Fall Foliage Trips

by c21commonweath_ldowling 3. September 2014 18:32

Fall is one of the most exciting times to be in New England, and justifiably so. Nothing quite compares to the crisp fall weather, crackle of leaves below, and the stunning foliage that can be seen all around the homes of Boston area towns and the New England countryside.

boston houses

If you are looking to take a weekend roadtrip, the following towns have some of the most marvelous landscapes for viewing. Check out our list below and let us know your favorites!

Lake Waramaug in October

Near Litchfield, Connecticut, Lake Waramaug is located near Mt. Tom. The colors in the fall are so beautiful that Connecticut’s official Department of Environmental Protection website provides daily updates on the foliage for visitors.

The Berkshires

Massachusetts' very own Berkshires offer a vast landscape of fall colors. It's great for hiking, strolling, camping, and canoeing. The Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts shines in the fall and is perfect for a drive. There are many great towns to stop in for shopping and dining, too.

Vermont

If you're in the mood for a long drive, take a trip down the Kancamagus Highway in Vermont. It's particularly breathtaking in early October. You can count yourself among the "leaf peepers," a colloquial term for people who travel to take in the foliage.

Boston

If you live in a Boston home, you don’t have to travel far to find places that show off New England’s natural colors. The Boston Common and Public Garden are fantastic leafy places for a stroll. The Esplanade along the Charles River is great for walking, running, and biking with a background of vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows. You can dive deeper into fall by visiting the Arnold Arboretum, where you can learn about the trees that most captivate you and sip a cider from the visitor center after your tour.

Do you have places near your Boston home that you love to visit? Spots off the beaten path you love to tour in the fall? Let us know in the comments!

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Things to Do in Boston in August

by c21commonweath_ldowling 8. August 2014 18:42

Although summer is coming to an end, there is still no shortage of things to do in Boston, from theatre, to festivals, to sports games, Boston continues to offer events that you won’t want to miss out on, and here is just a short list.

 

Shakespeare on the Common 2014

The Boston Common is a wonderful outdoor space, to relax at night and enjoy some theatre or some music! From right now until August 10th, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company will present Twelth Night. This year Shakespeare on the Common is also offering special concerts that will take place before the plays so don’t forget to get there early, and admission is totally free!

Festivals and Feasts

Boston GreenFest 2014 – From August 15th to 17th at Boston City Hall Plaza, you can visit this festival for free and have fun while learning about what is you can do in your home and neighborhood to address the important changes we need to make for the environment!

St. Anthony’s Feast – From August 29th to 31st, St. Anthony’s Feast, that has been celebrates since 1919, will be taking place in New England. All entertainment is free and open to the public, and while you’re there you’ll have to try the delicious food because after all, this is the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England!

 

5th Annual Mass Brewers Fest – On August 29th the Seaport World Trade Center will turn into a brewery for the day! This fest will offer more that 100 styles of local beer to sample, so come out, celebrate local craft beer, and drink a cold one!

 

Summer Dine Out Boston 2014

For 2 weeks in August, Boston turns into a place that will allow you to try all those little restaurants you’ve wanted to try, but just never had the chance! Local restaurants offer a limited number of items for lunch and dinner at a specified low price! So go around Boston and try all these delicious cuisines! 

Red Sox Games

Of course, with the summer wrapping up, we can’t forget to catch at least one more Red Sox Game! In August we still have 3 more teams to play at home, the Astros, the Angels, and the Mariners, so get out there and cheer your Red Sox on!

New England Patriots Pre-Season

 

Football time has arrived! Break out the tailgating gear and head down to Gillette Stadium to watch the Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers in week 2 and 3 of the 2014 NFL preseason!

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Agent Primers

by c21commonweath_ldowling 25. July 2014 10:39

Agent Primer: Google Glass for Realtors

Google Glass is the search and Internet giant’s self-described “smart glasses.” The best way to describe the device is as a smart phone worn on your face. Many experts believe Google Glass will revolutionize the real estate market, both for buyers and sellers.

The $1500 glasses became available to the public in May 2014. Smart Glasses applications enable realtors, while wearing the device, to live stream a tour of any property from a first-person perspective. The viewer on the other end sees what the seller sees as they move around the house. The buyer experiences a personal, one-on-one tour of the property—even if they are halfway across the world.

Google Glass

This innovation is game-changing for realtors showing to clients who wish to pre-screen a property in a high level of detail or who are unable to travel to see every home. Generic photos and video home tours cannot capture the property as meticulously as Google Glass.

The tours are shot hands-free, allowing the realtor to open closets and refrigerators or turn on taps, effectively displaying every amenity in the home. Realtors can also wear the glasses as they drive, educating prospective buyers about the property’s neighborhood while navigating through it.

