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7 Summer Must-Do's on the Patriot's Trail

The dog days are over but there are still a few weeks of summer left – make the most of it with our realtors’ pick of 7 fun things to do in our local area.

 

1.     Get out on the water – rent a kayak or paddle board and chill out on the water at Spot Pond, Stoneham, Horn Pond, Woburn or Sudbury River in Concord.

2.     Keep your cool - indulge in some delicious homemade ice cream! We love Bedford Farms in Bedford or Concord, Great Brook Farm in Carlisle and Kimball Farms in Westford.

3.     Take in some art – explore Winchester’s Art in August, with displays from local artists in businesses around town, or take a wander around the outdoor artwork at deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln.

4.     Visit a local farm – explore the sunflower fields at Verrill Farm, Concord, celebrate Corn Fest at Wilson Farm in Lexington, or pick your own raspberries at Wright-Locke Farm, Winchester.

5.     Enjoy an outdoor movie – head into Boston for free film nights at Christopher Columbus Park, Boston Harbor Hotel or Prudential Center, or get the full drive-in movie experience at Mendon Twin Drive-In.

6.     Listen to live music – the outdoor concert series at Nara Park in Acton continues until September with live bands and tribute acts.

7.     Catch the sunset – enjoy swimming and cocktails as the sun goes down at the Sunset Tiki Bar and Grill, Westford.

 

If you want some more ideas for summer activities in your local area, ask one of our realtors! They are experts in the towns and communities they leave in and are happy to share their knowledge. Search by office to find someone local to you.

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    July Housing Market Update

    Summer is in full swing and the housing market has slowed a little as we expect at this time of year. Compared to last July, when we were still in the post-Covid boom, the number of listings sold has decreased – by more than half in Bedford, Carlisle and Lincoln. However when you compare those numbers to sales in June, we actually saw increases in activity in Acton, Lexington and Westford – a result of the busy May and June for listings. As far as the rest of the numbers go it’s business as usual, with few signs of the market collapse predicted by some. Average sold prices are up year on year across all our towns – as much as 14% higher than 2021 figures in Westford and Winchester. Days to offer and days on market are down compared to July 2021, demonstrating yet again that demand still outstrips supply in the towns north of Boston. The median house price – another solid indicator of how prices are moving – has increased by more than 20% from the previous July in Lexington, Lincoln and Winchester. On average, homes are still selling for more than the list price – by more than 10% in Acton, Carlisle, Lexington and Lincoln.

    In some good news for buyers, the number of homes on the market is increasing, even in a quieter month. In almost all our office towns there were more homes for sale on August 1st, 2022 than at the same point last year, and the number of available homes had more than doubled in Acton, Lexington and Winchester. So while prices remain high, buyers will have more options available when it comes to choosing a home.

    As always, these numbers are very top-level, and for a more in-depth analysis you should speak to a trusted professional. Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agents are experts in the towns and communities they live and work in, and are able to give you a more accurate picture of what your home is worth in the current marketplace. They can also advice you on any minor repairs, renovations or improvements necessary to ensure you get the maximum potential value for your home, and even discuss options to buy before you sell. Contact us today to set up a time to talk this month so you are prepared for the fall market.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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      Housing Market in MA - 6 Month Review

      Real Estate Market Update ReportsThe Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) has published the latest housing market report for the towns and cities in our state. Our summary includes our office towns of Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Westford and Winchester, along with 54 other towns and cities where we have represented buyers and sellers.  The report covers the first 6 months of this year and compares those numbers with the same period last year. From this you can get an at-a-glance view of how the market is performing – including whether days on market are up or down, are prices increasing or decreasing, and have more homes sold compared to the previous year. Whether you are buying or selling, these reports can be a useful guide, however for a more in-depth market analysis you should talk to an experienced realtor. They'll be able to give you a detailed evaluation of your home, taking into account specific property and neighborhood details, and including information about recent comparable sales to give you the full picture.

