Luxury Boston Loft

1 Westinghouse Plaza Unit C334 in Hyde Park

Luxury Boston LoftIt is impossible to not love this condo.  It may no be the right home for you, but you’ll love it.

The Lofts at Westinghouse are set in historical Westinghouse Plaza, former home of Sturtevant, American’s first Fan company.  They made all sorts of fans, not the kind of fans you have in your house, but really big fans.

Condo Conversion 2010

The building which once served as the factory was converted into condominiums in 2010.  Instead of gutting the building and restructuring the inside into boring vanilla spaces, Westinghouse’s industrial beauty was maintained.  Old floors, mixed with new hardwood patches, 10 foot arched windows, 24 foot ceilings, exposed pipes and beams.

This is what loft spaces are all about.

Unit C334

Unit 334 is located in building C, on the top floor.  This unit enjoys one of the widest spaces with three windows across allowing tons of sunshine.  The ceilings are tall enough to allow you to build a loft space, if you choose.  Instead, you may enjoy the open space and high ceilings, so far beyond reach.

Located in Hyde Park’s Readville neighborhood, you are minutes from the commuter rail station to take you into town, or enjoy easy highway access.

  • 1031 sf
  • Laundry
  • 2 Deeded parking spaces
  • $269,000

Video of 1 Westinghouse Plaza C334

Pictures of the Loft at Westinghouse, Unit 334

Click the image for an interactive map.

Boston Condo for sale

Three Most Important Contingencies When Buying a Condo

Are you working with a Realtor on your home purchase in Boston? I certainly hope so!  If you are going at it alone, you may overlook the most important contingencies when buying a condo.  In Massachusetts there are two contingencies written into the offer to purchase paperwork.  But what’s not in the standard offer is the most important when buying a condo.  Row of brick houses in Boston

Here are the three contingencies you must have in your offer to buy a condo:

1. Inspection Contingency.  Conduct an inspection with a licensed inspector who comes highly recommended.  You will have 7-10 days (including weekends) to conduct this inspection. Ensure you receive the report in a timely manner, and if you need more time, file for an contingency extension.

2. Financing / Mortgage Contingency.  Unless you are paying cash, you will probably have a mortgage contingency in your offer.  The standard paperwork has it built into the offer.  Usually, roughly a month to six weeks after the offer is accepted.  If you are closing quickly, you’ll have to get it done sooner.  Don’t forget to submit your completed mortgage application in accordance with the deadline in the offer.  If you read carefully through the paperwork, you’ll find the buyer’s obligation to file an application by a specified day.  If not done on time you jeopardize the validity of the mortgage contingency.

3. Condominium Documents Review.  Although not included in the standard paperwork, the condo document review is in my opinion the most important contingency when buying a condo.  It allows you time to read through the condominium documents and financial statements, and pass them on to your attorney to look for anything out of the ordinary.

Why is this so important?  You will learn about the financial health of the building, rules and regulations, and a lot more detail about how the condo association functions.      If the building is in a dismal financial situation and poorly run, expect the value of the condo to deteriorate or the association to have large expenses in the near term.  Furthermore, the mortgage company may reject your application if the building has low owner occupancy or lack of funds.

When including the condominium documents review contingency, don’t forget to specify the documents will be provided within two business days.  The listing broker should have them ready before the condo goes on market, so this should not be a problem.

Writing an offer to purchase a condo requires thought and preparation. Learn the contingencies and don’t depend on standard paperwork alone to protect your interests.


buying a home

Three Signs Your Buyer Agent is Not Very Good

Stop your home search, start your buyer agent search!  If you are not getting results, find a better agent.

In the seller’s market, working with a hard working competent buyers agent is necessary in order to buy a property at the right price.

buying a home

Is Your Real Estate Agent Asleep At The Wheel?

Yet many buyers are failing at securing a home, and buyers are getting caught up in the stressful and intense market.

Here are three signs your buyers agent may not be your ideal advocate, and perhaps it’s time to switch.

1. Your agent is waiting to see what comes up on MLS.  If this is the only strategy employed to find a home, that’s not enough in the hot real estate markets such as Brookline and Newton.  Whether working with property investors or home buyers, a buyer’s agent can do other things to look for the right property, including networking and sending mailings to neighborhoods.

