Please Support Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky Squaregraphic Please Support Pie in the SkyWith Thanksgiving almost upon us, we would like to thank you for working with us, referring friends and family, and reading our blog. You not only contribute to the success of our business, you also make our work a pleasure.  We are certainly grateful for your support and friendship.

Since 2003 we have supported Community Serving’s Pie in the Sky by selling Thanksgiving pies prepared and donated by more than 150 of Boston’s top restaurants and caterers. Community Servings is a Jamaica Plain based nonprofit organization that provides free, home-delivered meals to acutely ill individuals, their families, and their caregivers in 18 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. For every pie sold, Community Servings will be able to feed one client for 5 days. Each day, Community Servings delivers a nutritious lunch, dinner and a snack to 800 men, women and children too ill to shop or cook for themselves. Last year we helped to raise $600,000 to feed individuals and families who are ill with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses with 93 cents of every dollar raised going directly to providing meals. We are inspired by Community Servings commitment to helping those in need. To order your Thanksgiving pie, visit our Pie In The Sky website here: Ellen, Janis and Josh Real Estate Team. We are deeply grateful for your support and encourage you to support the many establishments that contribute to Community Serving’s Pie in the Sky.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ellen, Janis and Josh Real Estate Team

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Happy Halloween & Don’t Forget to Fall Back

Halloween 2015 600x407 Happy Halloween & Dont Forget to Fall BackFor many of us, fall in New England means apple cider, warm sweaters and an annual gathering of family and friends at Thanksgiving. The colors and contrasts make fall a magical time to enjoy outdoor activities before winter arrives.  Fall’s shorter days and longer nights signal the end to daylight saving time as we “fall back” to standard time. Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour on Sunday November 1st.

While you’re turning the clock back an hour, it’s also a great time to swap out smoke/CO detector batteries. While many newer homes have hardwired detectors, fall is great time to test each device to ensure that it is working properly. If your detectors require batteries, be proactive and replace them before they begin to chirp! Keep your family and friends safe by changing batteries now. Most detectors take 9V batteries which you can purchase anywhere batteries are sold.

Sunday November 1st is the perfect time to enjoy a few fall activities, prepare your home for winter and enjoy an “extra” hour of sleep. While the days may be getting shorter, the approach of winter means that spring is just around the corner! If you are interested buying or selling a home this spring, we would be happy to speak with you to discuss local market conditions.


Ellen, Janis, Josh and Beth



Know Before You Owe – new regulations

ExtforPCandFront 150x150 Know Before You Owe   new regulationsBuying a home is one of the most significant investment decisions that adults make. For most of us, buying a home also means taking out a mortgage. On October 3rd, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau introduced new lending regulations to make the process more transparent and consumer focused. The changes make it easier for consumers to shop for a mortgage and quickly compare offers from a variety of lenders. The “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule eliminates redundant federal forms and better equips consumers to raise issues during the lending process. Benefits of the new mortgage rules include:

  • Simplified and improved disclosure forms that streamline the lending process. The rule was designed to reduce paperwork and consumer confusion.
  • Clear language that describes the complicated loan terms and conditions. Disclosure forms are designed to highlight the information that has proven to be the most important to consumers.
  • Comprehensive information about mortgage costs. The new forms will describe how interest rates and payments may change over time. This information will help consumers decide whether they can afford the home – now and in the future
  • Timely distribution of final terms and costs. Currently, consumers may not receive a summary of terms and costs until the closing. Under the new rule, consumers will receive the final disclosure 3 business days prior to the closing. This change allow consumers to compare the final terms with the costs they received in their initial estimate.

The rules and regulations governing the mortgage process are designed to inform and protect consumers by making the loan terms easy to understand.  Obtaining a mortgage is a complex but essential step toward home ownership. As REALTORS we have helped hundreds of clients become homeowners.  Over the years, we have identified several seasoned mortgage professionals who we regularly recommend to clients. When evaluating mortgage brokers, look for someone who is energetic, flexible, knowledgeable and well versed on the recent changes to the lending process. We will be happy to recommend someone who has your best interests in mind. If you have questions about home ownership, or current market conditions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to speak with you!



