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Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

Alisa Coyle


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As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This couldn’t be truer than when you’re selling your home. The first time a buyer sees your home in person, it is up to the front of your home to leave them wanting more. Here are a few simple ways to increase the curb appeal of your home:

Make sure that your walkway is clear and level. People touring your home are going to start forming opinions the minute they step foot out of the car. This makes your walkway very important – it should be free of clutter (leaves, snow, bicycles, etc.) and should have no major cracks or tripping hazards.

The area near your front door should be neat and tidy. If you have a porch area with furniture, make sure it is clean and looks welcoming. A potted plant or a simple wreath on the door can go a long way forward helping make a good impression on people there for a showing.

Your home’s front door should be clean and inviting. Take an extra minute before a showing to make sure that your front door is clean. Windows should be free of smudge marks, and handles should be wiped down. Also make sure that the door’s paint is in good condition.

For more tips on how to sell your home from the real estate experts here at Greater Boston Realty, just call 617-469-4040 to make an appointment. We help sell homes in all of the Greater Boston area, including Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. Don’t hesitate to call us today!



What's Included? A Guide to Fixtures and Extras


When you’re buying a home, there is one question that you will probably ask quite a few times: “Is that included?” Seeing a home that is well furnished is always a treat, but it is important that you know exactly what is included with the sale. Your real estate agent will often know the answer, but it’s always worth asking, especially on certain items, like these:

Appliances: The refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher may be included in the sale, or they may be taken by the homeowner upon sale of the property.

Window Treatments: Sometimes owners will want to keep custom drapes and shutters, other times they will be a part of the sale. Make sure that you know one way or the other so that you can plan your décor budget accordingly.

Light Fixtures: Often these are considered a part of the home and are included with the sale, but your real estate agent will tell you if the homeowners insist on keeping any of the light fixtures. This most often occurs with chandeliers.

Mounted Televisions: Although they are attached to the wall, it is often up in the air whether mounted televisions are considered a fixture. Ask your Realtor whether the homeowner will be leaving the television, leaving just the mounting hardware, or neither.

Each home will be different when it comes to what’s included with the sale. That’s why it’s so important to get a top-notch real estate agent. If you would like to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Realtors here at Greater Boston Realty, just call 617-469-4040.



Moving to the Area? Tips for New Bostonians

by Alisa Coyle

As real estate agents in Boston, we work with a lot of people who are new to the area. It is always such a pleasure to see our home buyers take in the local sights, and to help them plan a future in this great city. So, whether you move to Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Roslindale, or any of the other neighborhoods around, you will be ready to embrace the Bostonian mindset:

· Most of the country seems to have a Starbucks addiction, but here in Massachusetts, we also run on Dunkin’ Donuts.  And remember – asking for coffee ‘regular’ isn’t black.   Here, ‘regular’ coffee has cream and sugar.

· You should probably get up to speed on the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots – they’re always a talking point for Boston locals. Also, the Green Monster isn’t actually scary – it’s the name of the left field wall at Fenway Park!

· Don’t call the MBTA “the subway” unless you want to be ridiculed. Here, it’s “the T” and nothing else. It’s also a great way to get around town if you don’t want to brave the (sometimes crazy) traffic.

· There is history everywhere. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find a place that isn’t historically significant in some way. If you want to experience the city’s offerings, the Freedom Trail downtown is a great place to start.

And if you’re looking to move to the area, the best place to start is with a five-star Realtor. Call Greater Boston Realty today at 617-469-4040 to make an appointment and speak with a real estate agent that can help you choose the right neighborhood for you and your family.



Massachusetts Home Selling Tip: Light it Up!

by Alisa Coyle

When you’re selling a Boston home, you know that there are a few tasks you should complete before your real estate agent brings in a potential buyer for a showing. You should always make sure that your home is tidy, that there is no trash visible, that evidence of pets are hidden, that the place smells nice, and you may choose to leave out water bottles or a small candy dish for your visitors.

