Blog :: 2018

How to Negotiate in a Seller's Market as a First-Time Home Buyer

It's no secret that the Boston real estate market is on fire right now.

With all of the business development opportunities pouring into the city—alongside the already established education and medical sectors—the Boston housing market has reached unparalleled levels of competition among buyers.

Although the hot real estate market is a positive indicator for Boston, the climate is increasingly difficult for first-time homebuyers to settle in the Boston area. Today's Beantown area buyers now find themselves searching for their home in a real estate market where inhabitable fire damaged homes or barely habitable fixer-uppers are listed for $600K or $800K respectively.

What is a seller's market?

seller's market (n.)- "a market in which goods are scarce, buyers have a limited range of choice, and prices are high" (Merriam-Webster)

In a seller's market, buyers are at the mercy of the market and are much less likely to hold the position of power. Bad news for home buyers, but great news for seller's who can make a higher profit because of the increasing demand for housing.

In a buyer's market, the power reverses—buyers are in the position of power and are much more likely to able to negotiate terms (i.e. price) in their favor. The seller is less likely to get their ideal list price.

It is certainly seller's market in the Boston area—the low inventory for homes remains vastly disproportionate to the continued exponential growth of Boston residents.  

Want to know how can you succeed in your home search? We've put together a handful of tips to keep in mind while finding your Boston home:

Tips for Home Buyers in Seller's Market

Set realistic expectations. Everyone loves being optimistic, but it's also important to consider the reality. Your expectations, your must-haves, and/or your budget may not align with the current climate of the real estate market. For example, in a seller's market, there is less leverage for a buyer to negotiate repairs. 

Get prequalified/preapproved for a loan by a lender. Be proactive by getting prequalified and having a letter to show sellers. Why? Sellers want to see proof that you can afford a loan and will be more willing to accept your offer before someone else who is not prequalified.

Make a strong offer and move fast... Buying a home in a seller's market is not a gentle courtship. When you find your ideal home in a competitive market, chances are that there are plenty of other people who see the same potential for themselves. Be agile by submitting your offer as soon as possible. 

... then be ready to anticipate a bidding war. Even after you put your best foot forward with your strong offer, don't be surprised if you're caught in a bidding war.  

Work with an experienced real estate agent who you can trust. There are so many obstacles buyers face in any real estate climate, but searching in a seller's market requires an extra know-how to succeed in your home buying journey. A knowledgeable real estate agent will help find the best listings for your needs, identify the right opportunities, recommend the right way to proceed in a bidding war and so much more.


Architectural Design Names The Prettiest Towns in New England

Architectural Digest magazine recently named The Prettiest Town in Every U.S. State

While it can be hard to choose the best cities to represent each state, Architectural Digest selected classic destinations popular with travelers looking to escape their everyday hustle far away from the office. 

Here are the prettiest cities for the New England states:

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic River credit Wikimedia Commons Stilfelher

Stonington, Maine

Stonington Maine Credit Wikimedia Commons

Edgartown, Massachusetts

Edgartown Massachusetts

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth New Hampshire

Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island Rhode Island

Stowe, Vermont

It comes as no surprise that Edgartown wins the top spot for Massachusetts—the city on Martha's Vineyard attracts tourists looking to enjoy New England summertime at its finest.

Want to see how other cities ranked for the other U.S. states? Read the full list of pretty cities in the nation on Architectural Digest's site.


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    July Food Holidays and Where to Celebrate Them in Boston, MA

    There are great food holidays to celebrate year-round—it just so happens that July has some of the best ones on the calendar!

    If you're a New Englander, then you know what it means to make the most out of the summer season. It's time to relax, unwind and even escape your own backyard for a quick weekend getaway.

    If you're a foodie living in the Boston area, it's time to get out and explore new restaurants with outdoor dining!

