Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

This Week’s Featured Neighborhood: Back Bay

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Centerpiece for Victorian Brownstone Homes and Famous Boston Landmarks

One of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods, the Back Bay is home to trendy Victorian brownstone homes, unique shops, and trendy restaurants and bars. The Back Bay is home to The Charles Realty (located at 257 Newbury Street) and many other companies and shops. Numerous boutiques line Newbury Street making it the shopping mecca of Boston.

The shops on Newbury Street, the Prudential Center, and other spots in the Back Bay draw in shoppers from all over the world. The Back Bay is also a notable Boston neighborhood for its boasting landmarks such as, Copley Square, the Trinity Church, and the Public Library. The two tallest Boston skylines, the Prudential Center and the John Hancock Tower add to the Back Bay’s beautiful scenery.

Some restaurants include:
Top of the Hub (American): 800 Boylston Street
Stephanie’s on Newbury (American): 190 Newbury Street
Atlantic Fish (Seafood): 761 Boylston Street
Abe & Louie’s (Steak): 793 Boylston Street
L’Espalier (French): 774 Boylston Street
Sorellina (Italian): 1 Huntington Avenue

Some shopping stores include:
The Shops at the Prudential Center: 800 Boylston Street
Newbury Street Shops: Newbury Street

Some bars & pubs include:
McGreevy’s: 911 Boylston Street
Champion’s Sports Bar: 110 Huntington Avenue
Met Back Bay: 279 Dartmouth Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in the Back Bay by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on the Back Bay, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For Back Bay listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources:
Boston.com
Cityofboston.gov

Your Credit Score: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

Monday, February 17th, 2014

How would you feel if everyone in your neighborhood knew something about you that you didn’t know? Uncomfortable? At a disadvantage? Well, if you don’t know what your credit scores are, you’re sort of in the same boat – because every creditor you apply for financing with knows your score, and so do most insurers and many employers. Why would you give them that much power?

You shouldn’t.

At the Dealership

Imagine that you’re at an auto dealership, drooling over your next car. Everything’s done but the paperwork. Surprise! The finance manager is standing there, looking uncomfortable. Your credit score (also called a FICO score) won’t qualify you for a car loan. Why? You assumed your credit was okay, and now you see that the boat loan you co-signed for your husband’s deadbeat cousin hasn’t been paid in months. You slink out of the dealership, mortified. Had you looked at your credit report in advance, you’d have avoided some embarrassment (and perhaps fixed the problem before it got out of hand).

Meanwhile, your neighbor is at the car lot across town. He marches in with an advertisement for zero percent financing and orders a new convertible. He’s livid when the salesperson informs him that the zero percent loan is only for buyers with FICO scores of 760 and over, and his is a measly 748. However, the salesperson says they can finance him at six percent. Frustrated, he accepts the dealer’s offer. Had your neighbor checked his scores, he’d have been able to negotiate a better interest rate. Here’s why.

The Many faces of FICO

Most people don’t know that the credit reports they see and the scores they purchase aren’t usually the same ones that lenders get. In fact, there are about 50 different FICO scores, geared to different applications and sold by the major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. So a mortgage lending score might be different than an automotive FICO or an insurance FICO. And Equifax’s automotive FICO might assign you a lower score than TransUnion’s. If a lender tells you that you’ll have to pay a higher interest rate because your score is 748, and you have a report showing that your score is 765, that’s a powerful negotiating tool. You can demand the rate you deserve or take your business to a dealership or mortgage lender that uses a different (better) scoring model.

Mortgage Rates

For most conventional (non-government) home loans, your credit score determines your mortgage rate. In fact, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies that buy and sell most mortgages in the US, have very specific pricing adjustments that depend on credit scores. These pricing systems divide applicants into 20-point credit scoring tiers, for example FICOs from 600-619, 620-639, and so on. When you improve your credit and jump up a tier, you’re offered a better mortgage rate. Conversely, if your score drops a single point, say from 660 to 659, it could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Knowing your score and the tiers (click here for Fannie Mae’s matrix) can help you position yourself to pay less, either by boosting your score a few points before applying for a loan, or by dealing with mortgage lenders that use a friendlier scoring system.

Dirtbags Everywhere!

Finally, arguably the most compelling reason for keeping tabs on your credit history and credit scores is identity theft. Unless you relish the thought of some creepy couple sailing around the world after emptying your bank account and wrecking your credit rating, taking a periodic peek at your credit is a wise move.

