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Local Fairs and Festivals You Won't Want to Miss

Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, and the fair is coming to town! One of the best things about spring in New England is the chance to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather at some of the fun family events that happen in our communities. We have some awesome fairs and festivals coming to a town near you over the next few weeks, plus some events unique to this time of year. Check out our list and get involved!

May 11th -15th: Apple Blossom Festival, Westford. Hosted by the Westford Kiwanis, there will be carnival rides running Wednesday thru Sunday, with a parade and fireworks on Saturday May 15th.

May 20th – 21st: En Ka Fair, Winchester. Enjoy rides, food and a huge book fair from Friday evening and all day Saturday. There’s also a parade on Saturday morning.

May 25thProm Stroll, Bedford. Back for the first time in 2 years, watch the class of 2022 celebrate prom night!

May 27th – 28th : Fairy Homes and Gardens Tour, Lexington. Use the map and follow the fairy scavenger hunt to find the hidden fairies around town!

May 28th : Discovery Day, Lexington. Kick off Memorial Day weekend with a street fair along Mass Ave! Local businesses will have booths with giveaways and prizes, plus food and entertainment for the whole family.

June 4th : Winchester Town Day. Another street fair with local businesses providing games, entertainment and shopping for visitors, rounded off with an evening firework display.

June 4th : Stow Street Block Party, Concord. An event for the whole community, including Touch a Truck, music, food, and games.

June 5th - 12th: Charlestown Parade Week. A week of events and celebrations, including Touch a Truck day and a Talent Show, culminating in the Bunker Hill Day Parade (the oldest in the country).

June 30th - July 4th: Lexington Lions 4th of July Carnival. The carnival is in town for 5 days across 4th July weekend, with rides, food and fireworks.

If you want more ideas for things to do in the warmer weather, our Beyond Boston magazine has some great tips for places to visit in the Patriot Trail region. And check back next month for our list of local outdoor music events this summer!


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    April Housing Market Update

    Sale Price as a % of List Price: April 2022April showers bring May flowers, but did they also bring more homes to the market? Unfortunately, compared to last year, the answer was no. With the exception of Bedford, each of our office towns saw a decrease in the number of homes sold compared to April 2021. However things are looking more positive for May, with more homes available to buy in Westford (up 18%) and Winchester (up 42%) than the previous year. But for buyers, that might be where the good news ends, as prices continue to climb. Average sale price for single family homes was up almost 30% year on year in Acton and Concord. Bedford, Westford and Winchester also saw increases, while prices in Lexington remained static compared to the prior year. There’s also no let-up in the speed at which homes are selling – during April homes in Carlisle, Winchester and Bedford had an accepted offer in under a week, and the average days on market in Bedford and Westford was just 15. Hardly surprising then, with all that competition for homes, that the average sale price is still greater than the list price – by more than 20% in Carlisle and Acton.

    So how long is this Seller’s Market set to continue? Whilst we can’t say for certain, all the signs are that a change is coming. Further increases in mortgage rates are predicted – an average 30-year fixed rate term is now well over 5% - which will in turn affect how much people can afford to borrow. The cost of living is also having an impact – gas prices are still up near $4 / gallon, supply shortages continue to affect the cost of groceries and utility expenses are also on the rise. Plus a poor-performing stock market has reduced the value of some investments, which could impact a buyer’s ability to put down a deposit on a home. While there is still a limited inventory of homes for sale, sellers are able to achieve the maximum value for their home – but hesitate for too long and you may find it’s the buyers who are in short supply.

    If you are thinking about making a move, and want to know what your home is worth in today’s market, get in touch. Our experienced agents can give you a no-obligation market analysis, specific to your home, to help you decide if now is the right time. They can also advise you on what you might need to do to get your home ready for sale, and walk you through some of the many ways we market your home to the widest pool of potential buyers.

    Ready to take the next step? Contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today!

    Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update










    Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update










    Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update










    Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update


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      Spring Decor Ideas to Brighten Your Home

      Spring Flowers on Fireplace MantelThe spring season is in full bloom with brighter, longer, and warmer days. There’s no better time than now to brighten up your home with these easy spring decor ideas and bring some of those beautiful spring colors and life indoors. 

      Do a Seasonal Declutter

      Just like spring cleaning, a nice seasonal spring declutter works wonders. You don’t always have to add decor to make your home more appealing. Decluttering your visible spaces can really show off the things that are working well. For example, put away some of those extra knick-knacks on the shelves. 

      Display Fireplace Foliage

      Now that you’re done using your fireplace as a fireplace, add some fresh flowers or foliage. Use spring colors like pink, blue, and purple on your mantel. You can also put some candles with spring colors and sents inside your fireplace and light them on occasion, or add a beautiful vase on the outside. 

