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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Sellling Your Boston Home in Spring

by c21commonweath_ldowling 25. April 2014 10:52

If you are selling a single family home in the Boston area, the arrival of spring offers additional excitements on top of finally leaving all that cold weather behind! Spring is the best time to sell a home for a variety of reasons and if you are a Boston seller maximizing your showings and your home’s readiness for sale are big musts for the season.

Why is spring such a great time to sell your Boston home? Check out a few factors below.

Summer Vacation Is On Its Way

Spring is a great time for families to move, as it creates minimal disruption to children's school schedules. Students can finish their year and if they need to join another school district, they have a whole summer to prepare. Spring is a much more ideal time to initiate this process than the fall, when paperwork and back to school shopping and planning are consuming parents' schedules and buying a new home may have to sit on the backburner for longer than they (or you) would like.

Spring is Refreshing

Everything looks fabulous in spring, particularly after a hard winter! Your garden will look at its best during spring, and your curbside appeal will never be better than when everything is in bloom. Buyers will be out and about, happy to have fine weather to be house hunting in.

Captivate Buyers Before They Leave Town

Spring boasts fantastic weather that often continues well into summer, but you may find the level of interest in your home drops all the same as the days progress. Why? In the swing of summer, many families are vacationing, focusing on summer sports and activities, and a host of other responsibilities that may distract them from home buying in Boston.

 

There is one caveat to selling your home in spring, though, and that is that everyone else will be selling their home, too! Make sure you stand out from the hearty competition by keeping your home tidy and clean, and having realistic expectations about price. Talk to your realtor and make sure you are on the same page about selling your Boston home during this beautiful New England spring!

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Selling Your Boston Home

by c21commonweath_ldowling 16. April 2014 17:14

If you’re selling your Boston home, you know keeping it in top condition is important. A lot of the cleaning you need to do to keep your home looking great is cleaning that makes sense each year, as you and your home pull out of the winter doldrums. Spruce up your castle and take years off your home by following these tips below!

Sweep Doormats

As has been said many times before, doormats make a first impression, so be sure yours is clean! Sweep, sponge, and if you’re feeling ambitious, make them seasonally appropriate and inviting.

Deep Clean Carpets

Over time, you’ve probably become used to the color and texture of your carpets fading. Make them look like new by giving them a spring deep cleaning! If you’ve already got your hands full with selling your Boston home, call in a professional, and work on another spring cleaning task.

Take Care of Your Floors

Finish floors with wax or sealer. You can save time by using a wash and wax cleaner. Read labels carefully before mixing anything yourself!

Wash Walls

You'll never realize how dirty your walls have gotten until they're clean. Washing walls can really make all the carefully chosen colors in your house pop, and take years off the age of your home.

Clean Fixtures in the Ceiling

You may think your home is clean, but don't look up...you'll find dust's collected above your head, too! Clean dust off of fans, vents, ceiling lamps, and skylights. Your house will brighten up noticeably with the dust cleared away.

Keep Your Kitchen Tidy

When people are touring your home, they may be peeking very carefully through your cabinets and even your refrigerator – and the closer they peek, the closer you might be to a sale, so you should encourage it! Keeping your cabinet interiors clean and your refrigerator wiped down and tidy will help potential buyers visualize your home as their own.

 

Step into spring with a weekend of cleaning that will pay dividends all through the season. Follow these tips and make it easier to sell your Boston home!

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Spring Yard Work Tips

by c21commonweath_ldowling 10. April 2014 10:41

With temperatures creeping up into the 50s and even low 60s, April is a great time to get some much needed lawn work done for your Boston home. Even if you are not a gardening aficionado, to make your lawn look its best (which is especially important if you are trying to sell your Boston home), follow these easy tips.

 

Rake

To get started on your spring lawn rehabilitation, make sure the ground is firm and not saturated with melted snow or rain. Especially after a winter like this one, your lawn may be looking a little battered. Help the new grass grow in by lightly raking the lawn, avoiding new grass plants and clearing twigs, leaves, and other debris that may have accumulated. In the process you'll be able to more easily spot where the lawn has been damaged by winter, and where grass possibly needs to be reseeded.

Aerate

Remove plugs of sod, and any harmful insects you find milling about where the grass had been located. This helps to loosen the soil and allow water to flow, along with air and fertilizer, to the root structure of the grass.

Add Peat Moss

Once your lawn has been aerated, it will benefit from a light coating of peat moss. This helps the grass all year long, as it strengthens it and helps repel disease, thatch, and weeds, while reducing its water and fertilizer requirements.

Weeding

Nip weeds in the bud before they have a chance to take over! Dandelions and broadleaf weeds are the major targets. If your lawn is expansive, there are tools, such as the "Weed Hound," that help make the process easier on your back and more efficient.

Plant New Grass Where Necessary

If there are dead patches in the lawn, produced by wear, dogs, etc., clear them away and add grass seed to the new soil with fertilizer. Water regularly and new grass should appear.

Clear Away Excessive Thatch

Thatch is a gnarly layer in grass that prevents needed nutrients from getting to the soil. This is a bit more difficult than other tasks, but a dethatching rake or power dethatcher can help remove the tangles.

 

Enjoy the beautiful weather outside by following our tips for spring yard work! The effort will pay off when your lawn is the best on your block of Boston homes! 