It’s not even expensive or difficult. By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus once a year. That means every four months, all you need to do is go to www.annualcreditreport.com (the government’s hassle-free and no-cost site) and request a report from one bureau. For a small charge, you can also purchase your credit scores. And remember – any time you are turned down for credit, you’re also entitled to a free look at your credit history.

Knowing what’s on your report helps you dodge embarrassment, negotiate better terms, and thwart identity thieves. The link is RIGHT in this article. You might as well click it now and make sure your house is in order.

Where to Spend Valentine’s Day in Boston (For Couples and Singles)

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Whether you like it or not Valentine’s Day is here. If you’re in a relationship or single, there’s plenty to do in the Boston area. Ideas for places to go out to eat in Boston, or the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day for singles can be found on this blog. Take a look at some Valentine’s Day ideas:

Couples – There’s an abundance of places to spend Valentine’s Day in Boston, but figuring out the least busy and most romantic spot is a challenge. Despite the challenge, there are still perfect spots and tips to make this Valentine’s Day the most romantic one. Tips such as: Going out for a romantic lunch, and having dinner at home will help make the perfect Valentine’s Day. Try taking your loved one out to one of these spots:

Gaslight
560 Harrison Ave, Boston
This Parisian-style brasserie in the South End features hors d’oeuvres, entrees, and desserts in a romantic ambiance.

Lumiere
1293 Washington Street, Newton
$80 per person, optional $35 wine pairings (TBD)
Lumiere celebrates Valentine’s Day with three courses of bistro-inspired, sustainably-focused cuisine. Guests are invited to choose from dishes like Oysters Escabeche, Red Fire Farm Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Dry-Aged Grass-Fed Rain Crow Ranch Beef Rib Steak, and Rose Champagne Sorbe.

Home
Your address
Try impressing your loved one with a candlelit dinner. This option saves you the trouble of traveling, making reservations, and high expenses. A peaceful dinner at home can amount for a perfect Valentine’s Day.

Singles – Forget about the pressures and marketing of Valentine’s Day and relax at one of these places:

Area Four’s Cupid is Stupid Party
500 Technology Square, Cambridge
According to a press release, Area Four’s Cupid is Stupid Party will feature, “a heated menu filled with spite and spice and everything not-so nice, a sad soundtrack and a roster of films that prove love sucks for the beautiful people, too.”

Ducali’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party
289 Causeway St, Boston
Pizza, beer, and watching sports. A perfect party for single Boston sports fans to relax, meet other singles, and forget about Valentine’s Day.

A bar
Bar’s location
Try going to the place where no couple will be, and mingle with other singles.

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots on Valentine’s Day by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Valentine’s Day ideas, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals.

Sources:

BostInno
Examiner.com
Massvacation.com

Moving To A Big City: What You Need To Know

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Big cities are expansive concrete jungles brimming with culture, distinctive districts, and prominent landmarks. Moving to such a bustling metropolis can be an intimidating task as it imposes its own unique set of acclimatization challenges for newcomers. Yet, with proper preparation and familiarization, the daunting urban sprawl can feel like home very quickly. The following tips will help you adjust to your new setting whether you’re moving to Boston on the east coast or San Francisco on the west coast.

Thoroughly Explore Your New Surroundings

I’m not just referring to a quick drive around all the main streets; I’m talking about launching a full-on expedition to intimately familiarize yourself with the area. Buy a detailed map and make it your goal to explore every inch of it. It’ll also help you figure out ideal driving routes and potential ways to avoid rush hour traffic. The sooner you know have the area mapped out in your head, the sooner it’ll begin to feel like home.

In terms of tourist attractions, feel free to frequent them, but just be wary that locals tend to steer clear of such areas and that there’s so much more to explore in the city.

Manage Your Money Wisely

Except for very rare cases, the unstated rules of modern civilization dictate that cities will always be more expensive to live in when compared to the costs of their surrounding areas. This is primarily due to the fact cities are generally the epicenters of culture and commerce for a region, and therefore command the highest price tags. Proper budget development is essential if you want your bank account to survive the expensive perils of your new city life.  As an extra financial safety measure, create a weekly, monthly, and annual budget to ensure you’ve covered all your necessary expenses and allocated purpose for the remaining funds. Don’t let expensive city life bleed your wallet dry.

