Eric Shabshelowitz

New Short-Term Rental Law

Gov. Baker of Massachusetts signed into law a bill regulating and taxing any kind of "short-term rental" (that is, any rental for 31 days or less).  There is an exemption for properties that are leased out for 14 days or less per calendar year, but this law is expected to have a substantial impact on owners that rent vacation homes and utilize services such as Airbnb and VRBO.

This new law takes effect on July 1, 2019.  Hosts are obligated to register with the State and their local municipality, carry $1 million in liability insurance per unit, and possibly be subjected to inspections that will vary from city to town.  Additionally, short-term rentals will be subject to new taxes and fees, including, but not limited to, a state tax of 5.7%, local taxes up to 6% (Boston can levy up to 6.5%; Cape Cod and Islands can levy up to 8.75%) and "community impact fees" of up to 3% may be levied locally on professionally managed properties (owners of 2 or more units in one town).

It will be interesting to see what impact this will have on tourism and business travelers, particularly if cities and towns decide to max out the allowable fees and taxes. 

See additional details at  

Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  If you own, operate or are considering owning or operating a short-term rental property, we recommend that you seek guidance from a lawyer and/or tax professional.  



Open House Tips for Buyers: Just Looking (Part 1)

Open houses provide terrific opportunities to visit a neighborhood, investigate particular styles of housing, get a feel for space or picture yourself living somewhere.  Your real estate agent can set you up to receive weekly open house lists in your desired area and price range.  Visit an assortment and educate yourselves before getting serious about buying.  Upon arrival, introduce yourself, sign in with your Buyer agent's information, take a listing sheet and respectfully look around.  Feel free to ask questions but save any personal or money discussion for your own agent.


Etiquette tips: 

  • Don’t use bathrooms or sit on furniture. 
  • Ask before opening any closed doors. 
  • Do not bring pets.
  • Remove shoes if asked.

Other tips:

  • Take notes on likes and dislikes.
  • Observe other Buyers and listen.
  • Concentrate on permanent items as opposed to changeable decor.
  • Look up and down and for any signs of neglect or recent repairs.
  • Walk the outside of the house/building and any immediate areas.

Stay Tuned for Part 2: READY TO BUY!

Looking for a buyer’s agent who can keep you informed and up to date on your real estate search?  You need someone experienced to guide you through this process and help negotiate for a wonderful new home!  Contact us and let one of our experts help!



Apartment Spotlight: Available Now

Need an apartment in Boston?  Here are some spotlighted apartments that are available NOW:

Back Bay  |  185 Beacon St. #5R  |  1BR  |  $2,450 

AVAILABLE NOW!!!  Great views of Boston's historic cityscape, with all new appliances.  Facing South, this one bedroom unit receives an abundance of natural sunlight. This professionally managed building also features a walk-in closet and hardwood floors. Hot Water is included in the rent!  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 11/10 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.


Back Bay  |  719 Boylston St. #303  |  2BR  |  $3,750

AVAILABLE NOW!!!  Be the first to live in this BRAND NEW, two bedroom, professionally managed unit on Boylston and Exeter St.  New hardwood floors throughout, brand new kitchen with dishwasher and new bathroom's as well!  There is even an extra room for storage or office space, central air and washer/dryer in the unit!  Location is great - close to the Prudential Center and right on the Marathon/Parade route.  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 11/10 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.





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Micro Housing in Boston

Good news for developers: Boston recently initiated a "Compact Living" pilot.  It's a two-year program that will allow developers to build so-called micro housing units in the City (though the preferred term is "compact unit" instead of "micro unit").  Boston has been considering such a policy for a while, and this two-year experiment will let the City determine how well it works.  

In order to build micro housing units in Boston, developers need to meet a number of standards.  This includes complying with design standards, inclusionary housing requirements and following specific processes and procedures for approval.