Fall Real Estate Market is off to a Roaring Start

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While there is still time to enjoy a few sunny summer days, the fall real estate market is off to a roaring start. Limited inventory in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and throughout Greater Boston made the spring market very competitive. If you’re a buyer who was frustrated by tight home inventory, this could be your weekend – fall listings are up! Whether you’re looking for a condo or single family home, a surge in inventory will provide buyers with many attractive opportunities. About 30 new properties have hit the market in Jamaica Plain alone. Here are a few exciting properties currently on the market:

44 Hampstead Road U3, Jamaica Plain – A loft-like 2 bedroom penthouse condo $479,000

41 Slocum Road, Jamaica Plain – A sophisticated 3 bedroom single family on Moss Hill $899,000

146 Chestnut Ave U2, Jamaica Plain – A tastefully renovated 3 bedroom condo $449,000

37 Oakview Terrace U3, Jamaica Plain – A spectacular 3 bedroom penthouse condo $649,000

24 Boylston St U2, Jamaica Plain – A 4 bedroom duplex loaded with Victorian character $795,000

43 Sherwood St U2, Roslindale – A 4 bedroom 2 bath condo perfect for entertaining $479,000

35 Harrison St UD, Roslindale – The perfect 2 bedroom starter home near Rosi Village! $230,000

160 Orange St, Roslindale – A charming Colonial 3 Bedroom single family $390,000

While the spring market was very competitive, we had success helping buyers find their dream home and would be happy to help you achieve your real estate goals. Visit our website to search properties and contact us with any questions you might have. If you are interested in any of these fine properties, or would like to learn more about the local real estate market, our team would be happy to speak with you.

Best wishes,

Ellen and Janis

Celebrating Farmers’ Markets

Gemma Billings 150x150 Celebrating Farmers MarketsFarmers’ markets make it easy to buy fresh nutritious locally grown produce. Locavores and lovers of local historic markets will be thrilled by Boston Public Market, the latest and largest addition to Boston’s thriving farm to table scene. With over 35 vendors offering farm-fresh produce and an assortment of specialty foods, it is the only locally sourced market of its kind in the United States. Everything was grown or originates in New England. The market is located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, above the Haymarket MBTA station in Boston’s emerging Market District. Closer to home, several neighborhood markets bring locally grown products from the farm to your table.

The West Roxbury Farmers’ Market is a collaboration between Temple HBT, Theodore Parker Church, and West Roxbury Main Streets. Each Sunday through October 25th you’ll find fresh produce, meat, fish, cheese, baked goods, and crafts. Located in the Bank of America parking lot, 1857 Centre St, West Roxbury.

Roslindale Farmers’ Market has been a source of local produce for over 30 years. Every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:30 pm you’ll find more than 30 farms and specialty food vendors in beautifully refurbished Adam’s Park in Roslindale Village. Free parking is available during the market at the lower MBTA lot and the Taft Hill parking lots.

Jamaica Plain Farmers Market is located in the heart of the JP business district on Centre Street. The market was created in 1984 by a few members of the JP community, and is now spearheaded by Stillman’s Farm, in Lunenberg, MA. On Tuesday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm you’ll find vendors located in the Bank of America parking lot, 667 Centre Street.

Egleston Farmers’ Market is a volunteer, community lead initiative committed to making local, healthy food accessible to the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury community. The market is open on Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and is located in the JPNDC lot on Germania Street at the Amory Brewery Complex

We could go on and on about the farm to table options in and around Jamaica Plain. We’re lucky to have access to delicious nutritious food made by people who about quality and sustainability. Where will you be shopping for locally grown products this summer?

