How to Choose the Best Offer

by c21commonweath_ldowling 16. September 2019 15:38

Sellers should consider more than timing and price when choosing between multiple offers on their home. While it’s commonly said the first offer is the best offer, you should also think about a buyer’s financial ability to close the deal, contingencies, and closing costs. With these things in mind, you’re more likely to secure an offer with favorable terms.


The amount of money a buyer is willing to put down on a deposit is your first clue into an offer’s potential. Serious buyers put down more money up-front when they want to see the deal through. If another buyer isn’t as committed, they may put down a smaller deposit so they can walk away without major financial repercussions.

Also consider whether the buyer is paying with cash or through financed loans. If they’re paying with cash, make sure they possess documentation showing they have the money. Buyers paying with financed loans should be preapproved and meet the lender criteria for getting a mortgage.


Contingencies protect buyers from unforeseen changes, allowing them to back out of a deal if they no longer want to buy the house. If multiple buyers are bidding on your property, compare their contingency offers to avoid any messy situations down the road.

Home Sale Contingency

This is a common contingency clause that says the buyer’s purchase is contingent upon the sale of their own home—they’ll only go through with the deal when their current home sells. Check the length of a prospective buyer’s home sale contingency clause to avoid stalling your own sale. If another buyer doesn’t offer a home sale contingency clause or they include one with a shorter waiting time, choose their offer instead.

Inspection Contingency

Most buyers require you to make certain repairs before they agree to purchase your house. You’ll likely go through another round of negotiations after their inspection. Think about whether the cost of repairs is worthwhile or whether you should wait for a buyer who thinks your home is move-in-ready as is. 

Financing Appraisal Contingency

Loan institutions hire appraisers to make sure a house is worth what a buyer may pay for it. If the appraiser’s price comes in low (which is common during a bidding war), you’ll have to lower your sales price, contest the appraisal, or move forward with another deal.

Closing Costs

Sellers must pay real estate commissions and a plethora of closing costs associated with their sale. Sometimes, a buyer will negotiate paying for a portion of your closing costs if they’re set on purchasing your home. This can go the other way too—a buyer may ask you to pay some of their closing fees. Whatever scenario you find yourself in, make sure you factor in all closing fees before accepting an offer.

Rely on a Professional Real Estate Agent

If you’re not sure how to proceed after receiving your first few offers, get advice from a licensed real estate agent. They can help you compare your offers and negotiate terms so you make the smartest decision.


Extraordinary Homes Spotlight

by c21commonweath_ldowling 11. September 2019 14:12

Commonwealth Real Estate works with homeowners in these neighborhoods and beyond to sell their breathtakingly beautiful properties. Take a glimpse into some of our most luxurious and attractive properties located in and around Boston and along the Cape.

55 Love Lane, Weston ($10,000,000)

This magnificent seven-acre compound, close to horse and walking trails, would make a great home for nature lovers. A tree-lined driveway leads to the main house, guest and carriage house, and pool. Upon entering the primary house, you’ll see large dining rooms and living rooms surrounded by French doors, along with windows overlooking the grounds. There are three-season porches on multiple sides of the house, so you’ll always be able to enjoy a lazy day (or night) outside. The master wing is located on the second floor, with two baths and a sleeping porch, alongside three additional en suite bedrooms. You’ll find a billiard room, balcony, office, and two additional bedrooms and baths on the third floor.

200 -202 Beacon 1 & 3, Boston ($9,995,000)

Architect Guy Grassi and interior designer Bunny Williams designed this beautiful maisonette apartment for homeowners who love to entertain. A 40-foot-wide living room with an attractive fireplace and views of the Charles River will encourage guests to stay a while longer, as will the formal dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows that sits adjacent to an eat-in kitchen and a beautiful library. The master bedroom level has a private home office with a large master bath, fireplace, jacuzzi, and walk-in closet. Best of all, there’s a stone patio on the roof for parties that cater to 100-plus people!

