Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category
Usually Easter is quiet on the real estate front with few open houses.
This year, however, there are a dozen open houses in Cambridge and Somerville today. Half of these are for listings new to the market this week.
That’s still just a handful so watch for a bump in new listings over the next week or two as sellers who waited until after the holiday put their homes on the market.
I couldn’t resist including the Easter clip art at right since it combines several of my favorite themes – vintage images, houses, and animals wearing clothes. Turns out that egg-shaped houses can often be found on vintage Easter postcards – perfect for a house-loving real estate agent like me.
If you’re celebrating today – enjoy!
Recently I made a point to vist an open house for brokers in Arlington Heights. The house was a beautiful Greek Revival, one of my favorite architectural styles, and I looked forward to seeing it.
I wasn’t disappointed. The house was filled with well preserved architectural details and a real treat to see. On the dining room table the agent had put out a number of pieces about the house’s history to share with buyers.
My favorite by far was a packet of letters that the homeowner had received from a member of the family that moved into the house more than a century ago. The letters were rich in detail about how the house looked decades ago and filled with stories about the author’s memories of her family and life over the years in the house.
The letters were mesmerizing – filled with tidbits that evoked the sights, sounds and smells of the early 1900s. I brought my mother a copy, knowing she would enjoy them as much as I did. “We’ve got to buy this house!” she exclaimed. “Let’s sell this one and move.”
That was not to be – the house sold that weekend to a someone more prepared than we were. But it was an example of how powerful sharing the stories of your house can be when it’s time to sell and pass the house on to new owners.
I love old houses and confess to sometimes feeling like an adopted member of the families that have lived in them before me. When it was time to sell my first house, a sweet little house circa 1865, I wrote a piece about what I had learned about the family that had owned it before me – just one family since it was new. My packet for buyers included vintage photos of the house that dated from the 1880s through the 1930s. It was important, I thought, to pass on that history, so the stories could be preserved for new owners. Several years later, when the house again exchanged hands, the vignette about the house was handed over to the next owners once again.
Chances are your house has stories to tell too. Whether you’re fortunate enough to have a former owner share memories with you, or you do the fun work of discovery through your own house history research, the stories your house has to tell can make you feel more connected to your old house.
When it’s time to move, make sure you pass on your house’s stories. You’ll be preserving history and may just hook a buyer at the same time.
It looks like the snow might not live up to the projections made earlier this week – at least around Cambridge. The open houses will go on!
Here’s one guy who looks like he’s hoping for more snow….
In October, after 12 years at 171 Huron Ave – first at DeWolfe and then Coldwell Banker – I moved across Cambridge to ReMax Destiny.
I’m thrilled by the move – and now that I’ve finally unpacked I thought I’d introduce you to my new office.
Over the years many of my favorite agents had moved to ReMax and I’m delighted to join them. Coincidentally, all four of us in my room were formerly at DeWolfe. The admin and marketing staff at ReMax Destiny is top notch and such a pleasure to work with. The office has all the real estate bases covered with a property management division, commercial real estate agents, a super rental department, and close to 50 residential real estate agents.
My new office address is 907 Massachusetts Ave. It’s a very different feel than Huron Ave with lots of foot traffic well into the evening and easy access to the Red Line at Central or Harvard. The convenience of being just down the street from City Hall and the post office can’t be beat and I love walking around Mid-Cambridge when I leave the office. I’ve yet to find a nearby place for a slice of pizza (where’s my new Armando’s?) but there are plenty of restaurants to explore. Come join me for lunch when you’re in the neighborhood!
Before I packed up I made sure to photograph my old desk:
And here’s my new space. It’s really sweet – you can’t see the wide board floors or the wall of windows overlooking Hancock Street and Mass Ave.
If you’re in the neighborhood stop by ReMax at 907 Mass Ave and say hi!
This bitingly cold weather is one more reminder to pay close attention to your heating system. If you have steam heat you may need to add water to the boiler (and yes – it’s a boiler, not a furnace, if your heating system uses water).
During our last cold snap I spent two hours in an unheated foreclosure. It took me all day to thaw. The first thing I did when I left that frigid house was to return to mine to check on my boiler.
I love steam heat. I had it in my first house and it’s in my current house too. Neither boiler had an automatic feed so it’s up to me to make sure the water level is sufficient. You would think I would know how to add water to a steam boiler by now.
But when I arrived home that day I wasn’t sure. Could I add water to the boiler if the heat was on? Would it hurt the boiler if I added water when it was hot? Could I break the furnace?
Turns out when adding water to a steam boiler you want to turn off the heat and let the boiler cool. Adding cold water to a hot boiler can crack the boiler – which will then require replacement – or worse, according to at least one article I read, cause the boiler to explode – eek!
Best practice I guess is to not wait until the coldest day of the week to check the water level in your steam boiler. And if you want more help with your steam heating system the very best resource is Dan Holohan’s The Lost Art of Steam Heating - it’s really the bible for homeowners with steam heat.
From my house to yours -
Wishing you the very merriest of Christmases.
Are your closets too shallow? Can’t fit hangers in the closet?
Shallow closets are a common problem in older houses and apartments. At one time closets were designed to have a row of hooks inside – not a closet rod. I’m not sure through what time period closets were built this way – I’ve owned two houses built in the 1800s and in each some of the closets weren’t deep enough for closet rods.
Sometimes short closet rods can be installed from front to back to the left or right of the door – that’s how the closets were adapted in my house. It’s not perfect – those are pretty short closet rods – but it works.
The problem with a shallow closet is that when a closet rod is installed from end to end – as closet rods typically are – you can’t fit clothes hangers on the rod and still close the closet door. Some homeowners remove the closet doors altogether but that’s not ideal.
Here’s an innovative fix to the problem of shallow closets – children’s clothes hangers. Yup – that’s right – children’s clothes hangers typically will fit in the closet and allow for the door to close.
I picked up these kids’ hangers at the Container Store – a bargain at just 29 cents a piece.
Thanks to Tara for this innovative solution – all of us with shallow closets thank you!
I love old wallpaper. In fact, I’ve bought three houses because of – at least in part – their vintage wallpaper. It’s one of those features that rings bells for me.
When houses that haven’t been updated for years change hands it’s only a matter of time before the vintage wallpaper is no more.
20 Vincent Street in Cambridge is a beautiful multi-family that was on the market for a few days recently before receiving multiple offers. The house had fabulous vintage wallpaper in almost every room.
Chances are that wallpaper is not long for this world. So let’s memorialize it here with this slideshow.