Blog :: 11-2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving Day, we wanted to take a moment to remind all of our clients and real estate professionals that we truly are thankful for them. At The Charles Realty we enjoy what we do, after 30 years of serving the Boston area real estate market we're happy to say that we still are proud to be a part of this community.

We wish everyone a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of The Charles Realty!

What you can and can't do to your apartment

Want to dress up your white walls?

Chances are if you've been renting in Boston, then your lease started September 1st.  By now you've settled in and your apartment feels like home, as it should. But there's also a chance you're feeling a bit bored with the white walls and the overall plainness of your space, which is understandable. Unfortunately you're afraid to decorate because you're not sure what you're allowed to alter, can you paint the walls, can you hang up family photos, use thumbtacks, or nails?

You may not be sure what things would be considered "damages" in the eyes of your landlord... but you just can't deal with the dull undecorated apartment.  So the first thing to do to solve your boredom is check your lease. See what you're not allowed to do, and if any of the language is confusing, speak with your landlord and don't be afraid to ask questions. This is one of those cases where it is much better to be safe the sorry.  The last thing you need is to start nailing pictures to the wall and realize when your lease is up that your landlord won't refund your security deposit.

After you've learned what is allowed and what is not allowed, proceed with caution. Don't do anything that would seem excessive. If you can paint your walls then go for it, but it's probably best to not also paint your cabinets. Do exactly what is permitted and nothing more. You just need to be careful.

If you find yourself in the situation where you're not allowed to paint or hang things up, there are alternatives. You can purchase some very affordable adhesive strips that can hold up almost anything if you can't nail, screw, or thumbtack it.  Also don't be afraid of purchasing wall decals. While some decals look like they belong in a dorm room or a children's bedroom other decals can be just what you need to dress up a space.

So if you're beginning to get the decorating itch do some research and then decorate to your heart's content!

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Starter Homes in Boston

Recently Boston.com posted a very brief post ragarding starter homes.  What they didn't address specifically, are starter homes here in Boston. While, they did speak to the more suburban single families homes, that seem to be on the decline, and spoke to the trend of condos on the upswing, Boston is obviously very different.

Decades ago in Boston the modest single family home became a myth. We've become a city of condos and apartments, as most major cities have. There is certainly nothing wrong with this, but it does mean a bit of a sacrifice when it comes to a starter home. The simple fact that property values are so much higher in Boston immediately alters the idea of a true starter home. You won't have that suburban ranch or that cute backyard, that must be accepted whether this is your first home or your tenth home in Boston.

The great opportunity in Boston however is the mortgage rates. While you may not be buying a 3-bedroom condo, purchasing a studio with office space could be a whole lot cheaper than your rent when you're considering this on a monthly basis. If you plan to be in Boston for a while there's nothing wrong with purchasing a smaller place as your starter home and paying far less for your mortgage than you ever would have for a rental.  It's all about weighing your options and considering how long you plan to be in Boston and the money you're willing to spend.

Renting in Boston: Fall and Winter

Right now we know this is a slower time of year for rentals, but there's still several opportunities for you to still find the right home.  The summer, especially in Boston, is the prime time for renting.  This is when students and professors might be looking to make the move to Boston, but right now, students are settled in and the school year is underway. A majority of the city is rented but a few quick tips for those that are still looking to rent in Boston can really make the difference:

1. Keep an open mind- With limited inventory, the EXACT apartment you're looking for can be difficult to come by, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some really great places out there. Consider what your absolute must-haves are, and the things that might be nice, but are not entirely necessary. You may come across an apartment that has almost everything you want along with a few other nice features, that you're willing to sacrifice one or two things on your wish list for. Maybe something like a private balcony is enough of an incentive that you're willing to give up on the extra closet space that you initially wanted. At the same time, don't lose sight of what you want, just understand that there may have to be some give and take.

2. Do your research, know which places are out there for rent. This will give you an  idea of where your expectations should be at. Rents range in Boston, mainly based on location and before calling a rental agent you should have a realistic price range and an understanding of what your price range will get you. Having this understanding can make a world of difference as you continue your search.

3. Move quickly. Apartments are still renting quickly, even with fewer people looking. If you find a place you like, be prepared to fill out all the apps and sign checks immediately. Using the first two suggestions above will allow you to know the right place when you see it. It's all about preparation. Know what you want, have the paperwork necessary, and once you see the right place jump into action. You have very little time to weigh your options, so be sure you know what you want and you're ready to commit.

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