The spring market is right around the corner. Perhaps, you’ve spent a good deal of the last year considering either moving out of the city, taking advantage of the deals happening in the city, or a second home. I’m here to answer some of the frequently asked questions I’ve had in a Corona-era real estate market.
Is now a good time to sell?
If you’re a suburbanite, strike while the iron is hot. The suburbs are highly desirable right now. There isn’t enough inventory to keep up with demand meaning multiple offers and offers over asking price. If you’re a city dweller, it depends on your motivation for selling and when you purchased.
Is now a good time to buy?
It really depends on your needs. For those downsizing or seeking a pied-à-terre, now is a great time to buy specifically in the city. For those looking for more space, to work from home or for an expanding family, now is also a good time to buy elsewhere as interest rates are low but expect a highly competitive environment particularly when a property just hits the market. If you work with a skilled agent, you will be able to find and land a home that checks most of your boxes.
How has my job changed since the pandemic started?
I’ve had to shift from in person meetings, coffees or dinners, to meetings online with the help of tools such as virtual tours, Zoom, and FaceTime. I do have Open Houses showing one party at a time and private showings, and I go out with clients to visit properties. We are compliant with mask wearing and social distancing.
What do I miss about the way we used to “do” real estate?
I truly miss the in-person, face-to-face interaction with my clients. I miss debriefing over a cup of coffee after a day of showings, and the social time enjoying a dinner or glass of wine, just to catch up on life.
Have a question for me or want to discuss your next real estate transaction? Contact me and let’s chat!
It’s hard to find a “Top Places to Live” or “Coolest Suburb” list that does not feature Somerville. This comes as no surprise to residents. It’s 5 miles outside of Boston, culturally diverse, has an amazing restaurant scene, green space, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
Neighborhoods to Know
Arguably the first Somerville neighborhood Bostonians turned to in search of more affordable living still within reach of the city, Davis Square has undergone a major transformation over the last couple of decades. It’s artsy and full of character.
Union Square is another hip, diverse section of Somerville. However, it is one that is on the precipice of change (yet again). The Green Line extension is set for 2021 completion and the nearby Boynton Yards, a 1.3M square foot mixed use science and innovation campus, will undoubtedly bring Union Square to the next level in its evolution.
More shopping center, than actual neighborhood, I would be remiss not to include it in must-know Somerville neighborhoods. The real estate inventory here is exclusively high rise condos tucked on the peripheral of fitness centers, retail, restaurants, and Lego Land. Living here is the height of convenience to say the least.
Taking a look at the numbers for Somerville condos year over year (2020 vs. 2019), 18% fewer condos sold, the average sale price showed a small increase, + 4%, despite the pandemic, while the average PPSF showed a small decline, -3.6%, perhaps attributable to the mix of properties sold, but properties were selling, on average, at the original asking price. Overall, Somerville fared reasonably this past year and continues to be a high interest area with good value relative to Boston neighborhoods.
Average Sale Price: $819,595 Average PPSF: $615
Click the photo below for a collection of available properties in Somerville.
If you’re thinking of a move to Somerville or interested in learning more about this neighborhood, contact me and let’s get the conversation started!
With the pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in second home sales across the country. Since winter is in full swing here in New England, I thought it would be fun and inspirational to feature ski towns within driving distance from Boston. If a second home close to the slopes is something you’re considering, contact me as I have an expansive network and can vet and refer you to an agent that will be the right fit for you.
If you love the vibe of Colorado or the Swiss Alps ski villages, Stowe is the spot for you. Expert skiers are drawn here because it has the largest peak in Vermont, perfect for expert skiers. It’s just over a 3 hour drive from Boston and a short drive to the Burlington International Airport. In terms of properties, there are a plethora of options including condos and townhouses in the resort, ski on/off condos or single family homes, or stunning residences within driving distance such as the custom timber frame home in the photo above.
Referred to as the “jewel” of Oxford county, this mountainside town is home to Sunday River, a favorite ski spot thanks to its proximity to Boston. Its peak is the second largest in Maine and sixth in New England. If you’re searching for a second home here, you’ll find mostly single family properties with sweeping mountain views.
North Conway, NH
Some people crave variety which brings us to North Conway. This charming and bustling village is conveniently located half an hour from Cranmore, Attitash, Bretton Woods, Shawnee Peak, and Wildcat, to name a few. There’s also no shortage of dining options as well as quaint boutiques to explore when you’re not on the mountain. For properties, in addition to condos, townhouses, and single families, there is even an inn on the market!