      Although we are still in the height of summer, if you are thinking of making a move this fall now is the time to start preparing. Despite dire warnings in the press and online we are still experiencing a healthy demand for homes, and prices continue to hold strong in the popular towns and cities north of Boston. Accurate pricing, strong marketing and knowledge of the local market are key to securing a successful sale - all things your Barrett Sotheby's International Realty agent will provide. Contact us or click here to find out what your home is worth today.

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        Summer Home Maintenance Projects That Add Value

        Summer LandscapingWhile you are enjoying a cool lemonade and warm breeze on the patio this summer evening, remember to bring along a pen and notepad and make a list of the maintenance projects you would like to complete before the end of the season. There are many summer home maintenance projects that add value to your home. In addition to your weekly routine maintenance, there are minor remodeling projects (projects costing less than $5,000) and other DIY general maintenance projects (costing less than $100 along with a commodity we affectionately refer to as “sweat equity”) that will greatly add value to your home. The real estate professionals at Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty look forward to helping you sell your home in the Greater Boston area this summer. Here are some maintenance projects to help get your home list-ready and achieve maximum value for your property. 

        Landscaping 

        Landscaping can increase a home’s value by 10-20%. Keeping up with routine maintenance is imperative: mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, edging the walkways, and weeding the garden. Additionally, a homeowner can increase the curbside appeal of their property simply by making a trip to the garden center and picking up new perennials or annuals to plant in the flowerbeds. A savvy property owner will also consider developing a new design with a landscaping 

        professional. The budget for a professional landscape design, materials, and implementation will vary depending on the size of the yard and the amount of softscaping (plants, shrubs, and trees) and hardscaping (paths, retaining walls, stone elements) you choose to include. The average cost of a professional landscape design (just the plan) is in the range of $300- $2,500. The elements of color, texture, and scale provided in a professional design will provide the perfect setting for your home and increase curbside appeal dramatically. You can delegate the implementation of the plan to landscape professionals, or pull up your sleeves and tap into some “sweat equity” to keep the cost at a minimum. 

        Outdoor Living 

        Outdoor living spaces are always a welcome feature and attractive to potential buyers. While building a wooden or composite deck may cost upwards of $17,000 and give a low ROI of 65%…building a ground level patio will provide a much higher ROI with a smaller investment. The average cost of a ground level patio is in the range of $1,000-$5,000. Introducing a fire pit is another way to add immediate value to outdoor living spaces. A fire pit or fire pit table will elevate your outdoor gathering spot with the promise of roasted marshmallows and the pleasant crackling and glow of firelight as the sun sets on the distant horizon. The average cost of a fire pit is in the range of $800-$1,300. 

        Painting 

        Your home’s value will always benefit from a fresh coat of paint. The interior rooms can easily be painted any time of the year. You will need approximately two gallons of paint per room at an average of $40 per gallon. We always recommend painting rooms in a light neutral color to make rooms feel more spacious by reflecting natural and artificial light. The summer is the perfect time to tackle outdoor painting projects. Smaller projects, like painting your front door, won’t take more than a gallon of paint and less than a day to complete. Hiring a professional to paint a 2,500 square foot two story home may be in the neighborhood of $3,000-$5,000. You can save a considerable amount of money and maintain a positive ROI by taking on the project yourself. You will need approximately 22 gallons of paint for around $880. If you schedule a painting party with family and friends you may finish the job in a few short weekends (as long as you keep your guests happy with food and drink). 

        The team at Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty looks forward to helping you with all of your Greater Boston real estate needs this summer. Contact us today!

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          Beyond Boston: Patriot's Trail Dining Guide

          Dining on the Patriot's Trail in BostonThe Patriot’s Trail is known for its history but there are also many culinary delights that bring visitors to the area. The towns and cities north of Boston are home to many local fine dining establishments, friendly diners and popular family restaurants. Reflecting the influence of the many different cultures in the area, you’ll have the pick of different cuisines – from Thai, Indian and Asian to Italian Moroccan and Mexican, plus some really great traditional American food. You can choose from independent gastropubs, regional restaurant groups and national chains, depending on the occasion and who you are dining with. Plus there are many smaller coffee shops, bakeries and salad bars for grabbing a quick refreshment. Whether you are looking for authentic Italian in Winchester, want to enjoy a spicy curry in Bedford, or grab a burger and beer in Acton, the restaurants on the Patriot's Trail will satisfy your appetite for something delicious!