55 Leicester Street, Brookline ($9,995,000)

With high ceilings and a floating main staircase, this architecturally stunning home is a piece of art. Its dining room seats over 20 guests, and the master bedroom includes 20-foot windows, a balcony, a large en suite bath, its own loft, and a private office. This seven-bedroom masterpiece is perfect for both formal parties and secluded nights in.

558 Fox Hill Road, Chatham ($9,995,000)

Escape to the Cape at this spectacular waterfront property with views of Crows Pond. The home includes five bedroom suites over three levels, with a built-in elevator to take you to each floor. The main level includes a custom kitchen, dining room, study, and master suite and laundry, while the lower level includes a sauna, stone wine cellar, entertainment and exercise room, and changing room with a custom kitchen.

Search for Properties

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate is proud to showcase beautiful homes, condos, and apartments of all sizes and price ranges in Boston and beyond. Whether you’re in the market for a new home or just want to see what’s available, check out our property search to peruse our listings.


The Best Greater Boston Neighborhoods for Raising Kids

by c21commonweath_ldowling 9. September 2019 16:02

Boston’s city center is ideal for work and play, but it may not be the best place to raise a family. The crowded streets and rising housing prices have encouraged many families to move to the city’s surrounding suburbs. If you want to find a new place to live away from the hustle and bustle, check out this list of calm and convenient residential neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area.

Family-Friendly Boston Suburbs

HomeSnacks looked at 69 places in Massachusetts to find out which Boston neighborhoods are the most fitting for families. They took data like crime rates and school quality into consideration while building their list, making sure each neighborhood offers a quiet and safe place for kids to learn and grow.


Wellesley is an academic town, home to Wellesley College, Babson College, and parts of Massachusetts Bay Community College. At 17 miles from Boston, it’s still close enough for parents to commute to the city for work and return to a peaceful neighborhood at the end of the day.


Located in Norfolk County and just 10 miles from Boston, Milton continues to be one of the “best places to live” according to Money Magazine. Its quaint downtown and old country homes make a picturesque setting for new family memories.


Many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks are sprinkled throughout this Boston suburb, providing plenty of casual entertainment for its residents. Needham is also home to many highly rated public schools.


Located a little less than nine miles from Boston, this bedroom community is the wealthiest municipality in Massachusetts, making it a comfortable place to raise kids.


A suburb of Cambridge, Arlington boasts an excellent public school system. Its downtown restaurant scene offers a variety of cuisine, and active families can kayak, fish, or paddleboard in the local pond.


This city is a patchwork collection of 13 villages located in Middlesex County. Newton was one of the first suburbs to be established outside of Boston in 1688 and is home to the famous Boston College.

Explore Boston’s Best Neighborhoods

When it comes to living in family-friendly neighborhoods with great school systems, native and future Bostonians are quite lucky. This list doesn’t cover all the beautiful towns surrounding Boston, it’s a good place to start while looking for your new family home.


Where to View the Fall Foliage

by c21commonweath_ldowling 4. September 2019 11:12

In late September through November, Boston transforms into a beautiful splash of red, orange, and yellow—it’s why fall is one of our favorite times of the year in Beantown. Whether they’re new to the city or they’ve lived here for many years, residents always get a kick out of watching the leaves turn into a colorful collage. Here’s where to get a glimpse of some of the city’s most beautiful fall landscapes.

Public Garden

Head to Boston’s Public Garden to witness the first round of changing leaves. The small, ornamental Japanese maple trees are some of the first to turn each season, showing splashes of bright red hues. The garden contains clusters of trees and shrubs from around the world that change color at slightly different times, so onlookers can see a varied display. Look for the brass labels with botanical names to identify the trees you’re looking at.

Boston Common

Did you know Boston Common is spotted with 700 oak, beech, chestnut, maple, and elm trees? Some of them change color later in the season, allowing visitors to enjoy a range of colors all through November—sometimes December. Spanning 44 acres, this historic park is a great place to spend a day strolling with coffee or cider in hand.

