Boston Neighborhoods

Romantic Restaurants in Boston

Have you thought about where to go for a special date night in Boston?

Whether you're looking to plan Valentine's Day dinner or surprise someone you love for no reason, these Beantown restaurants check all the boxes for a romantic evening. 

The Classics

It's no surprise that the highly-recommended romantic restaurants in Boston are French—after all, it is one of the most romantic languages and cultures in the world. 

  • L'Espalier, French, 774 Boylston Street, Back Bay
  • No. 9 Park, Italian/French, 9 Park Street, Beacon Hill
  • Bistrot du Midi, French, 272 Boylston Street, Back Bay 
  • Mistral, French, 223 Columbus Avenue, South End
  • Tasca, Spanish Tapas, 1612 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton

The Newcomers

Spoke Wine Bar, 89 Bennet Square, Somerville

Spoke Wine Bar has been around since 2013, but has been under new management since April 2017. Late founder and original owner Felicia “Flea” Foster had stepped away from the restaurant in 2015 as she dealt with her amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. Spoke reopened last spring with new owner Mary Kurth and new executive chef Eric Frier who sought to combine their new ideas with well-loved Spoke's legacy. Foster, who passed away in October 2017, is remembered for her many accomplishments, fierce spirit and opening one of America's Top 20 Wine Bars and a Somerville neighborhood favorite. 

Benedetto, Italian, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge (inside The Charles Hotel)

When The Charles Hotel made the decision to close Rialto in June 2016, shortly after the departure of chef and owner Jody Adams, the restaurant space was leased and replaced by Michael Pagliarini, chef and owner of Giulia. An Umbrian native, Pagliarini and his wife Pamela Ralston invite customers to "experience the re-imagining of rustic Italian recipes with luxe ingredients and artisan bravado." If the main plates aren't enough to entice you, perhaps Boston Magazine's review of the "enchanted sugarscapes" crafted by pastry chef Renae Connolly will hit your sweet spot. 

Café Du Pays, French-Canadian, 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge

The same restaurant group behind State Park, Mamaleh's and Hungry Mother—which closed in 2015—opened the new French-Canadian restaurant in July 2017. If the established restaurant collection doesn't indicate a positive future for Café Du Pays, the restaurant has earned 2017 Restaurant of the Year and 2017 Top Best New Restaurant. Not convinced enough to make reservations? Read this review.

Additional Recommendations

Check out the Boston Chefs website for a more comprehensive list of Valentine's Day restaurant specials.

A Guide to Apartment Living in Boston, MA

Decide where you want to live in Beantown

 

Boston has so much to offer, but depending on your workplace or your situation, those factors impact your decision on which neighborhood you would like to live in. Also, it may be worth considering living outside of downtown Boston. According to an interactive map created by the founder of Mobyus, a mobile shopping service, over 310,000 commuters live within 20 miles of Boston. There are a number of towns that are easily accessible to Boston via commuter rail or the T if you want to avoid traffic.

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Prioritize the amenities you need for your lifestyle

 

Outside of your workplace, it’s important to ensure that your needs at home are met. What luxury amenities are you looking for? Would you want to have access to a fitness center in your apartment complex or would you rather go to a gym in your neighborhood? Is a shopping center within walking distance or will you take the T to run your daily errands? Do you currently have a pet (or two!) or are you planning on having a pet in the future?


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Personalize your new space

 

Once you have found your perfect Boston apartment, it’s time to add personal touches to throughout the space. Incorporating vintage accents in a modern space is a common approach to decorating Boston apartments because it brings the character of the historical New England city in your home.

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Top 15 Hotels in Boston Named in Conde Nast Traveler's 2017 Readers' Choice Awards

Boston has been getting a lot of attention lately.

With its well-established rapport in higher education and professional industries, as well as the growing opportunities in technology and business, Boston welcomes a positive influx of change that has revived the historical city center and the surrounding neighborhoods. According to the 2016 Boston Housing Report, greater Boston has experienced an even higher growth rate with young professionals moving to the area.

In addition to voting for the top 15 favorite hotels in Boston, Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked Boston as No. 5 for Top 15 Large Cities in the United States.

If you live already live in the city, or greater Boston area, it’s always good to know the hot spots in Beantown for family and friends who plan to visit or check out chic hotel bars, restaurants, and spas nearby.

Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2017

Here’s the list of top Boston hotels that impressed Condé Nast Traveler readers this year:

 

  1. Mandarin Oriental, 776 Boylston St

  2. XV Beacon, 15 Beacon St

  3. InterContinental Boston, 510 Atlantic Ave

  4. Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, 25 Edwin H. Blvd, Cambridge

  5. Hotel Commonwealth, 500 Commonwealth Ave

  6. The Boxer, 107 Merrimac St

  7. Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf

  8. The Langham Boston, 250 Franklin St

  9. Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel, 90 Tremont St

  10. Hyatt Regency Boston, 1 Avenue de Lafayette

  11. The Ritz-Carlton Boston, 10 Avery St

  12. W Boston, 100 Stuart St

  13. Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter Street at Boylston

  14. Four Seasons Hotel Boston, 200 Boylston St

  15. The Liberty, 215 Charles St

 

The New England city has plenty of offer visitors who want to stay downtown, but Boston residents appreciate the how each neighborhood reflects its own unique character—there’s plenty to see beyond Faneuil Hall or FiDi, such as Brookline or Cambridge.

Read Condé Nast Traveler’s full list of 2017 Readers’ Choice award winners online.

Studio Apartments in Boston

A studio apartment is a rental unit with everything but the bathroom combined into one main room. It doesn’t contain any separate bedrooms. You may be interested in studio apartments for rent if you’re a single person who doesn’t require a lot of space; or are simply looking to save money. However, even studio rentals can provide luxurious accommodations. Longwood Residential rents and manages several luxury studio loft apartments that we encourage you to check out today.

How to Determine What You Can Afford to Spend on Rent

Food, transportation, and housing costs, make up nearly two-thirds of the budget for most people in the Boston area. However, financial experts recommend trying to cap these costs at 60%. With the high cost of living in Boston, we recommend that your annual salary be at least 40 times your monthly rent. This ensures that you can comfortably afford your monthly rent obligation. Be sure to look at all sources of income as well as all recurring and occasional expenses when creating your rental budget. Cheap apartments in Boston are hard to come by, but Longwood Residential studio rentals are your best bet in finding them.

Decorating a Small Apartment

Just because you rent a small space doesn’t mean you must give up your decorating style. Renters with limited space or funds can get quite creative in this department. Local flea markets are an excellent place to find vintage furniture, pottery, and glassware. You can even shop fabric stores to add chic style to curtains, older furniture, and other personal items in your studio apartment.

Where to Find Studio Apartments Near Me

Longwood Residential offers studio apartments in several of Boston’s finest neighborhoods. Please view our listings to learn more, or contact us directly with your questions. We will help you find the best small apartment for your price range, amenities desired, and neighborhood where you want to live.

Condos for Sale in Boston and Brookline!

Do you want the satisfaction of owning your own place without all the responsibility? Then purchasing a condo may be right for you. Condos for sale by Longwood Residential are individual units located within a building or multi-family home. You must get approved for a mortgage just as you would when buying a private home. You pay association dues in addition to your mortgage. These fees are mostly for maintenance of common areas. While you’re responsible for maintenance inside your unit, your condo association takes care of things such as landscaping and shoveling snow.

Luxury condos, such as those operated by Longwood Residential, are run by a board of directors. The board votes on, and enforces, rules that affect residents. You will want to learn about the condo board’s reputation before buying a condo. Also, you should know how much of a reserve fund the association has on hand to handle exterior upkeep.

Mortgage Rates and Luxury Accommodations

In January 2017, Curbed Boston reported condo rates ranging from $263 to $1,467 per square foot. You will find that prices for Longwood condos typically fall into this range. We mostly operate luxury condos with amenities that you won’t find at many others in the Boston area. Some of the amenities at Longwood condos include:

  • Private fitness clubs
  • Concierge services
  • On-site, underground parking
  • Rooftop swimming pools
  • Party rooms
  • Business suites
  • Package services
  • Private balconies
  • Valet services
  • In-unit wash machine and dryer
  • On-site retail stores
  • On-site play areas for children

We offer one, two, and three-bedroom condo options as well as limited studio-sized units. Most of our condos are in neighborhoods that are within walking distance to many of the things you need. Our buildings are also located in areas with excellent access to public transportation.

Which Boston Neighborhood is Right for You?

Deciding you want to buy a condo is just the first step. It can be a bit more challenging to find the amenities, price range, and neighborhood, that is just right for you. Longwood Residential offers condos for sale in more than a dozen Boston neighborhoods. Whether you have your heart set on Back Bay, Roslindale, or The Fenway, we can help you find the best Boston condo for you and your family. Feel free to start your search here or contact our office for assistance. We look forward to working with you.

What is the Cost of Living in Boston?

cost of living bostonAccording to a June, 2017 report released by Best Places, Boston scored a 169.90 for overall cost of living. A score of 100 is the baseline for cities across the United States (the higher the better). High housing costs seem to contribute the most to this score. Although Boston scores high in several other areas as well, it’s the housing costs that really drive it up. They are highest in Boston proper as compared to the Boston/Cambridge/Newton metro area and Massachusetts as a whole. Setting down roots in the right neighborhood can make all the difference in housing costs.

Other Cost of Living Scores for Boston

Boston also scores above 100 in several other cost of living categories. These include:

  • Utilities, 149

  • Miscellaneous, 131

  • Health, 125

  • Grocery, 122

  • Transportation, 105

Many residents consider the cost of living in Boston worth it. The city offers excellent public transportation and a rich history, among other things. You always have the option of getting in on the tiny house craze to reduce your housing costs.

Average Rental Costs in Boston

cost of living bostonThe June 2017 Best Places report indicates that the average rent for a studio apartment in Boston is $1,245 per month. This compares to $898 for the rest of Massachusetts and $712 average for the entire United States. Other rental rates by size include:

  • 1 bedroom: $1,395 in Boston, $1,067 in Massachusetts, and $825 in the United States

  • 2 bedroom: $1,716 in Boston, $1,335 in Massachusetts, and $1,027 in the United States

  • 3 bedroom: $2,130 in Boston, $1,668 in Massachusetts, and $1,379 in the United States

These high rental rates might encourage some people to become homeowners sooner than they would have in a different area. At Longwood Residential, we offer competitively priced apartments, condominiums, and private homes. We may have exactly what you’re looking for, so give us a call or click to contact us and discuss your needs today!

 

How Much is a Condo in Boston?

The condo market in Boston is growing quickly. According to an August, 2016 report released by realestate.com, both the number of available condos and their prices are on the rise. A big reason for the higher average price is the development of many new luxury condos. Longwood Towers Condominiums is one such example. These units have a lot of amenities not previously found in Boston condos. Some of these features might include an on-site fitness center, concierge service, and valet parking.

Condo Prices vs. Single-Family Home Prices

In late 2016, the average condo in Suffolk County was $520,000. This represented a 9.5% increase over the first half of the year. Suffolk County includes Boston as well as smaller, nearby cities like Chelsea and Revere. The average single-family home in the same county sold for $440,000. That was 4.4 percent higher than the first half of 2016.

Here are the average condos prices for Boston and nearby cities:

  • Downtown Boston (including South End, Midtown, and Back Bay) - $800,000

  • South Boston - $615,000

  • East Boston - $400,000

  • Cambridge - $651,000

  • Somerville - $587,000

  • Jamaica Plain - $478,000

These prices can certainly be discouraging, especially for a first-time homeowner. However, attending one of our first-time home buyer seminars can provide you with several resources. If you don’t see any upcoming, please contact us, or feel free to call us at (617) 396-3100, and we’ll be sure to arrange a seminar to help you soon!

How Are Condos Different?

Many Bostonians prefer condos because it allows them to own property with more perks and less responsibility than a homeowner. It also provides more freedom than renting an apartment. Someone else handles all outside maintenance such as mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Since you own your unit, you’re free to decorate or remodel as you see fit. The one exception is that you won’t be able to make structural changes to common walls between your own space and a neighbor’s.

If you’re looking for luxury and convenience, speak to us today about Longwood condos for sale.

Where To Rent In Boston

Boston has several distinct neighborhoods, each with its individual benefits. So, it can be kind of challenging to choose the appropriate place for you to call home. For example, if you’re a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center employee; Brookline, Fenway, and Jamaica Plain could all make ideal places to live.

Brookline is near several reliable public transportation routes, and is home to Coolidge Corner, a premier shopping area. Fenway is closest to the hospital and offers a vibrant nightlife with bonus points if you’re a Red Sox fan. Jamaica Plain is the most affordable of the three neighborhoods, and offers numerous parks and recreational areas, if you have a dog and wish to be social.

Popular and Attractive Boston Neighborhoods

Perhaps living near a hospital in the Longwood area isn’t a concern for you. If not, you may want to consider the neighborhood of Roslindale. You can find single-family homes, condos, or luxury apartments here quite easily. You may even want to save up to purchase a multiunit property, and rent out the space you don’t need.

