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Homes for Gathering at a Distance

Holiday gatherings pose new challenges this season, as we try to balance spending time with loved ones with not putting anyone’s health at risk.  Our Sotheby’s International Realty colleagues have compiled a list of glamorous homes where you can remain safely socially distant while enjoying company - from a spacious 11-acre estate in California to a luxury beachside home in the Balearic Islands.  We were inspired to look a little closer to home, and put forward our own recommendations for homes in Bedford, Concord and Lexington with options to gather more safely and maintain your social distance.

5 Childs Road in Lexington, a beautiful new construction, has a spacious sunroom leading to a private backyard with an oversized stone patio and a stone fireplace - perfect for the chilly winter evenings.  

 

 

539 Strawberry Hill in Concord features multiple sunrooms and patios for indoor/outdoor gatherings -  throw open the doors to let the fresh air in while enjoying some shelter from the elements.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

251-A Old Billerica Road, Bedford offers much to keep you and your guests entertained outdoors, with an outdoor basketball court, plenty of wooded trails and a custom treehouse! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Pickman Drive, Unit 5 in Bedford has a sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and a pretty patio that can be accessed via glass doors from the family room, creating a pandemic-friendly gathering spot.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more aspirational homes from across the globe, read the latest blog from Sotheby’s International Realty.

 

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Celebrating Thanksgiving in 2020

Another holiday during the pandemic means another opportunity to find alternative ways to celebrate!  For many, this will mean a very different Thanksgiving for 2020.  CDC Guidelines advise against large, indoor gatherings - indeed, any gatherings with people outside of your household carry the risk of transmission.  However, with a bit of creativity, you can still enjoy the day and get to spend some quality time giving thanks with loved ones.

Virtual Dinner

Thank goodness for technology giving us virtual ways to see each other.  On Thanksgiving Day you can set up a video call with your friends or family - get in the kitchen together and prepare your meal, or set them up on a device and seat them virtually at your table. If you are not tech-savvy, don’t forget the power of a phone call to make someone feel connected and included.

Dinner Delivery

If you have family who live nearby, or friends and neighbors who you know will be alone, why not prepare their favorite elements of the traditional turkey dinner and drop it off at their house in advance?  Then you can arrange to eat “together” on the day.

Movie or Game Night

Family movie night or board games are a great way for people in your household to enjoy themselves. You can also extend this to people outside of your home - several movie streaming services, such as Netflix, offer a way to watch movies together even if you are in separate houses.  There are also apps that enable you to take part in games such as trivia or card games with other households via the internet.  

Get Outside

If the weather complies, a good walk is a great way to blow off the cobwebs and work up an appetite!  If you are walking with members of another household, remember to wear your masks and keep your distance.

Give Back

As well as giving thanks, the holidays are also a good time to give back.  Food pantries or banks are always grateful for donations of non-perishable items and toiletries -  contact them to find out what they are most in need of.  Or get together with the children and write thank you cards to essential workers that can be safely delivered before or after the holiday.  Another way to mark the holiday is to take part in a gratitude activity - gather people in your household together and share things you are grateful for.  Even in these tough times, it's possible to find reasons to feel thankful this year.

 

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    Be Our Guest - Homes with Gorgeous Guesthouses

    When we are once again ready to welcome guests, wouldn't it be nice to offer them their own space?  Sotheby's International Realty has sourced some amazing examples of homes with gorgeous guesthouses - and we have our own we want to share with you.  1 Lilac Lane in Hudson MA includes an amazing guest cottage from where your family or friends can enjoy the heated pool, sports courts, walking trails and the beautifully landscaped grounds.

    With its own kitchen, modern bathroom and comfortable bedroom, this cottage will make visitors feel right at home! Guests can step out onto one of two patio areas and enjoy poolside views or gather around the firepit.  There's also an outdoor shower for the ultimate summer convenience!

    The main house is an antique home (1817) with every amenity imaginable. Large chef's kitchen, oversized sunroom, 9 fireplaces and master bedroom suite are just some of the interior features the new owners can enjoy. Outside along with the pool, there's also a generous paddock, riding ring and an 8 stall barn, plus a further outbuilding perfect for a car enthusiast or as a studio. 

    1 Lilac Lane is offered at $1,695,000. Contact us to arrange your private viewing.

    For more homes offering high-end hospitality read the latest blog from Sotheby's International Realty, featuring homes from Cape Cod to Santa Fe.

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      Tips for First Time Sellers

      Selling Your Home in Greater BostonSelling a home can be a tricky process - there’s so much to think about during the process, all the while you’re handling the excitement and planning that comes with the moving process. We want to make sure you’re equipped with all the tools you need to successfully navigate the sale, so keep reading to pick up some tips. 