    Here are some food holidays to celebrate in July that will give you an excuse to try something different from your normal spots:

    July 1: National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

    • Where to Go: Gracie's Ice Cream—22 Union Square, Somerville, MA
    • Why?: Change up your classic ice cream preferences from any one of Gracie's ever-changing selection of homemade flavors
    • More suggestions: The Coolest New Boston Ice Cream Shops (Eater)

    July 3: National Fried Clam Day

    July 4: National Spare Ribs Day

    July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

    July 10: National Pina Colada Day

    July 14: National Mac and Cheese Day

    July 24: National Tequila Day

    July 25: National Wine & Cheese Day

    July 30: National Cheesecake Day

    Where are your favorite restaurants and bars to explore in Boston?

    These Massachusetts Towns were named 2018 Best Beach Towns to Live In

    WalletHub's latest study shares the 2018 Best U.S. Beach Towns to Live In

    The towns were ranked based on an average of scores from six different categories:

    • Affordability
    • Weather
    • Safety 
    • Economy
    • Education 
    • Quality of life

    Seven Massachusetts towns ranked for 2018's Best Beach Towns to Live in (Ocean): 

    • #51 Newburyport
    • #67 South Yarmouth
    • #69 Salem
    • #88 Gloucester
    • #90 Revere
    • #115 Lynn
    • #122 Hull

    To learn more information on the study's categories and criteria, read the complete study on the WalletHub website.

    2018 has been a great year for Massachusetts! The state has earned a few national accolades:

    Earlier this year, WalletHub published a study of 2018's Best and Worst States to Raise a Family and named Massachusetts as the #1 best state to raise a family in the United States.

    U.S. News also ranked Massachusetts as the #1 state for education in the country. Learn more about how the state ranked overall in comparison to the rest of the nation.

    Interested in finding your Boston-area beach home or waterfront condo? Contact us at Longwood Residential today!


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    Boston-based Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow

    Find inspiration for Boston living through lifestyle blogs

    What is a lifestyle blog, anyway?

    A lifestyle blog offers a more personal perspective of an individual—think of it as a more sophisticated diary, inside travel guide, home and décor magazine all in one place. Each lifestyle blogger shares their experiences in their own backyard or abroad with their own authentic voice.

    Follow these Boston-based lifestyle bloggers for ideas on how to enjoy Beantown and beyond:

    It's Kristin

    Sub-Categories: Style/Beauty/Wellness/Travel

    About: Kristin Bassett has been living in Boston since 2006. According to her bio, Bassett works in tech marketing during the day and works on her personal lifestyle blog in her spare time. She enjoys sharing her travels and connecting with other Boston bloggers through quick Q&A interviews. 

    Brunch on Sunday

    Sub-categories: Style/Beauty/Travel

    About: Originally from coastal Maine, Mackenzie Murphy launched Brunch on Sunday as a creative outlet alongside her full-time job as a special education teacher. Murphy imbues her blog posts with her playful and authentic spirit. 

    Elisabeth McKnight

    Sub-Categories: Style/Motherhood/Cooking/Travel

    About: Elisabeth McKnight is a happy young mother, lifestyle blogger and part-time social media consultant based in the Boston area. Although motherhood is a prevalent topic in McKnight's posts, she also shares great recipes to try at home for entertaining or staying in. McKnight attended Brigham Young University and earned her degree in Political Science and Economics. 

    Paris, Meet Boston

    Sub-categories: Travel/Fashion/Culture

    About: Boston-based writer Lindsay Shores describes herself as an " avid Francophile, fluent French speaker, and lover of Parisian style and living." Shores, who spent time living in Paris, frequently travels back to the City of Light with her husband Dan and has a passion for bridging French culture with her Boston lifestyle.

    Boston Chic Party

    Sub-Categories: Style/Motherhood/Entertaining/Travel

    About: Run by blogger and mother Jenna DiMaggio, Boston Chic Party is a great reference for young moms living in Boston. DiMaggio enjoys sharing her tips on entertaining and how to be a clever hostess, as well as what to do in Boston and personal style tips. 

