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Berkeley Perk

The Berkeley Perk is a long time Biega + Kilgore Team favorite. From a delicious hot coffee on the go in the morning to a California Dreamin’ wrap (team favorite) for lunch in between showings, the Berkeley Perk has always been a go-to. 

 

Located right on Berkeley Street, a prime location in the South End, it’s easily accessible and their menu has something for everyone. We spoke with the owner, Jordan Tse, to learn more about this special cafe. 

 

Q: How long has the Berkeley Perk been in business? 

A: We have been in business 8/98 to current. Going on 23 years.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the South End?

A: My favorite thing about the South end is the great city life! The diversity, food, accessibility and culture. 

 

Q: What is your favorite thing on the menu? 

A: I like to see what the chef has on special for the day or week and that is usually my favorite 

 

Head over to the Berkeley Perk this month and mention the Biega + Kilgore Team and have a free coffee, hot chocolate or tea on us! We hope you love it as much as we do. 

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    Why people are choosing to stay in Boston despite COVID 19

     

    There is no doubt that Covid-19 has impacted everyone in one way or another. There are a lot of uncertainties and questions in many of our lives. One thing that is for sure is that we all need a place to live and to call home. 

    While no one knows what the immediate future holds, there has been movement, and lots of it, during this pandemic. There is one question that we have been asked many times over the last few months and we wanted to share some anecdotal thoughts and data from our experience transacting real estate since the beginning of Covid-19. 

     

    The question: Is everyone moving to the Suburbs? 

     

    The headlines both nationally and locally certainly lead us to believe that there is a mass exodus out of cities, that they are desolate and that everyone of all ages is moving to the suburbs. For starters, all cities are not the same and it is crucial to look at real estate at a micro level vs. national level. 

    There are certainly a number of individuals and families that have chosen to make the move from the city to the suburbs over the last few months. However, from what we have found, the majority of those people were already planning on moving to the suburbs within the next 3-5 years and Covid-19 simply accelerated their move. 

    While preferences and search criteria have shifted slightly and people are placing higher value on turnkey properties, outdoor space and an office/bonus space, there are many individuals, families and couples of all ages who have decided to stay in the city. Below we will outline the motivating factors driving our clients’ decision to stay.

     

    Ubiquitous Green Space in Boston

    From the Public Garden to the Charles River Esplanade to Lawn on D and M Street Beach, there is a plethora of public outdoor spaces for Boston's residents to enjoy year round. For families with kids who are deciding between the suburbs and the city, a big driver is the thought of having a backyard in the suburbs. In New England, we can only use our backyards/ outdoor spaces comfortably for the summer months as well as the book end weeks of Spring and Fall. Many of our recent buyers have certainly placed a higher preference on having some sort of outdoor space and the young families who have chosen to stay take full advantage of the outdoor space throughout the city to entertain children, read a book, have a picnic and more! 

     

    Second Homes/ Vacation Homes

    The secondary/vacation home markets have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. The work from home orders and quarantine mandates inspired people to escape to more isolated locations such as the popular summer destinations in Cape Cod, Nantucket Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Maine and Vermont to name a few. We have noticed a shift in mindset of some of our city residents who are keeping their Boston homes as home base and planning to spend extended periods of time at an existing or new vacation home. Boston offers easy access to all of the highways that lead to some of the most popular vacation cities and towns on the East Coast. 

    Instead of deciding to sell their city home and purchase in the suburbs, many are seeing their vacation home purchase as a getaway home while keeping or purchasing a city home. Some other key drivers to move to the burbs include the desire for more space for your money, backyard and perhaps a pool. Some are opting to experience the best of both worlds by having a vacation home with the pool and more space while still keeping a city pad. We have also seen a trend of people purchasing larger vacation homes and choosing to downsize in the city. 

     

    Movement to Boston from Bigger Cities

    Over the last few months there has been a significant increase in buyers moving into Boston from other bigger cities. We have received a large number of buyer inquiries recently from people making the move from NYC to Boston specifically. Many of these people are from the Boston area originally and with the work from home trends in place for the foreseeable future, Boston is now an option for them!