      Take Your Time Preparing

      Being fully ready to sell your home by the time it’s listed is absolutely essential if you want to have a good experience. Your home will sell more effectively if you’re totally committed to the selling process - you don’t want to have any doubts once your home is put on the market. Ask yourself why you’re selling as this will be useful information for your real estate agent. This is also a frequently asked question from buyers, so definitely have an answer prepared. 

      Don’t Skimp on Presentation

      You can’t underestimate the importance of presentation when it comes to selling a home. It has been proven that homes sell better when staged, especially when they have minimal furniture and a fresh coat of paint. Committing to this may mean having to live without some of your usual comforts during the showing period, but it’s a sacrifice that will pay off in the end. It also would be a good idea to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your staged home - having high quality photos accessible online will make all the difference in a market that is increasingly virtual. 

      Price Your Home Appropriately 

      Pricing is a huge factor that contributes to how long your home will be on the market. To find out how much your home is worth, you’ll want to hire a professional appraiser - the extra money you spend on this will be well worth it. If your home isn’t priced competitively the first time, it could ultimately end up selling for less than it’s worth. You should also consult your agent about the area’s typical pricing and see how the appraisal price compares. 

      Understand the Cost of Selling

      Selling your home does mean an influx of cash, but you’ll also need to spend some money in order to get to that point. Factoring in these costs as part of your preparation is essential to making sure you really understand what you’re getting yourself into. Here are some costs to consider: 

      Agent Commission 

      Ask your real estate agent what their commission rate is and how long they anticipate your home will be on the market. Your agent’s commission is likely the highest fee you will pay throughout this process, but having an agent is instrumental in maintaining your sanity throughout this process.

      Repairs to your home

      In addition to some cosmetic tweaks that will help boost the appeal of your home, buyers will likely have some qualms with at least one aspect of your home. You should budget for some additional repairs, including anything deemed necessary by the home inspector. 

      Staging

      Staging is an essential step in allowing the buyer to envision themselves in your home, which is what ultimately pushes them toward a purchase. Spending some extra money on staging, and even hiring a professional, can save you money in the long run by increasing the value of your home in the eyes of a buyer. 

      Moving Costs

      Once you’ve sold your home, you’ll naturally have to move out of it. It’s important that you account for these costs when you’re selling. Even if you’re not hiring a moving crew, you still will need to account for vehicle and equipment rental, gas, packing materials, shipping, cleaning costs, childcare and/or pet care, and moving insurance (if you choose to purchase it).

      If you are thinking about selling your home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty today or learn more about the services we provide to sellers.

      Here We Grow Again

      Together we provide unparalleled real estate services
      and exceptional results at every price point.

      Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty offers a world of advantages to buyers and sellers in Greater Boston and beyond including the most sophisticated and far-reaching marketing for every listing, the most advanced online presentation, and innovative technological resources.  Our Realtors® and staff provide an unmatched level of guidance and expertise. We invite you to experience the confidence that comes from working with one of the most reputable, most experienced, and most caring real estate partners in New England. Growing since 1977, we have offices in Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln and now Winchester.

      Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

      Fall Home Maintenance TipsThe arrival of fall means many things, one of which being that we are one season closer to winter. It’s important to enjoy the fall season while it’s here, but it’s also important to get your home ready for winter’s harsh conditions. Here are some things you can do on the weekends in the fall to make sure you and your home are prepared come winter.

      Seal Gaps

      You’re not the only one who wants to hunker down inside for the winter; wild critters will seek out the warmth of your home too, so make sure there are no gaps, holes, or tears in your home. It’s probably a good idea to have a professional come in and seal your house, not just to keep animals and cold air out, but keep warm air in. 

      Do Some Proactive Landscaping

      Although you might not think, fall is actually the perfect time to think about how you want your garden to look come springtime. Planting spring-blooming bulbs and fertilizing and reseeding your lawn is the perfect activity for a cool fall day - their roots will grow deeper into the ground over the winter and they will emerge in the spring, giving you a lush and plentiful lawn to start off the season. Another proactive measure you can take is pruning trees and bushes to encourage growth while also pruning any branches that may be likely to fall on your house or power lines once the snow has fallen. 

      Check Heating Systems

      Fall is the perfect time to make sure your heating system is working properly before it gets too cold - you don’t want to be stuck with a broken heater on the morning after the first snowfall. This could involve changing the filter, cleaning out your air ducts and/or chimney, and having a professional check for efficiency. It could also be beneficial to consider switching to a green heating system, like a heat pump, that will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint in the long run. 

      Drain Hoses and Outdoor Water Systems

      As we know, water freezing in the winter can cause a lot of pipe damage. To avoid this, make sure you shut off the water to any outdoor faucets or water systems you have. Drain your garden hose and store it inside until the spring, and make sure the water is turned off at the source. 

      Do a Deep Clean

      The change of season is always a good excuse to give your house a good clean. This means doing all the nitty gritty stuff that you wouldn’t do regularly, like scrubbing grout from tiles, cleaning the inside of kitchen appliances, cleaning light fixtures, and washing the walls and floors. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning your whole house, ask a friend to help, or start out by cleaning one room. You’ll thank yourself later when you have the rest of the winter to relax in your spotless home.

