“Welcome to our Home” Chalkboard

Have to share because, seriously… this is so adorable and won the hearts of so many buyers at my open house. Creating a welcoming living space like this doesn’t have to be expensive, just some chalk paint and chalk. Choose a wall that’s not a focal point; but rather a hidden gem like under a staircase or, in this case, a wall in a room that can’t be seen from it’s entrance. While the idea of a charming, hand-drawn chalkboard sounds nice, let’s be honest, the kids are going to scribble all over your beautifully written words before you get your first offer! Now who’s ready to buy this home?!

 

Before/After Front Entryway

WHAT WE DID:

Painted the walls: BM* Wish (my new favorite color!);
Painted trim white;
Replaced blind with single white sheer curtain. Not pictured, but very pretty;
Staged empty dark entryway to look and feel like useable space with a small desk, chair and accessories.

*Benjamin Moore

Comment below for more information on how we did it, how much it cost or how I can help you do something similar!

Love Letters to Buyers… yes, buyers!

Love letters are not just for buyers trying to make their offer standout in competition; they’re also useful when marketing a property for sale. Before putting a property on the market, I give sellers “homework” (big meany). These assignments are things like finding extra keys or organizing files on services contracts and providers. Added to this list is a request to write a “love letter to buyers”. What is this? It’s a letter from your heart detailing all the reasons you’ve loved living in your home. Potential buyers LOVE to hear about the nearby parks, BBQs with neighbors, and local eateries. It’s also a great opportunity to positively highlight something that may be less desirable to a buyer, otherwise known as functional obsolescence. For example: You may want to comment on how much you’ve enjoyed the peaceful, fenced yard; if you live on a busy street or how about the convenience of walking to parks and downtown; if you have no yard.

No matter what it is that you want to share about your home, it should be authentic and speak to your target market. If you’re selling a home with four bedrooms, your buyers are likely to have children so calling attention to the relationships that you’ve created with other families will mean something to them. Writing about the updates to your home is a must, but communicating how they’ve made life easier or more enjoyable creates value.

Click here for some samples of Love Letters to Buyers written by some of my most talented sellers!

photo credit #jenbolithophotography

Sample Love Letters to Buyers

Dear Buyer,

We moved here over four years ago, and are sad to leave so soon. We moved from Cambridge, worried that we would be too far from the “action” of the city out here in Medford. However, what we found was the perfect mix of a friendly neighborhood in suburbia with fast, easy access to the city. We would readily have a night out with the Red Sox or dinner in Harvard Square while enjoying the space to expand our family and host backyard bar-b-ques for our friends at home (always with plenty of on-street parking right outside the house where our friends could park for free with no permit!).

We regularly take our daughter for walks in the evenings, and have thoroughly enjoyed all the people and pets that we have met. It is definitely a dog-friendly neighborhood, but our two cats loved the free rein they had of their back garden. There are parks aplenty if you crave green space, or a place to play tennis, basketball, or softball.

One of our favorite aspects of the house is it’s incredibly close proximity to Boston Logan airport. We love our home, but we also love travel, and it is typically a 10-15 minute journey by car to pick up friends or fly off on our own adventure. There are also three different grocery stores within about one mile of the house (new Stop & Shop, Star Market, Foodmaster). One of the establishments I have most enjoyed is the spa around the corner – A Different Concept – on Central Ave. They cut my husband’s hair and massage my worries away. They are wonderful! If you have (or hope to have) children, there is an excellent daycare (First Steps Early Learning Center) a mile away on Highland Ave. We also have the best pizza (Pisa Pizza) and Chinese (Asian Taste) delivery places for miles around.

Welcome to the neighborhood – we hope you come to love it the way we do!

 

Dear Buyer,

For the last 10 years, our family has loved living in this “house on the hill” in Fulton Heights with its breathtaking views of the Boston skyline – especially dramatic in the wintertime, backyard sanctuary designed by a previous owner who was a master gardener, and the surrounding oak grove which we believe is over 100 years old. This south-facing house receives beautiful morning sun, and as the day progresses, the back and side yard are filled with gentle late afternoon sunlight. From the master bedroom windows, you can watch the moon sweeping across the sky, and may spot our two resident red-tailed hawks sailing on the warm updrafts blowing up the hill. The house is wonderfully warm on chilly winter days, especially the living room and sunroom. The professional-grade kitchen is where everyone naturally congregates during house parties. I learned to love cooking in this kitchen (which is large enough to accommodate children underfoot!) while looking out at the beautiful wooded lot next door. On warm spring, summer, and fall days, you can open the front door and back door to create a wonderful breeze that brings in fresh air. Older neighbors tell us stories of the original owner planting scores of forsythia bushes for his new bride on the hillside behind the house for a breathtaking yellow display in spring. They are still there, along with vintage white roses in front and back yard, and gorgeous perennials that bloom in rotation from May to August. Our family has raised many delicious veggies in the side yard garden plots – and we leave blueberry bushes and concord grape vines for your summer pleasure. If you love light, views, and nature as much as we do, this is the house for you!