For more information and tips, see National Mortgage Professional’s article “Five Ways Google Glass Will Change Real Estate.”

Agent Primer: Virtual Staging 101

Every realtor knows that the cost of staging a home can be as much as $2500, but is well worth the effort. Rooms just look better when decorated tastefully, and empty homes spend upwards of 70% more time sitting on the market, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. Fortunately, new virtual staging services make sophisticated staging accessible. These services, offered online by hundreds of companies, fill rooms with lifelike digital furniture and accessories at the touch of a button.

Companies like Virtual Staging Solutions and Obeo Virtual Staging charge approximately $80 dollars to stage a room, and as little as $325 for a group of five. The service is easy to use, requiring only three simple steps. A) Select your photo package. B) Submit and describe the photos. C) Choose from the site’s furniture options, or allow them to choose for you. In no more than four business days, your photos are returned full of furniture, fixtures, and art.

In an age where the Internet is the primary search tool for prospective buyers, superior property photos make an impact. Use virtual staging technology to grab prospective buyers’ attention and show them the full potential of a space—without breaking the bank.

For more details, see The Boston Globe’s recent article on the virtual staging phenomenon.

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Things To Do On The Water In Boston

by c21commonweath_ldowling 24. July 2014 18:09

If you are looking to have some fun on the cool water of the Boston Harbor then look no further! Here are some fun things you can do on the water in Boston to make the most of this beautiful summer.

Codzilla

If you are looking for a fun time that will be unforgettable, then Codzilla is definitely the ride for you to be on. Gaining sped of up to 40 mph you will be gliding over the ocean getting wet and listening to music for 40 minutes! 

Boston Rowing Center

Get a group together or go by yourself, either way get on one of the rowboats at Boston Rowing Center for a fun time. After a quick safety procedure walkthrough and a sculling lesson, you’ll be ready to get on the water! 

Rock and Blues Cruise

On this non-traditional cruise, you will be able to be on the water in Boston while listening to great live music. With most of these cruises lasting around 3 hours, you wont be short on time so take a look at the line-up and buy your tickets at http://www.rockandbluescruise.com.

The Charles River Canoe and Kayak

Get on the water in a canoe or kayak, do stand-up paddleboard yoga (or SUP yoga as they call it), or even go on a shuttled river trips on the Charles. At Charles River Canoe and Kayak you’ll never be short on fun activities to do! 

Piers Park Sailing Center

If you love to sail or would love to learn how to sail, Piers Park Sailing Center is definitely the place for you to be. You can buy a sailing pass to have seasonal use of their fleet of Sonars or you can learn to sail by taking sailing courses and lessons. Whether you are an experienced sailor or you are just interested in learning a few things make sure to take a look at all they offer at http://piersparksailing.org.

Super Duck

This one of a kind tour will take you on land and in water for a tour you can’t get anywhere else! On this Super Duck tour you will drive the historic streets of Boston then prepare to plunge into the harbor and continue to have fun and learn about this great city. 

Take advantage of all the great water activities near your Boston home this summer!

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Summer Home Decorating Ideas

by c21commonweath_ldowling 18. July 2014 12:09

Summer is here and as a homeowner you might need a little something around the house to remind you! Whether inside or outside, here are a few decorating tips to make your Boston home just as ready for summer as you are.

One simple and easy way to bring some summer into your home is with pillows. Outdoor pillows and indoor pillows are small, yet big enough to make a difference. You could try some bright patterns and solid colors to liven up both the inside and outside of your home.

Another great addition to both the inside and outside of your home for summer is candles. You can add things to candles, make candles out of seashells, and even decorate a vase to put the candle in. Either way, this is a simple way you can put your own summer twist and style on the inside and outside of your home. 

When you think of a wreath you probably think of winter, cold, and snow, but that does not have to be the case! There are so many different ways to add summer flair to this traditional decoration piece. You can make a wreath out of flip-flops, large (or small) bright flowers, and even just simple fabric. Go ahead and put this modern twist on a traditional piece of décor and you’ll be reminded of summer every time you open your front door.

If you are ready to take on a slightly more challenging task, you won’t go wrong with an outdoor canopy. With this beautiful weather during the summer months, there is no better way to spend it then lounging under the shade of a canopy in your own backyard!

If you are looking to have a theme going on either outside your house or inside, the first theme you could consider is Red, White, & Blue. Of course we all know that the 4th of July is one of the best parts of summer, so why not celebrate all summer! You can also try a Nautical theme or Beach theme. With anchors, rope, stripes, and sailboats all over, the only other thing you might need is a lighthouse! While having sand and seashells all of your house, with a beach theme, might make you miss the beach more than normal, at least you’ll have your own little slice of summer right in your own Boston home.

