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.

Cambridge Condo – New to the Market

This two-bedroom North Cambridge condo has a wonderful feel-  it’s warm, bright and inviting.  It’s on the top floor of a well maintained triple decker on a small side street not far from Mass Ave and the bike path.  It’s an easy walk to Davis Square and to the shops and restaurants on Mass Ave.

8 George Street Cambridge Living Room

8 George Street Cambridge Living Room

The light-filled condo has two skylights, high ceilings, wood floors, in-unit laundry and a back deck that has lovely views of trees and neighboring gardens.  The eat-in kitchen has lots of counter space and cabinets, a gas stove and a dishwasher.  You can display your favorite dishes in the built-in cabinet in the adjacent dining room.

The dining room has been opened to the eat-in kitchen

The dining room has been opened to the eat-in kitchen

There’s extra storage in the basement, common space outside, and yes – a deeded parking space.

8 George Street, Cambridge MA is new to the market and listed for $379,000.  Email or call Liz Bolton of Coldwell Banker at 617-504-1737  to schedule a visit or for more information.

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Sellers – Start Your Engines!

The spring real estate market starts in January - and even better there's no snow yet!

The spring real estate market starts in January - and even better there's no snow yet!

Every January it seems the real estate market is in the same place – buyers are ready, sellers aren’t.

After real estate market activity ground to a halt for the holidays (and half the real estate agents in town went on vacation) I was hoping for a good selection of new listings on our weekly tour.  Instead we had just one property to see yesterday – a new conversion on Porter Street in Somerville with two very nice condos near Porter Square.

That means it’s been three weeks with few new listings.  And it’s really been longer than that since things slow down by Thanksgiving.

The buyers are champing at the bit. 

With few new properties listed for sale, many houses and condos that had been on the market for months were put under agreement over  the last 6 – 8 weeks.  Inventory levels have dropped.

But the buyers are ready and itching to get and out and see places. 

If you are planning to sell your home this spring – spring is here!  This can be a good time to list your home for sale.  You’ll have eager buyers and less competition than later in the season when many more properties will be put up for sale.

Are you thinking about selling this spring?  I’d love to talk to you and can be reached by email or by phone at 617-504-1737

Liz Bolton
now of ReMax Destiny

Categories: Seller Info

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Royal Barry Wills Houses in the Boston Globe

I’m just getting to Sunday’s Boston Globe and was delighted to see a selection of Royal Barry Wills houses in the Boston Globe Magazine of Jan.1, 2012.

In its column, “On the Block,” the Globe featured three capes designed by architect Royal Barry Wills in Holden, Groton and Hingham.  RBW designed Tudors, Colonials, and even a few Modernist houses, but it’s the quintessential New England Cape for which he is best known.

If  you’re a Royal Barry Wills enthusiast, as I am, you’ll enjoy seeing the houses featured.  Click on the small photo below for more info and lots more photographs.

Want to see more? We’ve got an earlier post with a link at the bottom that shows all the Royal Barry Wills houses in Massachusetts that are on the market (or at least those where the agent included the architect’s name in the MLS description).  It’s probably the most charming collection of MLS photos you’ll ever see in one sitting.

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Somerville Flag Raising on New Year’s Day

Prospect Hill Tower Somerville MA

Prospect Hill Tower Somerville MA

Looking for something different to ring in the new year?   Head on over to Prospect Hill in Somerville for the annual New Year’s Day flag raising.

The Prospect Hill flag raising on January 1, 2012 marks the 236th anniversary of General George Washington’s raising of the nation’s first official flag on Jan. 1, 1776 on Prospect Hill.  A processional led by a Washington re-enactor on horseback will leave Somerville City Hall at 11:30 am.  The flag will be raised at Prospect Hill Park at noon.

There will be songs, readings, and re-enactments by several groups. Light refreshments will be served.  Books about Somerville’s history and miniature replicas of the Grand Union Flag will be available for purchase.

