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2016 Residential Tax Rates Greater Boston Towns

The following are the 2016 tax rates for our Greater Boston communities. We are happy to provide this comparison as a real estate resource in Greater Boston for over 30 years. If you are considering a home purchase or rental in the area and would like assistance in comparing these towns on other important factors, please call us at 978-369-6453 or email us at info@barrettsothebysrealty.com. We look forward to assisting you.

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Which Kitchen Are You?

 

Upgrading your kitchen is a lot like buying a new car . . . we're not always in the market, but we're always looking.

A good kitchen can not only serve as a great tool to bring together a delicious meal, but perhaps more importantly it can bring your guests and parties to the whole next level!

Here are a few different layouts to explore for whatever type of home or lifestyle you're looking to build (or reimagine).

1) The One Wall Kitchen Motto: I like my kitchens how I like my chocolate -- hidden.

one-wall-kitchen-design

Commonly found in narrow houses, lofts and studio apartments, the one-wall kitchen is great for those of us not looking to make the kitchen the focal-point of the home. While counter-space can be a hot commodity in these layouts, the one wall kitchen can be useful for anyone looking to maintain an open floor plan and entertain as many as possible for a night in.

2) The Galley Kitchen Motto: Get the ****** out of my kitchen.

Galley-kitchen-design

This is a great layout for those of us who consider ourselves "efficient cookers." If you find yourself bouncing between oven, range, microwave etc. without missing a beat, the Galley Kitchen is perfect for you. With the two parallel walls, you can easily use both counter and appliance seemingly at the same time. One of the large downfalls however, is limited standing room and a closed off appearance. While they're great for efficiency they're not ideal for your social butterflies. The Galley is great for lone-wolf cooks who need their space.

3) The U Shape Kitchen
Motto: Feel free to look, but please keep your arms and legs outside the exhibit at all times.

U-shape-kitchen-design

The U-Shape kitchen is another single-cooker kitchen. Much like the One Wall and the Galley, it's design is suited for a cook who needs his/her own space rather than welcoming all the guests into their lair.

One downside to this layout is that depending on where you like your sink, it can be difficult to get it next to your dishwasher with the limited wall space. The nice benefit to The U-Shape, is the approachability it presents while allowing foot traffic to flow outside of the cooking area. You can move around and do your thing with a clear line in the sand. I like to call this layout The Lion's Den…hence the motto.

4) The U Shape Kitchen with Island Motto: Why don't I cook, clean and entertain . . . and you can take care of the dog.

U-shape-with-island-kitchen-design

For the social cookers who are also likely to freshen up the hors d'oeuvres selection every few minutes. This layout allows you to either put your stove on the island and use the perimeter as pure counter space, or to use the island as a seating area. Great for those chatty cooks who like to entertain while they cook and toss their guests some snacks.

5) The G Shape Kitchen Motto: I can rest when I'm dead . . . or when this party is over. I'll likely do both.

The U-Shape kitchen with a small dose of steroids, a lot like installing a turbo system on an award winning race-horse.

This layout is for those cooks who need to maximize every inch of kitchen space and entertain. Rather than having a gap in between your island and counter, this layout adjoins the two for that little bit more surface space. Very efficient and still allowing you to throw some food to the seals every once in a while.

G-shape-kitchen design
5) The L Shape Kitchen Motto: Keep going, I'm listening!

As traditional as it gets. The L-shape is good for multi-cook homes or for cooks willing to welcome guests into their domain for chatter or wine (likely the latter). The only downside to the L-shape is without the island, you will be facing away from the action while you cook/cut/drink begrudgingly by the sink.  You also lose a bit of counter space, for standing room. The L-shape is a versatile layout which will look best in your loft homes, but can easily be rocked in any style of home. But be prepared to be hovered over.