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Summer Day Trips from Boston

by c21commonweath_ldowling 10. July 2014 13:26

Looking for some fun day trips from your Boston home? Explore all that Massachusetts has to offer this summer with your family by visiting these historic towns.

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is known for its witch trials from back in 1692. You can learn all about these trials and the reasoning and thoughts behind them by visiting the Salem Witch Museum. However, if you are less interested in witch trials and more interested in a nice atmosphere surrounded by beautiful artwork, then the Peabody Essex Museum is definitely more your style! If you aren’t exactly sure about what you’re interested in learning about then walk along the Salem Heritage trail and you’ll get a taste of it all. You’ll be able to learn all about Salem’s history and connect all of its sites just by following a sidewalk with a red painted line, leading you through Salem’s history. Either way, Salem definitely is the place to be if you want to experience something new and intriguing.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Of course Plymouth is known for the Pilgrims and what better way to take a walk through American history and the history of Plymouth than by visiting the Pilgrim Hall Museum! The museum was built in 1824 and allows you to take a look at actual Pilgrim Possessions from the 17th century. If you just want to enjoy nature and the beautiful summer weather then definitely visit the Butterflies of Cape Cod, where you can see see beautiful native butterflies within a screened butterfly enclosure. Although Plymouth is known for the Pilgrims, the natural beauty in this town is also unbelievable.

Six Flags New England

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then Six Flags New England is the place to be! With Thrill rides, family rides, and kid’s rides, you’ll definitely be able to find a ride that is sure to excite you. Don’t worry though, if you get too hot from the warm summer weather, cool off at Hurricane Harbor. Hurricane Harbor has exciting water slides, a lazy river, and a fantastic wave pool so it is something you won’t want to miss out on when you visit Six Flags New England.

Boston Harbor Islands

If you want to feel like you’re far away from home without travelling too far, then take a trip to these beautiful islands. With boating, kayaking, lighthouse tours, and more, you won’t be hard-pressed to find something that floats your boat. Whether you choose to explore the islands by yourself or with a guided program or tour, you are bound to see some beauty and have an amazing day.

What are your favorite daytrips from your Boston home? Let us know in the comments below!

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Things to Do in Cambridge

by c21commonweath_ldowling 30. June 2014 09:38

Things to do in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Looking for some exciting things to do near your Cambridge home? Our list below will help you figure out how to spend an exciting day in one of America’s oldest and most historic towns.

Harvard University

Harvard is the oldest university in the United States, founded in 1636, and with this comes so many attractions that you won’t want to miss out on. Not only are there places on campus to tour, but Harvard Square has shops, restaurants, theatres, museums, and so much more. Harvard Square is a place where you can spend the whole day and never be short on things to do and places to see. Museums ranging from art to archaeology and ethnology, a theatre for anything you would want to see, and campus tours to get all the history of Harvard are just a few of the things you can do on and  near this beautiful campus.

Charles River Boat Cruises

You can board one of the many boats that will take you on a ride along the Charles River. To be educated and entertained simultaneously you can take a tour and see the historical and cultural sights of Cambridge. You can also choose to take an architecture cruise or a sunset cruise. No matter what fits your schedule and floats your boat, you can’t go wrong with one of these cruises.

Museum of Science

The Museum of Science offers so many amazing opportunities, you’ll have to see how much you can fit into one day! You can swim with the world’s largest shark (safely, might I add), explore coral reefs, see live presentations on so many different topics, and so much more. There are different events and presentations going on year round, so there will always be something to entertain, intrigue, and educate!

Mount Auburn Cemetery

If you think that this is your ordinary cemetery, you’re wrong. This cemetery is not only a cemetery, but it is a National Historic landmark complete with an outdoor museum of art and architecture, and a botanical garden. With plenty of history, a small inner trail and large outer trail for walking, wonderful wildlife, a beautiful garden, and so much more, are all of things that make this cemetery a must see stop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Selling Your Boston Home in a Crowded Market

by c21commonweath_ldowling 2. June 2014 15:58

Selling your home is stressful in and of itself. Fixing any lingering maintenance issues, readying for an open house, and pricing your home competitively take time and patience. After all that work, what happens when you look outside and see that your neighbor is also selling their house?

Don't panic. Being one of a few houses in a neighborhood or even a block for sale does not necessarily raise red flags or damage your home's value on the market. In fact, you can turn it into a strength when you’re selling your Boston home. Check out our tips below to learn how this can be done.