Killington aka “The Beast in the East” is about a 3 hour drive from Boston. It is one of the world’s largest and most diverse ski areas so no wonder it’s popular among Bostonians, New Yorkers, and Mid Atlantic-ers alike. Housing options here, much like in the other areas, consist of condos, townhouses, and single family properties, many of which are ski on/off.
Another great choice in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is Lincoln and nearby Loon Mountain. It’s the second largest ski area in New Hampshire. The activity here is always buzzing regardless of the season. In addition to top notch skiing, there is Clark’s Trading Post and Bear Show, the Flumes, and a steam railroad. Like most other towns on this list, Lincoln mostly offers condos, townhouses and single family homes.
If you’re considering a second home, contact me and let’s discuss how I can help. With my expansive network, I am able to provide a referral beyond a name. I can vet potential agents for you to ensure you end up with a synergistic match.
The groundhog may have shown its shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter, but spring will be here before you know it. If you’re planning to put your home on the market in the upcoming season, now is the time to prepare. Below are 5 simple tasks you can tackle now to ensure you’re ready come spring.
I imagine this is one a lot of us have already tackled during quarantine. If you haven’t, between Marie Kondo, The Home Edit and the latest, The Minimalists: Less Is Now, there is no shortage of inspiration out there to help you get started. If need be, rent a storage unit to keep any larger pieces that may be cluttering up your space.
You don’t have to invest in a full kitchen renovation to modernize your kitchen to appeal to potential buyers. Small changes such as updating your backsplash, switching out light fixtures, or installing new hardware can go a long way.
Similar to kitchens, you do not need to completely gut your bathroom to make an impact. Updating fixtures, a fresh coat of paint (neutrals are best), incorporating organic materials and textures will all make your bathroom look new at a relatively low cost.
Keep it Neutral
Buyers want a blank slate to imagine their décor and style in your current space. If you have colorful furniture, consider staging (I highly recommend staging in most situations) as to bring in neutral pieces that won’t overwhelm house hunters. If you can’t live without color, keep it to accent pieces such as pillows, throws, vases, etc.
Bring in Nature
One of the biggest trends to emerge out of quarantine is a desire to bring nature indoors. This includes plant life, but extends beyond plants to include organic materials such as wood and stone and earth tones. It’s all about warmth, natural textures and greenery right now.
For a more personalized consultation specific to your home, style and neighborhood, contact me and let’s set up a time to meet!
In late December, I wrote a post covering my growing work in the suburbs and featured some town city dwellers are gravitating to as they search for more space (the core of my business is still in the city, don’t fret). With the suburbs holding on to their popularity into 2021, here’s a part 2.
Wellesley is a mainstay on the list of popular, affluent suburbs that city dwellers love. There is a vast selection of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Residents and visitors alike flock to The Gardens at Elm Bank for a stroll through the gorgeous landscaping, kayaking, picnicking, or even hiking. Perhaps, what Wellesley is known best for is education. Babson College and Wellesley College both reside here and the town has the second highest concentration of Master’s degrees in the U.S.
The fact that Chestnut Hill was once home to Tom and Giselle may be enticing for some to consider moving to this “village” just 6 miles from downtown Boston. It’s also home to Boston College, The Streets at Chestnut Hill, and the states only Bloomingdales. House hunters looking here will find rolling lawn and leafy, sprawling estates for the most part.
Winthrop is a coastal community less than 10 miles from downtown Boston that is densely populated, but still maintains a small town feel. There’s still a family pharmacy in town! In terms of green space and outdoor living, aside from the obvious beaches, Belle Isle marsh is a popular destination for dog owners and bird watchers as well as Deer Island Park with its spectacular harbor views. I recently had the pleasure of solidifying a historic property in the town for one of my clients and can attest to the town’s charm.
The commute from Waltham to the city is relatively easy, but there are also plenty of employers in town making it a convenient place to both live and work. The mix of both residents, workers and even students (Brandeis and Bentley are located here) in town also brings a bustling restaurant scene. On Moody Street, you can find everything from pho to tapas to kabobs. Just this month, I had a property hit the market here and it went under agreement in one short week.
