A long-time South End resident writes in:
From first-hand knowledge I can confirm, the South End real estate market is on fire. We bought our condo back in 2006, at what was in retrospect the height of the boom/bubble. We paid around $440,000.
Seeing how hot the market was this spring, we decided to sell.
Our condo needed some repairs since we hadn't done any updates since the day we closed, and we didn't want to spend the money. We figured someone else could do it and we could make a nice profit and move on to our next place.
We listed it at around $490,000, expecting we'd have to accept an offer around $470,000, or about 5 percent less, given its condition.
We listed our condo on a Wednesday, with the expectation that we'd have the open house the following Sunday. My broker wanted to let a couple other agents bring in their clients ahead of time because they said they wouldn't be in town for the open house. We didn't want to since we hadn't had time to clean or do any of the minor repairs we wanted to take care of before the open house (missing screws, burned-out light bulbs, etc.).
A guy came by Friday night with his agent. He asked us, "What price would make this work for me?" We assumed he meant, how low would we go. He then blurted out, "Would you take it off the market if I offered $520,000?"
He waived the mortgage contingency without asking, and he wanted a quick 30-day close ... which brings us to today. Closed. More than 6 percent above asking.
Did we list below fair-market value? No, we listed it at what our agent thought was a fair price, at what we thought the market would accept, actually 5 percent above, assuming the buyer would want to negotiate down.
It's great to get a return on our investment: 12 percent after brokers' commissions and closing costs. Annualized, not that much, less than 2 percent, but considering when we bought, we're happy we made any money, and making money wasn't our goal—having a nice place to live was.
Trouble is, now we're in the same situation everyone else is—there's nothing to buy. We are going to put our profit in the bank and rent for a year, then we'll decide if we want to buy again.