Five Lessons I Learned in 2021 as a Realtor

1. Stay Nimble

Staying nimble and flexible, for me, has meant rethinking my clientele, the communities I serve and how best to position offers on both the buy and sell side to ensure my clients meet their goals.

2. Connections are Everything

The importance of referrals for a realtor are no secret, but having a vast network of connections goes far beyond client referrals and is critical for success. It’s building solid relationships with other realtors, mortgage lenders, vendors, contractors, cleaners, etc. You never know when you may need an expert in a particular area for yourself or clients and it’s good to know help is a quick call away.

3. Patience is Key

This could have been the theme of 2021. I had so many clients in the suburbs this year who endured losing out on homes due to bidding wars. We had to rethink neighborhoods, get creative with offers, and call upon my network of agents to try and get in early and fast. Ultimately, they all ended successfully with new homes.

4. Good Agents Create Markets

When the housing market in the city nearly stalled in the early pandemic, I didn’t want to wait it out. I educated myself on the suburbs surrounding the city and took the situation as an opportunity to expand my markets.

5. Client Experience is King

Real estate is a people-focused business. I thrive on exceeding my client’s expectations beyond just the purchase or sale of a home. My goal is to serve as a lifestyle advisor, bringing thoughtful analysis, honesty and integrity to my clients so they can make the best-informed decisions and act with confidence.

Sip Sip Hooray! 5 Home Cocktail Bars

Repost Sotheby’s Extraordinary Living Blog

Why go out for a nightcap when a custom-stocked private bar is steps away? From an Upper West Side townhouse to a San Francisco high-rise, these bars will inspire staying home and sipping in style.

Mediterranean-Inspired Houston Hideaway

Houston, Texas | David Atkins & Jason Lee VillarrealMartha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty 

Tucked amid stately trees, this 9,922-square-foot Mediterranean-inspired home is a harmonious, satisfying retreat in Houston’s bucolic Tanglewood. It features generously proportioned spaces, including five bedrooms, living and dining rooms, a well-outfitted kitchen, a butler’s bar and wine room, a library with 18-foot ceilings and an upper-level mezzanine, a media room with a projector, a 300-square-foot gym, a game room, and a sitting room with a cocktail bar boasting reclaimed ceiling beams, an eye-catching sink, and antique cabinetry.

Designer Aerie in San Francisco

San Francisco, California | Gregg LynnSotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage

High above Russian Hill, this two-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot aerie designed by the acclaimed Jay Jeffers basks in sweeping panoramas of the bay waters and the city skyline. The chic and inviting living room appeals with its warming travertine fireplace, walk-out terrace, and streamlined wet bar with a wine chiller and ample storage that encourages soigné cocktail parties. Other highlights include an expertly equipped kitchen, a media room with Murphy bed, and sophisticated home automation systems.

Greenwich Grandeur

Greenwich, Connecticut | Helene Barre & Fran EhrlichSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Classic Connecticut grandeur meets 21st-century sophistication and technology in this majestic 12,402-square-foot six-bedroom manor on 4.02 emerald acres in Greenwich. Beyond a stunning foyer and formal living and dining rooms, the heart of the home is a glorious, light-flooded great room with a fireplace, space for lounging and dining, and a vintage-inspired bar. Outdoor entertaining is equally easy thanks to generous terraces, an alfresco kitchen, a fireplace, a pool and spa, a pool house, and a lake with a fountain.

Impressive Upper West Side Townhouse

New York, New York | Cathy TaubSotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Impeccably renovated, this Upper West Side townhouse on a prime block near Central Park offers seven floors of impressively chic living, entertaining, and sleeping spaces as well as a loggia, multiple terraces, and a spectacular rooftop deck with a full outdoor kitchen and sitting areas. Stylish gatherings are effortless on the main entertainment level, which provides dining space for up to 20 guests, two sleek gas fireplaces, and a striking wet bar with shelving for dozens of desirable bottles and fitting glassware.