L-shape-kitchen-design.jpg
5) The L Shape Kitchen with Island Motto: Face to island: "Of course, please tell me about your son's gold medal!" Back to island: *restrained angry mumbling*

Take the L-Shape and give it a bit more accessibility, and you've got your L-Shape with Island. With the island, you're able to use a bit more counter space, and have some quicker access to the rest of the home. This layout is great for those of us cooks who want to engage with guests a bit more, while maintaining a safe-zone for any emotional escape you may need. You've got a decent amount of counter space and the ability to cook/entertain on the island. This is a good layout again for those of us who are in a multi-cook home.

L-shape-with-island-kitchen-design

Use this as a guide when choosing your next kitchen, and drop us a line for any hidden gems/tips/secrets you've found useful in your kitchen layout!

All kitchen layout images courtesy of kitchens.com, a great resource for design and product information. Check them out here:

Highlighting the Unexpected

Much of the trending home decor I see leans toward simple lines and spare palettes. Using large areas of neutral tones accented with punches of strong color and pattern. Another trend seems to be highlighting unexpected elements and the use of strong color for ceiling paints. I love this unexpected color for the intricate moulding.

Take a look at these examples of prominently colored ceilings:
 

Existing Home Sales Report

housegraphOctober is coming to a close, and the holidays are steadily approaching. A characteristic that those of us in the housing market can get used to.

According to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report "existing-home sales bounced back in September to their highest annual pace of the year." This meaning, completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops increased a staggering 2.4 percent in September over August.

Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist accredits this gain to more consistent and affordable interest rates. For sellers experiencing a steady rise in sale price; it's not only healthy for our mental ROI reports, but also for the housing market in general. If you didn't catch July's Housing Data Reports, the housing market is showing a steady increase in "Median Sale Price" which is carrying over to the fall.

Be prepared for these numbers (and the temperature) to dip slightly in the coming months for the winter season, but it is great to see the housing market making both consistent and healthy growth.

Great Events Around Our Towns

pumpkinsetc

It's a glorious time of year to live in New England! Here are some fun local events to spice up your fall.

Nashoba Valley Winery Bolton NVW offers a unique "Vine to Wine" series where guests can see how wine is made from start to finish. Dates for this year's seminars are October 12th, 19th, and 25th. Call ahead to reserve your spot! In addition, they offer numerous seminars on wine tasting and other fun events in their restaurant serving unique American cuisine. http://www.nashobawinery.com/

Harvest Fair Newton Hosted on 10/18 and 10/19, the town of Newton invites any and all to enjoy the riches of fall! With numerous performances to choose from, it's the perfect place to enjoy face painting, sand art, ethnic and American foods along with so much more! For more information go to: http://www.newtoncommunitypride.org/harvest-fair.html

Looking for something a bit more active? Try the:

Sudbury Halloween 5k and Fun Run Sudbury The fun takes place on Sunday, October 26, with the 5k ($27) going off at 11 and the Fun Run ($12) at noon. What better way to bring in the seasons than with a nice run through one of Massachusetts most beautiful towns! Register by October 3rd to be guaranteed a shirt. More info here: https://sudbury.ma.us/recreation/2014/08/30/sudbury-halloween-5k-1-mile-fun-run/

Battle Road Trail Lexington/Concord 978-369-6993 This five mile trail highlights the battle of April 19, 1775 and is free to walk. Walk in the shoes of those who fought in the battle which began the American Revolution. Accessible from any point, see a complete map of the trail: http://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/upload/MIMA%20Park%20Map.pdf

Not in the mood for a walk? Try the Lexington Liberty ride!

Liberty Ride Lexington/Concord For more information: 339-223-5623 Rather than walking, a classic trolley takes you down Battle Road. 90 Minutes in duration, the trail highlights historic sites and attractions throughout the tows.

It's Time to Prepare your Home for the Winter Ahead

As homeowners know there is always something around the house and yard that needs tending and maintenance. The fall and spring seasons are especially busy as you prepare your environment for the months ahead. I found this checklist helpful and thought you might as well.

