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HOA Fees in Boston: What You Need to Know

As you search for your dream luxury condominium in Boston, the cost of HOA fees can certainly make an impact on your final housing decision

What are HOA fees?

Homeowners association fees, simply abbreviated as HOA fees, are funds that contribute to maintaining the common areas of a planned community, such as condominiums, townhouses, or free standing homes within a gated development. HOA fees are typically paid monthly by the homeowner. 

The cost of HOA fees is determined by a variety of factors, including the community's location, available amenities, and general lifestyle.

Consider your budget and your must-haves for an ideal living situation. Are HOA fees worth the investment for your situation?  Work with your realtor to determine which condo or shared community properties have proportionate HOA fees based on your needs.  

What is the average cost of HOA fees in Boston?

According to a nationwide study conducted by Trulia, HOA fees are continuing to rise in major U.S. metropolitan areas. The four major findings from the study revealed:

  • HOA fees have been increasing at a faster rate than home prices
  • HOA Fees are higher in older buildings 
  • If a building has a fewer number of units, the HOA fees will be smaller
  • If a unit has fewer bedrooms, the HOA fees will be smaller 

Here's a look at Boston's HOA fee statistics from the Trulia study:

Boston, MA Metropolitan Area (2005-2015)

2015

  • 15.9%: Percentage of Homeowner Households Who Pay A HOA Fee in Metro Area, 2015
  • $387: Weighted Average HOA Fee of Households That Pay HOA Fee, 2015

2005

  • 14.5%: Percentage of Homeowner Households Who Pay A HOA Fee in Metro Area, 2005
  • $318: Weighted Average HOA Fee of Households That Pay HOA Fee, 2005

2005 vs. 2015

  • 1.4: Point Change in Homeowner Households Who Pay A HOA Fee, 2005 to 2015
  • 21.7%: % Change in Average HOA Fee, 2005 to 2015
  • 2.0%: Per Annum Change

View Trulia's complete study: Attack of the Killer HOA Fees

Conclusion

Although HOA fees are rising, this should not necessarily deter a homeowner from looking at condominiums, townhouses, and other planned communities. 

As property values increase, especially in metropolitan cities that are popular industry hubs, it is only natural that HOA fees would rise to reflect the nature. The appeal of condo living differs greatly from the appeal of single-family home living—it can be inferred that the condo-lifestyle permits a homeowner living in a metropolitan area to enjoy community amenities at their convenience, as well as allows the homeowner more flexibility to move his/her career.

Want to find out if the luxury condominium lifestyle in Boston is for you? Contact us at Longwood Residential today!

Top 10 High Schools in Massachusetts Announced for 2018

U.S. News & World Report announced the national rankings for high schools across the country

Among several other factors, U.S. News determined the high school rankings based upon four main concepts:

  • Whether students exceeded expectations in their state
  • Whether underserved students performed better than the state average
  • Whether student graduation rates met a threshold
  • Whether students were prepared for college-level work 

For Massachusetts, 20 high schools were awarded gold medals, 71 earned silver medals and 22 received bronze medals.

Here's who made the list for the 2018 Top 10 High Schools in Massachusetts:

  1. Boston Latin School *ranked #48 nationally
  2. Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School (Marlborough)
  3. Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (Malden)
  4. Lenox Memorial High
  5. Hopkinton High School
  6. Boston Latin Academy
  7. Medfield Senior High 
  8. Dover-Sherborn Regional High 
  9. Arlington High
  10. John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science (Roxbury)

Read the full U.S. News Best High School Rankings to see how other states ranked and to learn the full methodology of the study. 

Best Brunch Spots in Brookline, MA

The shortlist of best places to eat brunch in Brookline, Massachusetts

Brookline is a picturesque Boston suburb that offers the conveniences of city living—easy access to public transportation, rows of shops and restaurants, and a strong sense of neighborhood community. Whether you live in Brookline or want to visit for the day, it's a suburb that has its own attractions to enjoy.

One way to enjoy Brookline is going out with your family or friends to Sunday brunch. Here's a list of our top picks to have a Sunday well-spent and bring a week of content:

Grassona's Italian, 1704 Beacon Street, Brookline

Brookline locals were sad to see Fairsted Kitchen close at the end of 2017, but owner Steve Bowman quickly replaced it with Grassona's, a cozy restaurant that pays homage to your Italian grandmother's traditional red sauce. Although the menu has changed, customers will recognize traces of Fairsted within the space and on the cocktail menu—Bowman told Eater Boston that the process of switching from Fairsted to Grassona's is "more of a makeover than a remodel."

