Posts Tagged ‘Find a Home Boston’

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.

Renting with Ease: A guide to navigating your rental process

Monday, April 8th, 2013

It’s the season for renting. Students, young professionals, even families are looking to lay their head in the Boston area, but many don’t know the most efficient way to go about it. Smart City is laying out a step-by-step way to go about renting through one of our reputable agents.

  1. Figure out what you want. Whether it be the number of bedrooms, the area, the proximity to public transportation, or the price, come into a rental office with a list of requirements. However, be prepared to be flexible.
  2. Assemble your documents. These include current and past landlord information, student documentation, or paycheck stubs for verification of employment. The sooner you are able to provide these to your rental agent, the faster the process will move along.
  3. Take notes on apartment showings. Make lists of pros and cons and try to recall specific details of each apartment. A rental agent can really help with these details.
  4. Come to showings with a checkbook. Be prepared to make a quick decision if you find your dream home. Properties, particularly in Boston, go very quickly.
  5. Read through your entire lease before signing. This seems straightforward but it’s important to know exactly what you are signing. Have a conversation with your rental agent if you spot anything that confuses you or raises questions.
  6. Finally, make preparations for your move. Consider parking, elevator access and even the weather on the day of the move.

To get in touch with one of our experienced and talented rental agents to guide you through this process, call (617) 236-0353

21 Walker Street- Unit 3 for Rent!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

A new luxury property for rent in the Charlestown area! 21 Walker Street is now available at $2,350 a month. This sunlit one-bedroom apartment comes with many luxury accommodations. Hardwood floors and a marble bath make this home radiant throughout. The kitchen is fully equipped with Energy Star appliances and cherry cabinets as well as granite countertops. In addition, the home has cathedral ceilings and many convenient extras such as a full washer and dryer and a built-in ironing board. For safety and ease, the apartment has a video entry system that will record images of callers to your home when you’re gone. With easy roof deck access and central A/C and heat, this home is the complete package. Not to mention the great location in charming Charlestown, with access to the highway, shopping and public transportation.

21 Walker Bedroom

New Listings at 3 Repton Place

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Hot on the market: two of our most recent listings are located in the luxurious 3 Repton Place in Watertown. This building hosts a wide variety of great amenities including easy parking and a relaxing courtyard with a playground and landscaped grounds. This building is more secluded than properties in downtown Boston, and is convenient for commuters thanks to easy highway access.

Exterior at 3 Repton Place

Unit 3402 is a sweeping three bedroom, two bathroom home with plenty of space for storage and family members, while Unit 3202 also offers additional space with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a den. These homes are the complete package.

Repton Place Luxury Courtyard

Both listings include many desirable aspects: private balcony, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, tall ceilings and dramatic windows letting the sun pour in to these spacious apartments. Additionally, both homes offer not just one, but two garage parking spots per listing. The on-site management and superintendent are always on top of property maintenance. Condo fee includes snow removal, refuse removal and constant exterior maintenance and landscape work.

The Watertown area includes shopping, walking trails, and bike paths for the active homeowner. The latest listings at 3 Repton place are sure to impress anyone seeking a new place to lay their head in the Boston area. Go to www.thecharlesrealty.com or (617) 236-0353 to inquire further with the listing agent, Sarah Glovsky.

As the Holidays Approach

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

It’s important to remember the value of your home. Especially this time of year, when being together with your family is paramount, don’t forget to also give thanks to the building that keeps you safe and warm all year long.

A few things you can do to remember your home:

1. Get it a gift. It will make it seem better all year long. Some ideas are: new throw pillows, curtains or a new rug, or lamp, or maybe go big with new energy-saving windows or a HE washer and dryer. Get something that will make it more of a home.

2. Don’t forget to decorate with love this holiday season! Bring warmth into your space with lights, candles and even some seasonal music. Pandora radio stations are great ways to ensure that your classic music choices don’t run on repeat or get boring.

3. If you are going away, and leaving your home for the holidays, don’t forget to get someone to take care of it. You want to ask a neighbor to get your mail and newspapers and to go in and change the lights every night. Also, be sure to turn your water off in the event of a freeze. These tips might seem obvious, but if you live in a condo, it might not be as natural.

Enjoy the holiday season everyone!