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Ways to Use Your Storage Shed Space

by c21commonweath_ldowling 24. March 2014 09:21

If you are a Boston home buyer moving into your new home, you might be lucky enough to have a great new storage shed in place, or be interested in buying or building one of your own. With the extra outdoor space you may already be rubbing your hands and scheming out ways to use your shed, but we have a few suggestions for you, too.

Studio

Do you like to paint or play the drums with your friends? A shed is a great space for artistic activity, allowing you to get away from the computer and the phone and really concentrate on your creative side. Naturally you can also store paints and instruments (the latter perhaps not all year) in a shed.

Tinker With Tools

If you like working on lawnmowers, bicycles, motorcycles, and more, a shed is a great place to set up shop. If you have kids it’s especially helpful for storing potentially dangerous chemicals and tools where the young ones can’t get at them. You should be especially sure you have a lock and key for the shed in these situations.

Office

Yes, you can rig up your shed to be a great not-quite home office! Put a desk in and wire the shed for electricity and cable and you will be quite set. It’s also a convenient place to store files, and saves you money on a rental unit elsewhere.

Yoga Studio

A shed is a great place to convert into a yoga studio. Paint it in colors you find more reassuring and use the quiet of the space to relax, mediate, and practice yoga. Invite friends over to share the space with you, or even teach!

Workout Space

A shed can be a great place to store all your exercise equipment, from weights to jump rope to a treadmill. Hook up your shed with electric and you can run on your treadmill in peace, and even watch television while you’re doing it as one does at the gym.

 

If you are a Boston area buyer whose new home has a shed, let us know what cool and interesting uses you are planning to put it to. 

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Things to Do in Boston in the Spring

by c21commonweath_ldowling 12. March 2014 17:10

Believe it or not Bostonites, spring is around the corner, and with spring comes a slew of exciting events and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of Massachusetts. If you are a Boston home owner, take a look at these things to do in spring in the Boston area.

Gardens and Arboretums

After staring at snow for months, spring becomes a joyous occasion to be outside and look at nature's splendor. There are a number of gardens and arboretums in and outside of Boston where you can do just that. The Arnold Arboretum and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum have floral celebrations each year. Hyacinths and lilac bushes are highlights.

Sailing on the Charles

The Charles River is a lovely place to walk during spring, and just as fun to sail! You can rent boats from Community Boating near the Esplanade, and enjoy seminars, barbecues and more when you're not on the water.

2nd Annual Cambridge Poetry Festival

As part of National Poetry Month, the Cambridge Arts Council is promoting local poets and hosting readings on April 3rd. The entire month will feature poetry performances all around Cambridge.

The Boston Marathon

Every April the Boston Marathon is held on the third Monday, and is an occasion for stunning feats of athleticism (from the runners) and fun and celebration (from the bystanders) in downtown Boston. Take the opportunity to see this extraordinary event in person.

Red Sox Games

We would be remiss to leave out one of the favorite activities of a true Bostonite - watching the Red Sox play in Fenway Park! April 8 is opening day and Red Sox vs. Yankees is up to bat. It's generally easier to get tickets in the spring than the summer or fall, so be sure to check out a game this spring.

 

If you are a Boston area homeowner, enjoy the spring by checking out the wide variety of events in and around the city. Bostonites wake from hibernation with gusto, and no matter what your hobbies or taste, there’s sure to be an event out there for you.

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Emerging Boston Housing Trends in 2014

by c21commonweath_ldowling 24. February 2014 16:46

2014 has already been an interesting year for the Boston housing market. Whether you are a Boston home buyer or seller, the following stories are important to follow.

Ramifications of the Metropolitan Area Housing Council report

With Boston’s housing needs spotted at more than 400,000 new units (as covered on our blog here), a number of creative ideas have been suggested to handle those needs. One of these ideas is micro-apartments, which are exactly what you think they are. Popular in cities already experienced with needing to house booming populations, micro-apartments may be as small as 400 square feet. The trade-off in size is matched with more shared space, such as conference rooms and additional amenities. The issue these units solve is housing for millenials. Townhomes that would traditionally house families are currently being rented by several roommates in their 20s and 30s, causing a housing shortage for families that have to look far from Boston for affordable homes. Creating more needs specific housing can free up these spaces for better use.

Lack of Inventory

The closer you are to Boston, the higher you are able to sell your home. Inventory has been declining for almost 2 years. Homes in the 400k to 600k range are hard to find. Part of the problem is lack of construction. Former Mayor Menino wants to see 30,000 additional homes built in Boston by 2020. Homes need to be able to accommodate families and have several bedrooms.

Housing Rebound Continues

Boston continues to see the benefits of a housing recovery. Boston home values grew almost 10% from November 2012 to November 2013. Low mortgage rates and pent-up demand are helping. For someone ruminating whether or not to sell their Boston home, now is a great time to put your house on the market. 2014 did see mortgage rates rise by a point, so home sales will probably slow in conjunction with low inventory. If more Boston area potential sellers put homes on the market, it might pick up.

As a seller, now is a great time to enter the market. With low inventory, you’ll see more potential sellers checking out your home and putting in offers. Prices are rising, so the outlook is rosier than ever. Let us know in the comments what you see the housing market doing in 2014, and whether you are thinking of selling your Boston home!

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