      Lighten Up

      Think about swapping out your throw pillows and bedding for some lighter fabrics and lighter colors. Also, consider putting away any heavy drapes or window coverings and using sheer curtains. And don’t forget about your towels and shower curtains. You can also replace any outdated light fixtures with modern LED lights, which will also help save on your electricity bill.

      Sprinkle In Spring

      Anywhere in your home that you’d like to give a touch of spring, add some spring flowers, plants, and baskets. This is a quick and easy way to bring spring into your home. Just make sure the plants get enough light and water. If you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of beautiful faux options to choose from. 

      Painting the Walls

      If you’re up to the challenge, and if your walls could use a fresh coat of paint, you can create accent walls in your favorite spring colors. If you have a couple of spots to hide, but don’t want to break out a paintbrush, you can buy some spring art to hang on the walls or do some modern spring wallpapering. 

      If you’re thinking about selling your home in the Greater Boston area this spring, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty can give you some custom tips on decorating your home to sell, home staging, and much more. We can even take care of the hard work for you with our White Glove pre-listing prep services. Contact us today to find out more!


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        MAR Market Review - Qtr 1 2022

        Local Real Estate Market Update Reports from MARThe Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) has published the latest housing market report for the towns and cities in our state. Our summary covers Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Westford and Winchester, along with 54 other towns and cities where we have represented buyers and sellers. This report includes property sales data from the year so far and compares that to the previous year, giving a good indicator how the market has performed in the first quarter. Whether you are buying or selling, these reports can give you an insight into trends in each town. You can look at days on market to see how fast homes are moving, check how many homes sold compared to the previous year to understand the demand, and see how the list prices compared to sale prices to comprehend how competitive the market is. However for a full market analysis you should talk to an experienced realtor. They'll be able to give you a more detailed evaluation of your home, taking into account specific property and neighborhood details and including information about recent comparable sales, to give you the true picture.

        Looking forward, we are already seeing signs of change – inventory is increasing as the spring market heats up, interest rates are on the rise, and more people are returning to work in person, all of which have an impact on demand. If you are thinking about selling, there is still time to take advantage of the fast-paced market we’ve seen in the first quarter of the year. Click here to find out what your home is worth and get in touch to realize the full value of your home in today’s market.


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          Vacation Week Fun on the Patriot Trail

          Family Walking on the Patriot TrailSchool’s out next week for April Vacation, and if you are staying local there’s plenty to see and do in the towns along the Patriot Trail! Patriot’s Day itself is Monday, April 18th and our historic region will have plenty of ways to celebrate. Lexington is hosting many events across Patriot’s Day weekend including the famous re-enactment at 5:30am on Monday, and a Patriot’s Day Parade in the afternoon. There is also a parade in Concord on Monday morning, and Concord Museum is celebrating by offering free admission all day Monday.

          If you want to cheer on some modern-day heroes, the Boston Marathon also takes place on Monday – check out the route to find a good place to watch the runners (we recommend Hopkinton or Natick for the first half of the race, Newton or Brookline if you want to see the second half – and of course the finish line in Copley Square).

          Here are some other suggestions for ways to make the most of your local area during vacation week

          For more ideas visit the Highland Street Foundation website – they’ve partnered with a whole host of local businesses to offer free days out for families during April vacation week.

          We are fortunate to live along the Patriot Trail with all these amazing activities on hand. Please consider supporting these and other local businesses and organizations by paying them a visit this vacation week and beyond.

          Advance booking is required for some events - check their websites to find out more.


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            Expert Advice - Complimentary Downsizing Seminars

            Get Expert Advice with Complimentary Virtual SeminarsMoving to a smaller home? Gain valuable advice about paring down and learn what you really need in order to maintain a comfortable, beautiful lifestyle in less space. Join Marie LeBlanc from Transitions & Liquidations Services, Jan Poulain and Liz Larson from Perfectly Placed for You, and Barrett Sotheby's International Realty owner and CEO Laurie Cadigan for tips, tricks, and resources for stress-free downsizing. Seminars will be held virtually on Saturday, April 23rd at 10am and Thursday, April 28th at 6pm.

            Email to register and receive the zoom link


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              March Housing Market Update

              March 2022 Housing Market UpdateSpring is on its way, and with it an increase in home buying activity! We’ve seen an uptick in activity in March from both buyers and sellers, and the early spring market is showing some welcome signs of increased inventory and activity. Acton, Bedford and Winchester all had more sold homes than the prior month, and Concord also saw a 45% increase in the number of homes sold compared to March 2021. Sellers are still able to command higher prices though, as available inventory has not kept pace with the demand. Average prices jumped by more than 10% over last year in Carlisle and Concord, and Lincoln and Winchester also saw higher prices. If you find a home you like, the pressure is still on to make your offer quickly. Homes were under offer in less than 10 days in Lexington, Lincoln and Winchester.


              Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update











              Making an Offer

              Perhaps the biggest indicator of market robustness is the sale price to list price ratio. This shows how much over the asking price people have been paying for homes, and gives you some idea of the level of demand and interest in homes in certain towns. In March, homes in Lexington sold on average for 12% over the list price, in Winchester it was 10%, 7% in Acton and Bedford, Carlisle and Concord were 5% and Westford homes sold for an average 3% over list price.


              Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update











              Getting ready to list

              So, as a seller, how do you take advantage of this active spring market while it’s still hot? Your first step is to talk to an experienced agent today. They can give you a complimentary assessment of your home’s current value and talk about the specifics of the market in your zip code. They will also be able to advise on what (if any) home improvements or updates are necessary before you put your home on the market – which might be less than you think, as more buyers are prepared to take on some work to get into an area they like. Our agents also have access to White Glove Services, a program that takes care of any necessary repairs and renovations without you paying upfront. Ask a Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agent for more info.


              Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update











              Tips for buyers

              As for buyers, things are finally looking up with more homes coming to the market in the next few weeks. If you are about to start your house hunt, get connected with an agent who knows your target towns, so you can be first to know about new properties as they come live. Read our Tips for Buying in a Hot Seller’s Market to make sure you are fully prepared.


              Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update










              You don’t need to wait for the flowers to bloom to start the moving process – talk to us today!


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                Tips for Buying a Home in a Hot Seller's Market

                Buying a Home in Greater BostonLooking to buy a home in the Greater Boston area? It’s a hot seller’s market because there are a lot more interested buyers than there are homes available, so time is of the essence. Here are some tips for buyers looking to purchase a home in a seller's market. 

                Find A Good Real Estate Agent

                It’s especially important to find a good buyer’s agent in a hot seller’s market. You want an agent who will alert you to new listings as soon as they hit the market and who can alert you to coming soon listings. A good agent will also know how to make an attractive offer that stands out and how and when to use contingencies.

                Be Ready

                If you find your dream home, you’ll want to act fast. Homes sell quickly during seller’s markets, so if you wait too long, you may find that your perfect home is no longer available by the time you make an offer. Getting pre-approved for a loan ahead of time helps you know how much home you can afford and shows the seller that your financing will be in order when you need it.

                Be Patient

                Although you want to be prepared, you also don’t want to settle or get discouraged. Keep in mind that you may get into some bidding wars, but that doesn’t mean you should offer more money than a house is worth. You also don’t want to bid on a home that doesn’t offer the most important things you need in a home. You’ll want to make a wants versus needs list so you’ll know what you can give up and what is non-negotiable in a home.

                Put Your Best Offer On The Table

                There isn’t much room (or time) for counteroffers in a seller’s market, so you’ll want to put your best offer on the table from the start. By working with a local knowledgeable real estate agent, you can make sure that you are making a solid and competitive offer that make financial sense.

                Be Flexible

                Not all buyers can afford to offer way over the listing price, and in some cases, the property value won’t be worth it. In these circumstances, the buyer can make an attractive offer with some contingencies that can speed up the transaction. For example, make a larger earnest money deposit or limit the inspection and appraisal time. Consider being flexible with dates and deadlines in a contract. Sometimes giving a seller extra time to move out can make an offer more appealing.

                If you're looking to buy a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty today. You can also start a custom search or browse our recommended searches.


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                  Moving Tips for First Time Homebuyers

                  Moving into a New HomeMoving is hard enough as it is, and for many first-time homebuyers, it's normal to feel both excited and overwhelmed. The truth is, there's a long list of important things you need to keep up with as you prepare for life in your new house. If you're planning to move soon as a first-time homebuyer, don't worry. We have put together some valuable tips to help make this transition as easy and stress-free as possible.

                  1. Give Yourself Enough Time to Move

                  One of the biggest mistakes many first-time homebuyers make is not giving themselves enough time to properly plan the whole moving process. It's normal to feel a little overexcited about settling into your dream home, but you also need ample time to prepare and ensure the moving process will be as streamlined as possible. We suggest making a moving checklist that includes everything that you need to do, from packing and finding a moving company to securing all the necessary documents and telling your friends and family that you're moving. Also, allow time to prepare yourself emotionally. That way, when it's time to move, nothing is left to chance!

                  2. Start Planning Early

                  When planning to move, staying organized will make things easy for you from the get-go. Start by making a to-do list of all the items that need to be taken care of a couple of days or weeks leading up to the move. Include all the essential moving day tasks, such as packing up your car and transferring personal and financial information to your new address. If you're moving out of state, remember to update your driver's license and inform your insurance provider. Ensure that you update all your important accounts, memberships, utilities, bank information, credit cards, health insurance, etc. Sometimes people miss these crucial steps and end up missing on important payments or running into issues with automatic deduction payments.

