The Charles Realty logo

Your Boston Experts.

Sign Up Today!

Get fresh listings via email, save your favorite listings, match with similar properties, and unlock additional property info.

Create Your Account

Do not fill in this field:

Already have an account? Log in

Fenway/Kenmore

Preparing Your Home For Winter

We've already has some cold days this year! Even though it has warmed back up a bit (I promise you that this is only temporary), I can assure you that winter is coming. However, it is not too late to take some steps to prep your home for the cold months ahead.

1. Give your boiler a check up

Whether you like it or not, your heat is going to get turned on soon (if it hasn't been already). It's a good idea to get your boiler tuned up. It could add years to its lifespan! If nothing else, the filter should be changed between cooling and heating, which is not a difficult task!

2. Inspect chimneys!

Now is the time! Do not wait to have them inspected or cleaned if you use your fire place regularly throughout the winter.

3. Weatherstripping

If you're like me and live in an old building in Boston, you can actually feel the cold air blowing into your home from underneath doors and around windows. Get some floor snakes to go under your doors, and purchase some products to seal up your windows. Not only will you save money on heating, but you'll be so much more comfortable when it starts getting really cold!

4. Prevent ice damns on your roof!

"Seal air leaks. Shutting down air leakage is probably going to have the biggest effect, and it's the kind of thing you can do incrementally. The second would be adding insulation. If you have R18 insulation value, turn it into R36. This is where your energy audit will be helpful. And the third is making sure your roof is vented properly, if your house is designed to have a vented roof. Make sure your soffit vents aren't blocked, your gable vents are open." (Source)

5. Order a home energy audit

If you've been putting this off, now is the time to do it. They use an infrared gun to monitor heat leakage, and the process is so much more successful when it's cold outside. The results could help you save money and stay warmer this winter!

6. Prepare an emergency kit

Collect a flashlight, batteries, matches, food and water in case of an emergency. Also, collect the phone numbers of your local utility companies and tape them somewhere safe!

Let us know if you have any other suggestions to keep everything and everyone safe this winter!

Source

Source

Hurricane Irene Hits Home

This photo, submitted to Boston.com by John Harrington, in evidence that Irene was very present in the Back Bay. I hope that everyone who has been affected by the hurricane is recovering well. The first death in Massachusetts caused by the storm was reported this morning. Our thoughts go out to his family. It will be a team effort to recover from the storm, but after a disaster like this we can rebuild. Please share your hurricane stories with us, we'd love to hear them.

Bike-Sharing in Boston

I was walking to the bank this morning past Government Center, and was astonished to see rows and rows of brand new New Balance bikes parked outside of City Hall. It was certainly a curious sight to see, so I made a mental note to look it up when I got home. Apparently, I am just behind the times because residents of Boston have been excited for some time now about the new bike-sharing initiative that has reached our city.

Officially launching today, the bike-sharing program makes it so that members can take rides around the city from one of the 61 stations around town. "Of the bike stations, about 18 will be in the the Back Bay and Fenway-Kenmore, with four around the Boston University campus and Kenmore Square, stations near Fenway Park, Northeastern University, and Colleges of the Fenway, and Back Bay stations ranging from the Newbury Street to the Boston Public Library. Bikes will also be available at three Beacon Hill stations: on Cambridge Street at Blossom Street; at the Charles Circle footbridge, and on Beacon Street at Brimmer Street." (source).

However, the Beacon Hill locations are not set in stone just yet. Regardless though, the city seems to be exited about bike-sharing. How do you feel about it?

Navagating Boston's Rental Market

The vacancy rate in rental units is down lower than it has been in the Boston area since the end of 2002.

"Boston-area rents are hitting new heights - with the median price recently reaching $1,665 a month" (source). Perspective-tenants are scrambling to find affordable places for September 1st. We hear stories of some landlords taking advantage of the desperation and hiking up rents, and of others requiring extreme items from possible renters in order to consider them.

Here are some tips to navigating this tough rental market:

1. Work with a rental agent.

While it means sometimes paying a fee (typically one month's rent), working with one agent who can scour MLS and exclusive rental listings that are not on Craigslist will very  be helpful to you. Plus good rental agents have relationships with landlords, and if you have them to back you up as a good fit for the unit, then you stand a much better chance of getting it! A good rental agent can also help you understand your lease, etc. and walk you through the complicated process of renting an apartment in Boston.

2. If you do want to do it on your own...

Search the listings by owner on Craigslist. If you can get a floor in a single family, you could save a lot of money, and a lot of headaches if your landlord shares a wall with you. If Craigslist comes up short, go to the area you're wanting to live in and look for "for rent" signs in the windows. Just because it's not online, doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist.

It's hard out there, but perseverance and sacrifices are necessary if you want to find the perfect rental unit for September! Good Luck!

Renting?

Are you renting?

It's the time of year when students are busy finding rentals for the fall, and as the apartment search continues, keep in mind that drab walls and boring spaces are easily remedied!