Brighton is another up-and-coming neighborhood for young professionals in Boston. Several two-story homes here have been turned into condos. This makes an attractive option when you want your own space without the full responsibilities of home ownership.

Enjoy the Unique Combination of Luxury and History

Do you enjoy having all of the modern amenities within a building with history and character? If that’s the case, you need to check out Garrison Square in Boston’s Back Bay. The building itself sits in one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city. You will love the surrounding brownstone homes and the historic cobblestone streets you’ll travel daily. Protip: invest in comfortable walking flats.

The 105 units of Garrison Square have all the features you would expect in a luxury apartment complex. A rooftop terrace, private balcony, and breathtaking landscape features, name a few.

Whether you’re looking for luxury or practicality, we’re here to help. Longwood Residential offers our experience dealing in all sorts of rental properties within the parameters of Boston Metro. Please contact us today for a complimentary assessment.

How Much Apartment Can I Afford?

Budgeting for apartment rent isn’t always easy, especially when it’s your first time renting. For most people, rent or mortgage, food, and transportation take up at least 60% of their budget. The goal of this article is to help give you a baseline knowledge of this topic to establish your own personalized apartment budget.

When adding up your income, be sure to include or subtract the following, if applicable:

·       Salary

·       Bonuses

·       Royalties or rental income

·       Alimony or child support

·       Interest

·       Proceeds from a recent sale of a large item

As you balance your budget, try not to spend much more than 60% percent of your total income on rent, food and transportation. You will still need money for electricity, cable/phone, insurance, medical care, debt repayments, and if you’re lucky savings. Be sure to consider the cost of living in your preferred location when choosing your apartment. In Boston, many people enjoy the conveniences of urban living, such as public transportation and riding or walking to their workplace.

Your Annual Salary Should Be At Least 40 Times Your Monthly Rent

There’s no question that the cost of living is high in Boston. This is why many landlords require tenants to earn an annual salary that is at least 40 times the monthly rental rate. Assume that you and your spouse earn a combined income of $100,000 per year. Divide this figure by 40 to get the maximum you should pay for rent each month. In this case, it’s $2,500.

Consider Your Move-In Costs

Keep in mind that you almost always need to pay a security deposit when you move into your new apartment. It’s common for landlords to require the first and last month’s rent when you sign a lease, too. To offset these costs, look for special deals being offered. For example, a rental property manager may offer a free month’s rent when you sign a lease of at least one year. You also need to account for costs such as new furniture or professional moving assistance. Rest assured, the management at Longwood Residential will assist you in locating money-saving deals whenever possible.

What is a short sale?

You’ve probably heard of the term “short sale” if you’re looking to buy a home. However, many people don’t have a clear understanding of what a short sale really is. When you agree to complete a short sale with a seller, it means that the lender has given them permission to sell their home to you for less than what’s owed on it. Common reasons for this include the borrower’s inability to continue making payments or depreciated value on the property.

From the lender’s perspective, agreeing to a short sale is better than having to foreclose on the property. For sellers, going through with a short sale has less of an impact on their credit rating than a foreclosure, and it allows them to get out of a mortgage they can no longer afford.

A Short Sale Must Be Approved by the Lender

Now that you understand what a short sale is, it’s important to realize that the process doesn’t transpire just because the seller wants it to. The lender must approve of the short sale first, since it means they must accept less for the property than what is owed on it. The seller needs to submit proper documentation to the lender, proving that they can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. Lenders tend to look more favorably on this practice, as opposed to someone just abandoning their property.

Benefits and Considerations of a Short Sale for Buyers

A short sale gives buyers the opportunity to acquire a home at fair market value without the same risk associated with purchasing a foreclosed property. However, it differs from a traditional real estate sale in several important ways:

  • It may take longer to complete a short sale because it’s more challenging to set a closing date -- lenders require significant documentation before agreeing to a short sale.

  • Buyers purchase the property “as-is,” which probably means they’ll have to invest additional money for repairs or remodeling.

  • The seller may have to pay some money at closing. If the buyer is unable or unwilling, the sale may fall through even though the lender approved it.

  • Inspection fees that a lender may cover in a traditional real estate sale are the buyer’s responsibility in a short sale.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent if You’re Interested in a Short Sale

Purchasing a home via short sale can save you money, but it’s also complex. An experienced agent will anticipate challenges and know how to overcome them. Longwood Residential is available to help you navigate the home buying process. Your agent will help you evaluate all options, including Longwood condos and short sales.