Get Involved

It’s incredibly clichéd, but undeniably true. Cities offer a diverse array of activities, organizations, and opportunities that serve as a great way to get to know people and spend time doing something you care about. And with the power of the internet it’s easier than ever to learn and partake in these experiences. While it goes without saying, it’s also a great way to make new friends who share your same interests.

In Summary

Moving to a big city is an intimidating undertaking, but it’s easy to acclimatize if you go about it the right way. Immerse yourself in your new environment by learning the area and participating in activities. Be wary of inflated prices and modify your budget accordingly to accommodate them. If you implement these tactics, the big city will feel like home in no time.

If Boston Competed in Real Estate Olympics

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

February 7, 2014 marks the beginning of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where 88 nations will compete in the foremost sports competition. To get in the Olympic spirit this blog is a hypothetical look if were an Olympics where all American cities competed in real estate related events. Boston’s placing are as followed:

City Where to Invest: (15th Place) According to Forbes, Boston places 15th among cities to invest in. This is a strong placing considering how many cities are below Boston. Medaling in this event was, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Charlotte.

Area Where Renters Should Buy: (Gold) Considered the best city to make the investment move from renting to buying, Boston received a gold in this category.

Housing Market Index: (6th Place) Although Boston did not medal in this category, they still received a positive Housing Market Index of 7.43.

Education: (Gold) With top notch universities and a strong school system, Boston is above all in education.

Foreclosures: (Did Not Place) A category that cities do not want to place in, Boston is at the bottom when it comes to foreclosures.

Coziness: (Gold) Boston was recently announced the coziest city in American, allowing them to take home the gold in this category.

Be sure to let us know what you think by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Boston, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals.

Sources:

Zillow

MSN Real Estate

Huffington Post

Forbes

WBUR

This Week’s Featured Neighborhood: Brighton

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Home to students and young professionals, features a number of affordable housing options.

Located at Boston’s northwest corner on the shores of the Charles River, this welcoming neighborhood contains streets lined with multi-family homes and condominiums. Brighton’s cost-efficient housing and lively atmosphere attracts families, young professionals and graduates students.

One of Brighton’s most notable spots, Cleveland Circle, is the heart of Boston College student living. This spot contains a number of options for inexpensive, but delicious eats. The nearby Chestnut Hill Reservoir, provides scenic views of the Boston College campus for joggers on a mile-and-a-half loop. Along Washington Street, which runs straight through Brighton Center to Oak Square, numerous of Brighton’s small businesses call home.

With multiple T stops throughout Brighton, including “B” and “C” branch Green Line stops, transportation around Brighton and rest of Boston is simple. This neighborhood also includes medical resources such as, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the Franciscan Children’s Hospital.

Some restaurants include:

The Stockyard: (Steak & Seafood) 135 Market Street

Tasca: (Tapas) 1612 Commonwealth Avenue

Eagle’s Deli: (Burgers & Deli) 1918 Beacon Street

Some shopping stores include:

New Balance (Factory Store): 40 Life Street

Some bars & pubs include:

The Paradise: 967 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston Wine School: 1354 Commonwealth Avenue

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in Brighton by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Brighton, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals.

For Brighton listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources:

Boston.about.com

Cityofboston.gov

Reasons to Invest in Boston

Monday, January 27th, 2014

One of America’s most historic city, Boston, continues to see its real estate flourish in today’s market.  Boston, home to students and professional alike sees a combination of young and older homebuyers. This city never fails to prosper as it is a key innovator in numerous fields including finance, technology, and medical.

Although “The Beantown” has one of the highest costs of living expenses in the country, it still ranks high on world livability ranking. The high costs may cause caution to some, but it many don’t realize the great investment opportunity the city of Boston presents. Our agents at The Charles Realty have come up with some reasons to invest in Boston, take a look at the list:

  • #10 for predicted housing market in 2014.
  • #6 healthiest market at a Market Health Index of 7.43.
  • #1 metro area where renters should buy.
  • #1 coziest city in America.
  • #1 smartest city in America.

With Boston’s high rankings, “The Town” also provides additional statistics and reasons to invest in Boston including:

  • Universities and hospitals provide as stable influx.
  • Boston vacancy rate is hovering near or under 3%.
  • 3.6% capitalization rate.
  • Boston rents in 2013 increased 5.5%.