                  3. Transfer Utilities

                  It’s a good idea to keep the necessary services turned on at your current location until you are moved out, but be sure you let your utility companies know your move out date so there is no confusion over the final bill. In addition to transferring electric and gas services to your new address, go ahead and arrange for internet services as well. If you're unsure about the providers in your new area, check online or ask your local real estate agent which companies are the most reliable. 

                  4. Keep Important Documents Handy

                  Keep all your essential documents handy. You can organize and keep copies of all the necessary paperwork as soft copies on your cell phone to ensure easy access just in case you need to access something during an important phone call with your mortgage broker or title company. You should also have a copy of the closing statement from your new home purchase, any important contacts,  and important account login information.

                  5. Remember to Change Your Address

                  You'll want to ensure that all your mail gets delivered to your new home. So, head over to the USPS website and update your address. You can also visit your local post office to submit the request in person. 

                  6. Take Photos of Valuable Items

                  Take photos of valuables like your TV, computer, and appliances. You can use these as a visual inventory to ensure nothing gets lost or damaged during the move. Plus, if anything does get damaged, having proof of their original condition will help with your insurance claim.

                  7. Consider Hiring Professional Movers

                  Hiring professional movers can help minimize the stress that comes with moving and make your transition to your new home a lot easier. Professional movers know exactly how to pack everything in your house so that nothing gets broken or damaged, and when you arrive at your new place, they unpack everything in record time, saving you hours that you can spend on the more important stuff. On the downside, professional moving services can be costly, but it's always worth it if you want to avoid the stress and hassle of doing it yourself. 

                  8. Schedule Home Improvements and Repairs

                  Do any necessary maintenance or upgrades before moving in if you have the time and budget. You can estimate the costs of these repairs or home improvements and determine if they are worth making right now or if it’s okay to wait. If none of the repairs are essential, you may be better off putting that money toward your home's mortgage or saving it for a rainy day.

                  9. Consider Custom Storage Solutions

                  One way to make sure you have enough room for all of your household items is to invest in custom storage solutions. If you have a lot of family heirlooms or other items that require extra room, consider the benefits of hiring someone to design a custom storage solution for those items. These solutions are a great way to gain additional storage and keep your space neat without the need for house extensions or major remodels.

                  10. Research Local Businesses

                  If you haven’t already done so, look up local businesses in your new neighborhood. What are their hours? Which ones are closest? Which ones will you need the most? Do they have great reviews online? Researching the local businesses in your new area is an excellent way to acclimate to your new surroundings, and that can help you settle in quickly. With all the available online resources, finding information on local businesses is easy and it will save you time later on when you need to use them. A good start point is our Beyond Boston magazine, which includes lists of local schools, health care facilities, and places to dine and shop.

                  There are plenty of things you need to take into account when moving as a first-time homebuyer. However, the key to a less stressful moving process lies in planning early to avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of this big life change. 

                  Should you be in the market looking for a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty. We offer unparalleled access to countless homes for sale in Greater Boston. 


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                    Building Basics - Tackle Home Improvements with Confidence

                    Beautifully Renovated BathroomIf you are tackling a remodeling project this spring, big or small, our Beyond Boston magazine has some great tips for you to follow. Building Basics covers all aspects of the process and what you need to consider at every stage, along with how to make sure you are hiring the right professionals. There are also some great resources in the magazine of local design firms and contractors who can help you get your project off to the right start. 

                    The best piece of advice we can offer when taking on a construction project of any size is planning. You'll need to consider many factors - budget, timing, location, even the New England weather. The more you can plan ahead the smoother your project will be. And with any home improvement, consider your return on investment.  Generally speaking, any improvement to your home is a good thing, but if you are improving with an eye to sell you should consider what will make the biggest impact in the current market. Kitchens and bathrooms are still the two areas where you can make the biggest impact on your home's value. Regarding style, even though demand still outstrips supply in most of our towns, you still want to ensure your home appeals to a wide range of people. Be wary of too many custom or personalized updates of you are planning to sell - if you are not careful you could end up over-spending on a project that won't actually add value to your home. You might also find that many buyers are prepared - and want - to make their own improvements, so the work you are planning may not be necessary to prepare your home for sale. In all circumstances, a conversation with a local realtor before you commit to any projects will help you ensure you are not "over-improving" your home or spending on unnecessary work.

                    If you are improving instead of moving, you have a bit more freedom to personalize your style and finishes, but you should consider enlisting the services of a design company to make sure you are making the best use of the space for what you need. And of course, any professionals you hire should be properly licensed and be able to supply references. Our realtors work with a number of local companies and are happy to provide some resources for your consideration. 

                    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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