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Blog :: 2020

Hall of Flame - Homes with Cozy Fireplaces

When the winter chill sets in there’s nothing better than cozying up in front of a fire.  Gas or wood-burning, whatever your preference, there is something comforting beyond just the warmth - watching the flames can be calming and almost hypnotic, better than any movie.  That’s why the hearth is often considered the heart of the home, a place to gather, relax and unwind.  A fireplace in the bedroom?  The ultimate luxury!

Sotheby’s International Realty has some beautiful examples of striking fireplaces, from California to Connecticut, that will delight and inspire you.  Want examples closer to home?  Take a peek at 539 Strawberry Hill Rd, Concord and 251-A Old Billerica Road, Bedford for your own cozy spot to snuggle up with a book and a hot chocolate.







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    Inspirational Dining Rooms Around the World

    Dining rooms have been doing double duty this year - serving as home offices, classrooms, art studios, sewing rooms and more.  We hope that at some point in 2021 we’ll be back to using these rooms for their true purpose - hosting family and friends for celebrations, gatherings and holidays.  To help us look forward to those times, Sotheby’s International Realty has gathered together some examples of inspirational dining rooms from around the globe.  From an historic French villa to a wood-paneled mansion in Montreal, these homes serve to remind us that better times are coming and we can be together with our loved ones again soon. 

    If you are looking for dining inspiration closer to home, take a look at 29 Fern St, Lexington, with multiple dining areas for formal and informal gatherings, 8 Skyview Lane, North Sudbury, which showcases handsome moldings and decorative columns for a traditional look, or 4 Bennington Lane in Lexington, with its striking light fixture giving the space a warm modern feel.


    Image courtesy of Nantes Sotheby's International Realty



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      Let Someone Else Cook for the Holidays

      It’s not laziness, it’s helping the local community!  This holiday season, consider supporting local restaurants that have been severely affected by the pandemic by ordering a to-go holiday dinner.  Whether you want to save your energy for baking in the lead up to the big day, or decide you need a total break from Christmas cooking this year, we’ve got options for you.  Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, you’ll also be helping these restaurants to pay the bills so they'll still be around for future Holidays. There are also take-out options for New Year’s Eve celebrations, so you can say wave goodbye to 2020 in style!

      A Tavola on Church St, Winchester has a Christmas to Go menu - order by 12/19

      Sister restaurant Bistro 5 in Medford also has a Christmas to Go menu - order by 12/23

      Lucia Ristorante Winchester is offering Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve / Day menus - order by 12/20 for Christmas, 12/26 for New Year.

      Farfalle Italian Market in Concord has a special Italian-themed Christmas menu.   Order by 12/18 for pick up 12/24. 

      Woods Hill Table, also Concord, offers a variety of pre-prepared options you can finish at home.  Pick up is 12/23.

      Trail’s End Cafe is offering a Cuban take-out menu for Christmas with a difference!  Pick up 12/24 from 3pm.

      The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington offers Christmas At Home and New Year’s Eve at home menus.  

      Via Lago, also in Lexington, has catering options for 4+ people - order by 12/19 for pick up 12/24.

      The Capital Grille in Burlington has 3 and 4-course Holidays at Home menus to pick up for Christmas or New Year.  

      The Stones Common House and Kitchen, Stoneham has a Xmas Eve dinner and NYE Cocktail Party to Go!  Order by 12/21

      At Joe’s Marketplace from Not Your Average Joes you can order a glazed ham or turkey feast, as well as other family favorites. (48 hrs notice required).  Locations in Acton, Arlington, Burlington, Waltham.

      Looking for something different from ham or turkey?  Bamboo Fine Asian Cuisine in Westford has special Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve menus.

      Did we miss your local favorite?  Email us - - and we'll add them to the list!

      Photo by from Pexels


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      Holiday Lights - Take a Self-Guided Tour

      There’s something very special about the drive around your neighborhood at this time of year, seeing the beautiful lights and decorations people put up outside their homes to brighten the dark winter.  However, some homeowners have taken it to the next level, with elaborate light displays to rival Clark Griswold! 

      There are even homes whose owners have gone all out, setting their displays to music for the ultimate festive experience.  We’ve asked our realtors for a list of homes in their neighborhood that are worthy of a visit.  So grab the hot chocolate, load the family into the car and take a drive around our towns for a fun, pandemic-friendly activity to mark the season! 

      Belmont - Pleasant Street

      Billerica - Pratt Street, Biscayne Drive

      Concord - Elm Street, Bedford Street / Nancy Road, Virginia Road

      Lincoln - Trapelo Road

      Melrose - Washington Street

      Saugus - Lynn Fells Parkway (16 and 22), Lynn Fell Parkway and Forest (near Target)

      Wakefield - Davey Lane and Woodcrest Drive (tune your radio to the station advertised for the full effect!)

      Wilmington - Concord Street 

      Winchester - Hill Street

      Medford - South Border Road

      Somerville - The Arts Council will release a map on Dec 12th listing all the decorated homes - click here to see the Somerville Illuminations Tour

      Stoneham - Franklin Street, Pearl Street

      Tyngsborough - Town Common (Middlesex / Kendall), Lawndale Farm (91 Frost Road) 

      Woburn - Elijah Street, Shields Street

      (stock images)


      The Housing Market - November Round-Up

      At the end of each month we take a look at the sold numbers to give us a snapshot of the local housing market activity - how many homes sold, how quickly homes went pending, and what happened to list and sale prices.  Over time these numbers help us to understand the trends in the marketplace which can guide us when working with buyers and sellers.  By comparing the figures year to year we hope to eliminate any seasonal changes and get a true indication of the way the market is moving.

      However, as with everything this year, the pandemic has affected the typical pattern of housing market activity.  November is typically a quieter month for house sales, marking the end of the Fall market when homes that were listed in the warmer days of September and October close. This year we are seeing no signs of the market slowing down, and there have been increases across the board in average sale price and median price.  Bedford, Concord, Lexington, Melrose and Winchester have all seen a more than 20% increase in sale prices compared to last November - in Arlington and Melrose sale prices were up over 30%.  Alongside that, days to offer and days on market are down year over year in nearly all our towns.  Homes sold in Arlington and Lincoln averaged just 10 days from listing to accepted offer.  Acton has the shortest days on market - just 19 on average.  The number of homes sold is also up year over year in most towns - Bedford, Lincoln and Westford saw an over 50% increase.   While we may see a slight decline over the next month as the Holidays take over our attention, it's clear to see that market remains buoyant for sellers and competitive for buyers as demand outstrips supply. 

      For a more detailed analysis, and what it means for your own particular situation, reach out to one of our experienced agents



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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 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.