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Clean Windows Enhance Properties

When preparing your home to sell, it is best to have a maintenance plan. This usually includes manicuring the landscape, addressing important repairs and tidying up the home decor, to name a few.  One home maintenance project that is often overlooked is window washing/cleaning.  This can improve the light and views from inside the home and it can boost your home's curb appeal. After all, first impressions mean a lot! 

If the view is one of your home's key features to highlight, it is particularly important to have your windows professionally cleaned.  Dirt, grime, insects and more can build up over time.  Professional cleaners don’t just clean the glass, but can also clean the window frames and tracks.

Good, quality windows are a big investment; seasonal maintenance, including cleaning, can help with their longevity.  Keeping up with general maintenance, rather than needing to replace them, can save you money in the long run. 

An abundance of natural sunlight is generally high on homebuyers' wish lists. One general tip is to remove the screens from the windows - they generally account for 25% natural light lost!

Are your windows in need of a good cleaning?  Here are some local window washing professionals:

All-Pro Window Cleaning & Power Washing - (781) 799-2453

Fish Window Cleaning - (617) 479-9300

Shine On Boston Inc. - (617) 980-4500

 

 

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Preparedness in Boston: Heating Up and On the Rise

September is Emergency Preparedness Month, but shouldn’t we really be prepared every day living in New England? We have excessive summer heat, thunderstorms, nor’easters, hurricanes, tornados and flooding.  With the risk of each of these, we can lose power and access to other things we rely on a daily basis. 

The sea level in the Boston area rose 9 inches during the 20th century and another 8 inches of rise is predicted in the next 10 years. For a visual perspective of this predicted sea level rise, Fort Point Channel has a temporary water and land based art installation that signifies the projected flooding by 2070. The yellow land sculpture represents a proposed berm and the blue sculpture in the water represents the sea rise. 

The dial is also being turned up for heat in Boston. Between 1981 and 2010, the average temperature was 69 degrees; by 2050 it could be as high as 76 degrees. We had an average of 11 days per year over 90 degrees and by 2030, we could have as many as 40 days of over 90 degrees, making the Boston area feel like Virginia or the Carolinas during the Summer.

The good news is Boston has many initiatives that would make our city more resilient and prepared to mitigate potential emergencies. In the meantime, everyone should have emergency preparedness kit ready.  


Emergency Kit

  • Important documents such as birth certificate and passport (in a water resistant bag) 
  • Phone charger
  • Extra pairs of glasses/contacts
  • Hand sanitizer/masks for COVID
  • Cash
  • Printed list of emergency contact numbers (phones might die)
  • Essential medication 
  • Granola bars and water bottles
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • If you have babies, include food, diapers, wipes, extra clothing and formula
  • If you have pets, include food and leash

 

Additional Info on Boston's Planning Initiatives:  https://www.boston.gov/departments/environment/preparing-climate-change

Additional Tips on Preparing an Emergency Kit:  https://www.ready.gov/kit

 

 

Apple Picking: Orchards Near Boston

Right up there with the Fall tradition of leaf peeping is going apple picking in Massachusetts. Who can resist hopping on a hayride, filling a bag with a variety of fresh apples, and enjoying some delicious hot or cold apple cider and apple cider doughnuts? Fun for the entire family!

Here are a few fun farms and orchards to try:

Shelburne Farms (Stow, MA) - https://www.shelburnefarm.com/

Belkin Family Lookout Farm (S Natick, MA) - https://www.lookoutfarm.com/

Brooksby Farm (Peabody, MA) - https://brooksbyfarm.org/

Honey Pot Hill Orchards (Stow, MA) - https://www.honeypothill.com/

Cider Hill Farm (Amesbury, MA) - https://www.ciderhill.com/

Carlson Orchards (Harvard, MA) - https://carlsonorchards.com/

 

 

New Gathering Places in Boston's Back Bay

Coming out of the pandemic, Back Bay businesses and institutions are preparing to welcome back employees and students this Fall. Despite numerous closings of landmark restaurants and retail operations, the City is welcoming new and exciting spots for gathering.

  • The Quin House recently opened its doors as a private social club in Back Bay following a multi-million dollar makeover. It replaces the Algonquin Club, a Brahmin institution from 1888 which had long lost its luster. Located at 217 Commonwealth Avenue, in a grand McKim, Mead & White limestone mansion, this members-only club promises to bring together “the interesting and interested” for drinking/dining, fitness, learning, and playing. 
     
  • Contessa, a new restaurant by Major Food Group has opened on the rooftop garden/terrace atop luxury hotel The Newbury Boston. It features northern Italian food and cocktails, overlooking the Public Garden in a sumptuous space designed by Ken Fulk. 
     
  • A Michelin-rated pizza and wine bar just opened on Newbury Street. Double Zero, as it is named, features plant-based vegan versions of classic pizza and pasta. The chef and owner, Matthew Kenney says “with the right vision and effort, plant-based menus can be as exciting and revelatory as their counterparts”. Plant based dining has exploded in popularity for obvious health benefits, along with the added environmental benefits.