For the first 4 years, we were a couple without kids who commuted daily to Cambridge, and enjoyed the quick transit to urban Boston activities. Then we had children and discovered the other joys of our neighborhood. Our children love our backyard, and especially enjoy climbing the hillside and rocky ledges. We also befriended many of our neighbors who also have children, and found that our little neighborhood on a cul-de-sac has a strong community spirit.

Some of our fondest memories in the neighborhood are walks to and along the nearby Fellsmere Pond, which boasts cherry blossoms is spring, ducks and geese in the summer, beautiful trees in the fall, and incredible sledding in the winter at the locally famous “Seven Bumps”. It is a pleasant stroll down to Haines Square to grab a muffin from Dempsey’s Diner, or pick up some paint and tools at Modern Hardware. If you have downtown Boston by transit in mind, it is only a 20 min walk to Malden T Station on the orange line. Families in Medford will thrill to be part of the renowned Medford Family Network – “a place to know and a place to grow” – which was vital to our growth and survival with three young boys! Arts in Medford has also taken off in the past few years with summer Circle the Square nights and Thursday evening Farmer’s Markets.

Though our personal and professional lives have led us to move, we’re really going to miss this house on the hill. We hope that you enjoy this wonderful, spacious home. It took great care of us, and we know it will take great care of you.

 

Dear Potential Home Buyer:

Nine years ago, with two very young children we decided it was time to move from Boston to a town with more of a community feel. We began our home buying journey in a time where it wasn’t quite as easy as going on Realtor.com to see every house on the market. After having a real estate agent show us several homes around surrounding towns, we couldn’t seem to find a place that had everything we were looking for. Having grown up in Medford, I decided to drive around the area to find potential neighborhoods where a house may come on the market and by chance saw the For Sale sign on the front lawn at ** ********* **. It was fate.

As soon as we stepped inside, we knew our search was over. This home had everything we were looking for: the character and small touches missing in many younger homes, the perfect rooms for our kids, a great neighborhood, proximity to the city, and the easiest access to a major highway you’ll ever find.

It has been hard for us to start thinking about selling this beautiful home. After living here for nine years we have a lot of wonderful memories. We’ve had so many family BBQs, Halloween parties and hosted weekly viewing parties for Patriots games. In the back yard, we watched our kids learn to throw a football, do their first cartwheels and chase their puppies. We love to mountain bike and hike and having the Fells Reservation just across the highway has been fantastic.

Over the years Medford has changed, and only for the better. The city has undergone significant development. Medford square is a great location for dining. Don’t miss out on an Italian sub from Bob’s or a burrito at Tenoch. Medford schools have been rebuilt and Medford youth sports programs are great. The Medford Family Network is also great resource to new parents and we made lifelong friends through our involvement.

We’ve maintained the house well and made small updates over time. It has always been important to us to keep the property’s original character. We fenced in our yard, updated our bathrooms and made lighting and electrical changes. Our home has never given us any problems. During major storms, even when 100 inches of snow fell last winter, we never lost power. We’d happily provide a list of all the service providers we have used in the past including contractors, electricians, landscapers, painters, plumbers and heating specialists.

I no longer work in the city and my commute has changed and so it is time for a new family to enjoy this special house. Warm wishes to you and your family as your new journey begins.

 

Dear Buyer,

Here’s why we’ve loved living here!

The Location:

This neighborhood is full of great people and is so convenient! We are steps to coffee shops, great restaurants, a (truly amazing) spa, a friendly hardware store, and many other shops. We frequently walk to the local parks, Medford Square and the Medford Library. Getting to the T is easy: we walk, ride a bike, or take the bus to the orange line (Malden Center or Wellington). When we drive, we are in Boston in 5 mins on 93.

We were initially concerned about the parking lot behind the house, but quickly learned that it is quiet (mostly people grabbing coffee) and our back yard is private because we don’t have neighbors behind us!