The last thing you do before you head out the door should be to bring as much light into your home as possible. Turn on all the overhead lights and light fixtures, and open the curtains and blinds. This is done to increase the natural and artificial light and to make the house feel light and airy, as well as spacious.

If you turn on all the lights in your home (yes, end tables and floor lamps too!) and it still needs a little more light, consider increasing the wattage of a few of the bulbs in your fixtures. This will improve the lighting quality without the need to buy a new lamp. Another way to make a room feel brighter is to change the paint color. You don’t want walls to be stark white, but a light neutral color can make a room feel more open to a potential buyer.

For more tips on how to get your home ready for a showing, call Greater Boston Realty. One quick call to 617-347-5589 and we will schedule a consultation to show you how to get the highest price for your home.


What is a Walk Score?

by Alisa Coyle

If you’ve ever taken a look at the Greater Boston Realty website’s homepage, you may have noticed that we have the Walk Score listed for three of our most popular neighborhoods: Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and West Roxbury. These numbers may seem arbitrary at first, but learning how to use them can improve the quality of your Boston home search.

This Walk Score gives a numerical value to the walk ability of a neighborhood. When assigned a number on a scale of 0-100, you can easily see if you will need a car for all errands, or if you don’t need to rely on a car to accomplish your regular shopping trips. For example, Roslindale has a Walk Score of 88, meaning that it is “Very Walkable” and that most errands can be accomplished on foot.

In addition to giving a Walk Score, you can also see a Transit Score and a Bike Score. The Bike Score incorporates whether the area is flat or hilly, as well as the availability of bike lanes and trails. Jamaica Plain has a Bike Score of 91! Transit Scores evaluate public transit based on types of transit lines available, as well as their distance from the neighborhood or address in question.

To learn more about finding a home in a neighborhood that you can walk or bike, or that is close to public transit, just call the real estate experts at Greater Boston Realty – 617-469-4040. We can show you options that will suit your needs when it comes to Walk, Bike, and Transit Scores, and much more!



Easy Renovation Projects for New Homeowners

by Alisa Coyle

When you purchase a new home in Boston, you may get the urge to spruce it up and make it your own. If you’re looking for a few easy and inexpensive DIY renovation projects, here are some suggestions from the Massachusetts real estate experts here at Greater Boston Realty:

You can’t have a second chance at a first impression. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your front entryway is making the right statement. Spruce up the paint on your mailbox, add a plant or a wreath to your doorway, and make sure that your walkway is smooth and level.

Another simple DIY project is installing crown molding and baseboards in your home.  With relatively little effort, you can make a huge impact on your new home. While you’re at it, it only takes a screwdriver to install new kitchen and bath hardware – the hardest part of that project is picking out new knobs!

There is one thing that every homeowner wishes for: more storage. Take matters into your own hands by installing organizers in your kitchen, bathrooms, closets, garage, and more! A little bit of elbow grease can help you and your family stay organized for years to come!

If you are looking for a new home in the Boston area, contact Greater Boston Realty at 617-469-4040. We can help you find the home that fits your needs in West Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and beyond! And make sure to Like us on Facebook and share DIY projects that have added a little bit of pizzazz to your home.


Getting the Most Out of Your “Green” Upgrades

by Alisa Coyle

Energy efficient home upgrades are on the rise. Did you know that nine out of ten homebuyers would like to have an energy efficient home – and they’re willing to pay more for a home with ‘green’ upgrades? If you have made efficiency improvements to a home that you’re selling, make sure that you are compensated for the added value that they provide with these tips:

When you begin the process of selling your home, make a list of all of your ‘green’ upgrades. Include anything that improves your energy efficiency - like special windows, insulation, low-flow toilets, gas fireplaces, modern appliances, etc. If you can, include the estimated savings on water, heating, and electricity bills for each of your upgrades.