Invest in Boston real estate before it’s too late! For more information on why you should invest in Boston, feel free to message us on Facebook or contact us at 617-236-0353.

Sources:

Zillow

MSN Real Estate

Huffington Post

Forbes

WBUR

This Week’s Featured Neighborhood: Beacon Hill

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

One of Boston’s smallest, but most historically rich neighborhoods.

Often referred to as “The Hill,” this neighborhood features a mix of grand townhouses and fashionable shops. Famous for its gold-domed State House, Beacon Hill is outlined by the Massachusetts General Hospital, Government Center, the Boston Common, and Public Garden. Approximately one square mile in size, Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive surround Beacon Hill.

Beacon Hill proudly displays its historical charm through its numerous brick single family townhouses. Its overall layout and looks resemble that of colonial Boston. One of its most notable streets, Charles Street features gas burning lamps and brick sidewalks is home to antique shops, small cafes, and clothing boutiques.

Some restaurants include:

Cheers (84 Beacon Street) – American

The Paramount (44 Charles Street) – American

Mooo…. (15 Beacon Street) – Steak

Toscano (47 Charles Street) – Italian

No. 9 Park – (9 Park Street) – French

Some shopping stores include:

Black Ink – (101 Charles Street)

Red Wagon – (69 Charles Street)

Moxie – (51 Charles Street)

Wish – (49 Charles Street)

Some bars & pubs include:

The Four’s – (166 Canal Street)

21st Amendment – (150 Bowdoin Street)

Silvertone Bar and Grill – (69 Bromfield Street)

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in Beacon Hill by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Beacon Hill, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals.

For Beacon Hill listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources:

Boston.com

CityofBoston.gov

For Sale: Three Modern Lofts in the Trendy South End

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Start off the year right with one of three spacious loft style condos that embody the flawless balance between state-of-the-art amenities and modern design elements.

These completely renovated two bedroom, one bath condominium lofts feature completely open living and dining spaces flooded with natural light. The open kitchen boasts recent renovations such as: stainless steel appliances, granite counters, plenty of cabinet space, dishwasher/disposal, and refrigerator.

These residences boasts modern features such as hardwood floors throughout the units, and tranquil bathrooms complete with rain shower heads, tiled walls with inlays, Toto water saving toilets, and Kohler tubs. In addition to these features, the two generously sized bedrooms have the versatility to bed used as an in-home office, guest bedroom, or nursery.

Residency at 34 Plympton offers luxuries including: a security system, air conditioning, private designated storage, walking distance to the restaurants on Harrison Avenue and Washington Street, and easy access to 93 and the Mass Pike.

If you want to see any of the three condos in person, feel free to contact one of our expert agents by scheduling a showing here. Also be sure to go to 34PlymptonBoston.com for more images and information.

2014 Home Design Trends to Tryout

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

2014 is a new year of trends and styles. This year’s trends will be focused on practicality, storage ideas, and clever home design tricks. If you’re looking for new remodeling projects to do yourself or have a contractor build, here are some perfect design trends to tryout:

Capitalize on Unused Staircase Space: For those of you with staircases, there’s endless design possibilities. Plan out how much usable space you have under your staircase and then decide what you’d want to do with that space. Ideas include:

Displaying Books

Storing Shoes and Supplies

Create a Reading Nook

Accordion Glass Windows and Doors: Accordion windows and doors are an excellent way to bring the outdoors in during warm weather. This design idea is perfect for anyone that likes to have cookouts or has the occasional outdoor meals. In addition, the glass windows and doors will allow for wide scenic views.

An Accordion Glass Window

Expanding and/or Multi-use Tables: Make the most out of your tables with one of these ideas. An expanding table allows for your table to take up less space when it’s not being used. It also gives you the ability to expand the table only when the extra table space is needed. A multi-use table allows for your kitchen table to have additional uses other than for dinning such as: billiards, ping pong, and poker.

An Expanding Table

An Expanding Table

A Multi-use Table

For more information on 2014 home design trends, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals!

Sources:

Buzzfeed: ‘31 Insanely Clever Remodeling Ideas For Your New Home’

Dornob: ‘High-Tech Dining Table Rotates, Expands & Doubles in Size’

Bored Panda: ‘33 Amazing Ideas That Will Make Your House Awesome’