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


New Listings & Open Houses

Whether you’re actively looking for a new home, or just curious about market conditions, see these wonderful properties in Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and Newton at the Open House on Sunday March 8th. If you have questions, or would like to schedule a private showing, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Extformls 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses213-215 Florence St U2, Roslindale

3 bedroom / 2 bath condo

Offered at $369,000

Open House: Sunday March 8th 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm



ExtforMLS 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses69-71 Waban Park U1, Newton

2 bedroom / 1 bath condo

Offered at $399,000

Open House: Sunday March 8th 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm



EXT PC and HighlightInsided Rt Rt Bottom 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses27 Dane St, Jamaica Plain

6 bedroom / 3 bath 2-family home

Offered at $935,000

Open House: Sunday March 8th 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

New Listings & Open Houses

See these wonderful homes at the Open House this weekend – Sunday March 1st!

Extformls 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses56 Montvale St #2, Roslindale

Open House: Sunday March 1st 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

2 bedroom / 2 bath condo

Offered at $369,900



Extformls1 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses70 Montebello Road #3, Jamaica Plain

Open House: Sunday March 1st 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

2 bedroom / 1 bath condo

Offered a $328,000



Extformls2 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses101-103 Green St U1 Jamaica Plain

Open House: Sunday March 1st 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

2 bedroom / 2 bath condo

Offered at $599,900



79southbourne EXT for PC MLS 150x150 New Listings & Open Houses

79 Southbourne Road, Jamaica Plain

Open House: Sunday March 1st 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

2 bedroom / 1.5 bath single family home

Offered at $425,000



We look forward to seeing you this weekend. If you have questions about these homes, or are interested in learning more about current market conditions, we would be happy to speak with you.


Ellen and Janis



We have a cure for winter blues

Keshet Cabaret We have a cure for winter blues

After weeks of shoveling and hibernating, we all need a little break from winter.  Please join us for an evening of laughter, community and cocktails as we celebrate the groundbreaking work of Keshet, one of Jamaica Plain’s leading non-profit organizations. Keshet Cabaret is a night of amazing entertainment to raise funds for Keshet’s work for LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life.  Don’t miss these amazing performers:

Julie Goldman:  As a headlining stand-up performer, Julie Goldman has three TV comedy specials under her belt. You can find Goldman on Bravo’s new show, The People’s Couch.

Jessica Halem: Comedian and activist, Halem was trained at the famed Second City in Chicago.

Sirlesque:  Boston’s premier male burlesque (or “boylesque”) troupe.

Save the date: Saturday, February 28, 2015

Club Café

209 Columbus Ave, Boston

$36 per person (includes 1 drink)

Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 7:30 pm

Purchase your tickets here!

We’ve got a cure for the winter blues – Keshet Cabaret!


Ellen and Janis

Keshet Logo We have a cure for winter blues

Lower Down Payments Are Back

Andrew Magill 150x150 Lower Down Payments Are BackIf saving enough for a 10-20% deposit has been a barrier to owning a home, new lending terms may make it easier for you to close on the house of your dreams. The trend toward lower down payments increased when key players, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lowered the minimum down payment they will accept to 3%. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “some lenders also are waiving mortgage-related fees, and more are allowing down payments to be made by other parties, such as the borrower’s family”. Changes to the minimum down payment will make home-ownership available to a larger group of buyers. When shopping for a mortgage, carefully evaluate interest rates and terms. A seasoned mortgage professional can guide you through the lending process. We work with some of the best in the industry. Contact us for details.

Photo Credit: Andrew Magill / Flickr

Gracious Newton Single Family Receives Multiple Offers

Ext3forPCandHighlightFront Main Gracious Newton Single Family Receives Multiple Offers












Congratulations to our clients Kelly and Kristi on the sale of their magnificent single family home in Newton. Their sought-after grand 1880 Victorian had been renovated for 21st century life while retaining rich period details. The 3 bedroom home was made for gracious entertaining with a wonderful layout, beautiful yard and parking for guests.  Newton is a wonderful community with great schools, shopping,  and restaurants. Only a couple of blocks from Newton Center and just 4 minutes to Chestnut Hill’s newest shopping centers, the home received multiple offers after the open house and sold for over asking price.  We’re always happy to work in Newton, our team member Josh Muncey’s home town!

Congratulations Kelly and Kristi!

Jamaica Plain Condo at a Reasonable Price

Kit DR3formls 150x150 Jamaica Plain Condo at a Reasonable PriceLR for mls 150x150 Jamaica Plain Condo at a Reasonable PriceKit DR2 for mls 150x150 Jamaica Plain Condo at a Reasonable Price







At last, a two bedroom condo in Jamaica Plain with many amenities at a reasonable price.  Please join us at our first open house of 2015! 38 Woodlawn Ave U1, Jamaica Plain, is a gardener’s delight. You’ll love the open kitchen/dining/living concept which is perfect for entertaining. Enjoy the convenience of off-street parking and close proximity to the Forest Hills Orange Line T Station. Other features include in-unit laundry, gas heat, hardwood floors, separate basement storage, and a rear deck. The home is freshly painted, has newer stainless steel appliances and is situated on a double lot, which offers a generous, lush side yard. The condo association is 100% owner-occupied and pet-friendly. Lots of updates – ’08 roof, ’03 gas heating system, and more. Located in a fabulous neighborhood close to parks, restaurants, and coffee shops. A true gem!

Offered at $299,000

First Showings at the Open House:

38 Woodlawn St U1, Jamaica Plain

Saturday January 17th from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Sunday January 18th from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

For more information, or to schedule a private showing, contact us today!

Lower Your Tax Bill With a Residential Exemption

bostonseal Lower Your Tax Bill With a Residential Exemption  For the first time in history, the value of Boston’s taxable property exceeds $100 billion.  In December the city set the FY 2015 residential tax rate at $12.11 per thousand in assessed value. For current home owners, 2015 assessments, tax rates and residential exemptions appear on your 3rd quarter tax bill. Tax bills issued in the 3rd quarter reflect the actual value and tax rate for the fiscal year. The preliminary tax bills provided in quarter 1 and 2 were estimates based on the prior fiscal year.

Taxpayers who owned and occupied their home as their principal residence may be eligible to have a portion of their tax bill exempted from taxation. The principal residence is the address from which you file your state income tax return. Qualified home owners can expect to save $1,879.53 on their 2015 tax bill.  Homeowners who believe that they may be entitled to a residential exemption must file an application with the assessing department by April 1. For more information on eligibility requirements, contact the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center (TRAC) or the City of Boston Assessing Department.

Happy New Year!

We want to thank you for supporting our business this year as we established our new home at Re/Max Destiny in Jamaica Plain. We would not have had such a successful year without your help, support and friendship. Not only did you contribute to our success, you made the process enjoyable. This year, we are especially grateful to those friends who contributed to our Community Servings fundraiser and Toys for Tots drive. With your help we were able to give back to the community in a meaningful way. We’re grateful for your support and for the trust you placed in us.

Wishing you, your family and friends a safe, happy, healthy and successful New Year!

Ellen, Janis and Josh Real Estate Team

Team w Beth low res 41 Happy New Year!

Page 1 of 912345...Last »