Here is a list of 5 simple things that you can do to improve your space as a renter, that you might even be able to take with you when you move.

1. Don't be afraid of a little color!

Most places will let you paint the walls of where you're renting. Paint is inexpensive, and if you just devote a day to changing a wall from cream to blue or red the difference will be astounding. If you're limited on natural light or your space is small (aka most rental units in Boston) then avoid dark colors. On a paint swatch, chose on of the top three shades. Trust me, they may look too light on the sample, but on your wall, it will be just fine.

Other ways to incorporate color are awesome area rugs! Urban Outfitters has great ones for inexpensive prices. Throw pillows, shower curtains, decorative vases (or recycled bottles with nice flowers), fun lamps and for a little more money... a statement chair or sofa! Adding a splash of color to a sea of neutrals is so key.

2. Hang things up!

It's amazing what thumbtacks can do. Anything from cool bedsheets to scarves can be used to jazz up your space. If your landlord doesn't want you to paint then this is ideal.

3. Turn on some lights!

Especially if it is a garden level, or doesn't have a lot of light, definitely put in as many light sources as possible. You might have to get creative if you have a limited number of outlets, but extension cords and power strips are simple to hide. Plus, then you get to play with lamp shades and cool lighting units. Definitely get creative here!

4. Mirrors are your best friend!

Nothing opens up a space like mirrors! Mirrors of all shapes and sizes are so crucial. In my apartment, we have a big mirror above the TV and a floor to ceiling mirror by the door, a vanity sized mirror on our bookshelf and a round mirror above our table. That's 4 big mirrors in a small Beacon Hill living room, and I cannot tell you how much it opens up our space! Get creative with painting the frames of the mirrors. If your on a budget, second hand mirrors from garage and estate sales can be easily repainted to fit your space. Just be sure you put newspaper down on your floor before you get down and dirty with your painting project!

5. Change your knobs!

Cabinet pulls, door knobs and fan pulls are often little forgotten details that could easily wake a space up. Anthro is one of my favorite places to look for fun things like this, but just a simple change in the kitchen such as cabinet pulls will provide a wonderful change in look and feel.

I hope this helps! And happy apartment hunting Boston!!

(inspiration: http://on-msn.com/hGBLEG)

Marathon Monday

Boston's favorite day is finally less than a week away! Boston closes its roads to hundreds of runners on a Monday in late April every year. The traditions surrounding the race are huge in the city, and locals find anyway they can to get downtown to mingle with their friends and cheer on the runners. It is an inspiring event! This year, the 18th of April, Boston will welcome once again marathoners from all over the world for the 115th time. The route, a 26.6 mile tour of the Boston area, is scared.

One of my favorite Boston bloggers has outlined some excellent spectator tips for marathon day including how to get around (driving & parking vs public transportation), where to watch, where to eat or grab a beer, what to wear and more! That can be found here: http://carrotsncake.com/2011/04/spectator-tips-for-the-boston-marathon.html

What are your favorite Marathon Monday stories? I always enjoyed not having class on that day, getting up with my college roommates, taking the camera to go cheer on the runners and stopping to pose with the statues on the Comm Ave mall. We have pictures of us there every year, it has become our tradition! What are yours?

Boston Real Estate in the Movies...and free parking!

As we all know, with the passing of Elizabeth Taylor yesterday we lost a true legend in Hollywood.  Boston was truly blessed to not only watch her on our local movie screens but to see her grace  Boston's theatre stage.  This is just one early example of Boston's ties with Hollywood.  But never before has the city been so highlighted in Hollywood then in recent years.   The Town, The Fighter, The Departed, The Women, The Social Network, 21, Knight and Day, to name just a few.  Take the good with the bad, the scenes in recent movies, haven't always been so favorable, but all in all movie goers have gained a wonderful appreciation for the architecture of Boston's Back Bay and South End classic brownstones and cafes, the sweeping views of the Charles River, of  Cambridge and Harvard's famous campus, the charming streets of Charlestown and the bustling streets of South Boston.  And of course, who can forget the insider sneak peaks at Fenway Park during The Town.   If you have walked the Back Bay, South End, Cambridge, Downtown Boston, Charlestown, South Boston, the Waterfron and the Fenway, in the last few years, you were bound to run into the equipment, wardrobe and catering trucks as well as those non-sensical directional signs pointing the way to set.  All creating quite the buzz in our small often underappreciated city.

Thanks to Hollywood's latest "IT" guy and Boston bad boy turned legend-in-the making, Mark Wahlberg, we have a new movie coming to Boston's South End.  This movie, set to film here in May, is a Seth McFarlane creation about a man whose teddy bear comes alive due to a wish made during his childhood.  Wahlberg and Black Swan star Mila Kunis star in this movie.  The scenes will be shot in and around Chandler and St. Charles streets.  Areas around Columbus Ave, Clarendon St/Appleton St/Berkeley St, will be blocked off for film equipment.

But don't worry residents...Hollywood is picking up your parking bill...just look for flyers to be passed out before filming.  If only they would have supplied parking during the blizzards.