Is Bigger Better?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

When shopping for a home, what’s on your wish-list? If you’re looking in the suburbs, due to the current state of the real estate market some of the giant homes are being sold for uber affordable prices. Does that mean you should swoop in and grab them? Not necessarily. If you’re looking in the city, the prices per square foot are still so high, that sometimes it’s important to ask yourself: is bigger really better? What could purchasing a small home save you? In time, money and headaches? A lot.

Here are somethings about small homes that make them extremely attractive:

1. Small homes cost less: not only upfront, but over the years. Heating and cooling a small house is so much less expensive than a big house. Furnishing and decorating all the extra rooms adds up, and renovating extra restrooms, or a giant kitchen, comes with a giant price tag. And don’t forget that you’ll be saving money on the property taxes because of the smaller square footage.

2. Tons of time saved: not having to clean 6 rooms, or 3600 square feet, will save you SO much time.

3. Easier to live simply: with less space, you have less stuff. Quick anecdote: when I moved into my first ever apartment in Boston, my dad was helping me move. My apartment was the typical tiny Beacon Hill unit, and I had a black bookshelf that didn’t fit into my room. I didn’t want to throw it away because it was perfectly good and almost brand new so my thought is that we would just put it in our living room. My dad warned my roommate and I against it saying, “Don’t. Give it away, if you put it out here, you’ll just find random stuff to fill it with.” We laughed and kept it. A year and a half later it was full of everything from old DVDs to owner’s manuals to an iron and we couldn’t seem to get rid of any of the stuff. I will never again own more than I need. Ok, so long story short… If you have extra space you will find a way to fill it, and that’s not a good thing.

4. Quality investments: when you have less space to fill, you can spend more money on quality pieces that will stand out in the limited space. You can also afford granite or marble slab for counters in a smaller kitchen, or nicer cabinets. You can update 2 bathrooms nicely and not have to worry about the downstairs ones… Basically, it takes less to make a smaller house really nice.

All in all, a small home also makes for a homier home. I think that if you’re attracted by the glitz and glam of the large McMansion, just take a moment to consider what a smaller home could save you. Is it worth it in the end?

(Source & inspiration)

Thinking of Renting out your Condo Instead of Selling?

Friday, October 14th, 2011

“If I can’t get the price I want for my condo…… I’ll just rent it.”

We can’t tell you how often we have heard this statement over the past few years. With the housing market in Boston in a bit of a holding pattern, many condominium owners feel that the best thing to do right now is rent and wait it out.

There are many advantages to this strategy: the potential of market increase, tax deductions, and many other positive aspects to becoming a landlord. But, experience tells us, it may not be as simple as you think.

As Realtors, it is our job to inform condominium owners of all aspects of all their options. With that in mind, we ask people to consider these Seven Considerations Before You Rent Your Home:

1. Tenant occupied properties tend to sell for less

If you decide to rent your property with the intention of selling next spring or the year after, you need to consider that marketing a property with tenants in place can put you at a disadvantage. Tenanted properties tend to not show as well and create challenges for showing availability.

2. Renting your unit could pose a disadvantage to your condo association

One of the largest obstacles we face in the current mortgage market is owner occupancy. A building with more than 30% of the units rented could lower the value of all condominiums in the association.

3. Damage to the property

Keep in mind that if you have recently renovated or improved your property, having a tenant may place wear and tear on these “new” items. Additionally, despite proper screening and best intentions, a tenant almost never takes as good of care of a home as the owner does.

4. What if you get the Tenant From Hell

Even with a complete, professional screening, there is always a chance your tenant could “go bad”. A landlord needs to think through if they can afford the monthly expense if the tenant does not pay rent, especially in a down economy without the readiness of available new jobs, should your tenant lose theirs. Are the financial advantages worth the potential cost of renovating after a tenant destroys your property or the cost of an eviction?

5. Monthly Nut

The most important first step in deciding to rent your property is to determine the cost of ownership verses the potential rent. Even if the rent can cover your mortgage, taxes and condo fees, you need to consider maintenance, vacancies, building assessments and other potential expenses of ownership.

6. What if the market goes down instead of up?

As Realtors, we are currently very optimistic about the future of our current real estate market. However, we do not have a crystal ball and there is always the chance that over the next year, two years or beyond, the market in Boston will decrease rather than grow. If you rent with the intention of selling for more “next year”, you could end up being a landlord much longer than you planned for.