2. Your agent is not asking hard questions.  Your agent should ask you questions that force you to examine your price range, timing and every possible angle of the home buying decisions.  An experienced agent knows buyers don’t always buy what they say they will.  Such an agent thinks outside the criteria you have, finding alternatives, and presenting options and possibilities.

3. Your agent does not prepare you for the market and set expectations.  You should know what to expect when you are ready to make an offer, and be prepared for rejections.  When you choose a home you like is NOT the time for your primary real estate education.  You must be ready to go.  Finding the right home is the last step of the home search process, not the first.

Don’t get stuck with a buyers agent who isn’t servicing you.  If buying a home is important, do it right or expect it will go terribly wrong.

Buying Home in Seller's Market

Top FIVE Considerations When Buying a Home in a Seller’s Market

Are you trying to buy a home and failing miserably? Is the housing marketed giving you a kick in the butt?  Thinking of obvious things in a new way may help.

Buying Home in Seller's Market

This summer I am hearing from many people who are desperately trying to buy a home, yet every new home on the market is grabbed by someone else.  Buyers are tired and frustrated, feeling defeated.

It’s a tough market out there for buyers, no doubt.  In home buying, as in every successful endeavor, you must have a goal, a plan and system to execute your plan.  If you don’t change the way you are doing things, you won’t change the outcome.  What system have you been using to secure your new home?

There are several considerations where you need to review your approach, and perhaps find a new way to go about things.  Examine each of the following variables.

Buyers Agent.  In a seller’s market, you need a buyers’ agent.  Hire a good buyer agent you like and trust.  Someone who will advocate on your behalf, who’ll help keep you sane, and who will give you sound advice.

If the best advice you’ve received so far has been to pay more money, you are getting short changed.  Perhaps it’s time to switch.   It is okay to move on!  The best agents lose clients sometimes.  We can’t all be experts on the same markets, in the same situations and the best choice for everyone.  Find the person who’s best suited for you.

Price Range.  Are you looking in the right price range?  There are two ways to look at this question.  If you are looking at properties that are priced in your range, but sell for more, then you are really looking at a higher range you can afford.  Adjust the search for a bit less, and offer a bit more.  Stop expecting the market to stop for you.

Alternatively, are you sure you are looking for as much as you can afford?  A good mortgage broker will show you options in how to pay for your home, and you may be able to stretch further.  Please note, I advocate buyers only BUY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD.  My point is to speak with a great mortgage broker to get your financial house in order first, and to know your affordability.

Clean Offers.  When making an offer, remember it’s not only about the money.  You can find ways to please the seller with fewer conditions or working around her schedule. Be flexible, and put your best foot forward.  Knowing when you don’t have the upper hand is important, stop fighting it.

Recently my buyers made an offer on a house in Arlington with the sellers’ ideal timing.  It is not convenient for my buyers, but they are making it work, while the seller is happily cooperating on every other part of the sale.

Furthermore, the seller will want to work with someone who is easy and pleasant.  Keep your neurosis to yourself.  Neurosis can be apparent in buyer agent behavior, the conditions in the offer, and your endless list of questions.  I say this with the greatest respect to all the neurotics out there, as I am one of you!

Stop the Insanity! You don’t have to get caught up in the insanity of the market.  The right place will come at the right time, and believe it will happen.  As a Realtor, I witness a lot of nutty behavior: Offers which do not reflect value, and buyers getting themselves into risky situations.  I don’t like my buyers in these situations, and try to steer them in the direction of good sense.

One way to avoid some of the insanity is to focus on stale inventory.  Some properties which go on market do not sell, and it is mostly because they are overpriced.  Go take a look at properties sitting on market – maybe you can make it work?  Maybe you will have some leverage as the only buyer in the mix?  You may even get a good deal!!!

Tip: Go take a look at all the stale inventory which roughly meets your criteria, plus take a look in another community if you can.  Widen the horizons, you may be surprised.

Don’t Buy.  Maybe it’s not your year to buy.  If you are selling your home and buying, unless you must move, then you should be in no hurry.  If you are renting, even thought rents are up, you could be better off staying put. Sure, rates are low, prices will likely continue to climb, yada yada yada.  A real estate agent can always tell you why you should buy NOW.  But maybe next year will be a better.

Critically review the way in which you have been going about your home search.  Try changing some aspects of it.  Remember, you must change your method if you want to change the results.