          Don’t know where to start? Pick up a copy of Beyond Boston, a free magazine and pocket-sized guide to your towns and our services. In there you’ll find dining suggestions for each of the towns we serve, plus other useful information for when you are out and about this summer. Pick up your copy from any of our eight offices or at select local businesses.

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            June Housing Market Update

            Sale Price as a $ of List Price: June 2022It’s been a while since we had a “normal” housing market. Since Covid hit over 2 years ago we’ve been on a rollercoaster, riding the dip of the initial lockdown to the highs once Massachusetts opened for business again, and all the changes since. So it’s hard to remember what a typical housing market looks like. Looking back to June 2019 – the last year we had a more typical environment for home sales – the average days to offer was 24, which is over 3 weeks on the market. Last month the average was 8. Three years ago, homes were selling on average for 100% of the list price. In June this year the average home sold for 10% more than the list price.

            Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            In our office towns, we see that prices are still up on last year in most towns, including Bedford, Winchester and Acton. Sellers are accepting offers in a week or less in Lincoln and Acton, and homes are under agreement in just 15 days in Lexington and Westford. The number of single-family homes sold is down in all towns except Lincoln, reflecting the inventory shortage earlier in spring, however there were more homes for sale on July 1st this year compared to last – another hopeful sign for buyers. The pricing trend has continued for another month, with homes selling on average for more than 10% over the list price in Acton, Carlisle, Lincoln and Westford.

             

            Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            So, homes are still selling, and on average for more than they are listed for, but it seems the frenzied days of lines around the block at open houses, and 10 or more offers on a home have passed. What we are experiencing now is a more normalized market, with buyers no longer feeling rushed into making snap decisions and vastly inflated offers. If you are selling your home you should know not to panic if your home does not sell in the first weekend. You also need to listen to your realtor when it comes to pricing your property to ensure you are attracting the biggest potential pool of buyers to look at your home. Prices are not falling, but homes that are priced at the top of their range are tending to sit on the market a little longer. Our realtors will be able to recommend a price range based not only on recent sales but also, through collaboration with colleagues, insight on what your local market will support. Better to have more interest at a realistic price that encourages offers than to aim too high and price yourself out of the market.

             

            Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            Ultimately it is still a good time to be selling your home, but the balance is shifting towards the buyers who finally have some breathing space to fully consider their home purchase. Speak to a Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agent to get an up-to-the-minute assessment of how the housing market is performing in your area – contact us today!

             

            Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update

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              5 Energy Saving Tips for Summer

              Energy Saving TipsEnergy prices have been rising steadily in the United States. The climbing costs of natural gas, electricity, and oil have been reflected at the pump and in our monthly utility bills. Bostonians enjoy a reputation for embracing energy-efficient initiatives such as choosing renewable energy suppliers or installing solar. But there are many things a homeowner can do right away to make their home more energy efficient and enjoy the economic benefits that follow. The following summer energy saving tips for your home include cost-free daily best practices, inexpensive routine maintenance, and moderately priced home improvements which will yield substantial savings, leave a little more in your pocket at the end of every month, and give you the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to the global effort of improving energy efficiency.  

              1. Windows: Your windows invite natural sunlight into the rooms of your home. They also usher in the heat. Close the window treatments during the day to help keep your home cool, and relieve some of the burdens from your air conditioning system. Taking additional steps by upgrading your window treatments to thermal coverings and properly caulking or weatherstripping around the windows will increase your energy efficiency dramatically by keeping the heat at bay. 

              2. Filters: Cleaning and replacing the air filters on your air conditioning system, and other household systems, should be on your routine maintenance checklist. A congested air filter can increase energy usage in the cooling system by fifteen percent. 