     

    Lifestyle

    While we service all kinds of clients, a large sector happens to be young professionals/single millennials. Very few of our clients from this sector have made the move to the suburbs. Largely, these individuals are still enjoying all that the city has to offer. Yes, restaurants and bars have been closed and capacity is thinner overall but the restrictions in place will not be forever.

     

    Variety of Homes

    In Boston, there are many high rise buildings with full service management and innumerable amenities, however, there is also an extensive variety of smaller brownstone buildings ranging from 1-4 residences. Of course some of these have elevators and/or garages too. For the immediate future and perhaps longer, those who are hesitant to purchase in a high rise building with hundreds of residents, have pivoted their search to a brownstone where they have only a few neighbors and at times, a private entrance. 

    Let's look at some data...

    Below is some interesting data that we have analyzed from Small Haul, a reputable moving company that services Boston and its surrounding towns and suburbs as well as interstate moves. This data may be surprising to some! Based on ALL move requests submitted from March - November in 2020 (covid) vs. 2019 (pre-covid), the EXACT same percentage of move requests have been submitted with a destination IN BOSTON vs OUTSIDE OF BOSTON. 

     

    MARCH 2020-NOVEMBER 2020 

    TOTAL MOVE REQUESTS: 2,832

    Moves originating at an address in BOSTON- 1,363 or 48%

    Moves originating at an address NOT IN BOSTON- 1,469 or 53%

    Destination at an address within BOSTON- 1,208- 43%

    Destination at an address NOT IN BOSTON- 1,624- 57%

     

    MARCH 2019- NOVEMBER 2019

    TOTAL MOVE REQUESTS: 2,146

    Moves originating at an address in BOSTON- 1,000 or 47%

    Moves originating at an address NOT IN BOSTON- 1,146 or 53%

    Destination at an address within BOSTON- 922 or 43%

    Destination at an address NOT IN BOSTON- 1,224 or 57%

     

    **this data is based on a moving company that services Boston and its surrounding towns and cities as well as interstate moves.

     

     

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      Local Spotlight: Jonquils Cafe

      Jonquils is a stylish, modern Cafe & Bakery that just opened on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay. A “jonquils” is a fragrant flower which can be found in various countries and cultures. These different cultures are incorporated into the cafes menu. The only location is Newbury Street in Boston, but this cafe would fit right in on the streets of France! They have a variety of coffees, teas, fresh juices, baked goods and healthy lunch options which can be enjoyed outside on their large patio with outdoor seating.

      Their unique desserts are created by condensing and shaping the ingredients of the dessert into a 3D printed mold. In addition, their staff are very friendly, helpful, and welcoming. If you are looking to try something new and refreshing, we highly recommend visiting Joquils! 

      Our favorites:

      Single Origin Espresso 

      ethiopia misty valley: blueberry cheesecake, lemonade, apricot, chocolate, hibiscus

      Pentagon 

      milk chocolate mousse, rich chocolate sponge, almond crunch and dark chocolate cremeux

      https://jonquilscafe.com/

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        Boston Design Spotlight: Susan Shulman Interiors

        Our November Boston Design spotlight goes to Susan Shulman of Susan Shulman Interiors. Susan has been helping clients across Boston for over 25+ years. Her work has been featured in The Boston Design Guide, New England Home Magazine, Design Boston, the Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and many other publications. As an oil painter, Susan has the ability to mix unexpected color combinations for her interior design work directly from her experience in the artist’s studio. Today, we are lucky to have Susan answering the top 3 design questions we hear from our clients who have just rented or bought in the city:

        Many of our clients come to us to find the perfect rental. What is the best way for renters to make a space their own without having to change the footprint of the home?

        The best way for a renter to make a space their own is to add meaningful art, fresh flowers and something from their past. This could be a special vase, a book they’ve loved or a special gift from a friend or family member. Playing music in the background also creates a context that brings comfort and familiarity.

        Beyond white paint and lamps, what are your suggestions to lighten up a dark space?

        To lighten up a dark space, I’d hang a mirror or two in key places. Try hanging one opposite a window, preferably with a view or opposite a light fixture so the light bounces off as a reflection.  Light colored furnishings such as carpet and fabrics will also seemingly reflect light. Dark colors do the opposite by absorbing light. This will make a dark room appear even darker. Lighting corners is also effective rather than using just task lighting.