      If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in Greater Boston, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty today.

      Buying a Home to Fit Your Lifestyle

      Jogging in the ParkBuying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so it makes sense to choose a home that fits your lifestyle. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, growing your family, retiring, upsizing, or downsizing, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and interests.

      Getting pre-approved is an important first step in the home buying process. You need to know what your budget is and how much home you can afford. Once you know your price range, you’ll want to identify your needs and wants.

      Give a lot of thought to your lifestyle and your interests and decide what’s most important to you. Think about amenities, location, and space. Ask yourself these questions: 

      • Do you want to be in-town and close to everything? 
      • Do you prefer a single family home with a little more privacy and seclusion? 
      • Do you mind doing yardwork or home maintenance projects?
      • Do you prefer a condo with onsite amenities near public transportation? 
      • Do you need extra room for entertaining at home? 
      • Do you work from home and want energy efficiency and a designated office?

      It’s also important to consider the stage of life you are in. Are you planning to adopt a pet or start a family soon? If so, you may need a yard or an extra bedroom. If you have kids, you’ll probably want to do some research on the local school districts. There are lots of options for retirees, including luxury homes, one level living, and adult communities. 

      No matter what your lifestyle is, it’s best to choose a home that you’ll be comfortable in for several years. Browse our popular categories below to find a home that fits your lifestyle.

      In-Town Searches | Lifestyle Searches

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        How to Keep Your Home Cool & Electric Bill Low This Summer

        Grilling OutsideHere are some great ways to keep your home cool this summer without increasing your air conditioning bill.

        Use Window Coverings

        If you have west facing windows, close the blinds in the afternoons, which is usually the hottest part of the day. Or, at least tilt them upwards so they prevent heat from pouring through the windows. Direct sunlight can increase the temperature inside your home. Reflective window panels are another great option.

        Get a Programmable Thermostat

        A programmable thermostat can help you save on energy costs. You can preset the thermostat to reduce the temperature by a few degrees during the hottest part of the day, so it stays nice and cool without wasting energy all day long. You won’t need to worry about turning the thermostat up when you leave and down when you get home either.

        Install Ceiling Fans

        Ceiling fans are great because moving air makes you feel cooler. It’s important to know that the blades should rotate counterclockwise so they push the cooler air down. You can also turn on the exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen to help move the warm air outside your home. 

        Open Windows at Night

        Enjoy the summer breeze flowing through your home by opening the windows in the evening. This also gives the humid air in your home a chance to flow outside. The cool night air will circulate while you sleep so you can get a fresh, cool start in the morning. 

        Outdoor Grilling

        The oven and other kitchen appliances can really heat up your home. Unless you can cook during the coolest part of the day, get outside and show off your grilling skills. There are lots of delicious meals you can grill. This is a great way to spend quality time outdoors with your family and keep your home cool at the same time.

        Turn Off Lights and Electronics

        Keep the lights and electronics turned off when you aren’t using them. The less heat produced by light bulbs and electronics inside your home will result in cooler temperatures.

        If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty. We’re ready to help you. Start your home search here.

         

        Tips for Working From Home

        Work From Home TipsAs we’re setting into the new normal, many of us continue to work from home. This creates a new level of distractions that were not dealt with in an office setting. We’ve compiled our favorites tips to successfully work from home. 

        Have a Defined Work Space & Set Boundaries

        Separating work from home is essential. Create a space in your home, whether it be a home office or a designated area for your desk. Once you’ve defined the space, establish etiquette for when you’re in there. If your area has a door, shut the door when you’re on a call, ask anyone in the house to knock on the door to see if you’re available and able to chat. 

        Find a Good Set of Headphones & Use Them

        Being home means exposure to many different noises, such as the voices or phone calls of the people around you. Having a good set of noise-canceling headphones is life-saving. Give a set to everyone who might be in school or working around you. Not only will they cancel out whatever people are listening to, but you’ll also be able to hear any phone calls with clarity. 

        Maintain Regular Hours

        Having a routine is important. Set a schedule and stick to it. Start and end your day at the same time every day. With that being said, one of the great benefits of working from home is the flexibility. It’s usually okay to start or end your day early if that’s what you need to do. Be sure to work in breaks throughout the day. At an office space, you would find time to talk with your coworkers and grab a coffee. Continue to take this time away from the computer by going on a walk. 

        Socialize with Coworkers and Be Heard at Meetings

        We’re all pros at online meetings and chat services by now. Be sure that you have your camera on when in a meeting and speak up so your coworkers can hear you. Having a presence in the office is easy, but it is a bit harder while on video calls so make sure to articulate your thoughts and ideas. 


        Questions about real estate in the Greater Boston area? Check out our latest listings or contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty!