2 Glenbrook Lane, #16, Arlington

Market Analysis for:

June Rutkowski

I've done a market analysis on your home at 2 Glenbrook Lane #16 in Arlington 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 take into account your reported condition and how, in my experience, that will impact the price of a home making it more or less valuable. 

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.

Your mother’s condominium complex, Glenbrook Estates, was built in 1987.  It is a smaller association with 21 units and is located in a leafy knoll just off Summer Street in Arlington with one deeded parking space in front of the unit. Your home is conveniently located near the Minuteman Bike Trail, the town skating rink and parks, as well as restaurants, shopping and public transportation (bus line 67 stops just 225ft from the condo and goes to Alewife T station/RED LINE to Cambridge and Boston).

Your townhouse is an end unit with 4 levels and windows on 3 sides. The main floor and 2 upper levels are finished, and the basement level is unfinished but has high ceilings so that it could be converted into finished space as similar units in Glenbrook Estates have done. Public Record has your home listed as having 2,286 sq ft.  We are using this number for the purposes of this CMA, but we will have to validate this number when we do a floor plan before listing your home.  Units that have sold in Glenbrook Estates have all used 2,286 as the square footage.  However, we noticed that there is a discrepancy in that this number should indicate finished space only, and units with either 3 or 4 finished floors all use the same number square footage - 2,286 - which isn’t accurate. Public record shows the house as having 5 rooms with 2 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths.  The main floor has hardwood flooring, and the upper two levels have wall to wall carpeting aside from the tile floor in the upper bath. 

The condo has a private front entrance with concrete steps leading in to a hallway that continues straight back to open into a sunny, expansive living and dining room space spanning the width of the entire unit.  To the right of the front entrance are carpeted stairs leading to the upper levels. There are three door openings on the left side of the hall before you get to the main living room - the first is a hall closet, the second opens to the eat-in-kitchen and the third door is for a half bath.  The door leading to the basement is on the right side of the hall before you get to the living and dining area.

The living/dining room has a sliding glass door on the far wall to the right which leads to a patio and yard down just a few steps.  The left side of the living/dining room has a built in cupboard in the far left corner, and there are two windows, one on each wall on the left side of the room, both with wood & frosted glass shutters.  The entire room has chair rails.  The dining room has a door connecting back up to the kitchen. The kitchen, also with chair rails, has a sunny breakfast alcove with a bow window to the front of the building and a single window to the side.  The kitchen cabinets and appliances line either side of the galley kitchen connecting the breakfast alcove and the dining room area.  The kitchen cabinets are original to the house, and the appliances are all in working order.  The stove is electric.

The semi-private yard, accessed from the living room sliding glass door, looks out over a hill and a few houses in the distance. The yard has a concrete patio and a small privacy wall to the right.

The second level has a central foyer with a closet and a full bath off it, as well as 2 bedrooms.  The bathroom has a tiled floor, a large vanity with a single shell-shaped built-in sink, and a bathtub with sliding glass doors, all original to the unit.  The bath connects with the foyer on one side, and the master bedroom on the other.  The spacious master bedroom has 3 windows and 2 large closets.  The master bedroom also has a closet with a washer and dryer unit.  The second bedroom has 3 windows and a closet, and one must walk through this room to access the expansive finished attic which has a sloped ceiling, wall to wall carpeting and a skylight. 

The unfinished basement has a concrete floor and walls and can be exited through a bulkhead out the rear.  As evidenced by other units in the same complex, there is potential to finish the basement for additional space. The basement has a cedar closet as well as an unused additional hook up for a washer-dryer unit. The condo utilizes a forced air system for heating and AC and uses oil. 

The monthly condo fee is $ 350 and includes water, sewer, master insurance, exterior maintenance, road maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, refuse removal.  A second parking space can be rented for $ 30/month.

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Market Dynamics

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

Average prices in Arlington are well above average prices obtained in the peak of the market in 2010. Average condo prices have been increasing steadily since 2011. 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 condos show that the $500K price-range is the most active in Arlington. The next busiest price range in Arlington is the $400K price range. 

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 condos shows us that the average price per sq. ft. in Arlington around the $600K price range is around $437 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 in the 1980’s the average price per sq. ft. is $495. 

The chart below shows that condos in Arlington of similar size to your home in the 2,000 square foot range, have an average price per square foot of $380 but it increases to $441 per sq. ft. when you decrease to the 1,000 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 condos in the $600K price range shows there is 0 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 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This sale is from June 2015 and was listed the exact same date as Unit 12 so that there were 2 units on the market at the same time.  From the records, it looks like this one might have sold first, within 7 days and one day sooner than the other unit.  Because this is a sale from 2015, the price is not relevant to setting a list price in 2018 but we include this for reference.  This unit is in the same complex as yours but is a middle unit so that they do not have as many windows (none on the side walls).  Like yours it has 2BR, 1 full bath and 2 half baths, identical to the other unit listed at the time, Unit 12, and one more half bath than yours.  They have finished the basement level as a family room compared to your unit where the attic level is finished, and they have added a half bath on the lower level as well as a slider to access the garden and patio area. The kitchen has been partially upgraded with granite countertops, but the cabinets are original to the unit (not updated with paint) and appliances are not stainless steel.  The main floor half bath was updated though the other baths were not.  This unit has hardwood on the main and second levels, and carpeting or vinyl on the finished lower level. Laundry is in the finished basement. This unit sold for $ 225.28/sq ft).

Relevance: Not relevant. Too old for relevance.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This unit, listed and sold within a week last May, is in the Village Heights development very close by your unit, but on the other side of Summer Street on a quite tree-lined cul de sac with nighttime views of Boston. It is smaller than yours (2286 vs 1255 sq ft), built in 1963 with recent updates. Their unit has 5 rooms on 3 levels (2 bedrooms and one full bath, main level and unfinished basement).

It has an open floor plan with hardwood floors throughout the main floor, an updated kitchen with granite counters and peninsula, stainless steel appliances,a NEST thermostat, a wood burning fireplace, recessed lighting, and sliders off the dining are to a secluded rear deck. Your main level feels bigger with a foyer/hallway leading you into the unit whereas this opens directly into the living room.  You also have a half bath on the main floor where theirs does not. Their unit has 2 parking spaces.  Their washer and dryer are in the basement. Sold for $ 411.95/sq ft).

Relevance: Less. Your unit, given the extra space and half bath, is more desirable than this one, though the updates do add value to this home.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This sale is from June 2015 and sold within 5 days, so the price is not relevant to a sale in 2018 but we include this for reference.  This unit is in the same complex as yours but is a middle unit so that they do not have as many windows (none on the side walls).  Like yours it has 2BR but has 1 full bath and 2 half baths.  The layout on the main and 2nd floors is identical, but they have finished the basement rather than the attic level like you have, and a half bath was added by the basement family room. The kitchen has been updated with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.  The main floor half bath was updated though the other baths were not.  Like your unit, there is hardwood on the main floor, and carpeting on the main stairs and on the bedroom and finished lower level. Laundry is in the finished basement. The unit sold for $ 235.91/sq ft).

Relevance: Not relevant. Too old for relevance.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This side by side townhouse, listed last May and was under agreement within a week, is part of a 2 unit building on a quiet cul-de-sac near Mass Ave.  Like your unit, it was built in 1987 but is smaller with 1,449 sq ft.  It has 3 Bedrooms and 1.5 baths on 3 finished levels with no basement. It has wooden floors on the top 2 levels and was recently renovated. Their open concept main floor’s kitchen is newly renovated with an island, granite countertops and top brand appliances.  Their combined living and dining room area on the main floor is smaller than yours, and they staged it as a dining room probably bc it is too small to have a proper dining room and seating area as yours does, but it does have a fireplace. There is an additional common room on the lower level that could be used as a living room, family room or play room.  The flooring is vinyl, and there is a large bay window and access to the yard on the lower level.  There is no central AC, only window units. The third bedroom, separated from the other bedrooms, is located on the lower level and is inconveniently distant from the only full bath located which is located on the third floor.  Their unit has unusually large/steep steps to get to the front door.  They have 2 deeded parking spaces and an expansive stone patio out front and a private backyard. The unit sold for $400.28/square foot).