Listing benefits is a good start, but if you really want to attract buyers you should consider getting an efficiency rating for your home. There are three main scoring systems: the Energy Performance Score, the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, and the Home Energy Score. Find a local professional that will rate your home on one of these scales, and include the score you receive on marketing materials for your home.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to work with people who will appreciate the improvements that you have made. Your appraiser should recognize the added value of your energy efficient home. In addition, you need a real estate agent that can sell your property and all of its perks.   If you’re looking for a skilled real estate agent to sell your energy efficient home, just call Greater Boston Realty at 617-469-4040


Why Hire a Real Estate Agent for Your Home Search?

by Alisa Coyle

Looking to buy a home in the Boston area? Don’t take on this task alone. You need someone in your corner that will help with your search to find the perfect place for your family. Here are just a few of the many reasons that you should hire a Boston real estate expert to help with your next home search:

A real estate agent acts as an intermediary. Instead of doing tons of research and then having to call different agents, your real estate agent will help you choose homes with your requirements (after all, they are the neighborhood experts), and will set up appointments for you – this eliminates a lot of hassle!

In addition, your real estate agent will be a huge help when you do find a home that you love. Not only will they help you negotiate the sale, but they will also aid you with some of the necessary paperwork. Agents are an expert at the home buying process, so you can trust them to know the best way to navigate the process.

Once you have successfully purchased your home, your real estate agent will continue to act as a resource for you after closing. If you have questions or need help, your agent will be a phone call away.

If you’re looking for the best Boston realtors, call 617-469-4040.  At Greater Boston Realty, we want to show you how easy it is to find the perfect house. Setting up a meeting with one of our agents is the first step to moving into your dream home.




First Time Home Buying in Boston

by Alisa Coyle

The saying goes “There’s a first time for everything” and that goes for home buying, too. At some point, everyone goes through the home buying process for the first time – but it doesn’t have to be confusing or scary. Here are a few tips from the Massachusetts real estate professionals about how to buy your first home in Boston:

Take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer programs in the area. If you’re new to the home buying process, you have a lot to learn. The first step in the process should be taking a class where you can learn about the steps that you will need to take in order to purchase your first home. In fact, taking one of these courses is often required for several local first-time homebuyer programs and loan programs. Check out the classes offered by the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance to learn more.

It is also important to make a ‘wish list’ for your home. Make sure that you get all decision makers involved, and consider what is a ‘need’ and what is a ‘want’ when it comes to the home you will buy. You should also decide in advance if you are willing to do any work on the home that you purchase, or if you want something that is ready to move into.

The other key to a smooth first-time home buying experience is having a great real estate agent to guide you through the process. Call Greater Boston Realty at 617-469-4040 to set up a meeting with a qualified Boston real estate professional that you can trust. Our real estate agents know the comparable sales data in the area and can help you navigate the market to find the home of your dreams.



Declutter Your Home for Last-Minute Showings

by Alisa Coyle

When you’re selling your home, keeping it showing-ready can be a challenge. After all, it’s impossible to keep a home picked-up and neat looking 24/7 (especially if there are children in the house). If you get called for a last-minute showing, don’t turn it down just because your home is a little disheveled. In-stead, use the time that you have before the potential buyers show up to do some quick decluttering. Here are a few tips:
If your time is severely limited, start out wherever your efforts will make the most impact. That could be in the kitchen, or maybe in the living room or a child’s room. Wherever your place is, that’s where you should go first.
Have a little more time? Use the “Front Door Forward” method. Start with your entryway, and declutter clockwise around your home. This technique will make sure that you don’t waste any time running back and forth across your home while you get ready for a showing.
Also, before your potential buyers show up, remember that the smell of your home is very important. Not everyone has time to bake a fresh batch of cookies. Instead, take out the trash, hide any pet food or litter boxes, and spray a light and pleasant air freshener – these small steps can make a huge difference when you’re looking to make a good impression on guests.
For more tips on home selling from the Boston real estate experts, just call Greater Boston Realty at 617-347-5589.   We’ve sold homes all over the area, including Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain, and we would love to help you find the right buyers for your property.

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Greater Boston Realty
2012 Centre St.
Boston MA 02132