during the same period, only 251 saw titles exchange hands. This figure however, is not reflective of a "slowdown" in the selling market, but more a confirmation of the inevitable low inventory conditions the city is currently experiencing.

      The graph details the sweet spot for how long sellers should expect their units to fly off the shelves. In essence, condo units usually receive their best offers within a week of listing. And if the first quarter of the year is any indication of the pace of property sales this coming spring and summer, sellers who do not receive a "respectable" offer should expect their condominium property to be off the market within a month or so, as the graph tells us.

      There are a couple of noteworthy observations from the data compiled from MLS that you can surmise from the graph above, but the most important one is that except for the inventory "shortage", condominium units this year have so far sold at a better pace than last year. That, in a nutshell is what the figures tells us; shorter days to offer are ahead for sellers out there who are going to market with their units. As for buyers? Well, that just means you'll have to rush yourselves to open houses as soon as properties are welcoming guests. Thank goodness then, that spring weather is finally here.

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      A Mega Project Is Brewing at South Boston's Waterfront

      Two of China's giant insurance companies are heavily investing in the ambitious Pier 4 development along the banks of South Boston's Waterfront. China Life and Ping An are joining New York real estate company Tishman Speyer as co-investors in the soon to be built Boston destination. The consortium plans to build a 13-story, 373,000-square-foot office building and a nine-story luxury condo building on Pier 4, next to the Institute of Contemporary Art.

      The introduction of foreign direct investment into the local Boston property market is not unknown, with last year's number being a very strong indication of international interest in the Boston community. Particularly, nearly half of the investment sales in the Boston area in 2014 were attributed to foreign investors.

      It is not surprising that Chinese investors are flocking in to the city, given how majority of investment bankers were educated in Boston during their brief stint here during their college years. Financial institutions in China have very stringent rules of capital outflow however, due to recent movements in their local market, investors are now able to freely channel their resources to projects that also cater to their socio-economic growth, and Boston is an education hub for the Chinese.

      The Greenway Gets Another Gem

      The Rose F Kennedy Greenway is about to get busier in the summer, as a sprawling 28,000 square-foot local food market is set to open in July. Housing over 30 permanent year-round vendors selling locally produced items such as farm fresh produce; meat and poultry; milk and cheese; fish and shellfish; bread and baked goods; flowers; and an assortment of specialty and prepared foods - the new "Boston Public Market" will surely be a destination for both locals and tourists.

      The initial vendors announced today include farmers, fisherman, and food producers from Massachusetts and throughout New England. The Boston Public Market will be the only locally-sourced market of its kind in the United States. Everything sold at the Market will be produced or originate in New England.

      To be located directly above the Haymarket MBTA station, the local food marketplace is the permanent solution to the Open Market currently only being held in the spring-summer months from a short distance away from the new location. The Market will span the ground floor of 136 Blackstone Street, which also contains the Boston RMV branch, entrances to the Haymarket MBTA station, vent stacks for the Interstate-93 tunnel, and a parking garage. The Market is located in downtown Boston's emerging Market District, next to the Haymarket pushcart vendors and the historic Blackstone Block.

      More details of the Boston Public Market aka "BPM" (including how you can be a vendor) can be found on their website.

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