Reaching New Heights | Homes with Vaulted Ceilings

A vaulted ceiling is a striking feature in a home, letting in light and adding drama to any space.  Here, Sotheby's International Realty showcases some listings with these eye-catching ceilings, from a lofty 2 bed home in Santa Fe to a stately riverside location in Osterville.

Want to reach new heights in your new home? Talk to one of our experienced agents about the housing market in your area and how to find the right space for you.


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    Decorate your Home for Halloween

    Halloween is a highlight of the calendar for many, and the Winchester Chamber of Commerce has come up with a way we can all safely enjoy the celebration this year.  They are hosting a Happy Halloween House decorating content, encouraging residents to show their Halloween spirit by decking out their house for the holiday.  Decorate the curbside of your home between now and Thursday, October 29th -  judging will take place during the day and evening.  There is a $25 fee to enter and prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  Click here to register your home for judging.

    This is just one of several initiatives the Chamber have launched to support local businesses - check out 01890 Bingo or order a car magnet to show your Winchester Spirit.  There are many ways to support the local businesses and make sure our shops, restaurants and services can survive and thrive during these difficult times.  Visit the Winchester Chamber of Commerce website for more ideas.



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      Rustic Meets Refined | Rural Retreats Near and Far

      Escape to the country and enjoy a rustic retreat at these beautiful homes, from a contemporary wine country compound in California to luxury log cabin living in New Mexico.  You don't have to travel far to enjoy views, fresh air and privacy - 76 North Border Road in Winchester enjoys a private wooded lot across from the beautiful Middlesex Fells - nature on your doorstep!



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        Working from Home - Find a Place with Office Space

        2020 is the year of the home office!   With more and more people now working from home, plus kids of all ages doing some form of remote schooling, a dedicated, private space to work has fast become the most in-demand piece of real estate in your home.  Many of us who have been making do with a corner of the dining table or kitchen counter are now realizing we need a more permanent solution. If this sounds familiar, here’s 6 listings that can give you that home office space you crave.

        33 Ashcroft Road, Medford - listed by Erica Carson

        This private and serene home on the Lawrence Estates in West Medford offers a secluded home office on the first floor so you can keep your work and home life separate!

        76 North Border Road, Winchester - listed by Nancy Fleming

        Located directly across from the Middlesex Fells, this home with its dedicated office space is the perfect place to hunker down and watch the changing seasons.

        29 Columbia Road, Arlington - listed by Jane Byrne

        Enjoying fantastic views across Boston, this 5 bedroom home has plenty of space for everyone to work, study and play.

        18 Clearwater Road, Winchester - listed by Erica Carson

        With 6 bedrooms, this home certainly has the room for a dedicated office and provides the ideal blank canvas for the next owners to redesign the space to suit their lifestyle.

        50 Grove Street, Winchester - listed by Katie Tully

        This home offers a first-floor office plus bonus family space and a large enclosed backyard - ideal for home working and schooling!

        52 Sullivan St, Unit 4, Charlestown - listed by Lesley Smith

        If you are not ready to jump onto the property ladder just yet, this 2 bedroom rental in Charlestown has the perfect set up for working from home.

        If you are in need of a better work from home solution, contact one of our experienced agents to find out more about homes with office space in your neighborhood.




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          Market Update: September Sales in North Suburban Boston

          Last week we talked about the listings activity in the cities and towns north of Boston, which showed a very positive picture for both buyers and sellers in terms of the number of homes coming to market and the number of offers accepted.  Now we turn our attention to what closed during the past month, which gives us an opportunity to compare real estate activity year over year.  This is a useful tool to see trends in the market over a 12 month period, and enables us to compare like with like without any seasonal influence.  

          Overall it’s a very positive picture, and indicates a healthy interest in real estate from buyers and sellers, despite (or perhaps as an effect of) the global pandemic.  Across the board, we see that houses are moving quicker than they were 12 months ago - on average sellers accepted offers in just 16 days compared to 29 in September 2019, and homes were on market for an average of 25 days vs 39 days last year.  The number of homes sold is also up year on year, which reflects the busier than usual market in July and August.