8 Chiswick Road: One Bedroom Condo in Brighton

Sold $265,000.  Zero Days on Market: 8 Chiswick Road Unit 42

Pre-war condo buildings in Brighton are known for their simplicity and austerity, wasting little space and sparing no amenities.  Yet there is nothing like a classic one bedroom condo from the 1930’s.  Comfortable floor plans that make sense, high ceilings, and just the right amount of charm to make it feel like a pretty home – yet not too much to confuse you with Lord Grantham.

The Chiswick Courth Condominium is a perfect example of this style, made of 4 and 8 Chiswick Road.

brighton MA condo for sale

Coming on market 2/1/2013 is 8 Chiswick Road Unit 42.  Loaded with the charming details of yester-year, this one bedroom condo has the perfect floor plan which is obvious from the foyer when you walk in.  Gleaming hardwood floors and high ceilings add to the feeling of spaciousness.  A true eat-in kitchen with plenty of natural sunlight, and generous closet space second to no condo I’ve seen in the area.

List price: $249,900

Here are the basics:

  • One bedroom
  • 695 square feet
  • Fourth floor, elevator building
  • Facing courtyard
  • Four closets
  • Large inviting foyer
  • Eat-In Kitchen
  • Hardwood floors
  • Stailess steel appliances
  • Rental parking available
  • Walk to B, C, D lines

[cetsEmbedGmap src=,-71.148641&spn=0.006099,0.01545 width=500 height=250 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]


boston real estate

Holiday Shopping: Boston Real Estate

One of the best examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy is in the seasonality of the Boston real estate market.  Every year, as boston real estateThanksgiving approaches, home sellers ask me, “Does it make sense to put the home on market now? There are no buyers looking.”

From potential home buyers I hear, “ Should we wait until Spring to buy?  There are no homes on the market now.”

Yet, despite the expectations for a quiet holiday season, almost every year I am on the phone putting together a deal while checking-up on my stuffed Tofurky.  This year the real estate market seasonality will be less pronounced than ever.

Both buyers and sellers will find advantages of pursuing their real estate goals during the holiday season.

Home Seller Advantages to Holiday Home Selling

Low Competition: Inventory shortage is what characterized our Boston real estate market the past few months.  Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington and Brighton have all had too few homes for sale to satisfy demand, leaving many buyers still looking.

My friend Marilyn Messenger wrote a great article, The 5 Reasons the Sell Your House Now! She outlines the benefits of selling your home during the holiday season.  One of the top reasons is the lower competition as many home sellers decide to wait or take their home off market for the holidays.

Serious Buyers: Marilyn also reminds us the buyers coming through a home between Thanksgiving and New Years’ are serious.  These are determined buyers, who are not going out in harsh weather during overscheduled holidays to look at a home for kicks.

This year, home sellers can expect buyers who are eager, ready to buy after losing out on multiple offer situations in September and October.

Holiday Home Buyer Advantages

Fewer Buyers Looking: The worry of fewer homes on market is balanced by many buyers exiting the market and new ones waiting until 2013.  Fewer buyers translate into fewer multiple-offer situations, and home sellers who are more likely to entertain your offer and work with you.

Shorter Mortgage Queue: Underwriting mortgages is taking weeks if you get stuck with the wrong bank, and closing delays are common.  Much of the refinancing business will waiting until January, leaving your attorney with more time to work for you.

Homes are Ready to Sell:  There will be two types of properties on the market. First, the “leftovers” from the busy fall market.  These homes haven’t sold because of poor marketing or they were overpriced at critical moments. Neither of these reasons reflects poorly on the houses, but gives you an opportunity to negotiate.

There will also be new listings.  Savvy home sellers want to take advantage of the low inventory and serious buyers.  It’s a perfect time to match home buyers and home sellers who are ready to move on.

My advice to my clients has been and always will be to first work around your own schedule.  You never know if your ideal home buyer / home seller has plans matching yours.  Real estate surprises us regularly, as not everyone conforms to the same self-fulfilling prophecy, and not everyone celebrates the same holiday season.

(Coming in July 2013, an article entitled, “Boston Realtors Gone to Cape.  Please Resume Your Real Estate Activity After Labor Day.”)

