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Blog :: 09-2012

Flipping a Home in Boston

There are plenty of entertaining shows out there about how you can flip your house, and they feature all these people that have done it themselves for a great profit and it seems realistic to think that any of us with the right amount of time and money could do the same. In Boston you might find a condo that needs a little bit of love, or maybe a facelift and so why not try to flip it!?

The truth is that flipping a home is a lot of work, the people on TV have perfected it after many years and many homes. There's some intensive work and more money than you might expect that go into these renovations. But, if you're still looking for a nice challenge then here are some things to consider when flipping a house/condo:

-Consider regulations and permits. You will, of course, need the basic building permits, but you also need to consider what changes you can make to a building. Coding laws in Boston may make it difficult to build additions or drastically change the facade of a building. There are also laws in place that prevent you from selling your property immediately after purchasing. The standard law is that you must own the home for three months, which means in that time you will need to account for money spent on taxes.

-With all sorts of regulations and financial commitments you must have a firm plan in place before purchasing. Know exactly what you want to do with the home, what parts are going to be torn down, what just needs a new coat of paint. This way you'll be aware of the financial commitments and the extent to which you'll need to invest your time.

-Remember than in order to see any real profit from your project you need to buy a place for 30% less than you intend to sell it for. This is a rule of thumb than can keep you out of financial troubles and account for all the renovations neccessary.

-Always consider the fact that plans change. While we did suggest that you plan everything out before hand, also remember that it might not be the beautiful hardwood floors that you expected under that carpet, or maybe the cupboards need to be custom fit because of some strange corner in the kitchen. Things rarely go exactly as planned, and keep that in mind as you go.

- The market for these cheaper homes and "fixer-uppers" is fairly competitive, so move quickly and always be on the look out for a deal. You never know know when someone else will beat you to signing a purchase and sale!


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What Do New Developments Mean for Boston?

The New Northpoint Building Expected Soon

While buildings like Millennium Place are being built and the Seaport District continuing to grow, it seems overwhelming to read about all the projects happening around Boston. We've run several blog posts regarding this boom in construction, a sure sign that Boston is ready to bring in a new economy and allow business to thrive.

Anyone who's been following the building boom knows that there are plenty of condos on their way to Boston, and to many this seems unnecessary. But as a real estate office, we have experienced the housing demand first hand. Even now in September as buying and renting slows down we still see plenty of people looking for a home, and homes are disappearing from the market within a matter of just a couple days.

It's time to offer some new places to live, and if people don't want to put their homes on the market, then developers will just have to supply new homes and condos in the city. These upcoming projects will provide both condos and apartments for those looking for a bit of a change and for those looking to come into Boston. The great new architecture expected will give the city a modern vibe, a great contrast between the older classic buildings and then the modern and sleek homes.

With more homes and more people, comes more business, and the latest project news is an office building near the Zakim Bridge. With a modern and abstract glass waterfall this office building will certainly change the look of Boston as you're heading in or out of the city. Many of the other developments are also expected some office space, so who knows, you might be able to live in the same building your work in!

I just wanted to reiterate the great things coming to Boston in the next few years.  It's a sign of an economy that is bouncing back and offers an opportunity to both those that are new to the city and those that have been here for years.


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Boston Apartment Living: Building Relationships with Your New Neighbors

You are now three weeks in to your new lease and probably finally feeling settled in your new apartment. You have probably seen your neighbors in the hallways or when you are exiting or entering your apartment building and just greeted them with a quick nod. However, now that you feel more comfortable it is time to possibly build some friendly relationships with the people that share your building, mail room, and maybe even laundry basement. Here are a few pointers for meeting new neighbors!

  • Remember to smile
  • Don't be afraid of small talk--while exiting or entering the building, in the laundry room, or in the elevator or on the stairs
  • If there is one, join your building's committee--you'll definitely meet people and feel as if you have a say in the community and also be able to discuss common issues (such as issues with the landlord, etc.)
  • If you're feeling bold, plan a building party---invite everyone!