Relevance: Relevant, but less. Given that this home is similar to yours in room count and number of  baths, but is much smaller in size, but is in superior condition I believe it is relevant but your home should sell for more.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space


This condo was listed last May and an offer was quickly accepted. It is a two level condo on the upper two floors of a 2 family house in East Arlington. Built in 1922, it is an older, refreshed home with 9 rooms total - notably, 3 BR and 1 full bath on the main level. It is close to transport (walk to Alewife) and is smaller than your unit with 1,650 square feet.

It has a desirable open concept living and dining room on the main floor with a refreshed older kitchen featuring newer appliances and quartz counter tops.  The main floor also has 2 bedrooms, a sunroom, an updated bath and a small office.  There are wooden floors in the dining/living room, halls and bedrooms on the main floor.  The kitchen and sunroom have vinyl floors; the office is carpeted; and the bath has a tile floor. The top level has an open, carpeted space w skylights and sloped ceiling and a closet - usable as a master bedroom or playroom. The unit has a private front porch on the lower level (which is actually the 2nd floor of the house), and there is a small brick patio out back which overlooks the small garden with a tree and flower beds. This condo includes a garage and one additional parking space. The laundry unit is in the basement. The monthly fee is $ 113.  The unit sold for $ 363.03/sq ft.

Relevance: Relevant. Given the smaller size but garage, extra rooms, porches, refreshed  kitchen and bath, I believe this sale price is relevant to what you might  expect in selling yours.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space


This condo was listed in April of 2017 and was under agreement in 5 days.  It is a 2 level condo occupying the main and basement levels of a 2 family home in East Arlington and is smaller than your unit at only 1,523 sq ft.  It is conveniently located within walking distance of Alewife T Stop, the Minuteman bike path and many bus lines. It has 6 rooms in total with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths.  Build in 1928, it has been recently renovated including kitchen, baths and central air conditioning, plus it has hardwood floors on the main level. The kitchen, featuring granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, opens to the dining room with a peninsula and bar stools. The unit also has a mudroom and spacious sunroom on the main level. The finished basement has a sizable family room with carpeting. The unit comes with 2 off street parking spots and has a grassy area behind the house.  The unit sold for $396.47 per square foot.

Relevance: Relevant. I believe this condo is relevant to yours in that it has the same  amount of bedrooms and baths for functionality, though it doesn’t have  as large a master bedroom as yours and is smaller in square footage.  What it lacks in square footage is offset by their recent renovations in  the kitchen/layout and baths.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This condo was listed in March of 2017 and was under agreement in 15 days.  It is a 2 level condo on the top 2 levels of a 2 family home in Arlington Heights.  It is slightly larger than your unit with 2,498 sq ft of space.  It is conveniently located within walking distance of Arlington Heights, the Minuteman bike path, bus lines and is situated on a busy side street off Park Ave. It has 9 rooms total - 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths - full of period details such as stained glass, a wood burning fireplace, bowed windows and hardwood floors.  The main floor has 2 bedrooms, an office, a den and sitting room as well as the living and dining rooms and kitchen. The kitchen and baths have been partially renovated.  The kitchen has a ceramic tiled floor, white cabinets and countertops that appear laminated.  Some of the appliances are stainless steel and there is an unusually designed island that is less than optimal. They have added recessed lighting in the kitchen. There is a private balcony off the front of the second floor (this unit’s main floor). The top level master bedroom is carpeted and has large windows and a dormered ceiling, a walk in closet and a master bath. Side by side laundry is on the main floor near the kitchen.  There is storage in the basement.  Two off street parking spaces included.