Texas Treasure

Fulshear, Texas | Raghda HenthorneMartha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty 

Occupying 2.8 enviably private acres not far from the Brazos River, this estate comprises a regal main residence, a unique guesthouse, and a 20-car garage. In addition to five bedrooms, the home offers an opulent dining room, a paneled library, a kitchen with adjoining family and breakfast rooms, a theater, and a game room featuring a Western-inspired bar with a mirrored wall and glass shelves. French doors lead to the terrace, summer kitchen, and refreshing pool.

Now that you have some home bar inspo, drop your favorite holiday cocktail to make in the comments below!

Gift Guide for New Home Owners

‘Tis the seasons for gift giving! Use this as your go-to guide when shopping for the new home owners in your life – it’s full of options that will be both useful and aesthetically pleasing.

Low Maintenance Plants

A snake plant (pictured below) or money tree breathe life into a new home without burdening the home owner with an extensive maintenance routine.

Engraved Cutting Board

A nice cutting board adds an element of luxury to the task of cutting. They also can be beautifully displayed on the counter and the engraving adds a personal element.

Cheese Board

Charcuterie boards are having quite a moment in the spotlight. They are so easy to create with the help of a stunning cheese board to serve as the foundation – instant party pleaser!

Diffuser

The right scent can make or break the mood. Help the new owners create a relaxed atmosphere with the help of some aromatherapy via a sleek diffuser.

Cozy Robe and Slippers

Spa-like vibes are a necessity after handling the stresses of moving and unpacking a new home.

Bathtub Tray

See above. Spa-like vibes help make your home a relaxation oasis.

Personalized Stationary

Perfect for writing your to-do lists in style.

Coffee Table Book

Coffee table books can be a great conversation piece or just for show to elevate that lived in feeling of a home.

Throw Blanket

Is there anything more satisfying than cuddling up with a cozy blanket after a long day of unpacking?

Puzzles or Games

Games are a great way to bond and spend time with friends and loved ones without the involvement of a screen.

Luxury Candle

Candles pull double duty creating a pleasant aromatic atmosphere and being visually appealing.

Glass Storage Set

Perfect for that Pinterest-worthy pantry we’re all hoping to have and/or storing leftovers.

Wine Subscription

The recipient of this gift will experience the joy of popping open a fantastic bottle of wine and the anticipation of which bottle will be delivered next. It’s really the gift that keeps on giving.

Custom House Portrait

This sentimental gift is perfect for first-time home buyers who were successfully able to navigate and secure a home in this competitive landscape.

Coasters

Protect that new furniture with some stylish coasters!

What is your go-to housewarming gift? Let me know in the comments!

Neighborhood Update: Jamaica Plain

While Jamaica Plain has been home to a diverse community for some time, its popularity has grown exponentially since the pandemic began thanks to its urban/suburban feel, options for multi-family and single-family living, and an abundance of parks and outdoor activities.

Area Attractions

Arnold Arboretum

Covering 281 acres of land, the Arboretum is both a beautiful landscape of mature plants, a site for vital scientific research, and free to the public. Visitors can enjoy the quiet beauty of nature right in the city, explore a world-class collection of trees, shrubs, and vines collected from around the globe. Stop by the Hunnewell Visitor Center for art exhibitions inspired by trees

Centre Street

This is the neighborhood’s heartbeat as it is home to many of the restaurants and shops in town such as Casa Verde, delicious Mexican brought to you by the same team as Tres Gatos and Lil Dipper, and Boomerang’s, the renowned vintage shop.

Sam Adams Brewery

The original Sam Adams Brewery was a destination long before breweries popped up all over town as a hot spot for people young and old and even families. They offer tour experiences and have a Beer Garden and Taproom for enjoying R&D beers and beloved classics.

Residence Styles

Victorian Homes Turned Condos

The neighborhood is chock full of historical Victorian homes turned condos.

Single Family Homes

There are also single-family homes available providing a surburban feel, but with all of the amenities of the city at your fingertips.