Cambridge condos reviewed

Cambridge Condos Reviewed: Three Choices Priced in $400,000’s

In almost any location in Cambridge you are a walk from something.  Super chic and very pretty Harvard Square is still highlyCambridge condos reviewed desirable, reflected in the prices.  But try other squares and you’ll find value, community and a lively urban atmosphere.

I visited several condos this afternoon with a client, and here is a review of three Cambridge condos priced in the $400,000’s.

218 Thorndike Street, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, $459,000.  Bright two level condo with great outdoor space and garage parking.  The kitchen is small but updated and pleasant.  Bathrooms are neutral and bedrooms spacious.  The garage is not attached to the building, but hey, it’s garage parking in Cambridge. This condo is part of a 59 unit complex built in the 80’s.  The hallways leave something to be desired, but the reasonable condo fee can be attributed to a minimalist building.

The living space is on the main level, and a spiral staircase leads downstairs to the two bedrooms.  Although slightly below grade, the space is sunny.  Private deck and patio / garden, central air, storage and in unit laundry for convenience and comfort.

Located minutes from Inman Square, Lechemere, and Kendall Square.

401 Washington Street, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, $424,900.  Central square condo a walk to so many conveniences and restaurants.   The condo is in a house undergoing complete renovations.  This house obviously needs a total makeover.  Once you are in the condo, you’ll find original floors from 1894, nice details and floor plan, with a total renovation.

The office doesn’t count as a bedroom, which is a great bonus.  There is plenty of light through the over-sized windows.  The view is of the house next door, which is very close.  Working for this condo is the location, the old charm met with new  renovations.  But you’ll have to take a bit of a chance buying this condo now, as you have yet to see the building’s outside and common space finished.

11-15 Boardman Street, 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, three units ranging $439,000-$549,000.  Totally renovated in and out, beautifully done.  These units are modern meeting all the current trends of a dark hardwood floor, stainless steel kitchen with white marble and tile, and glass tiled bathrooms.

The first floor units are bigger, and feature a finished basement with cork floor, perfect for a family room, play room, or huge home office.  The bedrooms are spacious, one in the front and one in back.  The middle of the condos is the main living area with an open plan  kitchen, dining and living area.

The top condos are similar, without the basements, smaller living areas, and the second bedroom is smaller.  Parking included.  Located in Kendall square, you’ll love these condos if you want something new and open.

Search Cambridge Condominiums Priced up to $600,000



Banish the Boston Condo Search Overwhelm!

Are you totally overwhelmed by the idea of looking for a condo in Boston?  Are you curious, and just don’t know how to start looking?  If you are regularly thinking about becoming a first time homebuyer, but don’t know what to expect, t
his post is for you.

When prospective first time homebuyers are curious about Boston area condos, I suggest the following steps to overcome homebuyer overwhelm and make sense of the idea of becoming a condo owner.

First, choose some areas you think you’ll enjoy.  Condos in Boston greatly very  in prices and styles so narrowing down your search to specific neighborhoods is important.  If you’ve been searching  on Zillow or Trulia for condos in Boston , Cambridge, or Somerville, no wonder you are overwhelmed.  Just narrowing the search by price range will not be enough.

Second, go look at condos during Sunday open houses with absolutely no expectations to buy.  Open houses serve such a purpose for buyers, while you have an opportunity to meet real estate agents who may be eager to be helpful.  Focus on one or two areas per weekend to make good use of your time.  You’ll learn the area, different types of homes, and start developing a sense of home values.

Third, hire a real estate agent.  We are here to help, even in you very early stages of the search.  In fact, we can make the search a bit easier for you by focusing your efforts, and giving you step-by-step input and advice.  Hire someone you like and trust, and fire someone who is not doing her job.

Do not try and make sense of the real estate market online.  The web is a great resource for information about homes and for open house schedules.  But to learn what your Boston neighborhood has to offer, you’ll have to go do some offline searching.

Even if you feel you are far from buying, and just browsing, I’d love to see you at any of my open houses!

Customize you home search here.


Bellvue Hill House

Three West Roxbury Houses Priced in the $400,000’s

There are 55 houses on the market in West Roxbury, 19 of them are priced in the $400,000’s.  To make your West Roxbury house Bellvue Hill Housesearch a bit easier I’m reviewing three homes in superb locations worth a look.

