Welcome to Centers and Squares
As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.
‘Tis the season for holiday fairs – this is one of the big weekends. Here are some local fairs scheduled for Saturday, December 8, 2012. I’m tempted to stop by all of them!
75th Annual Christmas Fair at Christ Church in Harvard Square Cambridge
This is the quintessential holiday fair with crafts, books, attic treasures, baked goods, holiday greens and more.
Christ Church, Zero Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 10 am to 3 pm
Holiday Fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford
Jewelrey, baked goods, arts and crafts, stocking stuffers and more
UU Church, 147 High Street, Medford, MA
Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 10 am to 4 pm
Youth Holiday Craft Fair
Featuring crafts by local youths ages 8 to 18 most priced at $5 or less
Robbins Library Community Room, 700 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA
Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 2 to 4 pm
GUMC Holy Berry Fair in Everett
Here’s another classic holiday fair featuring handmade crocheted and knitted items, holiday gifts, a white elephant table, baked goods, and more. Don’t eat before you go – coffee and donuts will be available in the morning, a buffet lunch will be served, and there’s a “cookie walk”.
Glendale United Methodist Church, 392 Ferry Street, Everett, MA
Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 9 am to 2 pm
2012 has been a year of bidding wars in Cambridge. Just how often are they happening? I decided to take a look at the numbers of Cambridge houses selling for over asking price. How many houses in Cambridge sell for over asking?
As of yesterday, 117 houses had sold in Cambridge since January 1st. Of the 117:
48 sold for over asking
11 sold for full price
58 sold for less than asking price
So, slightly more than half of all Cambridge houses sold to date in 2012 sold for full price or more.
In fact, this is the first year that I recall seeing the MLS report I run with a Sale to List Price ratio for all sales at more than 100%. In other words, on average, Cambridge houses have sold for more than asking price in 2012. The sale to list price ratio for Cambridge houses sold in 2012 is 102%. That number is usually high – somewhere in the 90s – but this is the first time I recall seeing the total – not just one price band – exceed 100%.
Those numbers don’t tell the whole story. While almost half of the houses sold for less than full price often the discount was rather negligible – a few thousand on a house selling for hundreds of thousands. Just a handful sold for discounts of 7 to 11% off the asking price.
The premiums paid in multiple bids however was often much larger – $516,000 for a house priced at $399,000; $$450,000 for a house with an asking price of $369,000; $3,150,000 for a house priced at $2,400,000, etc. A number of sale prices were 20 to 30%+ over the asking price.
Let’s hope inventory builds in 2013 – we don’t need more bidding wars – we need more listings!
If you’re hoping to sell your Cambridge home for top dollar or if you’re hoping to buy and want some expert guidance in how to prevail in this market, give me a call – I’d be happy to help. Liz Bolton, ReMax Destiny, Cambridge. 617-504-1737.
Ok – your offer was accepted. Congratulations! Chances are the next step is to get a home inspection scheduled. Wondering what happens on a home inspection? Here’s an overview:
What Happens On A Home Inspection
Typically your home inspector starts on the exterior of the property. He’ll be looking at the siding, the trim, the foundation and the roof.
Then we’re off to the basement since as one home inspector says “that’s where the fun is!” A good home inspector will go through the cellar one system at a time and look at the plumbing, the heating, the electrical and the foundation. He’ll be looking for any evidence of current or past pest problems though if conditions warrant you may consider getting a separate pest inspection by a specialist.
An inspector typically is not checking for lead paint – that’s a separate inspection by another specialist. The inspector is also not looking at the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms since Massachusetts law requires that those will be inspected by the local Fire Department prior to the sale of the house.
Upstairs the inspector will go room to room with more time being spent in the kitchen and bath[s].
Your inspector will be taking notes and it helps if you take notes too. You’ll be getting a report that outlines the inspector’s findings. You may get the inspector’s report on the spot or it may be emailed to you afterwards. Ideally you want ask the inspector when you first call for an appointment how long it will take to get your report – particularly if you’re up against the agreed upon inspection deadline in your offer.
With a good inspector, by the time you’re done you should have an understanding of any issues to add to your to-do list, a grasp of how the mechanicals in your house work, and a good sense of what you need to do for ongoing maintenance and emergencies. You’ll be a homeowner soon!
It’s time to get back on the bus – the shuttle bus that is if you’re heading into or out of North Cambridge over the next few weekends.
