Jamaica Plain Real Estate Market Q and A With Ken Sazama of Sazama Real Estate

Special to the Gazette

Q:       What are the most important things to know if you’re considering buying a home right now? 

A: The best time to get into the market is now. Some new buyers overthink the process and focus too much on the timing. While of course it’s a good idea to  pay attention to market trends, property values in Boston have gone up consistently over time, so it is always a good time to buy. 

Q: Ok, interesting. But shouldn’t we wait until interest rates come down to buy? 

A: That is a question I hear a ton. Obviously interest rates are high relative to recent years and I understand the concern, but in the long term, this isn’t something that should hold people back from purchasing a home. 

If you buy at a higher rate, your interest payments will be higher for a period of time, but when rates come down you will be able to refinance. Additionally, when rates come down, other buyers who share this concern, will be more likely to join in the market and make the things more competitive. 

In short, your next home doesn’t have to be your forever or dream home. It is better to err on the sooner side, build equity, and position yourself for the future.  

Q: What are the most important things to know if you’re considering selling a home right now? 

A: This is the most understandable mistake in the world, but some sellers fall victim to emotional thinking that clouds their judgment. Over the years, owners (understandably) build up strong connections to their homes, and when it comes time to sell they sometimes think their home is more valuable than it is. Or, conversely, because an owner lived with a particular shortcoming, they think the future owners won’t mind doing so too. 

The takeaway for me is that limiting emotion during the selling process can help you see things more clearly and make the right decision for your family. 

Q: What is the most common question you get asked as an agent? 

A: The most common thing I’m asked is, “How’s the market doing?” Generally when people ask me this question they are responding to news about interest rates or recent sales, and are curious about the value of their home, or their ability to buy a home they have their eye on. 

Q: What mistakes do you see buyers and sellers making? 

A: The biggest mistake buyers and sellers make is getting wrapped up in emotion. I am someone who deeply values emotions, but I’ve seen many, many buyers and sellers allow emotional attachments to cloud their decision making. 

Also, – and this is going to seem a little self-serving, but it is true – one of the biggest mistakes sellers make is to forgo hiring a professional real estate agent. 

People are curious about real estate, they watch shows about it and read about it online. This leads some to think that they can navigate selling without guidance. 

For example, I’ve known several sellers who believe they know the value of their property, assume they can handle the process on their own, and think an agent is unnecessary. They end up connecting with a potential buyer who is an acquaintance, or a neighbor, and let the property go for a lot less than it is worth. 

Q: In your 15 years of experience, what have you found about agents in this area? 

A: Honestly, the agents in JP, Rozzie, Brookline, Newton – all around here – are such wonderful people. The vast majority – I’m talking 99% – get into this because they love helping people find a home they love. For most people, the process of buying a home is the biggest financial decision of their lives, and it often is complex emotionally. For me, it is a joy to guide people through this and I’ve found my friends and colleagues feel just the same. 

Q:       In your opinion, why are so many people interested in real estate? 

A: Well, a home is just a special thing. Your home should be your palace. It should allow you to heal from the hurts of the world and celebrate the joys of life. Also, real estate provides significant investment opportunities. So, I think ultimately, the fact that real estate exists at the intersection of the personal and the financial drives a lot of the interest.

Q: Here’s a lighten question to wrap up: What are your favorite areas in JP? 

A: Oh, I mean, I could talk about this all day. The first place I lived in JP was on Boylston, but I actually liked Moraine Street more. I would often go walk up and appreciate the wide street, the old trees, and how you come out so close to the Pond. 

I also love the Bourne neighborhood where I live with my family now. It has a tremendous sense of community. I call it the Shire (reader’s note: this is a Lord of the Rings reference) because of all of the winding streets and friendly faces. You have a sense of separateness from the bustle of the city but are still super close to Mattapan Square, Centre Street, and Rozzie Square.

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