Harvard Yard

You can do much more than leaf peeping here. Amble through the commons to see the John Harvard Statue, take a Harvard walking tour, and check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History to get the full college experience—taking in the school’s surrounding beauty is a plus!

The Esplanade

We love exploring the beautiful fall foliage at the Esplanade on foot or by bike. The park and pathways run along the Charles River from Beacon Hill to Back Bay and beyond, so you’ve got plenty of territory to cover if you want to make a day of leaf peeping.ou’ll also have the pleasure of seeing the trees’ images reflected in the water.

Go on a Duck Tour

Take a 70-minute excursion around the Charles River Basin on one of Boston’s famous Duck Tours. The leaves reflect off the Charles River to give viewers a breathtaking view of the river and city at large.

Enjoy a Cozy Fall Season

Autumn is a highly anticipated season for those who love to watch the leaves change color. Whether you’re visiting from another part of the country or you call Boston home, we hope you enjoy the beginning of fall.


What to Do Before an Agent Lists Your Home

by c21commonweath_ldowling 28. August 2019 14:36

Listing agents prefer doing business with proactive sellers who have clean, organized homes. If they personally like you and your property, they’ll be more excited to share your house with prospective buyers. Here are some ways you can make a great first impression on your listing agent, increasing the chances they’ll sell your home quickly and for a great price.

Preparing Your Home’s Interior

First thing’s first: You need to clean your home to make it presentable for your agent and anyone they may show it to. Wipe down your kitchen countertops, vacuum and sweep the floors, and scour your bathrooms. Take care of these basic cleaning tasks so your listing agent doesn’t have to—you want them to be in a great mood when they show off the place!

In the same vein, everything should be nice and tidy so buyers believe you’ve taken good care of your place. They’re sure to look inside cabinets and closets, so take the time to organize all items inside.

Don’t Be Too Personal

Agents need to sell the idea that your house is somewhere other people will be comfortable living, which means removing your personality from the atmosphere as much as possible. Put away clippings, trophies, and knick-knacks, and take family photos off the walls and refrigerator so browsers can imagine their own loved ones in their place.

Houses also show better with minimal furniture, allowing for more open space encouraging buyers’ imagination. Move half of your furniture into storage or into a designated room in the house where it won’t be visible in listing photos. Buyers are better able to envision their life in your home when your furniture and personal items aren’t in every room.

Creating Curb Appeal

Before guests see the inside of your house, they’ll be looking at your landscape, so design one that makes them feel welcome. Trim trees and bushes in front of windows, weed, rake, and mulch your garden beds, sweep sidewalks and the driveway, put trash cans out of the way, and get rid of cobwebs. You can even set up a few flowerpots near your entryway to add more natural charm.

If you clean up your front yard, your agent will see that you put effort into getting ready for their visit, making them feel better about working with you in your house. Prospective buyers are also more attracted to homes with well-kept lawns and thoughtful landscaping.

Be Prepared

You don’t just need a real estate agent to sell your home—you need them to want to sell your home! Check these items off your to-do list to make your agent excited about working with you in your beautiful house.


Fall Home Improvement Projects

by c21commonweath_ldowling 26. August 2019 13:50

Now that summer’s coming to an end, you can start planning the home improvement projects you want to tackle in the fall. Cooler temperatures make fall the perfect season for all those chores around the house you didn’t quite finish (or even start!) because of the summer heat. Take advantage of the nice fall weather to work on indoor and outdoor home improvement projects before winter starts.

Indoor Home Improvement Projects

Building materials are at their best when installed in moderate temperatures: Too much heat cause building materials like wood to expand, leading to misaligned joins during construction, while cold and wet weather causes materials to rust and corrode. Plan your construction work during the fall season to make sure all building materials stay sturdy and strong.  

Now that it’s neither too hot nor too cold to open your windows, the extra ventilation also makes cleaning with harsh chemicals safer, and you won’t have to sweat through the following tasks when you start them in tolerable temps.

Clean the Carpets

all your windows to make the chemicals in carpet cleaners clear out faster. The cool air will help dry your carpets, too.