    Courtesy of Court

    Sub-Categories: Travel/Foodie/Style/Fitness

    About: Courtesy of Court is Courtney Osgood's creative outlet that brings her passions together.  Boston blogger Osgood describes herself as a "TV journalist turned lifestyle publicist + blogger" who "finds beauty in the 'little things', and brings them to life through her writing." In 2017, Osgood launched her own PR firm, CKO PR, to help clients gain exposure to top editors and publications.


    Top Luxury Condos Available in Cambridge, MA

    Picture yourself living in luxury at the heart of Cambridge

    One of the best things about living in New England is finding a home that combines modern convenience with historic charm. Boston-area homes and condominiums embody today's urban lifestyle in their own smart, chic way—especially in Cambridge.

    Here's a look at the top five luxury condominiums currently on the market (as of June 24, 2018):

    136 Pleasant Street, Unit 136, Cambridgeport

    Cambridge, MA 02139

    MLS Number 72341312

    Striking Cambridgeport New-Construction by David Aposhian. Free-Standing condo with robust architectural details including double 5-quarter casings, 10' high ceilings, oversized French Doors, floor-to-ceiling windows, reclaimed pine flooring, vaulted ceilings with skylights & an engineered slate & copper roof. Careful attention paid to window placement for maximum light & privacy. Modern amenities include 2 full-size laundry rooms, walk-in closets, a home office/au-pair suite with separate entrance & polished concrete floors with radiant heating. Also, custom windows by Pella, open kitchen with professional-grade appliances, honed-soapstone counters and a walk-in pantry. Energy-efficient throughout with closed-cell Icynene insulation and multi-zone gas heating with European Runtal radiators. Private yard with Aposhian's trademark arboretum landscape in full-play using reclaimed granite and brick and mature plantings. Overlooks Alberico Park for lovely vistas and sunsets

    987 Memorial Drive, Unit G71, West Cambridge

    Cambridge, MA 02138

    MLS Number 72335627

    This remarkable townhouse-condominium is situated on the first and second floors of one of Cambridge’s most elegant heritage buildings on Memorial Drive, two minutes from Harvard Square. A magnificent living room has amazing 18-foot ceilings and a working fireplace with tall cathedral windows overlooking the Charles River; there is a separate mirrored bar area with complete glass shelving and cabinetry. An intimate dining room has original early nineteenth-century French paneling and offers a sophisticated venue for distinguished entertaining. The fine custom-designed kitchen is a place for more informal meals and has a half bath. Upstairs is a lavish master bedroom with an opulently detailed bathroom and voluminous closets. The second bedroom, with a wonderful view across the river and an ample window seat, has its own bathroom. A common hallway is designed with a large cedar closet for storage. This unique property exemplifies the best that Cambridge has to offer.

    20 2nd Street, Unit PH 625H, East Cambridge

    Cambridge, MA 02141

    MLS Number 72300897

    Located at the full-service condominium complex ONE FIRST, this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom penthouse features Cambridge's most unique value proposition; single-floor living across nearly 1,620 square feet of interior space with southern, western and northern exposure, and 448 square feet across two private outdoor spaces. Open living space with high ceilings and ample natural light is accompanied by cherry wood floors and kitchen cabinets. Master bedroom features a large dressing room with his and her closets and direct access to a sun-drenched, south-facing private deck. Two other spacious rooms provide for bedroom/office flexibility. Newly constructed in 2008, ONE FIRST amenities include garage parking, 24/7 concierge, fitness room, library/lounge that can be reserved, large spacious courtyard and a common roof deck. Its prime location is across the Lechmere station on the Green Line, walking distance to Kendall Sq., MIT and minutes to Boston. Opportunity to expand into 4 or 5 bedrooms

    23 Blakeslee, Unit 23, West Cambridge

    Cambridge, MA 02138

    MLS Number 72345660

    This thoughtful complete gut renovation provides 3 beds, 2 and 1/2 baths, gracious sun-filled open living, dining, kitchen with wood floors throughout, & gas fireplace. The chef's kitchen is appointed with quartz countertops and Thermador appliances, including a 36" gas range, wall ovens, and drawer microwave. Built-in bench by backdoor for easy in and out, and 1/2 bathroom for easy entertaining. Large master bedroom suite with 2 walk-in closets & connected bathroom - separate shower & bathtub, large double sink vanity & heated tile floors. Lower level offers large second living area, two bedrooms, full bathroom and laundry room. All new windows, electrical, plumbing, 2 zone heating & cooling system; integrated video doorbells, rear deadbolts and garage door can be controlled by phone. Located on the corner of a quiet side street - walking distance to the much sought Brattle Street neighborhood and the quintessential Cambridge and restaurants in Huron Village.

    147 Prospect Street, Unit 2

    Cambridge, MA 02139

    MLS Number 72322612

    Set way back from the street - This newly constructed, contemporary and sophisticated townhouse is part of an enclave featuring 3 architect-designed residences. Thoughtfully designed main floor features a 25ft living / dining room with an abundance of windows looking off to the garden and patio and a sleek kitchen with high-end appliances. The second floor offers two bedrooms and a hall bathroom. There is a treetop Master suite with cathedral ceilings, skylights and a spa-inspired bath. The finished lower level with a full bath lends itself to be a media room, guest suite or a tranquil home office. Convenient location with quick access to Central, Harvard & Kendall Squares.


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    Summertime Festivals in Boston, MA

    As much as we love going to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard during the summer, there's also plenty of fun to be had in downtown Boston!

    One of the many positive things about living in Boston, Massachusetts is having access to fun and interesting cultural events year-round. Here's a quick round-up of popular summer festivals to explore in downtown Boston and the greater Boston area:


    Boston Calling (Memorial Day weekend)

    Since 2013, Boston's music festival features major live musical acts. Past headliners include fun., Young the Giant, Vampire Weekend, Beck, Mumford & Sons, and, more recently, Eminem, The Killers and Jack White:

    Boston Calling Music Festival is a three-day, multi-stage festival featuring the biggest and best acts in live music, comedy, and visual arts. The event will provide easy access to all performance areas, incredible concessions, indoor performances and many surprises to be announced. All ages are welcome and children under 10 are free. 

    Tall Ships in Boston with Sail Boston (mid-June)

    Want to experience New England history on the water? Come aboard the beautiful historic tall ships in the Boston Harbor:

    Sail Boston brings 52 magnificent tall ships from all over the world to Boston Harbor in June for a 5-day festival. 

    You can watch the Tall Ships Parade through the Harbor, join on-board tours, see them up close on special cruises, and enjoy the festival's celebrations and other special events. 

    Boston Harbor Festival (late June-Fourth of July)

    The five-day festival in downtown Boston is dedicated to celebrating Beantown's history. The festival always closes with the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular:

    With hundreds of activities over Independence Day weekend at Boston’s best landmarks, this family-friendly event is the country’s largest Fourth of July festival. Activities include the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment and much more!

    Green River Festival (mid-July)

    The Green River Festival is the result of two separate events held in Greenfield, Massachussetts—the Upcountry Balloon Fair on one weekend, followed by the anniversary of the local radio stations WRSI. Over time, the local events merged into today's unique folk-boho-hot air balloon festival in the Boston-area.

    Over the years, the festival has hosted dozens of music giants including established legends like Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Earle, and more recent stars like The Avett Brothers, Neko Case, Calexico, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, CAKE, Fountains Of Wayne, Old Crow Medicine Show, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and many others.  

    Now in its 32nd year, the Green River Festival continues to combine hot air ballooning with world-class musical performers. 