 

Featured Apartments: Home Office and Private Outdoor Space

Many renters are moving back into the City. With remote/hybrid work options being offered by many companies, home offices and outdoor space are highly sought after!  Here are some of our exclusive rentals that offer one or both of these features!
 

140 Shawmut Ave. - 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom penthouse that features a stunning private roof deck. Enjoy having a guest room, home office, and gorgeous city views!

6 Marlborough St. - Recently updated, spacious 1 bedroom.  The building has an elevator that can take you up to a shared roof deck.  Plus it is pet-friendly!

122 Beacon St. - 2 bedroom 2 bathroom floor-through with direct elevator access that features Charles River views from the living room, City views from both bedrooms, and a common roof deck.

195 Beacon St. - 1 bedroom penthouse with a private roof deck!

416 Commonwealth Ave. - This 1 bedroom apartment is perfect should you choose to spend some time in the sun and cool off in the pool! Other features include garage parking, concierge, central AC and in-unit laundry.

170 Tremont St. - 1 bedroom offering stunning views of the Boston Common from the living room windows, 24-hr concierge, garage parking and a shared roof deck.

 

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South End, Boston - Neighborhood Guide

It’s a distinctive Boston neighborhood with a style all its own. The South End. The mere mention of the name immediately brings to mind images of stately Victorian homes, quaint side streets and parks galore. It has become one of Boston’s most desirable places to live. The location is fantastic, situated between Boston’s Back Bay and Bay Village and just minutes from the heart of the City. Famously known for its picturesque row houses, many parks, cafes, arts venues, and dining to suit all tastes, it offers city living with a suburban feel. Walkable to just about everything, the South End is one of Boston's hottest markets, with condos selling at an average of $1,167,245, or an average of $1,061 per square foot (according to LINK Boston Quarterly Sales Summary, Q1 2021 Report).
 

Some "Can't Miss" Current Listings

140 Shawmut Ave. Unit 4C – Exceptional three bedroom, two and a half bath penthouse residence, providing nearly 2,300 square feet of living space on one floor, plus a private roof deck. The Lucas is an award winning historical building converted to a boutique luxury condominium comprised of 33 units, completed in 2017. The building features a concierge, gym, pet spa, and resident's lounge + courtyard.  Offered at $2,995,000

31 Upton Street, Unit 3 - Penthouse duplex three bedroom with private roof deck, central air, laundry in unit and parking.  Available September 1, $6,200/month

63 Berkeley Street, Unit 1 – Large and spacious 3 bedroom apartment with 2 full baths all on one floor. Great living room for entertaining. Open kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counter-tops. Hardwood floors, and washer/dryer in unit.  Available September 1, $4,750/month


Popular Pit Stops

Greystone Café - New to the South End, Greystone Café has turned into one of the neighborhood's most popular eateries. Located on the corner of Appleton and Dartmouth, this café offers a terrific variety! Whether it’s coffee, breakfast or lunch you can’t go wrong. 

Sowa’s Open Markets - SoWa, a parcel of the South End standing for South of Washington and known for being an exciting Arts and Design sector. SoWa also offers some of Boston’s most popular and award winning Markets, including:

  • SoWa Farmers Market - Where you can find Food and Groceries in an outdoor setting. Open Sunday’s 11AM-3PM. May 2,2021 – October 21, 2021
  • SoWa’s Art Market - Local artists selling hand made goods, such as jewelry, clothing, home goods and much more
  • SoWa’s Vintage Market - Discover unique antiques, collectable, vintage goods every Sunday rain or shine

Peters Park - One of the South End's most popular parks, where you can find a leash-free dog park, basketball courts, ballfields, and a kid’s play area. 

 

 

Window Boxes to Boost Curb Appeal

With beautiful weather forecasted into the summer and the housing market hot, flowers have the power of ‘curb appeal’! Outdoor flowers are a plus in any common areas, but window boxes make a statement. Eye-level, window boxes bring a charm and a delight to both owner/viewers.

Window box ideas include:

1.  A window box with pansies. Pansies are easy maintenance flowers with a tolerance that can last most seasons. Easy to plant and bringing a wide range of colors that brighten any area, no matter the exterior color. When pansies need water, you can typically tell by the way they look (almost wilting). Also mix well with other flowers such as violas, coleus and alyssum. 

2.  A window box with geraniums. Geraniums are another easy, low maintenance plant, that give off vibrant colors and a pleasant scent. When planting geraniums, plant just under where the stem meets the root. Make sure the window box has good drainage to avoid root rot. These plants will need little to no water - some deadheading is helpful - April/May showers may be enough!

3.  A window box for petunias. Petunias are the summer plant. Something so simple to take care of, yet so beautiful. Water twice a week, petunias will grow luxuriously over your window box and have a vine effect. They will catch any viewers' eyes and add to the aesthetics of any space.

4.  A window box for vegetables. To add to your garden space and ‘fresh produce’, a window box for vegetables is a great idea for condos/apartments or any dwelling lacking land space. Cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce are all plants that benefit in a window box. What better than fresh produce straight from your window? These plants take water two/three times a week and grow great organically.