The Washington Square Tavern, 714 Washington Street, Brookline

Since 1999, The Washington Square Tavern has been the go-to place for quality craft beers alongside "high-class comfort food." Executive Chef Kevin Deschenes explained to Phantom Gourmet how many of the specialties are made in-house, such as a classic bratwurst or curry fries. It's a great spot in Brookline to meet your friends over drinks or enjoy a casual dinner or Sunday brunch. 

 

The Regal Beagle, 308 Harvard Street, Brookline

Named after the well-loved neighborhood bar from "Three's Company," the laidback bar and restaurant serves creative comfort food and cocktails with real, approachable customer service. A feature on The Regal Beagle published on The Wicked Local notes that the "welcoming and warm nature of the [restaurant's] staff developed naturally" over time and the small place allows the staff to really get to know customers.

La Voile Brookline, 1627 Beacon Street, Brookline

The original French brasserie on Newbury Street decided to branch out to Brookline in 2015. In an interview with Boston Magazine, the owner and staff saw an opportunity to serve an area where many of their regular clients live. La Voile, one of the most authentic French restaurants in the Boston area, offers traditional dishes like pan-seared duck breast, beef bourguignon and, of course, French onion soup. 

Barcelona Wine Bar, 1700 Beacon Street, Brookline

Although Barcelona Wine Bar part of a larger East Coast restaurant group with several locations, it's a reliable place to go for a more modern atmosphere and a fresh American take on tapas. Executive Chef Emilio Garcia, who has worked extensively within the Boston restaurant scene for a number of years, drives Barcelona's Brookline location's success with his team. 

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The Boston Globe Names the 2018 Top Spots to Live in Greater Boston

In April 2018, The Boston Globe shared the list of towns outside of Boston with a high percentage of appreciation since 2012

With data pulled by the Warren Group, a real estate tracking firm based, The Boston Globe pulled together the list of best towns to live in outside of Boston for single-family homes based on four different price-points. The article also included information on mentioned listing of each town's median condo price, as well as expert information about each area that may help incoming residents decide where to move within in the Boston area.

Here are the top spots for the first two price-point tiers for single-family homes in Greater Boston:

First Price-point Tier: $1M+

  • Cambridge: $1,310,000; +59% change since 2012
  • Winchester $1,085,000; +55% 
  • Brookline $1,850,000; +54%

Second Price-point Tier: $750K-$1M

  • Jamaica Plain: $850,000; +80% change since 2012
  • South Boston: $790,000; +78%
  • Needham: $962,500; +43%

Visit The Boston Globe for the full article. 

5 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Boston

What to do on rainy days in Boston, Massachusetts

Although it can be nice staying inside on a rainy New England afternoon, the wet weather hardly spoils Boston's lively activities. The city and the Greater Boston area have a variety of local treasures worth exploring for everyone!

We've made a list of rainy day activities and suggested places to visit in Boston:

Get lost in an independent bookstore. There's nothing like finding a good book to curl up with and read on a rainy afternoon. The first step? Finding a new book or two. Grab a coffee-to-go and head to the local bookstore in your neighborhood. Trident Booksellers & Café in Back Bay has become a well-known Boston institute for book lovers. If you're looking for a large selection, the Brattle Book Shop is one of the oldest used booksellers in the country. 

Find a new cozy brunch spot. Rainy days in Boston present great opportunities to check out brunch places that you haven't been able to try because of the long lines that typically appear on sunnier days. The Paris Creperie's food truck makes its rounds through Boston, but their café in Brookline is well worth visiting with friends for fresh crepes and Nutella chocolate drinks. If you're looking for a healthier brunch option, head to Za, a restaurant that makes pizza and salad using seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients from local farms. Want more suggestions for brunch in Boston? Thrillist has you covered with the best brunches to try in Boston right now.

Hit the shops. Between Copley Place and The Prudential Center, you have plenty of stores to choose from to update your wardrobe. You'll find that there's a wide selection of luxury and contemporary brands available in Boston! If you're not in the mood to shop for clothes, you can always simply window shop or make your way to Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center. 

Treat yourself to a spa day. If you know that your weekend plans may be rained out in advance, book a facial or massage in Boston! Take the opportunity to do some self-care and escape from stress for an hour or a half-day. We recommend Balans, the only all-organic spa in Boston, and Corbu at The Charles Hotel in the heart of Harvard Square. 

Check out the latest museum exhibits and explore Boston's smaller museums. Take advantage of living in Boston by exploring the incredible museums in the city! The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History are some of the larger museums that are more likely to have active, rotating exhibits, but it's also worth visiting the smaller historical treasures Boston has to offer. Trinity Church, the Nichols House Museum, and the Paul Revere House are centrally located in Boston and are only a short walk away from downtown shops and restaurants.