The circa 1905 postcard at right reads in part: “Strongest work in besieging line of Boston 1775-1776.  On this Eminence Jan. 1, 1776, The Flag of the United Colonies first waved defiance to a foe.”

 

 

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Christmas Tree Pickup and Disposal

2011 Christmas Tree

2011 Christmas Tree

Thinking about taking down the tree?  Wondering how to dispose of your Christmas tree?  We’ve pulled together the Christmas tree disposal info for local towns.

The lyric “but it took so long to bake it…” keeps running through my head as I ponder dismantling the Christmas tree. But I’m determined to get it outside for the regular pickup rather than sticking it in the yard until spring as I so often do.  And at least this year we won’t be posing the trees in snow banks or waiting for the snowbank to melt and expose long since abandoned trees. Score one for global warming.

Remember: Trees must be bare – free of all decorations, tinsel and stand.  Do not put trees in plastic bags.  Wreaths cannot be mulched because of the wires and must be put in the trash.

Cambridge Christmas Tree Pickup and Disposal

Cambridge recycles Christmas trees and uses the mulch produced for city landscaping. 

Christmas trees in Cambridge will be picked up curbside on your regular trash day between January 3 and January 13, 2012. 

Cambridge residents may also drop off trees at the Recycling Center from December 31, 2011 to January 21, 2012 during open hours.  The Recycling Center, at 147 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 pm to 7:30 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

Somerville Christmas Tree Recycling

The Somerville DPW will pick up Christmas trees left curbside in January for mulching.

Belmont Christmas Tree Pickup

Belmont will pickup Christmas trees left curbside on your regular trash day through January 12, 2012.

Medford Christmas Trees Pickup

You get one chance to get your tree picked up in Medford – Christmas trees will be picked up on your regular trash day the week of January 9 – 13, 2012. 

Watertown Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas trees can be placed curbside for pickup during the month of January in Watertown.

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House Hunting circa 1916

House Hunting ca. 1916

House Hunting ca. 1916

I came across this poem tonight in a 1916 book of verse, A Heap ‘o Livin’ by Edgar A. Guest.  Guest wrote many of the verses that appear on Buzza mottos from the teens and ’20s. 

The poem tickled my funny bone – the home buyers are dreaming of the newest in amenities circa 1916.  Though the amenities on today’s house hunters’ wish lists may be different the sentiments seem very familiar.

 

House-Hunting by Edgar A. Guest

Time was when spring returned we went
To find another home to rent;
We wanted fresher, cleaner walls,
And bigger rooms and wider halls,
And open plumbing and the dome
That made the fashionable home.

But now with spring we want to sell,
And seek a finer place to dwell.
Our thoughts have turned from dens and domes;
We want the latest things in homes;
To life we’ll not be reconciled
Until we have a bathroom tiled.

A butler’s pantry we desire,
Although no butler do we hire;
Nell’s life will be one round of gloom
Without a closet for the broom,
And mine will dreary be and sour
Unless the bathroom has a shower.

For months and months we’ve sat and dreamed
Of paneled walls and ceilings beamed
And built-in cases for the books,
An attic room to be the cook’s.
No house will she consent to view
Unless it has a sun room, too.

There must be wash bowls here and there
To save much climbing of the stair;
A sleeping porch we both demand —
This fad has swept throughout the land —
And, Oh, ’twill give her heart a wrench
Not to possess a few doors, French.

I want to dig and walk around
At least full fifty feet of ground;
She wants the latest styles in tubs;
I want more room for trees and shrubs,
And a garage, with light and heat,
That can be entered from the street.

The trouble is the things we seek
Cannot be bought for ten-a-week.
And all the joys for which we sigh
Are just too rich for us to buy.
We have the taste to cut a dash;
The thing we’re lacking most is cash.

Categories: Buyer Info

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Are You Considering Renting Rather than Selling?