And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have real estate questions about today’s current market.  -Ellen and Janis


Photo Credit: Gemma Billings


Summer Concerts at Jamaica Pond

Daniel Brian Gonzales 150x150 Summer Concerts at Jamaica PondIt wouldn’t be summer without a wonderful concert series on the Emerald Necklace. When Fredrick Law Olmstead, America’s first landscape architect, drafted plans for the 1100 acre network of parks and waterways, he envisioned a system that connected urban areas to vibrant green spaces. This summer, enjoy his groundbreaking landscape design while listening the the sweet sounds of summer. Bring a picnic and enjoy top-notch entertainment featuring brass, strings, opera and the sounds of a 50+ piece orchestra. Concerts are held overlooking Jamaica Pond at historic Pinebank.

Sunday July 12, 2015: Boston Landmarks Orchestra Ensemble

Sunday July 19, 2015: Metropolitan Wind Symphony

Sunday July 26, 2015: Boston Opera Collaborative

We’re thrilled that the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Friends of Jamaica Pond, and Boston Parks and Recreation organized another great summer series. Concerts begin promptly at 6:00 pm and conclude before sunset. Save the dates and pack a picnic.

We hope to see you on the banks of Jamaica Pond this summer!

Photo Credit: Daniel Bryan Gonzales / Flickr

Celebrate Jamaica Plain’s Latin Quarter

hyde square logo Celebrate Jamaica Plains Latin Quarter After an unbearably long winter, we’re thrilled to be able to ride our bikes, see old friends at barbecues and enjoy all that summer in Jamaica Plain has to offer. If you’re looking for something to do Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday evenings, the Hyde Square Task Force and the Jamaica Plain Arts and Civic Center offer free, fun events with something for everyone. The summer-long celebration, Viva el Latin Quarter, runs from June 24 to August 7 and includes music, exercise class and movies. Events are held on the plaza or the lawn of the Blessed Sacrament Church at 361 Centre Street (next door to ReMax Destiny) in Jamaica Plain. Enjoy free Zumba classes, live music by local artists and a selection of great movies including Jurrasic Park, Ghostbusters and Selena. The Hyde Square Task Force provides opportunities in arts, education and leadership development to young adults ages 6 and older. For more information about their programs, and a calendar of summer events, visit

Celebrating Pride Month

5847803719 91af176932 q 150x150 Celebrating Pride MonthWhen we began selling real estate in 1988 in Boston’s now trendy South End, the LGBT community had few of the protections we have today.  With a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality pending, The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, (NAGLREP) commissioned the first-ever LGBT home buyer and seller survey. While the majority of respondents believe that home ownership is a good investment nearly 75% are concerned about housing discrimination.

With an estimated buying power of $840 billion, the LGBT community is a key part of the nation’s real estate landscape. As our colleague Jeff Berger of NAGLREP noted, LGBT homeowners are a “powerful market segment that is increasingly achieving social milestones that are historical triggers to home purchases, such as partnerships, marriage and having children.”  Nearly nine out of ten LGBT homeowners think that real estate is a wise investment.

While the community has a strong interest in home ownership, more than eight out of ten respondents feel that a Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality will make them feel more fiscally protected and confident.  Consumer confidence is a key driver of the real estate industry, however nearly three quarters of respondents had a strong concern about some aspect of housing discrimination either in buying a home or renting.  They were concerned about discrimination by home sellers, landlords, mortgage lenders, neighbors and real estate agents.

As we noted on another post, the LGBT community faces a unique set of challenges when buying or selling a home. A seasoned real estate professional can streamline the buying process and advocate for you each step of the way. More than 85% of LGBT’s  think it is important that their agent be LGBT-friendly, compared with just  13% who think it is important that their realtor be LGBT identified.  Organizations like NAGLREP  address the concern about discrimination by providing a public online database to help consumers identify LGBT-friendly real estate professionals.  NAGLREP members include REALTORS, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, appraisers, home inspectors, educators and industry advocates.  We are proud to support the organization’s groundbreaking work to raise awareness of LGBT home ownership issues.