Micro housing is often a hotly debated topic.  Opponents typically raise concerns about density and displacing families (who need larger units to accommodate all family members).  On the other side, micro units help promote affordability by creating more units and they help fill an underserved area of housing demand (according to Boston, the number of single people and couples is 2/3 of the City's population, but the number of studio and one-bedroom units is only 1/3 of the City's housing stock).

For more details on the pilot specifics, click here for Boston's webpage on the Compact Living Pilot.  If you are a developer looking for micro housing opportunities in Boston, contact Eric Shabshelowitz to help with your search.




Apartment Spotlight: Quick Move-In and Half Fee

In need of an apartment?  Here are a few featured apartments that are available for immediate move-in and at half of the broker's fee!

AVAILABLE NOW!!!  Wonderful, completely gut-rehabbed, with all new appliances.  One bedroom unit with large, sunny windows, refinished hardwood floors and an abundance of closet space.  Electricity, Heat and Hot Water included in the rent!  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 10/20 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.

AVAILABLE NOW!!!  This spacious, sun-filled one bed is a great space for being in it all! As Back Bay maintains to be the neighborhood loaded with entertainment, food, shopping and anything you can fathom. Nestled in a superb location, located on Newbury and Fairfield St. This wonderful unit has a very open living room and large separate kitchen with granite counter tops. Heat and hot water included in the rent as well as a washer/dryer combo in the unit!  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 10/20 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
AVAILABLE NOW!!!  Live in this freshly painted, floor-thru two bedroom in Historic Bay Village! Right in the middle of the South End, Back Bay and Theatre District.  Location cannot be more convenient to transportation, the grocery store/markets, entrance/exit ramp to I-90 and laundry services.  This spacious unit has a very open living room with two, equal, large-sized bedrooms.  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 10/20 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
AVAILABLE NOW!!!  Newly renovated, two bedroom, garden floor-thru on Beacon and Hereford St.  New hardwood floors throughout, brand new kitchen with dishwasher and a new bathroom as well!  There is even a private outdoor patio to enjoy the Southern sun!  Location is great for being so close in proximity to the Charles River Esplanade.  There is common laundry right near the unit with hot water included in the rent!  Please contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment for this Saturday, 10/20 from 10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.



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Relocating to Boston?

There are still some great apartments out there. 
Whether moving for a job transfer, new employment opportunity, or trying to get off a friend or parent’s couch, there are a variety of apartment options to explore.  Decide what you want your commute to be - walk, transit, bike?  What is your budget?  How much space do you really need?
Benefits:  Live in one of Boston’s many desirable neighborhoods and walk to cafes, parks, music events, and join local community happenings to meet people and get involved!
Benefits:  Usually a shorter term lease and flexibility, just bring a suitcase and a toothbrush! This is 
perfect for consultants, grad students and the undecideds!
Benefits:  Guaranteed elevator, central air, most times a doorman, gym, common outdoor space, and many other unique life experience perks!
Search our website and contact an experienced rental agent for the most up to date listings and location advice.


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What is a Homestead and Why Should You File a Homestead?

Buying a home doesn’t just involve finding a home that you love.  There are certain steps you can and should take to protect yourself – not just during the transaction itself, but also continuing thereafter.  One of those important protections is called a “Homestead”.  Here is a brief overview of homesteads from Attorney Joe Anderson of Crowley & Cummings:

It is indeed a rarity that someone owns and resides in a home as their principal residence in Massachusetts and has not filed a homestead.  Nonetheless, you do not want to be the unfortunate person left in the cold when it comes to maybe the only fraction of a real estate closing that actually protects the homeowner (as opposed to the 70 other pages of documents and disclosures that only really protect the mortgage lender).  There is a shortage of things in life that are too good to be true, but the Massachusetts homestead is akin to having a professional mechanic replace your brakes for free, if not much better.  In the real estate world and estate planning arena, the greatest financial benefit for your dollar spent might be the homestead.  And when I say dollar, it only costs $35.00 to record a homestead.   