        Many of the properties we have sold in the last year are open concept homes. How do you help your clients created defined livings spaces (ie kitchen, living, and dining areas) in an open concept home?

        This last question is one that I am currently working on to separate an open space floor plan for a house on the Atlantic.  In order to define three spaces I am using a different carpet in each space. The living room will have a rectangular carpet that sits under the sofa, chairs and coffee table.  Helping to define the center of the room is a wall height fireplace and bookshelf arrangement. This further sets it off from the other two areas. Here we are positioning four of the same chairs in a circular arrangement with a round table in the center. A coordinated rug will anchor this seating arrangement. The third space is the dining room, which will have a different complimentary carpet to define this area. All of the furnishings are open to its neighboring groups making this ideal for large gatherings of family and friends. 

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          Local Builders and General Contractors

          Clients often ask us for the names of reputable, high-end builders/ general contractors. While we are not able to offer specific recommendations, the following is a sampling of firms who we know regularly perform renovations in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and South End.

           

          Kennedy Design Build

          http://www.kennedybuild.com/

          Kennedy Design Build is a premier general contracting company specializing in custom residences in and around Boston with a concentration in Boston’s South End. We strive to deliver a product that not only reflects our commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship but leaves a lasting impression on those who experience it. Unequaled quality and customer satisfaction will continue to define Kennedy Design Build as a leader in Custom Residential Construction.

           

          M.F. Reynolds

          https://www.mfreynolds.com/

          M. F. Reynolds, Inc. specializes in providing professional construction services to residential and institutional clients in Boston and the surrounding areas.  Since 1890, this century old company is committed to the timely execution of high quality building and remodeling projects, regardless of their complexity or size. For every project, from kitchen remodeling, historic preservation, family room additions to new home construction, M. F. Reynolds holds to its sterling reputation of skilled craftsmanship, responsiveness, transparency, subcontractor loyalty, and ultimately client satisfaction.

           

          Payne Bouchier

          https://www.paynebouchier.com/

          Payne | Bouchier grew out of a passion for New England’s historic buildings and a commitment to high standards. We have been building, restoring and renovating fine homes throughout New England since 1981. After Hampshire College, Steve Payne had mastered the minutiae of millwork and cabinetry, and acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and methodologies of woodworking. Tom Payne brought a strong sense of aesthetic and a keen eye for details, developed from his studies at Boston University’s Program in Artisanry. Oliver Bouchier was born in England where he cultivated his affinity for fine design and the traditions of British craftsmanship. Steve and Tom Payne and Oliver Bouchier pooled their collective talents to build Payne | Bouchier into the strong and diverse company that it is today. Working in the art of historic renovation, yet well versed in the forms, systems and materials of new construction, we can maneuver effortlessly between traditional and modern builds. If the design imperative is a historically authentic restoration or sleek modernity, we will bring our rigorous project management and skilled craftsmanship to bear. Whether it is making a window sash with historically accurate muntin profiles or doing a custom lay-up of exotic veneer, the outcome is beautiful and the process is enjoyable.

           

          Woodmeister

          https://www.woodmeister.com/

          When you choose Woodmeister, you get much. More than a seasoned construction professional.  Woodmeister is your personal advocate whose passion for excellence delivers an exceptional experience driven by unparalleled customer service.  Quite simply, we love what we do and it shows in the craftsmanship, meticulous attention to every detail and our commitment to delivering customer delight.

           

          Sea-Dar

          http://seadar.com/

          Sea-Dar is committed to developing trusting relationships with our clients that last long after the project has been completed. For 25 years, Sea-Dar Construction has been building a wide range of construction projects: from luxury urban residences and fine suburban custom homes, to large, technically complex institutional and commercial structures, each is managed with the same commitment to quality and customer service.  Whether it is new construction, conversion, renovation, or restoration, we consistently exceed the expectations of our clients.