Beautiful Boston-based Instagram Accounts to Follow

Get your daily dose of your favorite tree-lined streets, red brick buildings, and all things Boston

These accounts belong to local Boston influencers and photographers or these Instagram accounts are aggregates of other Boston-based creatives. If you're not already on Instagram, it's hard to resist following these beautifully curated Boston-themed Instagram accounts!

Are you sharing your view of Boston on your Instagram account? If you want a chance to be featured, be sure to add the appropriate Boston hashtags like #igersboston, #igboston, #bostonma... 

@ducklasagne 

Photos taken by Beverly P, primarily based in Boston

@bostonmessenger 

Photos taken by William Vaughn Griffin, based in Boston's Financial District

@joseph_hollow 

Photos taken by Boston-based Influencer Joseph Hollow

@boston

Run by Boston Magazine

@igboston 

One of the aggregate account of photos taken by Boston creatives

@vic_nkt 

Photos taken by Boston Influencer Victorio Nakata

@igersboston 

Another aggregate account of photos taken by Boston creatives

@bostonfoodies

The ultimate Boston Instagram account for food lovers

@southendboston

Photos taken by Julien Lev, Boston Influencer

@bostonsworld

... And another aggregate account of photos taken by Boston creatives

What are your favorite Boston-based Instagram accounts to follow?

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    Local Cafés with Free WiFi in Cambridge

    Explore local Cambridge cafés as options for places to meet up for coffee or get some work done 

    There are coffee shop chains like Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, and Peet's in the area, but we want to share locally owned cafés to highlight the special spots to enjoy Cambridge.

    Check out these amazing finds that offer free WiFi to paying customers:

    barismo 364

    Barismo's flagship location is the perfect place for coffee lovers. This coffee bar is passionate about roasting and tasting the best coffee possible! 

    364 Broadway, Cambridge, MA, 02139

    Dado

    An Asian-inspired coffee and tea house, Dado is dedicated to serving healthy, organic and wholesome meals and beverages. 

    50 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138    

    955 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 

    Tatte Bakery & Café

    There's WiFi at Tatte, but you'll find that the Cambridge favorite has a lot more to offer when you sit down at the table—enjoy pastries and dishes made with fresh, carefully-sourced ingredients while sipping a hot latte and getting some work done.

    318 Third Street

    101 Main Street

    1288 Massachusetts Avenue 

    205 Broadway

    Zinneken's

    Get hooked up to free WiFi and enjoy authentic Belgian waffles in Cambridge! 

    1154 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

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    U.S. News Ranks Massachusetts as #1 for Education

    The U.S. News & World Report released their 2018 Best States report based on a total of 77 metrics

    Using McKinsey & Company's Leading States Index, each state was assessed under eight major categories with the following weighted values:

     

    Massachusetts earned the eighth spot in the overall state ranking. New Hampshire (#5) and Vermont #9 were the other states from New England who ranked in the Top 10. Here's how Massachusetts lined up in the 2018 Best States report:

    • Overall Rank: #8
    • Education: #1
    • Crime & Corrections: #5
    • Healthcare: #5
    • Economy: #9
    • Quality of Life: #25
    • Fiscal Stability: #40
    • Infrastructure: #45

    Learn more about the full methodology and the other state rankings on the U.S. News & World Report website

    Another study published earlier this year recognized Massachusetts as the "Best State to Raise a Family."

    Timeline and Tips for Moving to Your New Home

    Congratulations, you've closed on your new home or signed your new lease! Now it's time to think about the moving process

    Packing and moving are not easy feats, but there's no reason that the processes can't be easier with careful planning in advance. Creating an organized, proactive strategy for your move over a reasonable duration prevents a lot of headaches. 

    If you're a procrastinator or proactive planner, we've put together a checklist of things to keep in mind while planning your move: 

    6 Weeks Before

    • Create a list of people who will need to know your change of address
      • Family and Friends
      • Current Workplace(s) and former workplaces (W-2 forms)
      • Insurance and credit card companies
      • Cable and telephone companies
      • Subscription delivery services (ex: Amazon Prime, Uber Eats)
    • If you're planning on hiring a company, compare prices of moving services in your area
    • If you're planning on doing the move yourself, contact friends and family willing to help and compare prices of truck rentals
    • Start thinking about items you plan to keep or get rid of via selling, donating or disposing of 
    • Buy moving supplies, in bulk if necessary
      • Boxes
      • Packing tape
      • Scissors
      • Sharpies or any brand of permanent markers
      • Bubble wrap
      • Padded quilts (can be rented from moving company)
      • Twine
      • Reusable bags and containers
    • Pro Tip: Stop by your local liquor store and ask for boxes to use for your move—these smaller boxes are great for transporting household items

