Blog :: 03-2014

What to Know When Investing in Properties

photo via mustknowinvesting.com

Real estate is one of the best investments someone can make today, especially in Boston. Boston is predicted to have one of the hottest housing markets in 2014 and has a 3.6% capitalization rate according to Forbes. Real estate prices are expected to rise across the country, so now is better than ever to buy or invest.

Here are some tips and things to know when investing in properties:

Know the right location: Always investigate the location of a potential investment. Buying in areas of high rent and low supply of properties is the ideal situation for an investor. Buying the worst property in the best location is a better investment than buying the best house in the worst location. There will be a greater reward having a property you can fix up rather than a finish property in a neighborhood that needs to be renovated.

Have the money lined up: It is important to have at least six months of mortgage payments saved up, prior to buying a first investment property. If you decide to rent out your property having the money to pay the mortgage for a couple of months will help while looking for a tenant. Having money saved up also makes dealing with future renovations and repairs easier.

Work with someone experienced in investment properties: When buying your first investment property it's always a good idea to work with someone that has years of investment property experience. That could be anyone from a real estate agent to an experienced investor.

Know the investment expenses: Aside from the mortgage and occasional repairs there are additional potential expenses depending or the property including:

  • Water/sewer
  • Garbage
  • Utilities
  • Legal fees
  • Fuel
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Capital improvements

Good bookkeeping is necessary: Easy paperwork is not included when investing in properties so you must decide if you can do the paperwork or if you should hire someone else. Decide if your bookkeeping abilities are good enough, if not you'll need to budget for a professional.

Don't quit your day job just yet: Don't assume that you'll be able to make a living off of investing in properties. Also don't assume you'll be successful at first. Wait to quit your day job until you are confident you'll be able to make a living off of this.

Learn the lingo: Like any profession, learn the lingo to avoid looking like you don't know what you're talking about.

Have an exit strategy: Always have a plan and an idea where you want to end. Even before buying a property plan everything out. Having multiple plans is even wiser and safer than having one. You never know what to expect when investing in real estate so always be prepared.

Sources: Investopedia realestate.com realestateinyourtwenties.com

This Week's Featured Neighborhood: Fenway-Kenmore

Home to Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox

via allaccessboston.com

Bordered by Mission Hill, Columbus Ave., and the Back Bay Fens, Fenway-Kenmore is the combination of four sections: East Fenway, West Fenway, Audubon Circle, and Kenmore Square. With a population of just over 40,000, this neighborhood is an average size compared to other Boston neighborhoods.

The Fenway-Kenmore area is commonly known for Fenway Park, the historic home to the Boston Red Sox, but there's more to this neighborhood than the Sox. This neighborhood is home to some of Boston's top cultural institutions including, the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Symphony Hall. The culture, history, and arts make this neighborhood the perfect spot for the educational institutes in Fenway-Kenmore. This neighborhood is home to Boston Latin School, and various higher learning institutes.

Fenway-Kenmore stands out with its Citgo sign that can be seen from far away. Along with the notable Citgo sign, Lansdowne Street, is the center of bar life and Red Sox game attendees. The Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood has many undergrads, young people, and various other demographics making it a perfect place to live for people of all walks of life.

Some restaurants include: Cask 'n Flagon: (American) 62 Brookline Avenue The Citizen Pubic House and Oyster Bar: (Seafood) 1310 Boylston Street Sweet Cheeks Q: (Barbeque) 1381 Boylston Street Island Creek Oyster Bar: (Seafood) 500 Commonwealth Avenue

Some bars & pubs include: Eastern Standard Bar: 528 Commonwealth Avenue Boston Beer Works: 61 Brookline Avenue Jerry Remy's: 1265 Boylston Street Bleacher Bar: 82A Lansdowne Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in Fenway-Kenmore by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Fenway-Kenmore, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals.

For Fenway-Kenmore listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources: Boston.about.com Cityofboston.gov

Ways to Increase Home Value Before Selling

photo via MSN Real Estate

It may not feel like it, but its spring and open houses will be blossoming everywhere in the weeks ahead. With so many open houses out there in the spring and summer months how do you make your house stand out? And how do you increase home value before selling? We'll tell you how.

