General News

Home Search During COVID-19 Outbreak

These days it feels that life has been put on hold, as a lot of things we used to do are restricted or stopped altogether. That being said, people still have to move, and we are hearing daily from prospective buyers, sellers and renters. 

Real estate agents, and the real estate industry as a whole, is adapting quickly to what is going on in the world and people's lives, and we are here to help. In an era of social distancing, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a home:

1. Video Tours. Video tours are available for many properties, especially Cabot & Company's exclusive listings. Thanks to our agents and tenants, we have compiled a database of videos for the majority of our available apartments. 

2. Experienced Agents. Our agents know our exclusively listed properties inside-out. At a time when it is important to carefully evaluate a property before scheduling an in person viewing, it is important to work with someone that knows the apartment and has personally seen it. For our exclusive listings, we have seen and rented them multiple times, so call your agent with questions. 

3. Further Evaluating Occupied Apartments. Given the current circumstances, it is difficult to visit occupied apartments. Agents, tenants and landlords are all trying to be safe and responsible. At Cabot & Company, we are endeavoring to practice social distancing. Most current tenants are understanding of the circumstances and are happy to assist us in answering your questions and sending additional photos or videos.

4. Visiting a Vacant Apartment. We are doing our best to help you screen properties before scheduling a tour. Ask for a video first. Still interested and want to view it in person? Be prepared for the following: 

- You may be asked whether you have traveled recently, or have any reason to believe you have been exposed or are exhibiting CODIV-19 symptoms.  

- You may be asked to use hand sanitizer before and during the tour, and wear gloves or a mask (if available).

- You will likely be asked not to touch anything. Many agents are turning on all lights and opening all doors and closets ahead of time.

- Any showings are encouraged to be prompt. Take a quick look around, and then discuss any questions outside. Your agent will also be happy to answer follow up questions via email or on a phone call.

 

This is a challenging time, but it does not mean your home search needs to be put on hold. We are all working to navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak together. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or suggestions on how we can further help with you house hunting.

 

 

 

Fun Museums to Visit this Fast Approaching Spring!

With spring approaching everyone is looking for fun activities to do in the city. Boston has over 60 different museums that fit a variety of interests. From modern art museums, to historical museums, to a world famous science museum, and everything in between, Boston truly has a rich and cultured range of museums.  Here is a list of some of them: 

 

Kid friendly

 

  • Museum of Science - www.mos.org
  • Boston Children’s Museum - www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org
  • New England Aquarium - www.neaq.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art

Museum of Fine Arts - www.mfa.org

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - www.gardnermuseum.org

Institute of Contemporary Art - www.icaboston.org

Harvard Art Museum - www.harvardartmuseums.org

 

 

 

 

 

History

  • USS Constitution - ussconstitutionmuseum.org
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History - www.hmnh.harvard.edu
  • The Paul Revere House - www.paulreverehouse.org
  • JFK Library Museum - www.jfklibrary.org
  • Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum - www.bostonteapartyship.com
  • The Mapparium - www.mbelibrary.org
  • Old State House - www.bostonhistory.org

Green Thumb or Not? Low Maintenance House Plants

As we are moving past this mild Winter and quickly approaching Spring, many of you are in the green thumb mode and in need to re-amp or add to your indoor vegetation.  Maybe you once had an indoor plant and you noticed within the week that it turned into a bone-dry, wilted mess.  Or maybe you’ve never owned an indoor plant because you aren’t sure if you can keep it alive.  Don’t beat yourself up!  Like a pet, knowing the care for your houseplants starts with finding the right one for you and your schedule.  You may need an indoor plant that can live through your busy work schedule or a houseplant that can survive a week while you are on vacation, greeting you when you get home.  Here are a few plants that are low maintenance and that can instantly add vibrancy and color to your living space.


1)  Spider Plant
This plant thrives in the sun/well-lit areas.  Water every 2-6 weeks or when the top 2-inches of soil is dry.  Be careful not to over water as this can cause root rot.  This plant likes temperatures between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
 


 


 

2)  Aloe Vera
This plant likes light, but not direct sunlight.  Water every 1-2 weeks and maybe once every 2 months in the Winter.  You want to make sure the soil is almost completely dry before re-watering.  This plant likes temperatures between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.


 

3)  Jade Plant "Shrek Ears"
This plant likes indirect sunlight.  Like the Aloe Vera, only water this plant when the soil is almost completely dry or every 1-3 weeks.  This plant likes temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 
 

4)  Succulents
Succulents like lower amounts of sunlight, maybe 3 hours per day.  These plants like water at least once a week.  Temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit is the best for this houseplant.
 



5)  Dragon Tree

This tree needs very little to no sunlight.  It can also thrive in filtered light conditions.  60-85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for this low maintenance plant.  Just watch the soil of this tree and keep it moist.  Needs water maybe twice per month.