7. Tenant Issues and Maintenance Problems

Unlike a stock certificate that sits quietly, tenants need things! Are you prepared to get a locksmith at 2am? Do you know good plumbers, electricians? Are you ready to liaise with your condo association if the tenant violates the Rules and Regulations of your association? These are questions any potential landlord needs to ask themselves.

As Real Estate Professionals with a combined 30 years of experience in The Boston Market, we are here to answer your questions, help you weigh your options, and always give you honest advice. Please feel free to contact us anytime for a free real estate consultation or to answer your questions. The knowledge is free! We are here to help and serve.

By, Betsy Herald

QR Codes in Real Estate

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I think that at this point, it is safe to say that we have all seen the little scan-able bar codes on advertisements and for sale signs. Have you ever scanned one? Do you even own a smart phone that can? Do you even know what they are? For those of you who answered “no” to that last question, they are QR codes, which is short for “Quick Response codes.” The idea is basically, if you have a QR code scanner on your smart phone (which is a free app), where ever you see a QR code, all you have to do is snap it with your phone and you’ll be sent to a webpage with details on whatever it is that the code was printed on. In the case of real estate, this means that just by scanning a QR code on a for sale sign outside of a property, you could be sent to the price, square footage, condo fees, and all other useful information about the property instantly to your phone.  When you think about it that way– it is really no wonder why QR codes are considered among the gold standards for mobile marketing.

However, how many people are actually utilizing them to their full potential?  And who are these people? “Thirty-five percent of adults own a smart phone, according to the Pew Internet Project, making the QR technology available to them.” (Source) but that that mean they use it? Although some people definietly remain skeptical or in the dark about QR codes, there has certainly been a boom of them in the last year or so. Now, “Scanbuy Inc., a New York company that develops and manages QR codes, processes 1.2 scans a second, every second of the day, or more than 100,000 scans per day globally. (When the smart phone app scans the code, it acts like a hyperlink, taking the user to a webpage.)” (Source).

And, who is doing all this scanning? “Men are bigger scanners than women (60.8 percent), and people with household incomes of $100,000 or more scan more than lower earners, according to comScore. Scanning is also a young person’s game. Those 25 to 34 scan more than people between 35 and 44, who scan more than those in the 45-to-54 group, and so on. Only 2.9 percent of scanners are 65 or older.” (Source) So, does this make the codes a logical addition to sales listing signs? Possibly.

Have you ever scanned one? After reading this– will you? And from a marketing perspective it is important to think about the fact that a QR code takes up a little amount of space on an ad, but the potential punch it can deliver is large.

Cash Deals in Massachusetts

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

So far this year one third of the homes purchased in Massachusetts were bought in cash– mortgage free. In an economy that is known for its down market- why are we seeing this? Possibly because the only people who have enough assets to buy in this economy are the ones who would buy in cash anyway? Or maybe it’s a reaction to the new, firm, and constricting guidelines surrounding mortgages. Or perhaps it’s the volatile stock market that has investors searching for more tangible and stable ways to invest their money. “Brian Bethune, an economist at Amherst College, said wealthy buyers may want to take advantage of deep discounts in the high-end market rather than watch their money flounder in stocks and bonds.” (Source).

Whatever the reason, the trend is not isolated to Boston. “Across the nation, about 31 percent of all August home sales were in cash, the second highest percentage since February, when it reached nearly 34 percent, according to a survey by the Maryland-based trade publication, Inside Mortgage Finance.” (Source).

Many people are buying in cash: investors picking up run-down properties to either flip or fix up and rent, foreign buyers, empty-nesters that are down-sizing and moving into the city who can buy a condo with the profit from the sale of their suburban home, or wealthy parents buying their kids a condo to live in while they go to school in the area.

Regardless of the reasons, this is atypical and remarkable percentage of cash purchases, and an impressive increase after 22% in 2010 and 20% in 2009.

The story was published on the front page of the Boston Globe and can be found here: Source.

691 Massachusetts Avenue

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This is just to inform you of a gorgeous new development in the South End at 691 Mass Ave! The finishes are stylish and very high end and the prices are very affordable! There are 1, 1+ and 2 bedroom homes available. Indoor and outdoor parking is also available for purchase. More details can be found at 691MassAve.com. You can also read up on Boston Home’s article about it here.