A homestead estate exempts a certain amount of equity in a home which is used as a principal residence from attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy and sale for the unsecured debts of the owner of the home.  Exceptions to this protection would include federal, state and local taxes, assessments, claims and liens, liens recorded prior to the creation of the homestead estate, mortgages, orders of the probate court for support, a levy or sale for ground rents (where the homeowner does not own the land) and an execution from a court to enforce a judgment based upon fraud, mistake, duress, undue influence or lack of capacity.     

By law, merely by owning a home and using it as a principal residence entitles the owner to automatic homestead protection of up to $125,000.00 of the equity therein.  However, by actually filing a Declaration of Homestead at the applicable registry of deeds increases the equity protection to up to $500,000.00. 

Under the Massachusetts Homestead Act, the homeowner’s equity is protected for up to one year after a sale of the home, and, if the home has suffered a casualty that results in the payment of insurance proceeds, then the insurance proceeds are protected for up to two years, in order to allow the homeowner time to acquire a homestead in a new (or reconstructed) home.  The Declared Homestead protects the owner, owner’s spouse and minor children.  Even upon the death of the owner, the protection continues for the spouse and minor children.        

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly regarding your interest in the Massachusetts Declaration of Homestead.  There are some technical requirements, so your best bet would be to arrange to have a Massachusetts attorney draft the appropriate filing.  We can either a) confirm there is an existing homestead filed at the registry of deeds and email you a copy; or b) prepare a homestead for you, free of charge (provided you pay the $35.00 recording fee charged by the registry of deeds).” 

Thank you, Attorney Joe Anderson!




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Boston Office Rents: Back Bay vs. Financial District

Searching for office space in Boston?  Whether focusing on the Back Bay or the Financial District, businesses considering one of them generally ask us about options in the other.  The Back Bay and the Financial District each have their advantages.  Here is a quick comparison of the rent and vacancy rates of the office markets in each of them:

Back Bay

Source: CoStar

Source: CoStar


Financial District

Source: CoStar

Source: CoStar


You can start your search for Boston office space for lease here.  As always, don't hesitate to contact us with questions or for help finding your new office space.




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Valuable Tips for a Fall Sale

Find yourself listing your home on the market and concerned about the season?  Use these effective methods for a successful sale:

1.  Clean out closets and cupboards so buyers have easy access and space can be easily viewed.

2.  Move extra pieces of furniture, equipment, and out of season clothes to storage.  Can people walk around comfortably and enjoy the space?

3.  Clean all windows and move those window treatments aside to let optimal light in.  Check all lightbulbs and be sure they work and match color for evening showings

4.  Take a good look at the front entry, common area, yard, deck, and any outside the home areas and spruce up!  Add some seasonal items and look at the first impression buyers will get.

5.  Most importantly, engage an experienced real estate broker who will commit to multiple public and industry open houses.  These will work in your favor!
As always, please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.  You can also fill out our home evaluation form and we will prepare a complimentary price analysis and recommended marketing strategy for you.


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Pools in Boston

Massachusetts recorded record temperatures this Summer and the Fall looks like a warm one.  If you can’t get to the beach or prefer to stay in the city but still like to cool your toes, there are many terrific condo and rental buildings with pools!  Most neighborhoods have at least one property with a private pool, a hotel or two with possible pool memberships and an outside public pool as well as the YMCA. Here are a few options to consider when scouting your next move:

Downtown - 45 Province offers a year-round heated outdoor pool.
South Boston - McAllen and Court Press building condominiums share an outdoor heated pool, and you also have a beach nearby.
Waterfront - Harbor Towers, which consists of 2 buildings on Boston Harbor with a resort-style pool, grills and great lawn areas. 
Charlestown - Parris Landing has a heated pool and fun grilling area.
Cambridge - Atmark is a luxury rental complex with a solar heated pool, and Avalon-North Point has an indoor heated pool plus there's a cool shopping mall in walking distance.  Regatta Residences has an indoor lap pool, and many of the upper floor units offer unbeatable views of the July 4th fireworks over the Charles River.

Pool at 45 Province
Why not enjoy Summer in the City?!  Let us help you find an enjoyable place to live!


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