           

          C.H. Newton Builders

          http://www.chnewton.com/

          Much like each home we build, C.H. Newton Builders began with a vision. In the summer of 1958, C.H. Newton bought thirty acres of land around a pond in Falmouth, Massachusetts with the intent of building an enclave of high quality custom homes. Over fifty years and four generations later, his vision continues with our family-owned, custom home building company with locations across New England. Our “C.H. Newton extended family” comprises over 40 full-time, highly respected industry professionals as well as our private network of clients from over five decades of business. Expertise, customization and first class quality are all at the core of every specialized project we complete. To us, a house is more than a home—it’s an heirloom.

           

          Sleeping Dog Properties

          https://www.sleepingdogproperties.com/

          Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc. has delivered custom residential construction services to discerning clientele in Boston and surrounding areas for over 20 years. Whether we’re completely rebuilding, remodeling or renovating, we can create a home to your exact specifications. Our team has the knowledge, skill, and care to bring your vision to life.

           

          International Builders

          https://www.intbuilders.com/

          A high-end boutique firm, International Builders, Inc. consists exclusively of hardworking, creative, and thoughtful professionals who share an unyielding determination to help you achieve your goals. As masters of commercial and residential projects, we bring our passion for flawless execution to every single project, large and small.

           

          The Holland Companies

          http://www.thehollandcompanies.com/

          With more than 100 years of combined experience in the design, engineering and construction industries, Holland Development and M. Holland & Sons Construction have managed hundreds residential and commercial projects. It offers a unique combination of services to buyers by providing historical designs, sound re-engineering and quality construction n highly sought-after and difficult building environments like the Back Bay, South End and Beacon Hill. Holland Development was founded in response to the market need for high-quality residential construction in affluent urban Boston areas. It is a direct offshoot of M. Holland & Sons Construction, Inc., a 40-year old family-owned-and-managed  general construction company and its resident design and engineering professionals. Its mission is to provide high-quality, historically designed residential housing.

           

          Catamount

          http://catamountbuilders.com/

          Catamount Builders has been crafting homes since 2004. With a diverse and specialized team, we can build your custom home from foundation to finish or simply finish the exterior remodel you haven’t had time to do. Our keen eye and personal touch will give you a different construction experience. We are not just construction workers — we are builders, we are crafters. Your project will be approached and met with exceptional care and unmatched quality. At Catamount, you and your home are our number one priority.

           

          DiPierro Construction

          http://www.dipierroinc.com/our-team/

          With over 30 years of experience, DiPierro Construction services all aspects of residential and light commercial construction and development in Boston proper and surrounding areas.  We strive to offer our clients a wide range of services making it easier to manager all aspect of the job no matter its scope or size.

           

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            Why People Buy Garden Level Homes

            Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the South End are three of Boston’s most iconic neighborhoods and have become increasingly desirable places for residents to call home. The juxtaposition of the quiet residential streets with the bustling activity on the nearby downtown streets makes these neighborhoods unique, charming and inviting.

            Historic brownstone homes are ubiquitous throughout these neighborhoods in the form of condominiums, single family, and multi-family dwellings.  Most of these brownstones were built back in the early 1900’s, originally constructed as single family or multi-family homes. The concept of the Condominium was conceived in the 1960s and has been growing in popularity ever since.

            During the conversion of a single or multi family brownstone into condominiums, multiple units are designed and developed, one on top of the other, creating some combination of lower level, middle and upper level units. The lower level unit is commonly referred to as the garden level unit. The middle level(s) is often referred to as the parlor level and the upper most level unit is most commonly referred to as the penthouse.  While condos can be designed spanning any number of floors, we often see floor-through units, which are all on one floor; duplexes, which span two floors; and triplexes which consist of three levels. While every individual has his/her own idea of what makes a home “perfect”, there are pros and cons of living on each different level of a brownstone condo building. 

            Below, we will explore some of the advantages of living in a garden level unit and offer our thoughts on how lower level units overcome the stigma of being “darker” and less desirable.

            What motivates a buyer to purchase a garden-level home?

            • Easy access from the street
            • Fewer flights of stairs
            • Often there is a separate, private entrance from the other units in the building 
            • Outdoor space tends to be slightly larger offering the opportunity for a garden/entertaining
            • Direct access to parking if a deeded spot is available behind the building
            • Units tend to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer creating energy efficiency
            • Pricing tends to be slightly lower than comparable units on mid or upper levels because of the “stigma” that all garden level units are dark and less desirable

            Understanding the pros and cons of every unit will help you make an informed decision when exploring your options. If you’re considering a purchase, let us guide and help you find the perfect fit for you. 