 


 

Not only do houseplants add vibrancy and color to your home or apartment, but study after study shows that plants (in our living or office environment) can improve our overall well-being, making us feel better.  These plants can also take out toxins from the air we breathe.  We are less stressed, more productive/creative when we share our living space with a simple, low maintenance houseplant.

 

 

Staying in Shape in the Back Bay

How’s your 2020 vision?  I am referring to your New Year’s Resolutions.  If it’s out of focus as January moves into the rear view mirror, you can take a little wisdom from T.S. Elliot who said “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” 
 

If you need to reset or start those New Year’s Resolutions with your work out goals, here are a few options in the Back Bay:

 

Spinning

Health Clubs

Fitness Studios

Boxing

Yoga


In the summertime, Healthworks offers free workouts on The Rose Kennedy Greenway, The Esplanade, and Boat Yoga on the Boston Harbor. 

 

 

How to File for a Residential Exemption in Boston

If you own and live in your Boston property as your primary residence, you likely qualify for a residential exemption on your real estate taxes.  Through this exemption, the City releases you from paying part of your property taxes.  Last year, the residential exemption saved qualified homeowners up to $2,719.09 on their tax bill.

For Fiscal Year 2020, you have until April 1, 2020 to file the application.  For more information, including the application and other requirements, visit the City of Boston’s website here

There are a number of benefits to homeownership, and this exemption is one of them.  Be sure to take advantage!

 

 

 

How to COUCH Your Space

Now that you have moved into your new apartment, you might be asking yourself “Where do I buy furniture in Boston”?  Have no fear, you are surrounded by furniture stores! Some even offer free design service with a purchase.

 

Mattresses

Boston Luxury Beds - Luxury Beds in the Heart of Boston
https://www.bostonluxbeds.com

Mattress Firm - Several locations in and around Boston
www.mattressfirm.com

Boston Bed Company – Sleep with the Best
1113 Commonwealth Ave., Boston

 

Furniture Stores

$Boomarangs – Newish stuff for spendthrifts
716 Centre St., Jamaica Plain
www.shopboomarangs.org

$Ikea – Like to assemble your own furniture?
www.ikea.com

$$West Elm – Trendy and chic
160 Brookline Ave., Boston
www.westelm.com

$$Nadeau – Furniture with a soul
750 Memorial Drive, Cambridge
www.furniturewithasoul.com

$$Cort Furniture Outlet – New and previously owned furniture
155 N. Beacon St., Brighton
https://www.cortfurnitureoutlet.com

$$$Room and Board – Five floors of 90% American made furniture
375 Newbury St., Boston
www.roomandboard.com

$$$Circle Furniture – For those who don’t have square taste in furniture
31 St. James Ave., Boston
199 Alewife Brook Pkwy. Cambridge
www.circlefurniture.com

$$$Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams – Masters of modern home furnishings
142 Berkeley St., Boston
www.mgbwhome.com

 

Important Utilites Contact Information for Move Ins

When moving into your new home you need to establish service with the following Utility companies:

Boston Utilities

National Grid
Gas (800) 732-3400

Eversource
Electricity (800) 592-2000

Verizon
Phone (800) 870-9999

Comcast
Phone, Cable, Internet
(617) 279-1958

 

 

Helpful Boston Numbers

 

Boston City Hall
(617) 635-4000

Boston Police Department
Non Emergency
(617) 343-4200

Boston Fire Department
Non Emergency
(617) 343-3550

Emergency Storm Center
(617) 635-3050

Poison Control and Prevention
(800) 222-1222

Animal Control (Dog Licenses)
(617) 635-5348

 

We recommend you reserve a parking spot for your moving truck by going to City of Boston Website

If you live in Boston and your car is registered in Massachusetts you can get a resident permit parking sticker to park on the street.

 

For more information please contact Cabot & Company at (617) 262-6200

 

Boston Condo Market 2018 Review

A Look into Boston's Condominium Sales Market

 

It's safe to say that Boston's real estate has been on a hot streak. With 2018 at a close, Boston condominium sales have set even higher records than ever before. The Seaport took the lead in 2018 as the most expensive neighborhood, with the highest average sale price. Back Bay and South End continue to be highly sought after neighborhoods. South Boston also saw an increase from previous years when comparing average price and price per square foot; However, the most impressive statistic was that South Boston was the most popular in terms of condominium sales volume, totaling to 753 units sold. Now the question is, what does the market have in store for 2019?

 

 

 

Click to view available condos in South Boston

Click to view available condos in South End

Click to view available condos in Back Bay

Click to view available condos in Beacon Hill

Click to view available condos in North End

 

 

 

 

 

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 marealtor.com/ShortTermRentals.  

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.  

 

 

Back Bay Association Annual Breakfast with Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Back Bay Association Annual Breakfast with Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

The Mayor talked about new developments and businesses, new restaurants opening on Newbury Street, housing for the homeless and Boston springing forwarded.

Pictured left to right: Shelagh Brennan, Robert Weintraub, City of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh & Josh Zakim (City Councilor for District 8)