Take Advantage of Additional Traffic

The #1 advantage to living in a neighborhood with multiple homes for sale, including your own, is the likelihood that more potential buyers will be passing your way. Make sure your home is optimized for this additional foot traffic by printing out more flyers and staying on top of your curb appeal. Your house number should be large enough to see on a drive by, and your house should be brightly and cleanly lit at night, so that it gets a passerby’s attention any time of day. Be sure when you’re not the only one selling your Boston home on the block to be complimentary to the neighborhood and your fellow sellers – making a good impression and showing that you have a warm community will help assuage potential buyers’ fears.

Hold More Open Houses

It can be a bit tricky to arrange, but a joint open house can be of mutual benefit to you and the other sellers on your block. Distributing each other’s fliers and making sure that the neighborhood is not too cluttered with for sale signs can improve the chances of sale for any of the homes on the block. While a bit of an inconvenience being ready for potential buyers to pop-in for impromptu showings can also help. If a buyer was in the neighborhood to look at a neighbor’s house but wants to see yours, too, it’s important to be ready to show them around or at least arrange a more extensive, longer showing.

Price Fairly

Although setting the right price is always worth thinking about, and can fluctuate the longer the home stays on the market, setting the right price when your competition is next door takes a little extra effort. You can certainly ask for the same amount, but it’s important to make your case for that amount strongly. Be sure to enumerate the upgrades to your home or added features that make your home well worth the money, and a better deal than your neighbor’s.

 

Do you have any other tips for selling your Boston home when your neighbors are doing the same? Let us know in the comments! 

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Things to Do in Boston in the Summer

by c21commonweath_ldowling 28. May 2014 10:40

Summer is here, and with this information Boston has prepared so many exciting events and festivals to offer there is sure to be something out there for every Boston homeowner.

Boston POPS Goes the Fourth and Fireworks

The Fourth of July in Boston is exploding with excitement. The Boston POPS Orchestra will be celebrating 40 years by performing at 7:30 at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. Following this spectacular performance is a 23-minute long fireworks display over the Charles River.

Dine Out Boston

Every March and August, food becomes the center of attention for many Bostonians. With Dine Out Boston you finally get to taste what that local and nationally recognized restaurants have in store for you (and your taste buds) at a special low price! For more information, dates, a list of participating restaurants, and to make a reservation visit dineoutboston.com.

Boston Harborfest 2014

From July 2nd to July 6th, you can experience a multitude of different historical events. From Freedom Trail Tours to meeting Paul Revere to sailing around the historic Boston Harbor, there is something in the Harborfest to excite every Bostonian. For a full list of events and a detailed schedule, visit bostonharborfest.com. 

Boston Red Sox Games

Of course every true Bostonian knows the fun of a Red Sox game in Fenway Park! Be sure to check out a game this summer, some games offer promotions such as Fan Photo Day, Autograph Alley, and Country Western Night just to name a few.

WGBH 2nd Annual Craft Beer Festival

If you are a craft beer enthusiast, then this festival on July 12th is a must. Not only do you get to listen to live music, eat food, and learn more about the brewing process; you get the chance to try over 550 craft beers!

3rd Annual Boston Seafood Festival

On Sunday July 27th, head over to the historic Boston Fish Pier to watch chef demonstrations, see an oyster shucking contest, and of course try seafood prepared by chefs from all around Boston!

These are just highlights of some of the things going on around Boston this summer. If you are a Boston homeowner, there are countless activities happening all around you, and there is bound to be something that is just for you! 

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A Tight Market in the Boston Area

by c21commonweath_ldowling 30. April 2014 17:32

In a recent blog post we wrote about all the reasons why spring is a fantastic time to sell your home in Boston. All those reasons still hold true, but many Boston home buyers are finding it difficult to buy their new dream home this year. It’s a sign of how fierce the Boston housing market is and how great the housing needs of the area are that buyers are having a difficult time during this peak seller’s season.

Low Inventory

The frustration of low inventory has been the story of the year in the Boston area, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Even as prices rise and the market becomes more appealing to sellers, few are budging. Many are reluctant to go searching for a new home when there are so few on offer. House prices are even rising above their prerecession highs. Of course, in some areas home prices are lagging, leaving home owners waiting for prices to rise so they get the best price for their home. While this may make sense for these home owners, with construction sluggish in Boston, it makes life far more difficult for those trying to buy their first home or simply a new home elsewhere.

To find their dream home in this market, Boston buyers need to act quickly and have a great realtor to get them in the door when homes hit the market or subdivisions sprout up. It’s important that someone looking for a new Boston home knows exactly what they want and what is and isn’t negotiable on their features list and in their budget. Being open to longer commutes and new neighborhoods is also important for someone looking for a Boston home during this low inventory period.

 

Buying a Boston home this spring is not impossible, and Century 21 Commonwealth has a team of fantastic realtors who can help you find the perfect home in a variety of areas in and outside the Boston metro area. Contact Century 21 Commonwealth and let us know your needs today.

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