Replace Windows

Prepare for the cold Boston winter by installing energy-efficient windows that keep chilly drafts from entering your home. Glass with multiple panes, spacers, or filler gasses will prevent frost from gathering on your windows, keeping your interior warm in freezing temperatures.

Add Insulation

Like ineffective windowpanes, thin insulation lets more cool air inside your house than you want. Add insulation to the attic (aim for a depth of 10 to 14 inches) to make sure your home keeps warm air in and cold air out. A home energy audit can show you where you need to add caulking and weather stripping too.

Check Your Furnace

Effective furnaces prevent pipes from freezing or bursting in extremely cold weather. Check your furnace to make sure it’s in good working condition.

Fireplace Repair

Hire an experienced chimney sweep to check your hearth for creosote and chimney blockages so you can safely huddle around the fire this winter.

Outdoor Home Improvement Projects

Outdoor improvement projects are just as important as the indoor ones! Take advantage of the crisp fall air and complete the following projects before heavy rain and snow make working outside nearly impossible.

Power Washing

Power wash the outside of your house before moving on to painting or any other exterior repairs. You’ll prevent mold and make your home look extra sharp—you might not even need to paint the exterior after giving it a good wash.

Exterior Paint

If you do decide to apply a new coat of paint, you’ll not only polish your house but protect its siding and trim too. Put a fresh coat of paint over areas that will be covered in snow to prevent water from seeping through.

Roof Repair

Investigate your roof to make sure small leaks don’t turn into big ones come winter. Experienced roof crews can assess leaks and fix them properly so everything inside of your house stays dry.

Check Up on Gutters, Driveways, and Sprinklers

Heavy rain and snow can negatively impact your gutters, driveways, and sprinklers if they’re not in good shape. Take a good look at your gutters to make sure they’re not clogged with debris—you can install mesh guards over them to keep water from overflowing. You should also fix cracks in your driveway and sidewalk so they don’t expand in freezing temperatures. Lastly, hire a plumber to winterize your sprinkler systems to prevent freezing and bursting.

Tackling Fall Home Improvement Projects

Fall is the perfect time to get your house in great shape before long winter months get in the way. Roll up your sleeves, bust out the toolbox, and finish all those chores you put off during the fun summer season. With a little bit of hard work, and maybe some help from professionals, your home will look great and stay comfortable in harsh winter weather.


Major Steps in a Move-Out Checklist

by c21commonweath_ldowling 21. August 2019 11:02

Selling your house is a busy enough process, but getting ready to leave it is downright hectic. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up and pieces to pack in the transition from one home to another.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your move, reference this checklist to ease your stress while moving from point A to B.

Notify Others of Your Move

Sometime between signing the papers for your new house and packing, you’ll need to contact the post office and your utility companies to let them know you’re moving. Visit to change your address so your mail is forwarded to your new place. The post office only forwards monthly and bimonthly subscriptions for up to 60 days, so you’ll need to notify publishers separately if you want to keep reading the paper with your morning cup of joe.

It’s just as important to inform your local utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, trash, and garbage) of your move so they can discontinue services around the date of your exit. If you aren’t transferring service to your new residence, you should still give them your new address so they can send your final bills.

Lastly, if you have homeowners insurance, discontinue coverage on your old home to make sure you’re not paying for two policies.

Do a Thorough Housecleaning

Make room in your schedule for cleaning time before and after you pack. If you clean before you move boxes, you’ll be less likely to drag dirt and dust around the house.

A “broom clean,” a light cleaning of the entire house, is the move-out standard. Dust and wipe down all surfaces (bookshelves, countertops, and walls included), then sweep or vacuum your floors. Unless you’ve agreed to go above and beyond, these general cleaning tasks should be enough for your buyers. They’ll clean the house to their own standards once they move in, but you should still tidy up to leave a good impression on the new owners.

If there’s any confusion regarding your cleaning responsibilities, read over your purchase agreement to better understand what you’ve agreed to handle. If you’re not in a position to take care of the house yourself before moving out, hire a cleaning service to do the work for you.