              3. Thermostat: When first turning on your thermostat to cool your home avoid setting it to a lower temperature than your desired temperature. Attempting to cool the home more quickly using this method does not work. It will only make your unit work harder and use more energy in the process. Additionally, a programmable thermostat is an intelligent and moderately priced upgrade to any home. Using a programmable thermostat to keep your home slightly warmer when you are away, and cooling the home down shortly before you return, will yield significant energy savings. And by all means, don’t confuse your thermostat by placing lamps or other heat-generating appliances close by. These items will keep your cooling system running longer than necessary. 

              4. Dining: Using your oven can easily raise the temperature in the kitchen by 10ºF. There is a treasury of dining options in the Greater Boston area. Summertime is the right time for eating out, especially during particularly hot days. Share the wealth by supporting your favorite local restaurants while saving on home energy costs in the process: a frugal and delicious decision. When cooking at home make use of your outdoor grill often. Putting older kids in charge of the grill is a simple way for them to share in household responsibilities, while you can enjoy the cool comfort of the kitchen preparing the salads and cold dishes. 

              5. Appliances: Upgrade your air conditioning system to an Energy Star rated model. Higher rated SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and EER (energy efficiency ratio) models are 15% more energy efficient than outdated cooling systems. To enjoy additional savings all year long consider replacing your other appliances - especially your refrigerator and dryer - with Energy Star models. 

              Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty has been working with buyers and sellers at every price point in Greater Boston and surrounding areas for 50 years. We look forward to helping you this summer with your real estate needs. Contact our team today!

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                Beyond Boston: Pack Like a Boss, Move Like a Pro

                Labeled Moving BoxesOn the move this summer? Most people agree that packing is the least enjoyable part of moving to a new home. It’s tempting to put it off until the last possible moment, however this can end up causing more stress and turning what should be an exciting moment – getting the keys to your new home – into a miserable experience. So don’t be that person who is still frantically stuffing clothes into garbage bags when the moving truck arrives. Our Beyond Boston magazine has some great tips to make the whole moving experience run smoothly.

                Use the right material. Moving boxes and packing equipment are a relatively small expense in the context of your move, so don’t scrimp on this part. Having the right size box for your items will make packing – and unpacking – much easier and ensure your belongings are properly protected on their journey.

                Label everything. Move methodically through your home, packing room by room, and have a labelling system so you’ll know what goes where when the truck arrives at your new destination.

                Keep important items to hand. Make sure any documents you might need on closing day are easily accessible - not in a box at the very back of the truck. Likewise anything you might need as soon as you move in to make the unpacking go smoothly – be that your coffee pot or a corkscrew!

                For more great tips pick up a copy of Beyond Boston, which also includes resources for professional packing and moving services should you decide to call in reinforcements!

                Beyond Boston is a free guide to your towns and our services. Pick up your copy from any of our eight offices or at select local businesses.

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                  How a Buyer's Agent Can Help You Secure Your Dream Home.

                  In today's market it’s more important than ever to have a good agent on your side when buying a home.  But what exactly is the benefit of having agent representation as a buyer?  And how do you go about finding a good agent?  Read on to find out what a good buyer’s agent will do - and how you can make sure you have the right person representing you.

                   

                  Home Buyers Shaking Hands with AgentKnowledge

                  In this competitive market you need a buyer’s agent who knows the area and the current market.  They will be able to give you advice about your target towns, such as what homes are selling for in that area, which areas of town have the style of property you are looking for, important town topics which may affect home values, and schools and facilities available in the area  This is especially important if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation - your agent will have an understanding of the current selling prices and be able to advise you on a competitive offer.

                   

                  Happy Home Buyer with Moving BoxNetwork

                  When the market is moving quickly you may need to make a fast decision on a home, so you need to make sure your agent is fully invested in real estate and has the network to help with your search. A good agent will have contacts and resources to work with you along the process from viewing to offer and closing.  They will have connections with professionals such as proactive mortgage brokers, contractors, home inspectors and service providers, whose expertise can quickly guide you to meet the strict deadlines you may be up against. 