          Price is the one area where there are differences between some of these towns and cities.  Winchester and Melrose have both experienced increases in list price, sale price and median price of single-family homes, whereas Arlington, Medford and Woburn have seen a slight decrease.  It’s too early to say if this is a trend or a one-off, but it could be a sign that the market is adjusting after a prolonged period of consistent price increases.  We’ll be keeping an eye on these numbers over the next few months.


          As always, these figures only really become useful when you can see how they apply to your current situation. To find out what this means for you, talk to one of our experienced agents.  They can give you a more in-depth insight into the marketplace in your neighborhood and walk you through a comparative market analysis to determine the true value of your home. 



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            Making an Entrance | Homes with Impressive Atriums

            These homes certainly know how to make a good first impression!  From Colorado to California, Sotheby's International Realty showcases some truly spectacular homes with inviting atriums that bring the outside in.


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              No Slow Down in the Suburbs - September Housing Market Stats


              September has been another incredibly busy month for real estate in North Suburban Boston.  We’ve seen a major uptick in the number of new listings in Winchester and Stoneham, an increase in accepted offers in Melrose, Reading and Medford, and a big jump in average list prices in Arlington.  While we would expect to see an increase in activity at this time of year, coming off the back of a busier than usual July and August this indicates that demand from buyers is still high. Whether it’s more outdoor space, an at-home office, or a need to generate an income from your property, there are many compelling reasons to get moving this year.  Speak to one of our experienced agents to find out more about the real estate market in your area and what that means for you.


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                Simple Kitchen Updates with the Best Return On Investment

                A major kitchen upgrade is one of the more expensive home improvements - costs vary, but can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for a full kitchen renovation.  If you are planning to be in your current home for many more years, then spending the money to create the kitchen of your dreams is well worth it.  But if you are thinking of making a move, a minor kitchen reno can pay dividends in terms of saleability without you having to spending a fortune.  We’ve asked our agents to share their recommendations for upgrades to your kitchen that will give you the biggest impact without major renovations.

                Picture courtesy of owners of 7 Ravine Road, Winchester

                Replace Hardware

                Simple but effective, new handles and drawer pulls can subtly update a kitchen and add a modern take to your space.  If your cabinets are basically sound, this is a simple inexpensive way to bring an older kitchen up to date.  A new faucet can also dramatically alter the look of your sink.  Take a look at current trends, such as gold and copper-toned hardware, along with classics such as brushed nickel, to decide what will look best.  “This is an easy update that can make a huge difference in the space,” says Katie Tully “The trends that we are seeing in gold now make a really striking impact -  like in this recent kitchen renovation in Winchester."

                Paint Cabinets

                If new hardware isn’t giving you enough of an update, consider having your cabinets repainted.  “It’s a cost-effective way of giving you a fresh new look, especially if your cabinets are made of a good quality, solid wood that will last a few more years” advises Lesley Smith.  This is a job best left to the professionals to give you a smooth, hard-wearing finish.  Many paint firms will offer this service, or there are companies that specialize in cabinet refinishing.  Typically they will spray your doors and carcasses to ensure a streak-free finish.  You can choose a classic white for your refresh, or go for a pop of color - a very popular look right now.  Check out our recent article on Colorful Kitchen Cabinetry for inspiration.  

                Light It Up

                New lighting can really change the look of a space.  Under-cabinet lighting can brighten up your work area and give an updated look to your kitchen.  Pendant lighting is also popular in new kitchen designs - over an island or a dining area for example - as an inexpensive way to introduce some modern glamor. You can buy kits that will enable you to easily replace recessed lighting with pendants or other fixtures - no electrician required!