Label Your Moving Boxes

Don’t forget to label your boxes before the big moving day so you know which ones to load into the truck first (remember, boxes that go in first will come out last). The general advice is to organize boxes by room and label the rooms by numbers or colors. When it’s time to unpack, you’ll know where each box goes.

Stress Less and Get More Done

Refer to this handy-dandy moving checklist if you get stressed in the days—or minutes—leading up to your move. If you take care of these tasks ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth transition.


Selling Your Boston Home This Summer

by c21commonweath_ldowling 19. August 2019 11:40

Did you know that summer is one of the best times of the year to put your house on the market in Boston? The season may be winding down, but there’s still time for sellers to take advantage of its perks. Market trends, weather, and timing are all in your favor, so take comfort in putting that “for sale” sign in your front yard for all to see.

Favorable Market Trends

Local market trends greatly determine when you should sell your home. Since last year, the median home sale value increased by $36,000 (4%), with a rise in the number of sales occurring each month. In April of this year, Boston saw a 6.9% increase in the number of homes sold, with favorable trends continuing through the summer.

Sellers should take advantage of this summer’s high housing prices and competition from a larger buyer population—there’s a good chance you’ll get more money from a sale now than later in the year.

Consider Weather Conditions

Weather affects buyer behavior, and you’re more likely to sell your home when passersby can see it (i.e., when it’s not covered in snow). You’ll have more luck selling your house in the spring or summer, when your lawn is visible and the flowers are in full bloom. This year’s mild winter and rising housing prices created a more active market in early spring, increasing competition among buyers throughout summer—one more reason to sell this season!

How to Prepare Your Home for a Summertime Sale

Before you place your home on the market, there are several things you can do help it sell more quickly.

Create Curb Appeal

Bostonians appreciate the area’s surrounding natural beauty and love beautiful yards and patios. To maintain your lawn’s healthy look, mow it twice a week (grass grows faster in the summer) in a diagonal direction to add more dimension. Plant flowers, trim bushes, and scatter mulch for a more welcoming front yard.

Make Your Guests Comfortable

Turn on air conditioning to make sure everyone stays cool in the summer heat. You can also offer summer beverages and snacks to encourage prospective buyers to stick around a little longer, and take advantage of the longer-lasting daylight by offering flexible showing hours so people can stop by after work.

Invest in Small Home Improvement Projects

Make improvements to rooms people spend a lot of time in, like the kitchen and living room. Repaint the walls a neutral color, fix outdated lighting fixtures, and update appliances.

Contact a Local Real Estate Agent

It’s hard to predict exactly when to place your home on the market to get the most favorable returns. Reach out to one of our experienced local real estate agents for help with getting the most bang for your buck in the remainder of the summer season.

Now’s the time to sell your Boston home if you want plenty of bites from buyers and better returns. With this knowledge and help from local real estate agents, you’ll be well prepared to make a smart move before fall.



How to Unpack Like a Pro

by c21commonweath_ldowling 14. August 2019 11:50

Unpacking can be stressful if done improperly, which is why we encourage you to put some thought into preparing for your next big move. In order to settle into your new place smoothly, we recommend you get super organized, set realistic goals, and clean up after yourself along the way. Follow some of these unpacking principles to avoid major burnout.

Before You Unpack

Here are several pre-unpacking steps you can take that will save you a lot of work down the road.

Clean Your New Home

Before you create huge piles of stuff in every room, do a thorough cleaning of your new place. By sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing dirty surfaces before you unpack your things, you can make your home spotless without having to work around miscellaneous objects.

Label Appropriately

Label your boxes during the packing process. This ensures you know exactly where each box is going before you even open it, saving you a good amount of time. We also recommend making an inventory of your labeled boxes so you can easily see if everything arrived safely once your items are unloaded from the moving truck.

Have a “Smart” Box

Pack a special box that contains a first aid kit and tools that may come in handy: screwdrivers, hammers, fasteners, a flashlight, and maybe even a portable radio.