  1. Hire an inspector: Hire your own inspector before any open houses to fix or update anything that may be found later. Doing this helps prevent dropped sales or reduced selling prices.
  2. Make the kitchen stand out: One of the biggest selling features in a house is the kitchen. Paint the cabinets rather than redoing them to save money while making the kitchen seem new. Make things shine. This applies to all rooms, but make sure the appliances, sink, counters, and the floors shine. This can be as easy as getting some cleaning supplies and taking a day to clean everything. Update appliances. Buyers want newer appliances, not the ones you've been using for years.
  3. Improve the lighting: Updating the lighting fixtures can help make a room stand out for a reasonable price. Be sure not to forget ceiling fixtures which are often forgotten and can even have an outdated appeal. Also be sure to replace all the light bulbs with new one to make every room illuminate.
  4. Update the paint job: Both externally and internally. This is a must if the outside or inside is chipped or has worn paint. Be sure to paint the master bedroom and kitchen, the two most important rooms when selling. Lastly try not to hang up to making objects because this will cause damage and holes to the new paint job.
  5. Hire a lawn service and/or landscape designer: If you don't have the time yourself, hiring a lawn service helps make the outside of the house look its best. Also by hiring a landscape designer, you'll be able to add more life to the outside of your home giving it that perfect first impression to buyers as they approach your home.
  6. Additional Storage: Buyers are looking for storage, so be sure to make your house look open, organized, and spacious.
  7. Finished basement and/or attic: Any additional rooms are big selling features. Rooms that have the flexibility to become a nursery, home office, or additional bedroom make a home sell fast.
  8. Un-decorate: Buyers want to image themselves in your home, so hide your family photos and resist the urge to decorate.

For more information on ways to improve your home value, or to see available homes at The Charles Realty please visit our website or Facebook page.

Sources: Forbes: 10 Cheap Ways to Increase Home Value HGTV: 30 Tips for Increasing Your Home's Value MSN Real Estate: 10 Weekend Projects to Improve Your Home's Value

This Week's Featured Neighborhood: South Boston

One of the Most Up-and-Coming Neighborhood in Boston

Although it was once essentially an Irish Catholic community, recently South Boston has become one of Boston's most up-and-coming neighborhood. "Southie" has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families attracted to the community and easy access to public transportation.

South Boston is also home to numerous film shooting locations including Good Will Hunting, Mystic River, The Departed, Gone Baby Gone, and more. Recently "Southie Pride" was more illuminate than ever when people from all over flock to the neighborhood to enjoy the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade.

via. southbostontoday.com

In addition to the parade, people come from all over to enjoy the neighborhood's scenery and rich history. Castle Island, a Revolutionary War-era fort and 22-acre park that is connect to Boston is a big part of South Boston's breathtaking waterfront views. South Boston is also home to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, The Institute for Contemporary Art, and additional waterfront buildings.

Some restaurants include: Morton's The Steakhouse (Steak): 2 Seaport Lane Strega Waterfront (Italian): 1 Marina Park Drive Menton (French): 354 Congress Street Rosa Mexicano (Mexican): 155 Seaport Boulevard

Some bars & pubs include: Shenanagan's Irish Pub: 332 W Broadway Stats Bar and Grill: 77 Dorchester Street Murphy's Law Bar: 837 Summer Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in South Boston by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on South Boston, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For South Boston listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources: https://www.cityofboston.gov/neighborhoods/southboston.asp southbostontoday.com

What's a Loft?

An example of the loft layout.

Lofts have become increasingly popular over the past few years due to their distinct appeal to certain buyers and renters. But what makes a loft? What's the difference between a loft and an apartment? Or a loft and a studio?

Originally, lofts were cheap places for impoverished artist to live and work. Lofts originated in New York City after World War II where artists used abandoned infrastructures to begin developing these living spaces. Not only are lofts used as a living space, but they often function as a work spaces as well.

Lofts reuse and adapt abandoned spaces, often bringing residences and art to unused urban areas. One of the major benefits that lofts present to owners is the ability to be flexible with arranging the living space. Due to the open space concept there are few limitations to the feng shui of a loft's furniture.

Difference Between a Loft and Apartment: Some believe that lofts are just unfinished apartments, but they're more than that. While apartments allow for separation with defined rooms, lofts make the most out of the open space layout.