Relevance: Relevant, but higher. Given the slightly larger size of this unit, extra bedroom, extra full bathroom, the various updates, the  bonus rooms and period details, I believe this condo would sell for  slightly more than what you could expect from your sale.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This townhouse was listed in mid-November and an offer was accepted 5 days later.  As you know, this townhouse is in the same complex as yours with nearly the identical layout, though they have finished the lower level where you have not.  It has 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths - one more bath than yours.  The second full bath is in the finished basement.  Since you have an end unit and they have a middle unit, you have more windows in the living and dining area than theirs, as well as in the kitchen and bedrooms.  Also, your slider in the living room opens to the back yard from the main level whereas their living room has regular windows on one side.  Their access to the yard is from the lower level, where a slider opens up to their patio.  They had recently updated the unit so they have recessed lighting on the main floor, and their kitchen cabinets are updated with granite countertops and top of the line appliances.  They also updated the 1/2 bath on the main level as well as the full bath on the second level so that their large vanity sink has 2 basins whereas yours has one. They also have wooden floors on the second floor and stairs leading up to the second floor where you have wall to wall carpeting.  Your unit benefits from having the washer/dryer unit on the second level whereas their unit has the washer/dryer in the basement.  The top finished levels of both units are  identical though their carpet appears to be from a recent update and they have added recessed lighting. You have an unfinished basement with an exit through a bulkhead.  They have finished the basement level and the stairs to the basement where yours are unfinished.  The flooring is faux wood. Your unit benefits  from being an end unit, giving you more windows,  having the laundry on  the second floor, and having  a sliding door  allowing you access to  the garden from the main level. The unit sold for $279.60/sq foot).

Relevance: Higher. Because their unit has one more usable floor and is updated thoughout,  their unit must be considered more valuable than yours, despite the fact  that you have more windows and access to the yard from the main level. In addition to all of the updates they have done.  

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This townhouse was listed last March and an offer was accepted about a week later. It is part of a 2 unit building on a street in the Mount Gilboa neighborhood with other similar townhouses of different eras.  This one was built in 2010 and is slightly smaller than yours with 1,986 sq ft.  It has 4 finished levels whereas yours has 3 finished levels and an unfinished basement.  Their condo has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Their main floor layout is open concept, and the relatively new kitchen opens up to the dining and living room areas with a peninsula. The kitchen has stainless appliances and granite countertops. They also have central AC and hardwood on the three levels and recessed lighting throughout the main level.  Their lower level has a bonus family room with laminate floors and a door to the outside. The master bedroom is separate from the other bedrooms and is on the top level with a master bath and built in custom closets, although their master bedroom does have a sloping ceiling which is less desirable than your master bedroom.  The other bedroom level has 2 bedroom and one fully updated bath with a double basin sink/vanity. There is a single garage on the lower level that walks into the house.  This condo ended up selling for $ 358.51/sq ft.

Relevance: Higher. Given the similar size, newer construction and finishes thoughout, 1  more bedroom and 1 more full bath this unit has than yours, we think  this unit is not a relevant property as one would expect it to sell for  more than yours.

Your details: Living area 2286 sq ft | 2 beds | 1.5 baths | Built 1987 | 1 offstreet  parking space

This townhouse was listed last August and was under agreement in 2 days. It is located in a neighborhood on a highly trafficked street next to the Middle School.  Their unit is part of a one building/2 unit townhouse and is slightly larger than yours with 2,433 sq ft on 3 levels (finished basement). Your unit has central AC, theirs does not. Their unit has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths on 2 separate sleeping levels (top floor and basement), both with updated full baths. Their kitchen is fully updated and completely open to the dining area. Their main level has an updated half bath and also a separate family room. They have hardwood throughout the top two floors, and ceramic tile in the finished basement.  They have 2 decks - one off the main level family room, and one off the lower level space. Their unit has 3 off street parking spaces.  Their condo sold for $ 297.99/sq ft.

Relevance: Higher. We would expect their condo to sell for more than their because of it is larger than yours and completely updated.

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Pricing Recommendation

Our analysis of the comparable properties and your townhouse suggest a market value of $ 590,000-620,000.  Given the current market dynamics in Arlington, we suggest listing your home at the lower end of this price range estimated 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 that when we get multiple offers.  You can see many examples in the above mentioned properties that came on the market for a lot less and competition pushed them up to a higher final sale price. The challenge in estimating a price for a home is ‘would this home have sold for this price if they had priced it for higher’ or was competition the driving factor that got to this price.  Experience tells us that competition is why they sold for what they did, so we have to be careful with pricing.  A few recent examples of competition pushing a price higher than market value is 23 Burch St which came on the market for $549,000 and sold for $ 607,000,  13 Walnut Court which came on the market for $ 546,000 and sold for $ 580,000, and 28 Appleton Street which came on the market for $ 699,000 and sold for $ 725,000.  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 your 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.  

When  determining the right price - it 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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