Arrange Heavy Furniture

It’s a good idea to plan your new home’s layout and put large furnishings in place before unpacking any smaller items. Once your dining room table, sofas, beds, heavy desks, and all other bulky items are in the appropriate positions, you can more easily place your small belongings around them—you won’t have to haul heavy objects around little ones scattered across the house. 

Time to Unpack

There’s a golden rule for moving: Unpack room by room. This process allows you to accomplish little goals over a longer period of time so you don’t feel the pressure of having to unpack your entire house in one weekend (talk about burnout)! If you’ve labeled your boxes properly, you can pile them in their appropriate rooms to be ready for each individual unpacking project.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Unpack essential items in these rooms first. You’ll need a comfortable place to sleep after a long day of moving (and you’ll need to rest up for the remainder of the unpacking process). Unpack bedding, clothing, and toiletry items first. You’ll set yourself up for success if you get a good night’s rest and have what you need to get dressed and get the day going.


Start unpacking utensils, glasses, and dishes first, then move on to other miscellaneous cookware. You won’t need all of your fancy glasses and silverware immediately, so don’t feel compelled to unpack these things first.

Living Room

Set up your couch, coffee table, and TV to create a space where you can relax after a day of lifting boxes and organizing all your things. You’ve worked hard and deserve a place to kick back and relax!

Kids’ and Pets’ Items

If you have children or pets, make sure you pack boxes of items like clothing, toys, snacks, and food that can be unpacked right away. When your kids and fur babies are comfortable, you can focus more of your efforts on unpacking the rest of the house.

Garage and Outdoor Items

These items can be unpacked last—they’re not as likely to be necessary to your everyday comfort. Just make sure you don’t put off unpacking them for too long, otherwise they may live in boxes far longer than they should.

Enjoy Your Success

It can be easy to forget about your everyday life while moving. Make sure you take time to check in with friends and reward yourselves with a break after unpacking a room or two. Moving is stressful enough, so enjoy some downtime to stay centered and energized for the rest of your household projects.


Ceiling Fan Upgrades

by c21commonweath_ldowling 12. August 2019 11:16

Update Your Ceiling Fans

If you’re trying to escape from the summer sun, you’ll likely seek refuge in a cool, temperature-controlled room, but you’ll need your ceiling fans to be in tip-top shape to keep the heat from permeating your house. If your ceiling fans aren’t working, or if they just look a bit outdated, follow these instructions for replacing them quickly and safely.

How to Replace a Ceiling Fan

Replacing a ceiling fan isn’t necessarily hard, but it’s best to do some prep work before diving straight into your project.

Removing the Old Fan

Before removing the fan from the ceiling, make sure you follow some basic safety measures. Working with electrical wires can be dangerous, so you’ll want to turn off the power to your ceiling fan. It’s worth being extra cautious—after you flip the switch, use a voltage tester to ensure that no remaining electricity will harm you during the process.

Now you’re ready to remove the old fan from the ceiling. Start by taking off the light fixtures, then the blades, and finally, the base. You’ll need a screwdriver and maybe even a buddy to help with any heavy lifting. Before you attempt to install the new fan, take note of how the wires in the old fan connected to the ceiling (you can take picture to make sure you don’t forget).

Installing the New Fan

Start by attaching the new bracket to the ceiling’s electrical box. Use the new screws to fix the bracket to the electrical box securely, pulling the wires from the ceiling through the bracket’s center hole.

After you put your new fan’s base together (steps will vary depending on the kind of fan), you can raise your fan base to the ceiling, hook it into the bracket, and attach the wires (wire colors and directions may vary by fan).

The Best Ceiling Fans

Whether or not your ceiling fan is broken, you can replace it with a more attractive and powerful fan to improve both your home’s airflow and its atmosphere. We recommend finding a top-quality ceiling fan that complements your décor. Click here for a list of some of the most highly rated ceiling fans of 2019—they’ll get the job done right and help tie the room together.