Fall Maintenance Checklist fall-mainenance-checklistBy John Riha

You'll be ready for winter's worst and head off expensive repairs when you complete this checklist of 10 essential fall maintenance tasks.

1. Stow the mower.

If you're not familiar with fuel stabilizer, you should be. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.

Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. 2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring. 3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck

2. Don't be a drip.

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn't sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you'll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.

While you're at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

3. Put your sprinkler system to sleep.

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.

2. Shut off the automatic controller.

3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.

4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don't have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don't have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring 4. Seal the deal.

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home's exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive -- and most important -- of your fall maintenance jobs. You'll also seal air leaks that waste energy. Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

10 Places to Celebrate the 4th of July 2014 in Greater Boston

July 4th 2014 Greater Boston

Here's a list of places in and around Greater Boston to celebrate the 4th of July in 2014. Ten spots (listed alphabetically) to choose from...some of them have *fireworks*, all of them include *fun*...like parades, live music, food, games and much, much more. Enjoy!!

  • Acton Mass. July 4th Celebration at NARA Park, Acton MA, July 4, 2014 from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm with family fun activities, live music and *fireworks* beginning at 9:30 pm.
  • Arlington Independence Day Celebration at Robbins Farm Park, Arlington MA, July 4, 2014 with musical entertainment provided by the "The Reminisants", refreshments, and of course, the Boston Pops Orchestra and Fireworks on the giant screen (fireworks start at 10:30pm). The event is free and open to all.
  • Boston Harborfest is favorite yearly destination for 4th of July festivities, running from July 2nd - July 6th 2014. Activities include Scavenger Hunts, Harbor Cruises and the annual USS Constitution Turn-Around. The Boston Pops *Fireworks* Spectacular with this year's performers: The Beach Boys, Megan Hilty, The Phantom of the Opera and The Boston Children's Chorus. And don't forget, you can see the concert on July 3rd but there won't be any fireworks.
  • Chelmsford 4th of July Parade and Country Fair, Chelmsford, MA The fair will be held on Thursday, July 3, 2014 from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm and on Friday, July 4, 2014 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The parade starts at 10:00 am on Friday, July 4, 2014.
  • Concord Picnic in the Park, Concord MA at Emerson Field, on July 4, 2014 from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm Scheduled to have tethered balloon rides, a bicycle parade, live music, and family activities.
  • Harvard Mass. 4th of July Events at Fruitlands Museum and Harvard Center, Harvard MA, July 2 - July 4, 2014 featuring a parade, live music, field events and *fireworks* on the 2nd beginning at 9:15 pm.
  • Lincoln Independence Day Activities, Lincoln, MA July 4, 2014 Activities include a 2.5 or 4 mile road race, parade, Boy Scout BBQ, concert and *fireworks*. The day's events begin at 7:45 am and continue through the evening
  • Newton July 4th Celebration, Newton, MA July 4, 2014 Scheduled events include children's activities, Open Air Market, amusements rides, live music and *fireworks*.
  • Waltham 4th of July Celebration, Prospect Hill Park and Leary Field Waltham, MA On Friday, July 4, 2014 at Prospect Hill Park from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm there will be a family event featuring children's inflatables, pony rides, animal shows, music, and much more! That evening at Leary Field, Back in Time will be performing at 5:30pm followed by *fireworks* at 9:30pm.

For lots more ideas for places in Massachusetts to celebrate Independence Day, check out massvacation.com.

Photo credit: Beverly & Pack / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Summer in New England on Pinterest

Just about impossible to believe that August is almost over. And for many folks Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer, although the seasons don't officially change until the autumnal equinox on September 22. Since we're not ready to give up summer, we're sharing one of our favorite Pinterest boards "Summer in New England". As our description of that board says, "Summer in and around Greater Boston and the New England region may be fleeting and sometimes fickle. But that's why folks pack so much in to those few glorious months."