    Stunning Waterfront Condos for Sale in Boston

    Imagine enjoying an obscured view of Boston harbor every day from the comfort of your own home

    Living on the Boston waterfront provides homeowners the opportunity to see the city in a completely different perspective than most residents. With these listings, it's possible to enjoy the conveniences of city living while having an urban oasis with plenty of natural light and calming views of the water. 

    Your worst problem? All of your friends and family who will want to invite themselves over every Fourth of July and New Year's Eve to get a clear view of the fireworks. 

    Here are a few of the Boston condominiums available for sale (as of May 23, 2018):

    Boston Waterfront Condo 100 Lovejoy Place

    100 Lovejoy Place, Unit 11B, waterfront

    Boston, MA 02114

    MLS Number 72288321

    Cheerful natural light greets you as you enter this sophisticated and stylish corner home overlooking the beginning of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Lovejoy Wharf has everything you've been looking for from front door valet parking to over 2,000 sf of health and wellness space, Related signature management services, Lovejoy Attache personalized lifestyle concierge services, rooftop sun terrace, fireside library lounge, billiards room, children playroom, event space with catering kitchen, conference room, and more, you'll find true luxury in this new community designed by Robert A.M. Stern. Captivating design features and a thoughtful layout create a warm and inviting space filled with style and sophistication. An incredible home, spectacular building, dynamic location on the waterfront and in the heart of the city. 1 parking space included.

    Boston Waterfront Condo 120 Fulton

    120 Fulton, Unit DE, Waterfront

    Boston, MA 02109

    MLS Number 72290049

    Rarely available condominium in the historic McLauthlin Building on tree-lined Fulton Street. This unique brick and beam loft includes over 1000 square feet of living space. Open concept living room with office alcove. Oversized eat-in kitchen with stainless appliances. Two separate sleeping areas, one bathroom, in-unit Bosch washer/dryer and central AC. The McLauthlin is a professionally managed building in a great North End location just one block from Boston's Waterfront and steps from Faneuil Hall and the Financial District. Easy access to all major highways. A must see!

    Boston Waterfront Condo 10 Constellation Wharf

    10 Constellation Wharf, Unit 10, Waterfront

    Boston, MA 02129

    MLS Number 72238708

    3-bedroom townhouse with stunning Harbor and City views. Ideally located at the end of the Wharf, this townhome features direct entry, attached garage and 2 terraces overlooking Boston’s Harbor. The open living and dining rooms have a wood-burning fireplace, custom built-ins and a wall-of-windows capturing sunsets and Boston’s Skyline. The eat-in kitchen has custom cabinets, stainless appliances and 2 pantries. The master suite has a luxurious en-suite bathroom with soaking tub, custom closets and private deck with glorious views. Guest bedroom with renovated full bathroom. The 3rd bedroom is privately located and can be used as a study/office and has a wood-burning fireplace, custom built-in desk and private deck. Features include herringbone floors in the dining room, audio, wet bar, and second covered parking space. This property is a private Harbor-side community with guest parking and a concierge.


    Boston Waterfront Condo 85 E India Row

    85 E India Row, Unit 29E, Waterfront

    Boston, MA 02110

    MLS Number 72319439

    Enjoy spectacular views of the Boston Harbor, the Seaport District and beyond from this rarely available upper-level, one-bedroom home in sought after Tower 1. Gracious entry foyer leads you to the spacious living room with a wall of windows, custom built-in bookcase and great sunlight from the Southern exposure. Wake in the morning to Harbor views from the large bedroom with great closet space. Galley kitchen with full appliances and ample storage. All tile bath with updated vanity and glass enclosed tub/shower. Private association pool and sun-deck area with picnic area and grills. Full service building with 24-hour doorman, concierge services and on-site professional management. Move in just in time to enjoy summer on the Boston Waterfront.

    Want to see more waterfront condos in Boston? Contact Longwood Residential today!

    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)


    • 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


    • 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


    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.