    4 Weeks Before

    • Figure out which items will need special packaging or delivery to your new home
    • Make copies of your important documents in case they are misplaced or stolen during the move
    • Begin packing your belongings, starting with the items you do not immediately use (ex: seasonal clothing, guest room) and moving onto room decorations
    • Begin organizing items for a moving yard-sale or donation drop-offs to Goodwill, local shelters, and food pantries 
    • Confirm with friends and family who had committed to helping with your move
    • Schedule/Confirm moving services 
    • Pro Tip: Labeling your boxes will save you plenty of time and spare yourself from headaches while unpacking. Note what it is contained in each box on a "master inventory list" on a GoogleDoc, as well as organize boxes by room

    1-2 Weeks Before

    • Decide who will be the key person to coordinate move-in day for people to ask questions
    • Confirm that your utilities are set up and ready for your new home
    • Confirm that your utilities will no longer be in service in your old home after your move is complete
    • Set aside essential items (ex: toiletries, change of clothing) from the remaining items that must be packed 
    • Set aside cleaning supplies needed to prepare for move-in day
    • Reduce the number of perishable foods you normally purchase and use as much food that is already in your food pantry
    • Pro Tip: If you have perishable food items that cannot be donated or unused, host a party with friends and family and feature a "free table," allowing guests to take odds and ends as they wish. This is a fun way to reduce potential waste.

    Day of

    • Make sure everyone has the contact information for the key moving coordinator and other collaborators as needed
    • Pack the moving trucks with the heaviest items first, then group boxes together by room
    • Ensure that fragile items are carefully placed 
    • Provide water and snacks throughout the day and order food for family and friends helping out—they are doing a huge favor!

    Additional Resources

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    Parks and Green Spaces in Boston

    With spring coming around the corner, Bostonians are getting ready to smell blooming flowers, see green grass and take in the warmer weather!

    Residents and tourists are familiar with Boston Common and Public Garden, but there are more green spaces throughout the city. Smaller neighborhoods have corners of green gardens peppered on every other street, whereas other neighborhoods are in close proximity to large parks like Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park or the Wharf District Park.  

    We've put together a short of list of parks and green spaces in some of our favorite Boston neighborhoods:

    Back Bay-Beacon Hill

    For everyone:

    • Copley Square
    • Public Garden

    For playgrounds:

    • Clarendon Street Play Lot, 260 Clarendon Street
    • Myrtle Street Playground, 50 Myrtle Street
    • Phillips Street Play Area, 21 Phillips Street

    Charlestown

    For everyone:

    • Thompson Square, 111 Warren Street
    • Winthrop Square, 55 Winthrop Street
    • Mayor Menino Park, 1st Avenue Street Frontage

    For playgrounds:

    • Caldwell Street Play Area, 9 Caldwell Street
    • Cook Street Play Area, 15 Hill Street
    • Harvard Mall, 29 Harvard Street

    Downtown

    For everyone:

    • Angell Memorial Square, 152-158 Congress Street
    • Bay Village Garden, 32 Melrose Street
    • Bay Village Neighborhood Park, 113 Charles Street South
    • Boston Common, 139 Tremont Street (location of tourist office)
    • Cardinal Cushing Park, 5 New Chardon Street
    • Christopher Columbus Park, 110 Atlantic Avenue
    • Copp's Hill Terrace, 520 Commercial Street
    • Faneuil Square, 1P Faneuil Hall Square
    • Lincoln Square, 2 Columbus Street
    • North Square, 1P North Square

    For playgrounds:

    • Langone Park, 529-543 Commercial Street
    • Puopolo Playground, 517 Commercial Street

    Fenway-Kenmore

    For everyone:

    • Back Bay Fens, 100 Park Drive
    • Commonwealth Avenue Mall, 484 Commonwealth Avenue
    • Ramler Park, 130 Peterborough Street

    For playgrounds:

    • Edgerly Road Playground, 6 Edgerly Road

    Jamaica Plain

    For everyone:

    • Arnold Arboretum, 125 The Arborway
    • Jamaica Pond Park, 507 Jamaica Way
    • Mahoney Square, 399P Centre Street
    • Nira Rock Urban Wild, 22 Nira Avenue
    • Olmsted Park, 217 Jamaicaway 

    For playgrounds:

    • Forbes Street Playground, 60 Forbes Street
    • Mission Hill Playground, 60 Smith Street
    • Mozart Street Playground, 10 Mozart Street

    For the complete list of parks and green spaces, visit The City of Boston's website.