The MBTA is again doing repairs on the Red Line tracks between the Harvard and Alewife stations. Red Line service between Harvard Square and Alewife will be provided by shuttle buses on the next few weekends.
So if you need to go beyond Harvard Square or get on the T at Alewife, Davis or Porter Square you’ll be taking the shuttle bus instead.
Weekend shuttle bus service will run between Harvard and Alewife on November 24-25 and December 1-2, 2012. The work scheduled for the weekend of December 8-9, 2012 has been postponed and the subway will be running this weekend. The City of Cambridge website has more info here.
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.
The table is set. The turkey’s in the oven. Thanksgiving dinner will soon be served.
The first guest has arrived. Actually he’s been the backdrop to our celebrations for close to four years – and he’ll be here for four more!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
No more Hostess Cupcakes? Say it’s not so! Word that Hostess was shutting down and halting production caused runs on local groceries and convenience stores this weekend. Sentimental shoppers, stunned by the thought of never again getting their favorite snack foods, cleared store shelves of all things Hostess.
And don’t think because the box says “Drake’s” that your favorite lunchbox treat is safe – Hostess owns Drake’s too.
What does a life without Hostess mean?
No more Hostess Cupcakes
No more Donettes
No more Twinkies
No more Devil Dogs
No more Ding Dongs
No more Yodels
No more Wonder Bread
Aach!! What are we gonna eat for dessert? What’s going to go in the lunchbox? Heck – forget the lunchbox – what about our special plastic Hostess Cupcake and Twinkie-shaped containers – never to be filled again.
Hostess Cupcakes with a glass of cold milk were the dessert in my imaginary “last meal.” A package of powdered Donettes and a Diet Coke was the snack I’d pick up when I was on the road. In high school, attacks of the munchies were sated with Twinkies. I can still remember the field trip we took to the Hostess Factory when I was in elementary school. And any trip to the Natick Mall was enhanced by the amazing smell of Wonder Bread baking in the nearby factory.
I hope you managed to find your favorites before the shelves were bare – and if not, there’s always Craigslist or ebay for a few more weeks. Courtesy of my brother Andy I scored five Hostess Cupcakes and two packages of Donettes – or Donette Gems as I’ve always called them. I’ll savor each sugary bite.
A recent line in the New York Times caught my eye the other day. It seems that the average price per square foot for a condo at One57 in Manhattan – aka the Billionaires Building – aka the building-with-the-collapsed-crane – is $6,500. $6,500 to own a square foot of New York City. Yowza! Turns out that that’s not the most expensive real estate in NYC – I found at least one reference to a sale for twice that or $13,000 per square foot.
What’s the highest price per square foot in Cambridge I wondered?
In the last three years only four buildings in Cambridge commanded a price per square foot of more than $1,000. Only 14 properties of the 2,556 condos or houses – just over 1/2 of 1% – sold in Cambridge sold for more than $1,000 per square foot in the last three years. The buildings with the highest price per square foot in Cambridge are:
University Green at 130 Mount Auburn Street (3 condos sold)
The Esplanade at 75-83 Cambridge Parkway (3 condos sold)
The Residences at Charles Square at 975 Memorial Drive (7 condos sold)
1010 Memorial Drive (1 co-op sold)
These Cambridge buildings that command the highest price per square foot are all full-service luxury buildings. Three of the four are on the Charles River. University Green and Charles Square are right in Harvard Square.
For these 14 Cambridge properties, the price per square foot ranged from $1,003 to $1,516. That’s the top price you’ll pay in Cambridge but in NYC it’s an average price – or more precisely the median price – which ranged from $1,129 to $1,592 per square foot in New York City’s most expensive neighborhoods. In Cambridge, a relative bargain by New York City standards, this year the median price per square foot for condos was approximately $468.
When you search for properties that have sold for more than $1,000 per square foot in Cambridge in the last few years your search will return only condos and co-ops. You have to search further back to find any houses that sold at this price point. Two single family houses, one in 2003 and one in 2006, sold for more than $1,000 per square foot. Both were in the Brattle Street neighborhood of West Cambridge. A couple of other houses commanded a price per square foot in this range but the price was clearly based on the land, not the structure.
Wondering what’s for sale in Cambridge’s most expensive buildings? Here are condos currently listed for $750,000+
Photo of the collapsed crane at One57 courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman.