Real Estate

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!

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2018 Boston Housing Market: What You Need to Know

As Boston continues to experience an influx of growth, here's what you need to know about Boston's real estate market in 2018

With the arrival of corporate giants like GE—as well as the much-anticipated arrival of Amazon—Boston is on the fast-track to becoming a booming business and commerce center well beyond 2018. 

There are some sources that speculate metropolitan cities in the United States like Boston are currently overvalued, but it shouldn't immediately deter potential home buyers or renters from investing in the area. With proper research and planning, it can be possible to find the right luxury condo, apartment or home in the Boston area. 

To get an idea of the 2018 Boston housing market, we've picked these articles to provide an overview of what other real estate experts are saying: 

 

The Housing Market Looks Good Unless You're a First Time Millennial Buyer

The nation’s housing market for 2018 continues to look good, according to two recently released reports. But first-time millennial buyers will continue to struggle with affordability, especially in high-priced areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Washington DC.

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Four Things to Watch Out For in 2018 Boston Real Estate

Every new year brings with it changes to housing markets, consumer preferences and how real estate professionals conduct business, and 2018 is no exception. It’s a year that will see sweeping federal changes take hold, as well as a number of local and regional changes that will impact housing markets in ways both big and small. From tax reform to rising interest rates to the impact of a potential major corporate relocation, here are some of the issues that will have the biggest impact on Boston real estate in 2018.

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Will That Remodel Pay Off? Here's the project payback for projects

Not all remodeling projects are created equal. In fact, some may help you resell your house more than others. In its annual Cost v. Value report, Remodeling magazine tracked the price and payoff for 20 of the most popular professional projects (midrange and upscale) in 100 US markets for 2017.

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Boston-area rent/price ratio tells tale of neighborhood potential

 “Asking price can be seen as a measure of the long-term prospects of a neighborhood,” NeighborhoodX research director Constantine Valhouli said over email. “Asking rent can be seen as a reflection of what the neighborhood is like right now.”

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Study Ranks Massachusetts as "Best State to Raise a Family"

Massachusetts ranks #1 Best State to Raise a Family according to 2018 study

Whether you're a young couple looking to build a family or a larger family seeking more opportunities, moving to the right place can be an overwhelming decision for anyone. Will there be relatives and friends nearby? How are the public schools for your children? Are there plenty of activities to engage different ages? Is the area you're interested in even affordable?

Massachusetts 2018 Best State to raise a family WalletHub published 2018’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family to address many of these concerns. 

The WalletHub study evaluated each state based on 42 indicators of family-friendliness under five main categories—Family Fun, Health & Safety, Education & Childcare, Affordability, and Socio-economics. 

The highest average score between the five categories produced the overall rank.

The Results

Massachusetts, followed by Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont are the top five ranking states. The lowest ranking states are Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Connecticut (#11) and Maine (#17) were the only other New England states to make the Top 20.

"States can make family life better—or worse—by taking steps to ensure quality childcare and education and by providing economic programs that support families," says Anne L. Alstott, Jacquin D. Bierman Professor in Taxation at Yale Law School. "Families are inevitably affected by the cost of living, by child care, and educational quality, and by policies like family leave and mandated sick leave. And facilities like public transportation, public parks, and affordable housing can all improve the quality of family life."

In addition to earning the top spot, Massachusetts ranked #3 for having the lowest infant mortality rate. However, Massachusetts was recognized as one of the least affordable childcare costs in the country at #48. 

Review the full WalletHub study to see the complete list of rankings, methodology and expert panel. 

In 2017, Boston ranked #8 on The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for its strong job market opportunities, low unemployment rate, and high desirability to live in the New England city. 

 

Pet-Friendly Apartments in the Boston Area!

Your pet is part of your family, so you'll naturally want to take him or her along when you move to a new apartment. However, finding pet-friendly apartments in Boston or Brookline isn’t always easy. It’s not impossible, though. You'll just have to keep your expectations for pet-friendly rentals realistic.

What to Expect When Searching for Rental Homes That Allow Pets

It’s common for apartment and rental housing managers to limit the number of pets a tenant may have. This is typically one or two pets. Additionally, management might impose a weight or size restriction on the pet. They may also disallow certain breeds, such as Great Danes, Pit Bulls, or German Shepherds. The reason for this is that some dog breeds are too large, or considered too aggressive or potentially destructive for apartment living.

Even cat and dog friendly apartments usually charge additional fees to tenants for keeping pets on their property. This typically includes an extra deposit and more money added onto the monthly rent. It’s important to understand all fees before you sign a legally binding lease. You should never have to pay any extra fees if your pet is a service animal.

Show That You’re a Responsible Pet Owner

Bringing proof of your dog or cat’s vaccines and health history can help a landlord feel more comfortable about renting to you. You may also want to consider getting insurance for your pet, or letters of recommendation from previous landlords. These can be helpful, even when the building already accepts pets.

Longwood Residential Wants to Help

Whether you desire to rent an apartment, private home, or condo that allows pets, you can start your search here. We think you will find that pet-friendly apartments and houses- for-rent which allow dogs are easier to find than you imagined. Feel free to contact us with any of your questions, and we'd be happy to help you find your dream home.

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!

 

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.

Can I Buy A Home With No Money Down?

If you’re trying to buy a home, you may feel discouraged by the 20% down-payment that most lenders require. However, saving up for a 20% down payment on a six-figure home is simply unrealistic for many home buyers. You may qualify for a program that doesn’t require you to put any money down to purchase a home.

The most common programs include:

Credit Union Loans

Credit unions are owned by members instead of a board of directors. If you’re not already a member, consider researching local credit unions to see if you meet criteria. Some credit unions offer loans with no down-payment, to members with good credit who earn 80% or less of the median income for the area.

USDA loans

If you don’t need to live in Boston proper and are okay living in a town of less than 10,000 people, this loan could work for you. These are the criteria for a no-interest loan through the United States Department of Agriculture. The federal organization may also be able to help if you earn low or moderate income for your area.

VA loans

This program is for retired military members or their surviving spouse. You need an excellent credit score and a special appraisal to qualify for a Veteran’s Administration home loan with no money down.

Longwood Residential is Here to Help.

The city of Boston is currently on target to meet its goal of 53,000 new housing developments by 2030. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to match our clients with their perfect home. Consider attending one of our first-time home buyer seminars if you have never purchased a home. You may also want to think about other homeownership options, such as buying a condo. With determination, planning and having access to the right resources, home ownership can be a reality, much sooner than you think.