New Construction

There is some new construction with more planned especially in the Forest Hills area close to the Orange Line.

Market Snapshot

Home prices continue to rise with the average sale price and price per square foot (PPSF) foot up slightly year over year. The ppsf is still well below what you’ll find in Back Bay, South End, etc. meaning your dollar will stretch further here.

Average Sale Price

$1,098,976 vs. $1,125,009 (+2.4% YoY)

Average Sale $ / SqFt
$511 vs. $556(+8.9%)

Click the photo below to view a collection of available properties in Jamaica Plain. Want to learn more about JP or set up a showing? Let’s talk!

Fabulous Foyers: 5 Homes With Inviting Entrances

Repost from the Sotheby’s Extraordinary Living Blog. Read original here.

From Manhattan to Pebble Beach, these distinctive foyers welcome visitors and introduce them to their homes’ unique character and style.

Chic Cooperative

New York, New York | Louise C. Beit, Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Once the home of Hollywood luminary Joan Fontaine, this elegant four-bedroom residence enjoys an enviable location in a coveted 1928 cooperative. A private elevator opens to a foyer with exquisite inlaid parquetry floors, hand-painted silver floral wall treatments, and ornate transoms and moldings that introduce the other sophisticated architectural and design elements found throughout. Highlights include a 30-foot living room, a formal dining room, a library, a well-appointed kitchen, soaring ceilings, four fireplaces, oversized casement windows, and a Juliet balcony overlooking picturesque gardens.

Riveting River Oaks Contemporary

Houston, Texas | Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

The light-flooded interiors of this striking 5,297-square-foot contemporary in River Oaks offer stylish, lofty spaces for living and entertaining. A foyer with a stunning sculptural staircase flows openly to the formal living room, the dining area, and a kitchen with an island, a wet bar area, and a breakfast nook. Beyond are a family room and a library with floor-to-ceiling windows, bookshelves, and a reading loft. Covered outdoor sitting areas on two levels overlook the luxurious backyard, which includes a pool with a waterfall.

Villa Okeanos

Pebble Beach, California | Jeannie Fromm, Sotheby’s International Realty – Carmel Rancho Brokerage

This Mediterranean-style villa enjoys a prestigious location and some of the most majestic views in Pebble Beach. Its impressive 7,929-square-foot floor plan begins with an elaborately ornate glass and metalwork entry and features a chef’s kitchen, a formal dining room with a trompe l’oeil ceiling dome, and living and family rooms—all replete with stunning Old World detailing. The two-acre property offers expansive limestone terraces, European-inspired gardens, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, and an inviting guesthouse.

Greenwich Grande Dame

Greenwich, Connecticut | Janet Milligan, Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

This six-bedroom manor designed by famed architect Mott B. Schmidt is one of the most significant properties in the prestigious Khakum Wood Association of Greenwich. The elegance begins in classical entry with a vintage brick floor and an eye-catchingly detailed floating spiral stairway. Beyond are welcoming living and entertaining spaces and—outdoors—an enticing swimming pool; a pool pavilion with lounging, dining, and grilling areas and a fireplace; and a stately stone terrace with a fire table and a grill that faces the lake.

Charming Inspiration in Houston

Houston, Texas | Ruthie Porterfield, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

Inspired by the cottages of the Cotswold, this three-bedroom home is rich with detail and character. A charming wood door in a brick archway opens to the handsome foyer and its knotty-alder millwork, coffered ceiling, transom windows, Byzantine gold travertine flooring, graceful curving stairway, and elevator. Completing the floor plan are a study, a dining room with a trompe l’oeil ceiling, a wine room, a regal living room, a cook’s kitchen, a deck, two offices, a game room, and garaging for up to five cars.

Subscribe to stay current on all things real estate, Boston, and lifestyle!