The Rooms:

We love coming home to the warm and welcoming entryway, with all the craftsman woodwork. It has been so convenient to have a spacious area for coats, shoes and bags. The side entrance has proved to be a fast way for getting directly from the car into the house (especially for unloading groceries), and it provides additional storage space.

We spend the most time in our living room: it is large but cozy and has plenty of room for our two big sofas and bookshelves. We love the beam ceiling, berber carpet and big radiator. It keeps the room very warm in the winter.

The kitchen is our favorite room of the home. It is great for entertaining, with the open plan to the dining room. We designed the layout for optimum cooking convenience; with the positioning of the stove, sink and island in a triangle. My favorite features are: 1) the farmers sink; 2) the cabinets, which are huge and soft-closing; and 3) the stainless steel dishwasher, which has an efficient eco wash system.

Bonus Points:

-In the upstairs hallway there is a large linen closet with original built-in drawers.

-The basement serves as a laundry room, man cave, and play room—and we still has room for storage.

-The back yard is a little urban oasis: we have summer bbq parties and there is enough grass for playing ball games and gardening.

-It’s a bonus to have a 2-car driveway, but we have never had problems with multiple guests finding on-street parking.

Quirks:

-The 1930s antique garage was something we thought we would tear down when we moved here. But after much deliberation, we decided against it. We are happy with our decision, as it is great for outdoor storage and serves as an outdoor workshop.

-The grey cement block of steps attached to the back of the house is a remnant of the original home design. When the home was built by its original owner in 1910, the kitchen had a back entrance (it was removed in the 60s). The block could be removed, but we kept it because it’s a quirky place to sit and/or use for planters.

 

 

Dear buyers,

My search for a home in Boston was a difficult one after living on a farm in western Connecticut. As soon as found this home, I knew my search was over. Despite being close to the city of Boston, it felt like country. I loved how set back and pretty was. I loved that there were no curbs on the street and I loved the privacy of the backyard, especially for my dogs.

This house has been the family “party house” for the past seven years. I’ve been able to host sit down family meals for 30 people. The cook (my brother) was the center of attention with the island stove and hors d’oeuvres on the counter. There was always plenty of room for everyone in the living room and den or out on the deck until called to eat. The driveway can hold six cars, maybe another – great for big family parties.

The location has been great for getting almost anywhere – close to 93 and 128.  It’s been lovely being so close to Lake Quannapowitt, downtown Stoneham and Redstone shopping plaza.  So nice.  I will miss it.

I hope that you will be as happy here as I have been!

 

Dear Buyer,

We moved into this house as newlyweds in 2001, and it has been a wonderful home for us. When we first walked in, we fell in love with the natural light, the beautiful old light fixtures and woodwork, and lovely backyard.

Built in 1897 by Isaac W. Brown, a rubber worker, this house was passed down through the Brown family until we bought it. We have always appreciated its history and worked hard to restore and maintain the period detail as much as possible.

This house is fantastic for entertaining large groups and for sharing Sunday morning pancakes around the kitchen table. There are cozy places to sit and read a book, and a living room with plenty of space – it’s even made a great dance floor! The garden beds have great rich soil (we’ve grown amazing tomatoes here), and the 100+ year-old trees in backyard are beautiful in every season.

This home has seen birthday parties and cook-outs, christening parties and baby showers, play dates and book club gatherings, and many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Our friends and family tell us that they always felt welcome and at home here, and we love how warm and comfortable the house feels to everyone who enters it.

In 2004, we brought our first baby home to a warm welcome (and even signs on our front door) from our neighbors, and four years later, his little sister. As our families live outside Massachusetts, our neighbors really became our family. Our kids play together, we help each other shovel out after storms and we trick-or-treat together. We will miss our neighbors the most when we move.

We sincerely hope the next owners of this home find as much joy in it as we have.

 

Dear Buyer,

The first thing that drew us to this home was the peaceful, quiet street on which it sits, with only three other homes on it.  Although we are right off the Fellsway, and thus have easy access to a main thoroughfare of Medford, our street itself is relatively secluded.  Our children have had free reign on our street, where the only traffic are the cars belonging to our home and the other two homes on the street.

