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Blog :: 02-2011

Is it Spring Yet?

Isn't it exciting when you see the first buds on trees in February after a winter that you never thought would end? Nothing says spring like flowers. As the light at the end of this winter appears, I find myself looking out for flowers. They are good for gardening and perfect for lightening up a dining or living room after such a snowy winter.

Boston is full of beautiful florists that are working hard to keep this city full of blooms regardless of the season. The annual Boston Flower & Garden show is coming up in March. Entry requires a ticket, but it might provide a great excuse to surround yourself with beautiful floral arrangements and plant life like this:

That is great, except if you're like me, and tend to be remarkably good at allowing flowers to die. Or perhaps, you get a little down when you have to throw away your Valentine's bouquet because all the flowers are dead. Right here in the Boston area is company called Paper, Gowns and Glory who does, among other things, lovely paper flowers and arrangements like the one below here:

Flowers say a lot of things: I love you, I'm sorry, Congratulations, etc. but right now, when I see flowers they say one thing: spring is finally almost here! And that is all that I need to hear to be happy.

Cupcakes Still Going strong

Boston loves its cupcakes! recently suggested that this cupcake fad should be dead by now. However, the Boston market seems to still love to treat itself with a single-portion, cute piece of cake. There are several places around town that you can get you cupcakes, which is your favorite?

Vote here:

Personally, cupcakes make me happy and satisfied. I really hope that they never become unfashionable!


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What Sets Us Apart

I am sure that you have seen the advertisements of Realtors' faces plastered on benches and billboards. Are they effective? Does seeing a Realtor's head shot on a bus make you believe that they are the most hardworking and successful person that you could choose to help you buy or sell property?

I think that there is something to be said for a Realtor that opts to not market his or herself. The Charles Realty, located in Boston, has a unique approach that sets it apart from its competitors. It does not pay attention to how many million of dollars each individual agent has done in sales, and it does not use those numbers to try to get ahead. Each listing that an agent receives is treated as an equal, whether it is for $100,000 or $10,000,000. All of its energy and resources are focused on effectively marketing each unique property, and not the agent. The philosophy at The Charles Realty is that it is all about service to the clients, not about themselves.  The agents at The Charles Realty are experts in what they do, and cater their every move in accordance with what is best for the client.

Advertising for individual Realtors can be memorable though.

We know about the example in American Beauty:

And you might recognize these from ABC's Cougartown:

What is some of the Realtor advertising that is memorable for you? In a good way? In a bad way?


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Winter is not quite over yet...

Don't let the near-60 degree temperatures today make you think winter is over. It's back down into the 20s tonight, without anymore "seasonal" conditions in the foreseeable future.

Wouldn't it be nice to use the bitter cold and abundance of snow to your advantage instead of just being annoyed by it? It is easy to get mad at the snow, but I promise you that when we are entering our 10th week in a row with temperatures above 90 degrees this August, you'll wish that you had some snow to play in!

So, before it all goes away, find out what you can do to enjoy the rest of this winter. offers a great interactive site where you can get the "cool" places for some fun in this cold.

Let us know if they left anything out? Besides St. Lucia, where are you planning on enjoying the rest of this never-ending winter?

What Do You Recycle?

Are you into saving the environment (and saving money)?  Do you need more storage in your home? One way to do all three is to recycle your space.

The Boston Globe just did a short piece showcasing inspiring stories of ways to change unused, or inefficiently used space in your home into something that you need and want (i.e. a turret or the under-the-stairs compartment into a closet, or a closet into a bathroom).

Here's an example:



Both are Globe photos.

A cost-benefit analysis of your home renovation options is here, in addition to links to more examples:

Cost vs. value - The Boston Globe.

So, how have you recycled? How would you like to recycle you space? What areas do you have in your home that you don't need, and what don't you have in your home that you do need? We'd love to hear from you!

Don't Let A Computer Price Your Home

The news media alerts us that Newton-Wellesley  Hospital may begin using computers to diagnose patients.

Yujin Robotics of Korea is developing a robot nanny.

These new technologies are no more frightening than letting a computer determine the price of your most valued investment, your home.

And this is what many people are doing. With 20 years of downtown Boston Real Estate experience, I can't tell you how often I have been told by someone wanting to sell their home in Boston, that they priced the house out on Trulia or Zillow. I have often been told by people buying homes in Boston that they have decided their offer based upon prices of comparable homes on these or similar sites.

As a professional Boston Realtor, I feel it is very important to warn future Boston home buyers and sellers of the dangers of allowing a computer program to determine the value of their most important investment. As much as I would not want a computer for a doctor or a robot to take care of my children, I would not want a statistical data program to tell me what number I should pay for my home.

The problem with these sites is that they only have the data which is entered into multiple listing services or public records, the most basic information. No Boston Realtor would ever tell you that square footage, location, lot size, parking spaces, etc. are not important factors when determining the value of a home. However, that is only half the story.

A computer cannot see inside your home. A computer cannot tell if the neighbor's condominium had a funny floor plan or if the bedroom windows face a brick wall. A computer cannot tell that the owner was a reputable decorator who created the most beautiful kitchen in all of Boston. A cannot tell you that the empty nester market in Boston is trending towards the SOWA District or that a new development is going up on Harrison Avenue which will increase all the values in the South End. A computer cannot tell you that Spring is the best time to list on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay because the magnolias are in bloom.

These are things that only a very human, very knowledgeable Boston Realtor can evaluate for you.

Buying and selling homes in Boston, as in most of the world, is becoming more and more of a computer-generated business. This is okay! As a Realtor, I love that now I can map properties for me clients in seconds, send them multiple photos and virtual tours of the homes to help them maximize their time.  But, when it comes to the intricate practice of pricing our home to sell or getting the best price possible on your new Boston condominium, only an experiences, intelligent, knowledgeable and local agent is human enough to do this.