5 Ways to Combat House Hunting Fatigue

House hunting fatigue is a phenomenon that occurs in a highly competitive seller’s market. Buyers are faced with low inventory, high prices, rejected offers, and disappointment at times. Here are my 5 suggestions for combatting house hunting fatigue in today’s market.

1. Ensure Preparedness

Time is of the essence in today’s competitive market. Ensure you have all your ducks in a row to move quickly through the process such as having mortgage pre-approval, knowing your top budget going into negotiations, etc.

2. Exercise Patience

Odds are your first offer is not going to be accepted. You may end up making multiple offers before yours wins! If you go into your home search with realistic expectations, you’ll have the tenacity to see it through to the end goal of purchasing a new home.

3. Go All In

Now is not the time to play games. If you absolutely fall in love with a property, there is nothing wrong with going all- in with the hopes the seller will accept your offer. Keep in mind you may get a second chance on a particular property.

4. Revisit Your Wishlist

Is outdoor space a non-negotiable? Do you need to have a mudroom? Is there a nearby town that’s slightly less competitive than the area you desire? Take inventory of your needs and nice-to-haves and access where you have wiggle room to negotiate for yourself.

5. Choose the Right Advisor

It takes a seasoned, thoughtful realtor and advisor to balance writing a winning offer and protecting your interests. I am cautious to guide, but never steer my clients in one direction or another, and I will work diligently to help you navigate the complex landscape and meet your end goals. My approach is to bring thoughtful analysis, honesty and integrity to my clients so you can make the best-informed decisions and act with confidence.

Looking for an trusted advisor to guide you through the process? Contact me and let’s set up a time to meet!

New England’s Best Foliage Destinations

From late September through early November is a magical time in New England where we truly get to appreciate the beauty of having all four seasons. The air is crisp, the drinks are warm, the leaves are a multitude of colors, and we can soak up quality time outdoors before the winter frost sets in. I love a weekend getaway for a change of pace and scenery every now and then, especially in the fall. Keep reading for my top destinations for a fall foliage drive – all within 3 hours of Boston!

Kent, Connecticut

Image via Trip Advisor

Bristol, Rhode Island

Image via Google

Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

Image via Boston.com

Franconia, New Hampshire

Image via Google

Bethel, Maine

Image via Google

Woodstock, Vermont

Image via Google

What’s your pick for foliage? Let me know in the comments!

Subscribe here to keep up-to-date on Boston real estate, design, and lifestyle news.

Suburban Spotlight: Marblehead

Known for its affluence, natural beauty, and stunning architecture, Marblehead is a popular suburban destination for buyers looking to stay close to the shore. This coastal gem is 16 miles from Boston and relatively close to the Blue Line in Revere and Commuter Rail Station in Swampscott. Let’s take a deeper look into the community.

Neighborhoods to Know

Old Town

This is the heart of Marblehead’s Historic District with narrow streets and walkways lined with boutiques, shops, and historic homes dating back to the 18th century. Think Beacon Hill charm, but make it coastal.

Marblehead Neck

This little peninsula is home to not one, but three yacht clubs! The views are among the best in the town and there is direct access to the beaches whether you own one of the multi-million dollar waterfront homes or not.

Marblehead Light and Hovey Park

At the peak of Marblehead Neck lies Hovey Park. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or to take in the views on a gorgeous New England day regardless of the season.

Places to Go

The Barnacle

This in-town staple literally sits over Marblehead Harbor. It’s loved by locals and visitors alike and definitely worth checking out.

Stowaway Sweets

Opened in 1929, hand-dipped chocolates, located in an antique house….need I say more?

Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA

This state-of-the-art facility has it all: indoor/outdoor pools, café, childcare, classes. And it even has its own island! Camp Island brings kids together for arts and crafts, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, singing, archery, and storytelling around the campfire. Membership is a must-have for residents.

Market Snapshot

Marblehead tells a similar tale as most suburbs in the Greater Boston area. Average sale price is up 13% and the Days on Market (DOM) is down 58%. What does this mean? If you’re looking to buy in this town, be prepared to pay over asking and move quickly as the competition is stiff.