                Update Backsplash

                Your backsplash is another area of the kitchen where a small change can make a big impact.  If your backsplash is currently painted, you can add interest with a new accent color, or add a patterned tile to create a focal point.  Bold patterns are popular, especially in an all-white kitchen.  Another trend is for large panel-like backsplash using marble or granite, which can give an impression of space in a smaller kitchen.  Subway tile is an ever-popular, inexpensive choice, but arranging it in a brick pattern, or vertically rather than horizontally, can create a very different look.  If you already have tile and don’t want the bother of removing and replacing it, you can paint it to update the look with minimal hassle.  Stenciling can give you the look of patterned tile at a fraction of the cost, time and effort.

                Change Up Your Countertops

                In terms of investment, this is one of the pricier changes, but the rewards are also bigger.  New countertops will take your mini kitchen reno to a whole new level and dramatically update the look. Quartz has become a popular option in recent years over and the reasons are clear - it’s durable, comes in a variety of shades, does not require sealing, and is moderately priced compared to other options such as granite and marble.  It’s still not a cheap fix, notes Erica Carson, and you will need to have it professionally installed, but "in terms of impact and ROI  potential this is one of the better kitchen upgrades you can choose".

                New Appliances

                A sure-fire way to bring a kitchen bang up to date is to install shiny new appliances.  However, if you are planning to sell your home, think carefully about your choices and the market you are appealing to. While a brand new stainless steel range will increase your appeal over an older white model, you might not get the return on your investment putting top-of-the-range appliances in a mid-priced home.  Similarly, a buyer might question why a high-end home has only a basic refrigerator.  Choose your finish wisely - white is still considered a no-no for most people, while black is making a comeback.  Stainless steel is generally a safe choice.  

                Refreshed Flooring 

                If you have gone to the effort of updating your cabinets, countertops and lighting, don’t neglect your flooring.  Broken, dirty tile or scuffed and faded wood floors are an instant turn-off in a kitchen. “Hardwood floors in good condition can be refinished to complete your kitchen reno,” says Naomi DeLairre.  If only one or two tiles are broken or chipped, consider replacing those if possible.  If not, retiling or even painting your floors are both options worthwhile pursuing to give a finished look that will appeal to buyers.  

                If you are considering putting your home on the market, consult with one of our full-time, experienced agents.  They can advise you on the kind of small upgrades you can do to make sure your home achieves its true value.  Get in touch today for a complimentary market analysis.


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                  The Latest in Lighting | Homes with Illuminating Features

                  Never underestimate the power of good lighting!  Whether it's task lighting or mood lighting, the humble lightbulb has the ability to transform a room.  These homes, currently listed by Sotheby's International Realty across the globe, will hopefully spark some ideas for use in your own home.

                  Got some issues with your home that new lighting won't solve? Our agents are continually talking to clients and taking on new listings.  Get in touch today or register here to be the first to be notified when new homes matching your criteria come on the market.



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                    Put Your Money Where Your House Is - Shop 01890 This Weekend

                    Throughout the pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of shopping local to support our neighborhood businesses.  After all, these local shops, restaurants and services are often what attracted us to our town in the first place, and what gives it the community feel.  According to the AmEx Shop Small Movement, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, approx $68 stays in the community, compared to $43 if you spend that same money at a national chain*. The Winchester Chamber of Commerce has been a huge supporter of the drive to shop local, creating their own #shop01890 initiative.   As part of that, this weekend they are hosting a Super Saturday Sidewalk Sale in the downtown area of Winchester.  Sponsored by Winchester Cooperative Bank, the sale takes place between 10 am and 5pm on September 26th.  You’ll be able to safely shop outside and enjoy the atmosphere of downtown.  Many restaurants are also offering outdoor dining and there are table on the Town Common to sit and enjoy your coffee.  And don't forget to stop by the Winchester Farmers Market, at the Town Hall Parking Lot from 9:30am - 1:30pm.  Check their website for details of how they are following COVID-19 Safety Guidelines.

                    Face coverings are required both indoors and outdoors to keep customers and employees safe.  Please come down and support your local community.  

                    *Source: “Why Buy Local“


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