Hamilton comes in as the most rural on this list. Situated between Beverly and Wenham (the two towns share a high school), there is no shortage of farm or green space here. The rural setting truly accommodates an outdoor lifestyle as there are 450 miles of trails you can access from town. Appleton Farms, Bradley Palmer State Park, Mass Audubon Society are all accessible here. Home prices are relatively affordable and though it’s a little off the beaten path, there is a commuter rail stop on the Newburyport line.
Westwood is a super popular suburb for city dwellers due to the small town feel, superb school system, plenty of retail and restaurants. For commuters, there is easy access into the city as well as NYC via Amtrak at University Station. In recent years, University Station has become an outdoor shopping center with a Wegman’s, Target, Home Goods, and other shops and dining.
A little further southwest of Westwood, lies Medfield. It is truly small town America with historic homes and long Main Street with local shops and cafes. There are also a number of parks and reservations for walking, hiking, etc. such as Rocky Woods, Noon Hill Reservation, and Fork Factory Brook Reservation.
My goal is to help you achieve yours whether you are thinking about a transition from the suburbs to the city or from the city to the suburbs, whether you’re a seller, buyer or both. I pivot as necessary to my client’s interests and needs. Considering a move or want a market snapshot of a particular town or neighborhood of interest? Contact me for a confidential conversation.
Gone are the days when one entity predicts the year’s most desirable color palette. 2021 color trends range from gray and bright yellow to warm, earthy tones such as taupe and rust. Let’s take a look at this year’s biggest colors and how you can incorporate them into your home.
Pantone: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating
Some have said gray has seen its day, but it looks like the color is still holding on to its top spot as a paint color of choice, specifically when paired with bright sunny yellow. If you’re considering putting your home on the market and looking to freshen up the paint in your home, gray is a fantastic choice. My advice would be to keep the yellow as an accent.
Benjamin Moore: Aegean Teal
Wouldn’t we all love a trip to the Aegean sea after this past year? Well, the next best thing would be to incorporate that soothing and uplifting blue into your home. It really makes the kitchen in the photo above pop, though I would advise steering clear if you’re considering putting your home on the market anytime soon. Buyers are typically drawn to neutral palettes.
Sherwin Williams: Urbane Bronze
Dark and moody is having a real moment. It adds a sophistication. This specific shade is warm and works really well with soft whites and natural wood tones. Note: you cannot scroll on social media without stumbling upon a dark accent wall. This may be more of a trend and dark paint can be tough to cover up so you may consider using temporary wallpaper.
Graham & Brown: Epoch
If you’ve been hunkering down at home all year and are tired of staring at your walls, this is definitely the shade to jolt you awake and breathe new life into your home, while at the same time be cozy and sophisticated. You can incorporate this color into your current décor by upgrading your throw pillows and blankets, vases, etc. or you can go all the way and paint an entire room with this vibrant color.
If you’re updating the color scheme of your home because you’re considering a move, contact me and let’s discuss the ways I can help!
13 Hartwell Street, Unit 3 2 Bedrooms | 1.5 Bathroom | 1,180 SF $529,000
Welcome home! This stunning residence features a bright, sun-splashed living room with niche for desk (perfect for working from home), hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen with granite counters, stainless appliances, center island, walk-in pantry, laundry room, and half bath. From the kitchen, there is direct access to a private enclosed patio which allows for outdoor dining and easy grilling. Second level features two spacious bedrooms with great closet space, hardwood floors and ceiling fans/lights, plus large full bath with a newly glazed tub/shower. Central air, three deeded, off street parking spaces, and large private storage space in basement complete this home.
Conveniently located on the Weston line, within walking distance to Brandeis University, commuter rail, parks/playgrounds/recreation, minutes to highways for access to restaurants, shops, city, airport and so much more.
Ready to schedule your private tour? Contact me and let’s talk!
This is an edited repost from the Sotheby’s Extraordinary Living Blog.
This holiday season looks a little different than what we’re used to. But while some traditions may need to fall by the wayside for the safety of yourself and others, that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to future celebrations with friends and family. Be inspired by these dinner party-ready spaces that will serve as the perfect backdrop.
If you are interested in learning about any of the properties featured, contact me and let’s chat.
Now a well-established neighborhood complete with grocery store, the Seaport District is far from done with its revolution. Some experts predict that with the pandemic, we’ll see some national brands leaving the neighborhood opening the door for local businesses to move in which is considered positive. The pandemic has also brought the opportunity to see what the neighborhood really looks like as we’re able to distinguish between the professionals who used to work in the big, glittery buildings and the actual residents creating a bigger sense of community and voice for the area, also a positive effect.
