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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        The Cover is Not the Book | Homes with Handsome Libraries

        There's a distinctly autumnal feel in the air, which makes us just want to curl up under a blanket with a good book.  These homes from Sotheby's International Realty give you the excuse to do exactly that, with luxurious libraries perfect for enjoying your favorite novel.  

        Looking for somewhere to store your favorite tomes?  Contact one of our agents today to find your perfect home!



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          Meet Winchester ABC Scholars and Volunteers This Saturday, September 26th

          Waterfield Sotheby's International Realty is proud to support the Winchester chapter of A Better Chance (ABC).  ABC is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1963 to provide academically talented scholars of color with expanded educational and career opportunities.  Through the program, 8 gifted young men come and live at the ABC House in Winchester to attend Winchester High School. Typically, they begin as Freshman and remain for the full four years, where alongside maintaining a high academic standard they are encouraged to take part in other extracurricular activities that contribute to the well-being of the student, the school and the community.  

          At the ABC House they are supported by a Resident Director and an Academic Coordinator, who help the boys in their academic studies and daily life.  The boys live together in dorms and share the house-keeping responsibilities.   Each scholar is paired with a host family, who welcome them every Sunday and one weekend a month to join in their family activities, forming bonds that last well beyond their high school years. 

          The Winchester ABC relies on the community for financial support, through donations and fundraising activities such as the Annual Gala. Due to the pandemic, all large-scale events have been put on hold, meaning they are more reliant than ever on donations and volunteers to keep the program running.  This weekend, Winchester ABC will be at the Farmers Market, held in the Town Hall parking lot, between 9:30am - 1:30pm on Satuurday 9/26.  You'll be able to meet scholars, alumni, volunteers and the Resident Director, and learn about opportunities to donate time and / or money to this very worthwhile cause.  If you are unable to attend, you can find out more at their website or Facebook page




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            How a Buyer's Agent Can Help You Secure Your Dream Home.

            The housing market has seen a surge in recent weeks, as low interest rates coupled with the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions encourage buyers to get out and look for a new home.  With inventory still low and demand high, it’s more important than ever to have a good agent on your side when buying a home.  But what exactly is the benefit of having agent representation when you are buying a home?  And how do you go about finding a good agent?  Here’s our top tips on what a good buyer’s agent will do - and what questions you should ask to make sure you have the right person representing you.


            40 Englewood Road, Winchester - Sold by Ides Figueiredo, Realtor

            In this competitive market you need a buyer’s agent who knows the area and the current market.  They will be able to give you advice about your target towns, such as what homes are selling for in that area, which areas of town have the style of property you are looking for, the systems of a home, important town topics which may affect home values, and schools and facilities available in the area  This is especially important if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation - your agent will have an understanding of the current selling prices and be able to advise you on a competitive offer.

            Questions to ask - What can you tell me about my target area? What knowledge can you share about the housing market and trends in these specific areas?  Which other factors should I be aware of that may affect my decision-making process?



            20 High Haith Road, Arlington. Sold by I-Ching Katie Scott, Realtor

            When the market is moving quickly you may need to make a fast decision on a home, so you need to make sure your agent is fully invested in real estate and has the network to help with your search. A good agent will have contacts and resources to work with you along the process from viewing to offer and closing.  They will have connections with professionals such as proactive mortgage brokers, contractors, home inspectors and service providers, whose expertise can quickly guide you to meet the strict deadlines you may be up against.  

            Questions to ask - What resources can you connect me with to help me through the decision making process?  What can I do ahead of time to prepare?  How do you guide me through the offer process?    


            11 Lorena Road, Winchester.  Sold by Lesley Smith, Realtor

            An experienced buyer’s agent will prove invaluable when you enter into negotiations on a home. A good buyer broker will do a comparative market analysis before writing up your offer and will be able to advise you on how to structure your offer, what to be prepared for, and how to improve your chances of a successful bid.  The relationships they have with other agents will also enable them to handle any potentially difficult conversations with professionalism and grace, increasing your chances of reaching an agreement that suits both parties.  

            Questions to ask - Do you have experience in multiple offer situations? How do you help your buyers prepare and make a successful offer?  How do you collaborate with other agents?  

            1 Charles Street, Wakefield.  Sold by Naomi DeLairre, Realtor.

            So how do you find the right buyer’s agent for you? If you need help finding an agent, asking friends or family for a personal recommendation is a good place to start.  You can also check out testimonials to see what other people have to say about Waterfield Sotheby’s International Realty and our agents.  Some common ground or shared interests can also help your agent understand your wants and needs better - read their bio to find out if your personalities will match.  A good sense of humor can also help in a sometimes stressful situation!  You may be working with this person for a while, so making sure your communication styles are in sync is a good idea - for example, do you prefer calls or texts?  Finally, don’t be afraid to call and talk to some of the agents on your shortlist and see if you feel comfortable with them - once you decide to work with someone you might be asked to sign an agreement to work exclusively with them, so make sure you are happy with the person before you commit.

            Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make.  A buyer’s agent will serve as your go-to resource for anything related to buying a home.  Our agents are all experienced in listings and selling homes, and will bring the utmost professionalism, accountability and dedication to any transaction.  Contact us today and we can connect you to the right person to be by your side from start to finish.


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              Easy Breezy | Homes with Delightful Front Porches

              There's something special about a home with a front porch - a place to enjoy a morning coffee or an evening cocktail, to converse with your neighbors, enjoy a book or sit and watch the world go by.   Sotheby's International Realty is showcasing some beautiful examples from California to Cape Cod, and we have our own favorites too!  Check out the cute coffee area at 12 Wolcott Road in Winchester or the double porches at 8 Nonatum Street in Boston.



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                Winchester Road Race Goes Virtual!

                The Glen Doherty Memorial Road Race has become an established event in the fall calendar over the past 7 years.  This fundraising 5K, held in the streets of downtown Winchester, supports the mission of the GDMF, honoring the memory of Glen by providing scholarship funding to Special Operation soldiers and their families.  You can read more about the GDMF and the work they do here.

                This year the foundation has adapted to the unique circumstances caused by the pandemic and decided to hold a virtual race.  However, to keep the community spirit alive there will be opportunities to connect with participants LIVE on race day.

                Using an app called Charge Running, runners and walkers will be able to join in with the Opening Ceremony, hear words of welcome and thanks from Glen’s sister and GDMF President, Kate Quigley, have live tracking of their time and distance, upload “sweaty selfies” to a race chat room, and even listen to a playlist of Glen’s favorite songs.  The organizers say “We are deeply saddened that we cannot hold this event in person but we are working hard to ensure that you receive that same patriotic, ‘do good’ community feeling that our race day brings to the town of Winchester. PLUS we will be able to share it far and wide across the USA and abroad!”

                Waterfield Sotheby’s International Realty will have a team of agents and staff taking part in the race, and invite you to join us in supporting this amazing local foundation.  To register, click here or go to  The registration fee is $35 ($20 for ages 12 and under).  

                We look forward to “joining” many of our friends and neighbors on September 20th for this unique race!



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                  Does Back To School = Time to Move?

                  This summer the hot topic for many families has been school.  When will the kids return to school?  Will they be able to attend in person or will they be learning remotely?  School districts in towns and cities across North Suburban Boston have had to make tough decisions about what works best for their students.  Some schools (e.g Winchester, Arlington) have opted for a “hybrid” approach, combining at-home learning with in-person school on select days or weeks to minimize the number of children in the school building at any one time.  Others (e.g. Melrose, Medford) have decided remote learning is the only safe way to begin the school year.  Parents have had to make difficult decisions based on a number of factors - work, health, mental well-being, and educational needs. Some have decided to homeschool, others have opted for private education in schools that can offer a full in-person schedule.  It’s safe to say it’s been a confusing and unsettling time for families. 

                  For many people, school choice plays a huge part in a decision to move house.  Alongside all the usual concerns, people are now having to factor in other considerations.  Does my target town offer in-person school? Will there be after-school coverage for working parents?  Do I have an option to choose remote learning if I am not comfortable with my kids attending?  Are there local private schools that would suit my needs better this year?  Do the homes I am looking at have space for parents to work from home and kids to be learning at home?  Here is where your experienced realtor can be your greatest asset.  It’s their job to help you find the answers to some of these questions, pointing you in the right direction to gather this information, and guiding you to find the right home to suit your needs.  

                  So if you find that your home is no longer fulfilling your needs, whether that be school offerings or living / working space, get in touch.  Our realtors are available to help you find the right solution for your family.

                  And if, like many of us, you find yourself juggling homeschool and working from home, read this article for five tips to help you manage that balance.



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                    Colorful Kitchen Cabinets That Spice Up Your Space!

                    White kitchens have been a favorite for years but we love the new trend for colorful cabinetry.  A pop of color can make all the difference to the look, and painting cabinets is a great way to revitalize your tired cabinets and give a whole new look without breaking the bank.  The latest blog from Sotheby's International Realty should give you some inspiration - or check our recent listing at 17 Cranston Road in Winchester - the bright blue cabinets are a stunning feature that really sold the home!


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