You never know---after making these connections you could make a new friend, or even find a new roommate for next year!!

Good luck,

The Charles Realty

3 Repton Place, Watertown, MA CONDO

You want to live in the Boston area, but you want parking, outdoors space, maybe a deck, a place to grill, plenty of sunshine and two full baths? Then Unit 3413 of 3 Repton Place in Watertown is absolutely a dream home. This two bedroom, 2 bath is spacious and modern with lofty ceilings, elaborate floor-to-ceiling windows, and an open-concept living area. The kitchen comes complete with stainless appliances, and granite countertops along with a great dining area surrounded by towering windows.  uniquely designed built-ins, custom lighting, and walk-in closets finish off this home. The corner penthouse also includes great building conveniences, with in-building management and maintenance, central air conditioning, and in-unit laundry. Enjoy a fully landscaped courtyard with a grilling and seating area that provide a break from the busy city and offer peaceful living. If you're interested in learning more contact Sarah Glovsky at (617) 236-0353.


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Investing in Real Estate

103 Myrtle offers a beautiful penthouse and in unit fireplaces along with granite countertops and hardwood floors throughout.

103 Myrtle offers a beautiful penthouse and in unit fireplaces along with granite countertops and hardwood floors throughout.

For many people real estate is thought of as a home, the idea of purchasing, selling, or renting their home. However, for others real estate is an investment and a business.

Recently we've had a couple investment properties go up on the market so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss the benefits of investing in real estate. To begin with it provides an alternate income. It may seem like you're pouring a lot of money into purchasing a building and possibly putting some work into it, but with the price of rent in Boston and if you have a prime location then you will have no problem keeping up with your mortgage and paying off your building in no time.

Naturally you must have a plan in place, the financials to back everything up, and the willingness to dedicate time and energy to your investment. It's overwhelming now, but if you're methodical and careful you can set up a great system and see the true benefits of investing.

Currently 103 Myrtle, a 3-unit building, and 12 Bay State Road, an 8-unit building, are both on the market. We've had a lot of interest in both units and we're excited to hear such positive feedback about the buildings. They both offer amazing locations and are prime real estate investments.

For more information on real estate as an investment or to see Boston buildings you can call us at (617) 236-0353 or check out our website


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The Profitability of Back Bay, Boston, MA

The Back Bay area is once again extremely profitable. There is a booming commercial property market and luxury residential listings are receiving offers after being on the market for as little as twenty-four hours. After the initial downturn from the recession, the market for commercial and office real estate in Back Bay is once again incredibly robust--with pricings back to 2007 rates ($80 per square foot, and rising) and the area has the lowest vacancy rate in the city--4.7%.

Investors are taking notice--and now Back Bay's shoppers, professionals and residents will benefit from all the changes that are taking place. In the fall of 2011, Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties invested heavily in Boston's very own Newbury Street. The company paid a whopping $226 million for a 130,000 spread that spans over twenty-eight buildings. The company now owns fifteen percent of Newbury Street, and their $4.7 million dollar renovation of 234 and 236 Newbury is projected to finish this winter. Jamestown is investing another five million dollars in renovations and new projects set to take place over the next five years. The company's new developments are creating almost 16,000 square feet of retail space, and a total of fifty luxury residences.

Visitors and locals will also soon be noticing massive amounts of construction---as Jamestown Properties isn't the only one to notice the extreme profitability of the Back Bay area. Liberty Mutual is constructing a $300 million office building, AvalonBay Communities is developing a $100 million, twenty-eight story, 188 unit residential building, the Simon Group is planning a $500 million development and expansion of Copley Place Mall, and there is a new 49,000 square foot building being built on Newbury that will house a three-story Chanel store, parking garage, and six new luxury residences.