Every winter season the neighborhood transforms into a wonderland of safe, seasonal activities such as igloo rooftops, ice skating rink, curling, and art displays. The Snowport offers residences and visitors alike festive retreat without having to leave the city.
You do not want to miss this powerful pop-up village with a rotating selection of stores to shop. It’s a fantastic way to learn about new brands, shop small, and support the local economy this holiday season and all year long.
Boston Harbor Walk
There are plenty of opportunities to get outside when you live in the Seaport such as the Boston Harbor Walk, a 43-mile park stretching along Boston’s shoreline. The Harbor Walk connects Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods to Boston Harbor and each other. It’s ideal for walking, biking, and cycling.
Opening anticipated in 2021, The St. Regis Residences promises to be one of the most luxurious, full service residential developments in all of Boston in a boutique-like setting. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and built by Cronin Development. The St. Regis Condominiums will sit directly on the water, with city and harbor views. The property will feature approximately 114 condominiums on 22 floors, Health Club, library, swimming pool and spa. Many units will feature private outdoor spaces, floor to ceiling windows, state of the art kitchens, top of the line bathrooms and hardwood flooring. Butler personal service is touted as one of the standout features in addition to the setting and amenities.
Move in today! Located at the site of the iconic Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant, Pier 4 Boston houses 106 ultra luxury residential units with private outdoor spaces and top of the line finishes. Building amenities include garage parking, personal concierge services, fitness center, pet-friendly facilities including The Dog Spa, on-site dog washing room, and a private lounge with terrace overlooking the water – perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying the perfect night in.
A look at the Seaport sales year to date 2020 shows there were 213 sales with an Average Sale Price: $1,686,720 and Average Price Per Square Foot of $1,472/sf. Sixty percent of the sales (128) were attributable to the new luxury condos at full service Echelon Seaport with an Average Sale Price of $1,186,424 and Average Price Per Square Foot of $1,704/sf.
This compares to 2019 in which there were 250 sales, with Average Sale Price of $2,148,587 and Average Price Per Square Foot of $1,460/sf. Fifty-two percent of sales came from Pier 4 and Echelon Seaport combined: 95 sales at Pier 4 with an Average Price of $3,312,786 an Average Price Per Square Foot of $1,908/sf and 36 sales from Echelon Seaport with an Average Sale Price of $1,506,195 and an Average Price Per Square Foot of $1,512/sf.
While there has been a decline in the absolute number of sales in the Seaport (-14.8%) with roughly two weeks remaining in the year, we will see how the year nets out. Sales in 2020 may have stalled somewhat due to Covid, but the stats are still impressive. With a vaccine on the horizon comes the return of what drives people to city life which should bode well for 2021.
Source: MLS Link 12.15.2020
It will be exciting to watch how the neighborhood transforms into the future.
If you’re considering a move to the Seaport, contact me for a confidential consultation!
With the influx in home sales in the Greater Boston area, it felt like the right time to post a gift guide for new homeowners. These suggestions work well whether you’re gifting to a first time home buyer, a seasoned home buyer, or someone who just purchased a vacation/second home.
Cheeseboards are all the rage right now thanks to influencers on Instagram. Gift your dear one their own. You can even have it customized with either their name, date, or a nice quote.
Do you know what pairs well with cheese? Wine. It’s a fantastic idea to grab a celebratory bottle for the new homeowners or if they’re avid wine drinkers, you could gift them a wine club membership to extend the celebration throughout the year.
It’s said that having greenery in your home is an automatic mood booster as it purifies the air and helps ground us back to nature even if the residents you’re gifting to are city dwellers. Try selecting something with low maintenance such as a snake plant (pictured above) or ZZ plant.
Small Framed Art
To me, artwork and décor is something that is unique and deeply personal so I would never suggest purchasing a big piece for new homeowners unless you were certain it matched their aesthetic. However, a small framed photo of the exterior of their home or map coordinations is thoughtful and can be displayed in a number of places in their home.
Candles or Diffusers
Scent is another powerful mood booster and a welcomed gift for any home owner. It’s one of those items you can never have too many of in your abode. A candle or diffuser is perfect for the main living area as well as any bedroom and bathroom.
What are your go-to gifts for new homeowners? Let me know in the comments!
Frann Bilus | Gibson Sotheby's International Realty 277 Dartmouth Street, 2nd Floor | Boston, MA 02116 firstname.lastname@example.org | 617.759.4828
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