Difference between a Loft and Studio: Lofts and studios both fall under the same open space living concept, yet lofts offer more space than cozy studios. In addition to the size difference there are structural contrasts that differentiate the two. A final distinction between the two is the cost, lofts are generally more expensive than studios.

For more information on lofts, or to see available lofts at The Charles Realty please visit our website or Facebook page.

Sources: Difference Between Loft & Studio Difference Between Loft & Apartment

This Week's Featured Neighborhood: Jamaica Plain

The Streetcar Suburb of Boston

Often referred to as "JP" by locals, Jamaica Plain is one of Boston's most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods. The ethnically diverse population in Jamaica Plain is reflected in its local businesses with a blend of cultural restaurants lining Centre Street, one of its main streets.

Located west of Roxbury, this neighborhood plays host to one of the first streetcar suburbs in America and is home to the majority of Boston's Emerald Necklace of parks. In Jamaica Plain, residents and visitors enjoy walking, biking, and running along Jamaica Pond situated on the Jamaicaway.

JP is an up-and-coming neighborhood that has seen a lot of recent improvements in both its homes and local businesses. Many of the businesses in Hyde Square have been dramatically renovated with new lighting, paint jobs, and more. Overall Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood that is seeing constant improvements throughout making it a great neighborhood to live in.

Some restaurants include: Ten Tables: 397 Centre Street The Haven: (Scottish) 2 Perkins Street Doyle's Café: (Irish) 3484 Washington Street Vee Vee: (American) 763 Centre Street Tres Gatos: (Tapas) 470 Centre Street

Some shopping stores include: Boing! JP's Toy Store: 667 Centre Street Boomerangs: 716 Centre Street

Some bars & pubs include: Brendan Behan Pub: 378 Centre Street Costello's Tavern: 723 Centre Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in Jamaica Plain by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Jamaica Plain, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For Jamaica Plain listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources: cityofboston.gov

First Time Home Buyers

For Massachusetts First Time Home Buyers (FTHB) there are numerous resources being provided including: workshops, educational classes, and mortgage assistance. In Massachusetts there are regional and statewide programs assisting FTHBs. The Housing Development Division of the Department of Housing and Community Development provides funding to developers, non-profit organizations and communities to assist first time homebuyers. In addition to assistance, The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) contains a list of affordable units for sale to FTHBs here.

First Time Home Buyer education courses are offered throughout the Commonwealth, most of which are required for by the majority of FTHB programs and loan programs. The Citizens' Housing and Planning Association, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and Housing Consumer Education Centers all provide classes. Classes differentiate by towns, so be sure to search for your nearest home buying education provider.

Although DHCD does not provide mortgages directly to first-time homebuyers, there are many resources available. The following lenders have state and federal products for Massachusetts FTHB: One Mortgage Program, MassHousing, Fannie Mae, and Fannie Mac.

Be sure to ask us any questions by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on First Time Home Buyers, feel free to call us directly at 617-236-0353.

Sources: Mass.gov HUD.gov chapa.org

This Week's Featured Neighborhood: North End

The Italian Heart of Boston

Also known as 'Little Italy,' the North End of Boston is its oldest residential neighborhood. The historic neighborhood was often the first stop for immigrants arriving in Boston centuries ago. Rich in history, the North End is home to the Old North Church, Paul Revere's house and burial grounds. The North End also features one-square mile of waterfront that provides scenic views of the Boston Harbor.

Above all the North End is famous for its deeply rooted Italian culture that is still prominent today. The North End contains an abundance of restaurants, most of which are Italian. This spot is the ideal place to find authentic cuisine, bakeries, and gelato in Boston. Overall the North End is what makes Boston so special from its rich history to beautiful views of Boston Harbor, this neighborhood is a must visit for tourists and an ideal place to live.

Some restaurants include: Mamma Maria (Italian): 3 N Square Lucca (Italian): 226 Hanover Street Aragosta Bar and Bistro (Italian): 3 Battery Wharf Neptune Oyster (Seafood): 63 Salem Street

Some shopping stores include: Bobbles & Lace: 26 Prince Street Twilight: 12 Fleet Street

Some bars & pubs include: Waterfront Café: 450 Commercial Street Four Winds: 266 Commercial Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in the North End by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on the North End, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For Back Bay listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources: Boston.com http://www.north-end-boston.com/ cityofboston.gov