 

Tips on Packing and Moving

Moving during COVID-19 presents additional challenges, but also opportunities. Last Fall I moved and experienced it first-hand. For the first time, I had the luxury of additional time to really sort through my things. I was amazed at what I had been willing to pack and bring on my last 3 moves; but now I could change that pattern.

First, we made the tough decisions and let go of some of our things.  We made donations and used NextDoor to post some of those items, selling vases, bedroom furniture and even an old, down-on-its luck bicycle. Next, we reused boxes from our last move, which saved time and money. Lastly, we hired movers, because we couldn’t depend on family (like we always did) amidst the pandemic. The move was one of our easiest. I hope these suggestions help your next move be less stressful and more seamless. 

1.  Declutter:  Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year and things that may have accumulated over time (for me, mainly from impulse purchases). You can visit these links to donate some of your clutter https://www.moving.com/tips/charities-free-donation-pickup/ and https://bigfootmoving.com/residential/donate-unwanted-items/.

2.  Boxes:  Pick out different sized boxes. There are even boxes that you can hang your clothes and coats. 

3.  Labels:  Label the boxes by room and write on the box what is placed inside, then you can place those boxes in the appropriate rooms. This alleviates a lot re-moving heavy boxes from room to room. 

4.  Packing:  Use appropriate boxes for items, place heavy items on the bottom and lighter items on top. Check the box’s weight often to avoid over packing and making the box too heavy. 

5.  Chargers:  Create a necessity bag and place important items in it, such as phone chargers and important documents.

6.  Movers:  Book your movers as soon as you have your move in date. Also, ask about what extra costs you could anticipate (e.g., tape, furniture covers). (Bonus tip: If you are going to rent your own truck, get one with a ramp - it’s worth the extra money!

7.  Utilities:  Call and set a date to shut off your existing utilities and set start dates at your new place. 
 

There are a lot of movers in and around Boston.  Here are a few that my clients and I have used:

Stairhopper Movers - https://stairhoppers.com/

Gentle Giant - https://www.gentlegiant.com

Olympia Movers - https://olympiamoving.com/


You can also help a great cause while moving by choosing one of these moving companies that will donate your food you don’t want to move:  https://moveforhunger.org/find-a-mover


 

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Need to Break Your Lease?

There are many reasons why someone may need to “break” their apartment lease.  Generally, it is a stressful situation for everyone involved – the tenant usually would not be leaving their apartment were it not for the unforeseen circumstances, and the landlord is concerned about being able to pay their mortgage, real estate taxes and other operating expenses.

It typically becomes important to find a suitable replacement tenant as soon as possible.  Here are some tips for tenants needing to break their lease: 

  • Give the landlord a firm date, in writing, that you will be moving out.  This allows the landlord (and their rental agent) to market the apartment with an available move in date.
     
  • The apartment should be clean and tidy.
     
  • Offer to take updated pictures and a video tour of the apartment, and allow agents to do so too.  This is particularly important in the current environment.  Having pictures and video can help maximize advertising efficiency and limit the number of in-person tours that are required. 
     
  • Make the apartment easily accessible for agents and their clients to view.  Generally, a prospective tenant will NEED to see an apartment in-person before signing a lease.  The easier it is for access, the quicker it generally is to complete a deal with a replacement tenant (which will then eliminate the need for continued disruptions).
     
  • Consider offering incentives to any incoming prospects.  This may include offering to pay the incoming broker fee.  The inventory of available apartments is high right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we do see situations where the lease-breaking tenant will offer incentives to help get a deal done with a replacement tenant in order to get “off the hook” since it can be cheaper in the long run depending on how much time is left on the lease.
     

We understand that lease break situations can be stressful for all parties involved.  Please feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to help you navigate through it.

 

 

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Off Market & Private Listings

Traditionally, real estate listings are immediately placed in the multiple listing service (MLS) with photos, a description of the property, HOA fees, floor plans, pricing and other items that are relevant to a possible buyer. This allows the listing to be shared with the broadest possible audience of buyers, and buyer agents. 

Recently, and especially over the last year with the COVID pandemic, off market and private listings have become much more prevalent. For obvious reasons, sellers didn’t want strangers coming into their homes. Instead, the property is quietly marketed through the listing agent’s network of fellow agents, client list, and sphere of influence.  An experienced agent may belong to professional networking group(s).

Besides the changes made due to COVID, the ultra-luxury market is rife with “whisper” listings. Buyers in this category want what others can’t have. It’s exclusive and confidential and they want what their friends can’t get. For the seller, it provides privacy. They don’t want their homes published in MLS, and then propagated to Zillow and countless other public websites.

Case in point, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s Brookline compound recently traded in an exclusive off market transaction (the sale price was kept private, but many speculate it was over $30M). The property had previously been listed on MLS with another agent for several months without finding a buyer. The power couple hired a new broker who deployed the “off market” strategy to selling their house.

My past four sales have all been private deals, priced from $705,000 to $8,450,000. I’ll be curious to see if this trend continues as we start to get more vaccines rolled out and life returns to something more normal for all of us.

 

 

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