Average Sale Price: $1,110,192.06 vs. $979,070.82 LY
+$131,121.24
+13%

DOM: 29 vs 69 LY
-40
-58%

Available Properties

Click the photo below to view a collection of properties currently on the market in Marblehead.

If you’re considering buying, selling, or both in Marblehead, contact me and let’s talk about the value of working together.

Wall Art Trends to Know

As we spend more time in our homes, we want them to reflect our personal style, be comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. Updating what’s on your walls is an easy way to give your home a new look and feel. Read on for some of the wall art trends you should know if you’re thinking of revamping your space.

Gallery Walls

Image via Google

Gallery walls are immensely popular right now. They are a great way to showcase your personal style in your home. All you need is a blank wall! Hot tip – if you’re not necessarily the creative type, but love this look, websites like Etsy bundle prints for sale and come with size guides/lay out to help achieve this look.

Biophilia

Image via Pinterest

Biophilic design is another hot trend with staying power. The definition of the word means that humans have innate connection and are drawn to nature. We saw this with the pandemic as people sought out nature and green space. Studies have even shown that looking at a photo of nature can reduce stress. Living walls such as the one pictured above are a great choice, but if you don’t have a green thumb, even a framed picture of a tree could help you decompress after a long day!

Wallpaper

Image via Pinterest

Wallpaper is back and thanks to technological advancements, the possibilities are endless! I prefer a soft motif such as in the photo above, but there are geometrical patterns, bold color combinations, animals, and so many more options trending right now.

Dimensional

Image via Google

Similar to a gallery wall, with less margin for error, is the picture ledge which also makes a space feel more dimensional. You don’t have to use photos. You can display books, candles, trinkets or whatever, to add interest to a blank wall.

Minimalism

Less is more! Monochromatic, textured artwork is popping up left and right. It’s not an imitation of some other thing. The viewer is meant to respond only to what is in front of them.

Let me know your favorite trend in the comments!

Neighborhood Snapshot: Hyde Park

Situated in the most southern point of Boston, about 7 miles from Downtown, is Hyde Park. Home prices in the neighborhood have been increasing as house hunters search for an urban/suburban mix feel, but it’s still a developing area with more opportunities than West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, or Roslindale.

What to Know

Readville

Image via Google

This peaceful section of Hyde Park was home to the late Mayor Menino and is dotted with small capes along tree-line, leafy streets. Developers have started to turn their eyes to this area, specifically near the commuter rail station which is only a couple of stops from Back Bay station.

Everett Square Theatre

Image via Historic Boston

The Everett Square Theatre was built as a moving picture house. It also hosted live vaudeville, musical, and other performances. The Historic Boston Institute worked with the theater owner to re-create and install the original “Everett Square Theatre” sign that once hung over the entry and restored and re-opened the theater’s boarded up foyer to create space for temporary art installations, displays, and events to help revive awareness of the theater space and build support for its eventual rehabilitation.

Ron’s Ice Cream

Image via Google

Love retro? Then you will love this spot built in the 70s. It’s an ice cream parlor/bowling alley and one of Boston’s best-kept secrets. Definitely worth checking out whether you’re interested in buying in the area or not.

Stony Brook Reservation

Image via Google

This small forest offers activities for the whole family. Explore the trails on foot or bike, or head to Turtle Pond for some fishing. In the park’s southern end, you’ll find athletic fields and a pool and spray deck.

Market Snapshot

Similar to the rest of Greater Boston, Hyde Park has very little inventory, days on market are getting shorter, and the average sale price is trending upward (though just slightly from the year before) per MLS,

Average Sale Price: $600,795 (+3.9% vs. Year Ago)
Average Days on Market: 20 (-17% vs. Year Ago)

Available Properties

Click the link below to view a collection of available properties on the market.

If you’re considering buying, selling, or exploring in Hyde Park, contact me, and let’s talk about the value of working together.