Wednesday, September 14, 2016

News on Life Just Right in Andover/North Andover area

MONTHS TRUDGE ON: Top 4 reasons people say ‘time to sell’ 

We ask our clients the top reason for selling their home and they tell us:
  1. reduce monthly costs
  2. need more space
  3. unwanted rooms and space
  4. don’t want the work or maintenance

If you’re saying ‘we need more space,’ you are not alone. 
If you no longer want to have a never-ending project list and maintenance, it’s time you considered options. 
#1 destination for our right-sizers is Newburyport MA. Find Your Place in Newburyport

We say NOW is the time for you to make your ‘life just right’ list. We help people care for their homes for all the time they own them and when it’s time for transition, we help with that too. Months trudge on.

Andover MARKET by the #’s:

Andover real estate on-market snapshot shows inventory of single family homes holding steady at 97 homes for sale with the biggest selection $600,000-$699,999. Over the past 12 months, the $500,000-599,999 shows the most homes sold (75) averaging $543,893 sale price. We thinks it’s important to see where you fit in whether you answer 'Yes' or 'no' to the top 4 reasons people sell their home. 

Peak at the North Andover market here-North Andover real estate update Sept. 2016
Is your life just right the perfect new build in 2017

We have one coming soon to North Andover

Monday, August 29, 2016

Your Home; the Best Place to Come Home To

What turns a house in to a home?

Popular on-line property searches might ignore the real value in a home. Taking the time to show off unique architectural details demonstrate how the house becomes a home. Emotional combined with rational responses of on-line home shoppers, open house visitors and friends and family tell the whole story. Your house has a personality! 

Take a look at the short list of the most popular and valuable characteristics based on my experience
marketing and selling lifestyle and homes with charm. Houses that ‘LIVE WELL’ will always have
subtle characteristics that add warmth, appeal, personality to your home.  One of the first things I ask homeowners is what attracted them to buy the home. Many times buried in their answer, is that
intangible charm component or simple architectural detail that they now take for granted over
the shiny stainless appliances and new bath faucet. 

 Interior accent walls in stone, brick, tile or ship-lap
• Pergolas, porches, patios or outdoor ‘rooms’
Stone walls, terraces, wrought iron or custom fencing
Oversized or custom millwork and molding
Fireplace details and styling
Distinctive ceiling finishes, coffered, beamed, recessed or bowed ceiling
Built-in seats, display niches, shelving

Local market knowledge, support and service commitments you deserve

Shortly after I got my real estate license, I launched my real estate business. First thing, I began to think about "who could I be there to help when they need me, how would I help them and what could they possibly need and what would I offer them?'' 

Ever since then, I have hung around with many Realtors, trainers, coaches, leaders, managers, philosophers, writers, bloggers, speakers, techies and sales people. They have all had things to say (and sell) about selling, sales techniques, habits, branding, ups and downs in the market and what works. And I've listened.  

All of that, left me with crystal clear thinking that this is about 'life just right' built around relationships and trust and helping people make the place they come home to at night, a home, whether or not they are buying or selling. As I reflected on my very first weeks in the business in 1985 (yes 32 years ago), I knew back then it was about knowing and helping people de-mystify real estate, refute the 'used car sales' reputation of real estate agents and the goal; to have them trust me to be the best person to work side-by-side with them, to get the pieces of the job done for them and most of all to help them understand that their 'life just right' was the most important thing to me. What you deserve, want need and dream of was what has driven me to always sustain, improve and grow Susan Sells.  


I work to discover, uncover, study, analyze, and interpret just what a 'real estate market' and 'local real estate trends' are and what they mean to the families I know and am in the flow with day in and day out.  Big picture and hyper local are both important to see and understand. 

Helping Fulfill Dreams

One of my first comprehensive real estate projects was in Haverhill MA in 1989. It began with a backhoe in the woods. In the end, 2 streets became the fulfillment of a passionate builder's dream and nearly 4 years later, 12 unique and beautiful house designs that 12 families call home today. 

After passing a large undeveloped piece of land on my drive to the office, I noticed activity on the site, cringing initially as trees tumbled, I thought about each of the trees, the animals that called this place home. Giving way to changes, I was curious enough to stop and ask, 'what's going on here?' A new neighborhood and 12 new families would be making their dream homes somewhere on this 25 acre site in just about 12-18 months. From that day forward, I committed to become an expert on the process, learning about drilling wells, local approval processes, wetlands, residential fire sprinkler systems, what 2x6 construction really meant, and so much more. I thank Marty for sharing everything he knew and learned and for being open to have me involved with the whole process from start to finish. I sure learned a lot and I'm sure that in many ways, I helped to make this one of the most desired neighborhoods today, because of my commitment to creating the perfect buyer matches for each unique home. 


New homes have appeal not only because they have the latest features, products and styling, but as much because new construction has always allowed an expression of personality, and resulted in a more accurate lifestyle match. Locally, land and development costs, financing, permitting, and labor costs plus the speculative component, have driven new build prices nearly 20% higher than post-renovation values of existing homes.