Pride month is a fabulous time for the community to come together to celebrate LGBT equality. It is also important to recognize that much more needs to be done to ensure that our community is free from discrimination in all aspects of our lives. Enjoy Pride month, celebrate with friends and family, waive your rainbow flag and be WICKED PROUD every day!


Photo credit: Guillaume Paumler

Is It Better to Rent or Buy?

JP by Soe Lin 150x150 Is It Better to Rent or Buy? As Realtors, helping first time buyers transition from renting to owning is one of the most satisfying aspects of our work. While we are strong advocates for ownership, the choice to purchase a home is one of the biggest decisions that adults make. During the economic downturn, many potential first time buyers preferred the flexibility of renting over home ownership. Savvy renters chose to wait until market conditions were more favorable. In Boston, a strong local economy, low interest rates and increased consumer confidence have encouraged first time buyers to enter the market. An analysis by the New York Times found that “buying continues to look like a good deal in much of the country”.

The decision to buy or rent depends on each person’s goals and financial situation. First-time buyers often have difficulty assessing their current situation because the costs associated with buying are more complicated than renting. Without expert advice or guidance, it can be difficult to determine which deal is better. This easy-to-use online calculator enables prospective buyers and renters to analyze their finances and market conditions.

For first time buyers, a seasoned Realtor and mortgage broker can provide expert guidance and support. We work with some of the best lenders in the industry and would be happy to refer you to a professional who can help you navigate the mortgage process. Whether you’re entering the market for the first time, or are an experienced home owner, we would be happy to speak with you about the market and your goals.

Photo credit: Soe Lin / Flickr

Which Home Renovation Projects are Wise Investments?

Mark Moz Front Door Flickr Which Home Renovation Projects are Wise Investments? If you’re thinking about starting a home improvement project this year, you’re not alone. Harvard University’s Center for Housing Studies found that home renovation spending rose by $6 billion from 2011 to 2013. While home improvement projects are more popular than ever, not all renovation are wise investments.

Although many home owners focus on major kitchen and bath upgrades, simple changes can significantly enhance your home’s appeal to potential buyers. As Realtors, we are often asked to recommend home renovations that have a solid return on investment.  Here are 3 often overlooked upgrades that could add value your home.

Replace Your Front Door: According to the Remodeling 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, replacing your front door with a new steel door has the greatest return on investment of any project studied. The research found that a steel replacement door recouped 119% of investment at the time of sale. When selling your home, first impressions matter. A new front door enhances your home’s curb appeal making it more attractive to buyers.

Upgrade Lighting: Many home owners consider lighting upgrades when undertaking a larger project, like renovating a bath or kitchen, but home renovations need not be expensive or require a contractor. Add recessed lighting to living areas to brighten up the space and make it look more appealing. Dimmer switches are simple to install and can quickly change the mood of a room.

Add a small wooden deck. Renovations to the outside of your home are considered a good value. If you’re feeling ambitious, build a small deck to create a natural transition from living space to the yard. In addition to enhancing your home’s value, a deck provides unlimited opportunities for entertaining and socializing.

As home renovation guru Bob Vila noted, several popular home improvements offer little or no return on investment. The value of renovations will vary by geographic location, neighborhood standards and market conditions. Before undertaking any project, consider how long you plan to stay in your home, and the value that the renovation will provide during the time you live there. If you’re not planning to move soon, focus on projects that you enjoy. If you have kept pace with home maintenance and updates, less may be more. A fresh coat of paint and new kitchen hardware may make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Before marketing a home, we assess each property’s strengths and identify opportunities for upgrades or enhancements. We would be happy to meet with you to review your goals, neighborhood standards and market conditions. If you have questions about upgrades or current inventory, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

Photo credit: Mark Moz / Flickr


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