9 Park Street, $469,000.  New to market, this is a 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bath home of approximately 1700 sf.  Beautiful located in the Highlands, 9 Park Street is surrounded by grand historic homes just a short walk from Centre Street.  It’s a red house, situated on a corner lot.  The house has a wood burning fire place in the large living room, an oversized dining room and big kitchen.  You’ll need to pass through the half bath to access the door to the back yard.  Four well proportioned bedrooms upstairs, and a walk-up attic suitable for storage.

The basement looks as if it was finished many years ago and can probably be easily restored to a usable living space.  The rest of the home needs a facelift, cosmetic updating throughout.  You’d have to paint the house immediately, the kitchen and bath renovations will be necessary in the coming years, but the house is livable as it is.   For a classic home in a convenient and prestigious area, this is a great choice, but only if you don’t mind investing some sweat equity.

204 Weld Street, $434,900. Three bedrooms, 1.5 bath, 1400 sf colonial.  Located on busy Weld Street, this unassuming white side-entrance colonial has a new kitchen and cheerful colors.  The main floor features a half bath off the new kitchen, a living room, dining room and heated sun-room.  The best part is the expansive deck, with stairs down to a level yard.

Three bedrooms upstairs are simple and serve their purpose.  The house is bright, comfortable and clean.  Perfect for a young family who wants outdoor space.  For 1400 square feet, it’s a good choice if you are looking for a super-easy commute to the city.

120 Russett Road, $425,000.  Brick bungalow of about 1400 sf, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  It’s like a Cape and a Ranch had a love child.  Almost all the living space, including bedrooms, are on the first floor.  Walk directly into the dining room, which is completely open to the living room.  This large space is flooded with light from the many windows.  Kitchen is a bit awkward but also had good light and is easily tolerated with all white finishes.

The hall in the back of the home leads to two well sized bedrooms and a bathroom.  Walk downstairs to find a slightly musty finished basement.  With a little bit of work, this space will be much more usable.

From the main level you have stairs leading to the second floor.  There you find a large master suite, complete with skylights, generous  closets, and a private bath.

Located between Weld Street and Centre Street, you can easily walk to catch the train or get on the bus.  Walk to shops and restaurants.  It’s a quiet area populated mostly with single family homes and two family homes.  From 120 Russett you only have to walk 3 minutes to Hynes Field, one of the best hangouts for dogs, kids, and sports lovers.  It’s one of my regular hangouts.  See you there!

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Cleveland Circle Condos

Accepted Offer, Open House and Annoyed Buyers

Cleveland Circle CondosI annoyed many people on Sunday.  After an offer was accepted, I went ahead and hosted an open house.  Why would I host an open house if I have an accepted offer?  Isn’t it a waste of time for me and the prospective buyers?
Before you go huffing and puffing because you came to a condo too late, let me suggest to you this open house wasn’t wasteful for the buyers or the seller.
Why isn’t an open house after an offer was accepted a waste of time for buyers?
First, as a buyer, looking at property is never a waste of time!  Every property you see makes you wiser about the market.  How can that be bad?  Several buyers learned the nature of the market, and the necessity to move quickly on properties.  Don’t wait for an open house if you are serious about buying a home.
Not all buyers will like the property.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of prospective buyers coming through an open house are not a match to the property.  This is true of every open house everywhere.  Going to open houses helps buyers shape the criteria list, narrow down the search and become more focused.  It is likely you wouldn’t have bought it anyway.
Several times I was asked some version of the question, “What is the purpose of this open house?”
Remember, I work for the seller.  It is my job to generate as much interest for her condo as possible.  Even if we accepted an offer, who’s to say the buyers and sellers won’t have a falling out.  These days, transactions are falling apart and often don’t close.  This is why backup offers are commonplace.   Another buyer can put an offer on the property,  ready to be accepted by the seller, should the previous offer fall through.  Between inspection, tight credit, and human indecisiveness, deals are fragile.
Lastly, and most importantly, wouldn’t you rather have a friendly face greet you at the property than a sign on the door that says, “open house canceled?”  It was a pleasure greeting every single person who walked through the doors today.  That’s what being a real estate agent is all about.
Learn your market, and don’t wait for open houses when you are ready to buy a home.  If you want to learn about my listings before they debut on Multiple Listing Service, follow me on twitter @bostonruth or better yet, come join the fun at G+.