Are you thinking about renting rather than selling your home?

Are you thinking about renting rather than selling your home?

Are you considering renting rather than selling your house or condo?  With the real estate market off its peak, some prospective home sellers are thinking about renting out their home rather than selling it at today’s price.  

Or perhaps you’ve had your property on the market for some time and would rather get some rental income and try to sell down the road.

There are some important factors you should keep in mind if you want to rent a property now that you plan to sell in the future.  Aside from the ins and outs of being a landlord, how to get good tenants, what rent to charge, etc. there are issues to consider when you’re thinking about renting out a property that you really would like to sell.  Here’s what to keep in mind:

When will the lease end?  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have your lease end at a slower time in the real estate sales market.  If you have tenants through August, for example, you’ll be ready to sell in the fall and will have missed the busy spring market.  Ideally you want to be ready to sell in the spring.

It won’t be easy to sell with tenants in your property.  Tenants and home sellers do not have the same goals.  As a seller you want your place to look its best and to be easy to show.  Tenants have no motivation to keep the property show-ready and even less motivation to make it easy to show.

When real estate agents look at properties for sale we’ll sometimes inquire “Is this place rented?”  That’s code for “This place is a mess and if it’s the seller who lives here why haven’t they cleaned up?”  It’s a rare (and prized!) tenant who keeps a property as well as a motivated seller.

For weeks I’ve been trying to show two Cambridge condos to a prospective buyer.  In each case, the tenant is not cooperating and we’ve not been able to schedule a showing.  The sellers are building up days on market, making their condos look “stale” and unappealing, while in reality few buyers have even been able to see the properties.  Amazingly, in one case the tenant is related to the seller.  In fact, in my experience relatives or “friends” of the sellers can be the most uncooperative when they’re faced with showing requests.

When your property is empty of tenants you’ll need to spend time and money cleaning and buffing it up by making any needed repairs, refinishing floors, etc.  You may alos want to budget for staging.  Properties typically sell better when furnished so you’ll want someone to stage your house or condo with furniture and accessories.

Renting rather than selling may make sense but you want to make sure you’re positioned for a successful sale at the end of your lease.

Categories: Seller Info

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New Somerville and Cambridge Real Estate Listings

33 Willard St Overlooks the Cambridge Skating Club

33 Willard St Overlooks the Cambridge Skating Club

After a couple of weeks with few or no new listings, our first tour after Thanksgiving was a good one.  We saw half a dozen new listings in Somerville and Cambridge today.  Nice weather, new listings – it was a great day!

Cambridge and Somerville condo buyers have several new places to choose from if their price range is between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

 

33 Willard Street in Cambridge is a super location between Brattle Street and Mount Auburn, close to Harvard Square. This two-level condo looks over the ice skating (or summer tennis!) at the Cambridge Skating Club.  There are Charles River views from several rooms. This three-bedroom condo is new to the market at $995,000.

345 Harvard Street #2 in Cambridge has just come on the market at $749,000.  It’s a sleek modern renovation in an elevator building in mid-Cambridge.  There are three bedrooms and two baths.

140 Hudson Street in Somerville also has an elevator.  Spacious and super bright and sunny, this two-bedroom condo with study is listed for $509,900

There are also several multi-family houses new to the market in Cambridge:

We saw a two-family fixer-upper on Homer Ave in Cambridge. The townhouse-style units have some nice original details.  There’s work to be done but the house is priced at just $449,000.

5 Warwick Park is a handsome three-decker in close to original condition.  There are some very nice details – high ceilings, original woodwork and light fixtures and back porches on each floor.  Warwick Park is tucked away off Pemberton Street close to Mass Ave.  5 Warwick is priced at $875,000.

45-47 Putnam Ave is close to Harvard Square and the Charles River.  This triple-decker has had some very interesting architect-designed renovations and was a treat to see.  It’s new to the market at $1,195,000.

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