This makes up for the relatively small yard, especially when the neighbor children come out to play as well.  We have enjoyed entertaining groups on our large second-story deck, which is shaded from the afternoon sun by the house, making it very pleasant for an evening barbecue.  Our neighbors have been absolutely wonderful, whether it be bringing in our mail when we are out of town, helping with yard work or bringing goodies over.  We will be sad to leave them.  With such a small street, we have gotten to know them and have thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Once inside the home, we were immediately taken by the warm wood trim that exists throughout the home.  No white painted cheap fiberboard window trim here.  We have love the ample room in the home, with three immaculate stories, four bedrooms and huge windows throughout.  When we moved in, the windows, rain gutters and oil burner were woefully outmoded and worn out.  We replaced the old windows with hyper-efficient triple-paned NewPro windows, replaced the oil burner with a brand new natural gas furnace and replaced the old wooden rain gutters with new seamless aluminum gutters.  These upgrades, combined with new ceiling fans throughout, brought the home to a whole new level of energy efficiency and comfort.  The zoned heating allows us to heat either the whole house, or only the parts of the house that we want heated, saving us quite a bit of money in the winter, and it is literally shocking what a difference triple paned windows make in the summer.   People viewing the home will immediately notice that we have ample parking for four vehicles in our driveway.  In a place as crowded as the Boston area, where parking is a premium, we have loved the fact that our guests never have to park on the street, but can instead pull into our driveway.

We will definitely miss our home, but we wish the new owners as much happiness here as we have had.

Functional Obsolescence

FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE: is a reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. The term is commonly used in real estate, but has a wide application.

IN OTHER WORDS: Features of a home that are not practical or desirable that typically affect the price negatively.

EXAMPLES OF HOW IT RELATES TO REAL ESTATE:
Walking through one bedroom to get to another;
Front stairs that are taxing for buyers to have to walk up to get into the house;
A two level home with only one bathroom… on the first floor

Sip, Sip, Hooray!

Ahhh… The nosy neighbor.  You know the one.  As soon as she sees the ‘For Sale’ sign going up, she’s running to the computer to see the price and then letting everyone know her opinion on it. By the way, we love this neighbor. I mean…she is spreading the word!!  I’ve found that your neighbors are likely to go to work immediately letting everyone they know about the new home for sale across the street.

In fact, we want all the neighbors spreading the word so why not invite them to a private pre-open house for a “sneak peek”. Make it special! Serve champagne and sweets!


WHY IT WORKS:
It’s grassroot marketing. 100-150 beautiful invitations with a professional picture of your home on the front and more listing information on the back is a unique way to introduce the property to the community. For starters, they want to see the house.  They want to determine the value of their home by comparing it to yours and… they’re nosy! As a Realtor, it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and who better to ask?  Your Neighbors. Provided they are nice and saying only nice things 🙂 Lastly, it separates your home from others.  It says it’s worth a look and it’s worth the extra money!

Before/After Bathroom

WHAT WE DID

White epoxy on tile and tub (thank you Porcelain Patch!);
Before we epoxied, we pulled out that odd metal drawer under the mirror and retiled that area (what is that thing?);
Painted radiator white;
Painted trim and door: BM* white;
Painted walls: BM Revere Pewter;
Polished vanity base;
Restored and reinstalled vanity hardware and doorknob;
New granite sink top, sink and faucet;
Replaced vanity mirror (Home Depot);
Added vanity lights (Home Depot);
New toilet (Home Depot);
Staged with just a few simple items and
SOLD as an updated bathroom!

*Benjamin Moore

For more information on how we did it, how much it cost or how I can help you do something similar, give me a shout!

Featuring 206 Central Ave, Medford

Offered at $519,000
Open Houses 9/10 12:30-2 & 9/11 12-1:30

Versatile layout lends itself to suit the needs of many different buyers. Traditional first floor unit has two corner bedrooms and full bath. Oversized front room leads to cozy, fireplaced living room and classic dining room with built-in cabinet. Eat in kitchen features tile floors, stainless steel appliances, corian countertops. Second floor addition was built as a three bedroom, including a master with a full bathroom, but could easily be used as a master suite, playroom, office, in-law – whatever you need!  Gleaming hardwood floors throughout, abundant natural light, front and back decks, adorable shared yard, detached garage and pets allowed! Super awesome location – walk to parks, playground and very easy commute – 1.5 miles to the Orange Line, 5 miles to Boston and Harvard Square and minutes to routes 93 and 95.

Featuring 6 Morgan Avenue, Stoneham

Offered at $529,000  Open Houses 5/21 12-1:30 and 5/22 1-2:30

Picture perfect home located in Bear Hill. Set back in a wonderful, established family neighborhood, this unique multi level home features 3 bedrooms, 1 full and two half baths (including a master bath). Versatile first floor plan with fireplaced living room, updated kitchen with 8×12 dining area and three season porch that leads to private, fenced in yard. Sunny and bright oversized family room has separate laundry area and an additional heated sqft in basement could be used for office, playroom, in-law – use your imagination.