                   

                  Happy Family in Front of New HomeNegotiation

                  An experienced buyer’s agent will prove invaluable when you enter into negotiations on a home. A good buyer broker will do a comparative market analysis before you write up your offer and will be able to advise you how to structure your offer, what to be prepared for, and how to improve your chances of a successful bid.  The relationships they have with other agents will also enable them to handle any difficult conversations with professionalism and grace, increasing your chances of reaching an agreement which suits both parties. 

                   

                  So how do you find the right buyer’s agent for you? Here's our top tips to figure out who you want to work with.

                  1. Recommendations. If you need help finding an agent, asking friends or family for a personal recommendation is a good place to start.  You can also check out testimonials to see what other people have to say about Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty and our agents.  
                  2. Personality match. Some common ground or shared interests can also help your agent understand your wants and needs better - read their bio to find out if your personalities will match.  A good sense of humor can also help in a sometimes stressful situation! 
                  3. Communication. You may be working with this person for a while, so making sure your communication styles are in sync is a good idea - for example, do you prefer calls or texts? 
                  4. Interview. Finally, don’t be afraid to call and talk to some of the agents on your shortlist and see if you feel comfortable with them - once you decide to work with someone you'll likely be asked to sign an agreement to work exclusively with them, so make sure you are happy with the person before you commit.

                   

                  Couple Getting Keys to New HomeBuying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make.  A buyer’s agent will serve as your go-to resource for anything related to buying a home.  Our agents are all experienced in listings and selling homes, and will bring the utmost professionalism, accountability and dedication to any transaction.  Contact us today and we can connect you to the perfect partner for your home search.

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                    Places to Catch an Outdoor Concert this Summer (Mostly Free!)

                    People Enjoying a Summer Concert in the ParkWith summer right around the corner, we are super excited to welcome back some summer concerts! Our towns have a huge range of outdoor music to enjoy, from classical and kids entertainment to top tribute acts covering all your favorite songs. From Winchester to Westford, Acton to Bedford and everywhere in between, here’s our realtors' pick of the best music events to enjoy on these summer nights!

                    Acton

                    The town recreation department is hosting the Nara Park Concertsa selection of tribute acts, themed nights and family events. Beginning June 10th from 7:30pm with BonJourney and running through to Sept - tickets required for most events.

                    Bedford

                    Thursday’s at 7pm head to the Town’s Activity Complex at 12 Mudge Way for the Summer Concert Series. Beginning on July 7th with music from Cold Chocolate and pony rides.  

                    Concord

                    Nashoba Brooks School is hosting a series of Summer concerts on Thursday nights at 5pm from July 14th – Aug 18th . Enjoy music from Renee Tatum, Kaiti Jones and Ward Hayden & The Outliers

                    Lexington

                    The Band from U.N.C.L.E. will be performing a free concert at Emery Park on Friday, July 22nd as part of the Summer Concert Series.

                    The Lexington Bicentennial Band brings back their summer concert series on Tuesdays from June 28th – enjoy marches, show tunes and light classical wind band music in the park. Bring your family and a picnic!

                    Lincoln

                    A series of free Summer Concerts will be hosted at the Codman Pool on Wednesdays from July 13th – August 3rd. Concerts start at 6pm.

                    Westford

                    The Kimball Farm Music Series is back for 2022! All concerts take place on the outdoor music stage behind the batting cages from 6pm – 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, beginning June 10th. There is no admission fee but space is limited – first come first served!

                    Also in Westford you can enjoy live music at Good Pickin' Farm on Friday nights beginning June 17th – tickets are $15 per person.

                    Winchester

                    Porchfest returns to Winchester on June 11th from 12pm – 5:30pm – tour around your neighborhood and enjoy performances from local musicians.

                    On Wednesdays from June 29th – Aug 10th enjoy free Concerts on the Common hosted by Winchester Recreation. Bring your own chairs – concerts start at 6:30pm.

                    Other Towns

                    BurlingtonFamily Concerts on the Common will be held on Tuesdays from June 28th – Aug 9th 

                    MaynardMaynard Community Band Summer Concerts are back! Wednesdays at 7pm in Maynard Memorial Park beginning June 29th.

                    StonehamSummer Concert Series on the Town Common, Thursdays from 7pm.

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