The value of a reliable handy person to start and complete home projects

Every day we find ourselves helping people to take care of the homes they love with good maintenance habits, the right insurance options, styling that makes sense, wall colors that put a smile on their faces, add-ons, improvements, efficient systems and a safe, enjoyable 'life just right' place to come home to at the end of the day. 

If you have 1 or 2 rooms that could use painting right now and you've just not gotten to it, or the outside of your place needs new paint before weather turns colder and tougher, we would gladly recommend our painter who's helped 24 of our friends and clients this year alone. Let us know. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Jump in the pool! Buyer pool large compared to selection

News on Life Just Right in North Andover

You might not say 'today' if we asked "ideally, when do you want to move?" 

Or "where are you planning to go when you do make a move and sell your place?"
You might say 'that's a part of the problem, ' or 'when we find the right place.'

It's always the right time to assess how your home fits in the local real estate market. This helps you no matter when you're planning a move.

Maintenance, improvements and taking inventory now, will save you time and money.

"We're ready to sell now and our motivation has changed dramatically since last month. Now what are the best first steps?"  

That's the call we got from a family right here in North Andover. We will jump in for them and help them sort out the process and give them a Home-seller Success Plan custom designed for their move and their family. 

Your 'life just right' match home could become available tomorrow and we want to be sure you're as ready as possible when the time comes for you.

Take a look at North Andover home selection $350,000-$850,000. Message us for a detailed look at the serious seller's checklist.

Here's a house that never made Zillow or MLS
and a lucky buyer with a good plan
will be moving very soon.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Don't drive by the outside of your JUST RIGHT home; Try it on from the inside.

Making a great deal on your 'just right' home can sometimes appear to be impossible to home buyers in today's real estate market. Don't say 'no' to your JUST RIGHT home.

We are representing buyers in all price and house categories from luxury homes to rural properties, starters or projects to turn-key homes. One family is moving to the area from out of state. They have family in the Boston area and have fallen for our 4 seasons, beautiful city of Boston, open spaces and diverse styles of New England homes. They want to find their 'life just right' home real soon.

With word on the street and banner headlines that home inventory or selection is super low, they had begun to shift the way they did research, adjusted financial preparations, and changed up their search and find process.  We gave the following advice.


1. Expand geographic search area to include other similar towns keeping Have-to-Haves in check
2. Include tear-down and land options in your search
3. Get your agent to target homeowners in neighborhoods you want to buy for 'secret sellers.'
4. Ask your agent for a study and comparison of the market in your targeted communities.  (I've provided one for North Andover here)
5. Don't look at the market or homes from the outside looking in. Know the facts in your segment of the market and experience homes from the inside looking out. 

Not surprisingly,  the inventory numbers proved that in some categories in some communities, there is nothing offered for sale. In others, selection is at average or typical levels. In others, there are 'tired' listings too.

Neighboring Georgetown has no inventory ranging $451,000- $788,000 and 22 home buyers made a deal on a home in Georgetown in the most recent 6 months (4/month)

Here is North Andover's inventory today versus 1 year ago same date.
Report Name: 

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 4/8/2016 11:58:11 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 4/8/2015
Towns: North Andover
 4/8/2015 4/8/2016
Price RangeNumber of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. todayNumber of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000----
$50,000 - $99,999----
$100,000 - $149,999----
$150,000 - $199,999----
$200,000 - $249,999----
$250,000 - $299,99916--
$300,000 - $349,999--1156
$350,000 - $399,999376546
$400,000 - $449,999446366
$450,000 - $499,999636144
$500,000 - $599,999979678
$600,000 - $699,9991053831
$700,000 - $799,99924110107
$800,000 - $899,9994536117
$900,000 - $999,9993242374
$1,000,000 - $1,499,9993893131
$1,500,000 - $1,999,999--4226
$2,000,000 - $2,499,99912993188
$2,500,000 - $2,999,999----
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999----
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999----
$5,000,000 - $9,999,999----
Over $10,000,000----
Total Properties46Avg. 7553 Avg. 98
Lowest Price:$258,000
Median Price:$609,950
Highest Price:$2,295,000
Average Price:$684,919
Total Market Volume:$31,506,288
Lowest Price:$330,000
Median Price:$729,900
Highest Price:$2,400,000
Average Price:$865,606
Total Market Volume:$45,877,154
©2016 MLS Property Information Network, Inc.  |  Copyright Policy 4192 users online right now!

0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds 703 milliseconds
In North Andover, as an example, there are currently 9 single family homes for sale ranging $501,000-621,000 with 42 homes in this range selling in the past 6 months (7/month). That absorption rate of 7 homes per month puts these 9 in a high demand category with 1 month's supply.


1. Do not rely on on-line searches as the primary search tool
2. It's an elimination process so you will say 'no' but don't be limited based on 1st impression
3. If it's in your geographic area, on a street you like and in your $ range, DON'T DRIVE BY  and say no without an appointment to explore how the house feels inside.

