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Blog :: 04-2013

Planting an Outdoor Garden in Small Spaces

The sun is finally making an appearance after a long winter, and once the snow and ice are cleared from your balconies, it may be time to consider using them! Space is limited in Boston, so consider yourself lucky to have an outdoor place to call your own. Now, accentuate it! Creating a simple and elegant balcony or rooftop garden isn't hard to do if you have a little patience and plenty of sun.

  1. Plan your garden. Make a list of your favorite potted plants and flowers and research when they are in season.  Draw a map to scale of your patio or balcony to decide what you will place where. Take consideration for where the sunniest spots are, or what areas receive the most wind. Don't forget to leave room for a few chairs so you can enjoy your garden spot in the sun.
  2. Worried about having a balcony that's too small? Vertical growth is always an option. Consider planting a trellis or building an outdoor shelving unit for potted plants. Hanging pots are also great for smaller areas.
  3. Consider an umbrella or some sort of shade to protect your plants from very hot days with intense sun- added bonus: this can protect you from hot days too!
  4. Use wooden containers for potting. These are the most insulating during the winter and won't crack the way terracotta or plastic would.
  5. Place gravel in the bottom of pots for drainage, and remember to water your plants regularly. Plants in containers dry out more frequently than those placed in natural soil.
  6. Vary your plant selection. Incorporate bushier shrubs if you have an excess of flowers, or use evergreen plants which can add depth to your variety of greenery.
  7. Be careful to not place plants on railings or edges where they are likely to fall during windy days and cause a problem with your neighbors!
  8. Pests and insects are something to be wary of, but be careful using chemicals or pesticides in residential buildings where you could pollute the air.
  9. For food lovers, you may not have space for fruit and vegetable plants, but small herb gardens in pots are a great way to spice up your outdoor garden.
  10. The more space you have, the more you can include! Furniture is always a plus for enjoying your balcony with friends.

Renting with Ease: A guide to navigating your rental process

It's the season for renting. Students, young professionals, even families are looking to lay their head in the Boston area, but many don't know the most efficient way to go about it. Smart City is laying out a step-by-step way to go about renting through one of our reputable agents.

  1. Figure out what you want. Whether it be the number of bedrooms, the area, the proximity to public transportation, or the price, come into a rental office with a list of requirements. However, be prepared to be flexible.
  2. Assemble your documents. These include current and past landlord information, student documentation, or paycheck stubs for verification of employment. The sooner you are able to provide these to your rental agent, the faster the process will move along.
  3. Take notes on apartment showings. Make lists of pros and cons and try to recall specific details of each apartment. A rental agent can really help with these details.
  4. Come to showings with a checkbook. Be prepared to make a quick decision if you find your dream home. Properties, particularly in Boston, go very quickly.
  5. Read through your entire lease before signing. This seems straightforward but it's important to know exactly what you are signing. Have a conversation with your rental agent if you spot anything that confuses you or raises questions.
  6. Finally, make preparations for your move. Consider parking, elevator access and even the weather on the day of the move.

To get in touch with one of our experienced and talented rental agents to guide you through this process, call (617) 236-0353

Spring and Summer: A hot season for real estate

While summer may be the warmest season for sales and rentals, spring is the time to prepare your property to go on the market. In fact, with less inventory flooding the market in the spring rather than summer, you're more likely to have a faster sale if you list soon.

As the economy heats up, students and residents are dying to find home in this crowded city. Get in touch with an agent to warn them in advance of your preparations and plans to list. Ask when they would recommend beginning showings. The warmer the weather gets, the busier our offices become, so don't wait until the last minute consider listing.

Preparations can include de-cluttering your home and making small updates and fixes here and there. Have conversations with family and friends about storage opportunities while making the move, and ask your listing agent if there are any renovations you should make to increase property value.

Lastly, always consider the overall look and feel of your home in terms of when it's appropriate to put it on the market. If your home has large windows, listing during sunny weather will emphasize this positive aspect of your home. However, if your home is a top story walk-up, a hot day might turn visitors off from a big flight of stairs, so listing in spring might be the time for you.

To speak with an agent about listing while the market and the weather heat up, please call our offices at (617) 236-0353.