So, Boston shoppers---be on the lookout for all these changes and new retail locations!! We are sure there will be some surprises in store for us in the coming year, and can't wait to see who joins us here on Newbury Street.


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Where to Start the Real Estate Search

We're dedicated to finding you the right home

Where can you start your real estate search? Today there are just so many possible starting points for finding the right home. You might be confused and feel as if there is a right or wrong way to go about finding a home, but really there are many options and for the most part they're all ok. So here are some different resources you'll need when you begin the home search.

1. The Internet: Yes, this would seem to be common sense, but start looking online at homes. Get an idea of the price range you have, and what that price range will buy you. This is a really simple, no pressure way of gauging the market and getting a feel for what you like or don't like without any commitment.

2. An agent: Agents are your greatest tool. Having an agent will make your life considerably easier. They can find homes that fit your criteria and help you better understand the home buying process. They'll let you know what you should be looking for and how to go about finding the perfect home. Your agent also will ensure that you're seeing plenty of homes, giving you options and allowing you to see properties you may not have found while doing a Google search.

3. Open Houses: Open Houses are an opportunity to see homes up close. You can really imagine the way the place would look with your furnishings and how you would feel living there. You can decide if the "view" described online is really the "view" you thought it would be. Don't hesitate to ask your agent about open houses or scour newspapers and the web for more information.

If you need help with finding any of these three things, please contact us at The Charles Realty. We have purposely designed our website as a tool for our clients and those looking to buy, sell, or rent. And of course our agents work hard to find you the right place, we're always happy to offer advice and take you on any showings!


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Fashion's Night Out, Boston

Those of us at the office today have had some parking troubles seeing as most of Newbury Street is marked for no parking and some areas are completely blocked off. And although this may seem completely random and an inconvenience, tonight is definitely an exciting night here in the Back Bay, it's Fashion's Night Out.  This is an "after hours shopping extravaganza" as described by their website. Sponsored by Vogue, New York City, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, this is a fun night where shops stay open and everyone dresses in their finest as they take to Newbury Street and Back Bay.

Expect pop up shops and performances, a series of fashion shows at Copley Place and so much more. This event begins at 6 and continues on until 11:00, definitely an exciting experience. You can casually stroll around or follow the schedule to ensure that you don't miss a thing! If you've been looking for a reason to wear that glamorous dress you've had sitting in your closet, tonight is the night!

Fall in Boston

Boston foliage is on its way!

As we head into the fall in Boston there are some different things going on. Just to recap a little bit and refresh ourselves I wanted to highlight some of the things we have to look forward to this fall.

Of course to begin with, for those that are renting, September 1st was the big day in Boston. A majority of the city leases on a September 1st to August 31st cycle. This means that on the last day of August those that did not renew their lease need to move out of their current homes, packing everything up and handing in their keys. Then when September 1st rolls around the keys are given to the new tenants and it's move in day! As many of you may already know, move in day can be utter chaos in Boston. It also doesn't have to be. There may be cars parked in the middle of streets and moving trucks outnumbering taxis for a day, but as long as you're organized and methodical and you put a little bit of time aside, you should be ok.

At The Charles Realty we got all our keys and move in packets ready to go and everything ran very smoothly. If you still have questions regarding your move in we're happy to help you answer anything. We know it's been a stressful few days, but we want to help in any way possible and make the transition easier for you.

In other news football season is starting up soon, and the Patriots look like their prepped for a great season. We'd love to hear about ways you celebrate NFL Sundays in your home. Whether you have a home theatre or if you plan parties for your friends, please share your stories!

And of course we still have a bit of time, but as we head in to fall we can look forward to seeing the foliage as the leaves change into their beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds. Places like the Boston Commons and the Public Garden will look gorgeous within the next month.  We can only imagine what the view will look like from places like Le Jardin or Heritage on the Garden.

It's been a spectacular season, we were happy to see the market pick up and enjoyed working with our clients. Thank you to everyone who helped make this a great summer!