Our buyers got out from behind the mobile app, and their computer and decided to explore neighborhoods they liked in the car. Armed with a list of homes for sale as well as target streets for possible 'secret' sellers, they drove by 5-6 homes. Later that day, we checked in and they said 'no' across the board. Time for a new plan. We met at the Andover office for just 30 minutes/

Great news!  We urged them to get inside and experience the lifestyle associated with just a few places. We wanted them to reconsider a particularly special place that we felt had their name on it. We had previewed, snapped a few photos and imagined them fitting right in. We just had to get them inside. It was love, their dream house and we helped them negotiate a great deal on their JUST RIGHT home the next day. "We really loved the house like our home once we stopped looking from the outside and experienced it from the inside; the way the sun shone in, the perfect spot for an office, enough separation for all of us to enjoy and a bay windowed view of the world outside. "

Explore Andover homes for sale today (and call us for an appointment to see inside real soon)  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

GO SOLAR? There are questions worth asking

I wrote this story in December 2014 in response to the inquiry of several homeowners and clients wondering about exploring solar for themselves. Solar Options

Recently, in response to more frequent sitings of roofs decorated with solar panels all over the Greater Boston area, there has been more press. I've heard lots of positives but I also saw a big news story warning about incidents of leases interfering with the sale and or refinance of mortgages for some properties with leased solar panels as high at $20,000-40,000. 

Have you considered or investigated SOLAR at your place?
I'd love to hear what you think. 

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Home Seller Success needs dynamic plan of action

MOVING is a big decision
When moving means selling your home, there are even more critical decisions.  The selling process can be demanding and overwhelming. 

You’ll want to have a plan for a quick, easy, sensible and hassle free sale at a fair price. 

Here's a checklist to help you get started:
Hire a Professional
Review their track record
Check references
Look for someone that utilizes tools and communications techniques you are comfortable with
Be sure he/she is knowledgeable in your local housing market
Review their marketing plan for YOUR house

5 steps to our HomeSale Success Program for sellers  

  • Initial consultations 
  • Getting organized 
  • Taking inventory 
  • Preparing for sale
  • Market and sell  

Start planning early 
Start weeding out your current possessions. Throw out, give away, or sell the things that you don't want to move at a yard sale.

Start packing early
Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed.

Identify flaws or problems
Sellers are obligated to disclose any major problems or flaws in the structure or property, including things like dry rot, termites, asbestos, or a new highway slated to run nearby. The disclosure requirements vary by state, but if you fail to mention the leaky roof or flooding basement, you could be sued for fraud. There is no upside to trying to hide problems as most buyers will have a home inspection contingency opportunity.

Get the house in "showcase" condition
Small cosmetic touches can increase your home's value by thousands. (See improvement section below.)

Decide what goes and what stays

Look for a new home early
Buying with a contingency on selling is not very appealing to a seller on the other side and in many cases, will not be considered. Trying to perfectly time two closings can make planning a move much more stressful. However, if you have to move quickly or you don't want to pass on your dream home, you can choose to buy and sell simultaneously. Just make sure to listen to the advice of your real estate professional and other advisors so you know your options.

Suggested Exterior Improvements- flowers, raking, weeding, trimming
Suggested Interior Improvements- painting, touchups, repair loose anything, deep cleaning

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Go Native; Embrace Your Inner Gardener

Spring season is around the corner but our landscapes live in every season. At Susan Sells, our commitment to Life Just Right was inspired by some of the things I enjoy and that are important to me. A home's garden, no matter the size, says a lot about the people that live there. I urge everyone to design, nurture, and care for their own garden. What's your favorite spot our side your house? Do you enjoy wild bird activity out side your window? 

A friend in Milan, Italy sent me this photo of her garden last week. She obviously understands what I'm talking about. 
 North Andover Wildlife Team was established by North Andover resident James McCarthy. "We want to see more birds and butterflies in our town.

To do that we need to plant as many native plants and eliminate as many invasive plants as possible. The biggest question we get from people is “what can I plant?” If you would like to know the “best bet” species (those that support the most biodiversity) of plants to put in your yard please see here for perennials and here for woody plants."

Grow Native Massachusetts is rooted in community and here's their goal. 

We recognize that native plants create the foundation for healthy ecological communities, and know that our world—both locally and globally—is threatened by a decrease in native plant populations and the proliferation of invasives.
Therefore, we act to:
  • Steward our land, no matter how big or small, for conservation.
  • Plant our gardens with an emphasis on natives.
  • Work together to aid in the identification and removal of invasive weeds.
  • Build our community through education and dialog.
COMING SOON to North Andover: WOW!
A home on just over one acre that has personality and a landscape that has been 'overhauled' with the patient planting of native trees, plants and flowers and the removal of many invasive species, the addition of a recirculating pond, a sunny kitchen vegetable garden area, and screened porch make this house a home many a family would love to own. Watch for Open House events soon or call for details.