            Click here to view some of our favorite garden level homes in Back Bay, Beacon Hill and South End.

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              Boston Rental Process

              What to Expect in the Boston Rental Market

              The rental market in Boston is competitive and peak rental season is in full swing! We thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of the rental process from the search to lease signing.  

               

              Identifying Needs, Wants and Preferences

              Before embarking on a rental search, there are a couple questions that we always ask our clients to help us guide them through the search and process.  

              • # of bedrooms and bathrooms?
              • How many people will be living in the unit?
              • Do you have any pets? If so, what is the breed?
              • Neighborhood preferences?
              • Do you need to be close to public transportation?
              • Move in date?
              • Desired length of lease?
              • Is central A/C a must have or need to have?
              • Is in-unit laundry a must have or need to have?
              • Do you need parking?
              • Price range?

              All of these questions help to narrow down the search before we go out on property tours. Once we have the criteria above, we are able create a list of rental options tailored to your specific needs to send over for review. Additionally, we will set you up to receive alerts the moment a new rental hits the market that meets your criteria.

               

              Property Tours

              We proactively keep you updated on new rentals as well as for any off-market or pre-market opportunities. Good rentals rent quickly so we always encourage you to reach out as soon as possible once you come across unit of interest. If any given unit currently has a tenant in it, 24-hour notice for a showing may be required. Below are some questions to ask while you are on your tour:

              • What utilities, if any, are included in rent?
              • What are the move-in costs?
              • Is any of the furniture staying in the unit?
              • Will the unit be professionally cleaned before move-in?
              • Where does the trash go?

               

              Application Process

              Once we identify the home for you, we start the application process.  In addition to the application which we would provide you, applicants are typically asked to provide the following:

              • Proof of Employment- [usually in the form of an offer letter or last two pay stubs]
              • Proof of funds if proof of employment is not an option
              • Credit Report
              • Copy of Photo ID

              As soon as we have these items in hand, we are able to submit the application to the listing agent or the landlord.  Once the landlord reviews and accepts an offer, the lease is drafted up and signed by both parties. Upon lease signing, first month’s rent, security deposit and a broker fee equal to one month of rent will be due. Last month’s rent may be required as well. Your security deposit, which is typically equal to one month of rent, is kept in an interest-bearing account, separate from the other funds. Once the tenancy ends, the landlord performs a walk through and returns the security deposit, within 30 days, to you should the unit be in the same condition.

               

              Move-in

              On move-in day or prior we facilitate the key hand-off for you. Depending on the building, there may be move-in rules and regulations, so we make sure you are aware of those.  If you are planning on having a large moving truck, you should consider applying for a street moving permit sign to reserve space in front of the building for the move-in. Signs are required to be put up 48 hours in advance of a move and can be attained at City Hall.

              To reserve a parking spot for your moving truck visit: https://www.boston.gov/reserve-parking-spot-your-moving-truck

              Looking for a mover? Visit www.smallhaulmover.com

               

              Post Move-In

              Once you get settled, you can apply for your resident parking permit.  You can apply online for your parking permit here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/parking-clerk/how-get-resident-parking-permit

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                Dog Parks in Boston

                They say dogs are a man’s/woman’s best friend and we couldn’t agree more.  Many of our clients that we work with put pet friendly living and proximity to dog friendly parks at the top of their must have list when searching for a home.  We understand that importance and have compiled a list of those parks in Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End and South Boston where you will find other furry 4-legged friends.

                 

                Beacon Hill

                Boston Common

                139 Tremont Street

                The Esplanade

                Storrow Drive

                 

                Back Bay

                Carlton Court Dog Park

                Southwest Corridor Path

                Comm Avenue Mall

                Commonwealth Avenue

                 

                 

                South End

                Peters Park

                1277 Washington Street

                Blackstone Square

                1535 Washington Street

                Titus Sparrow Park

                200 West Newton Street

                 

                South Boston

                South Boston Bark Park

                1280 Columbia Road

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                  Monthly Parking Garages/Lots in and Around the South End

                  Owning a parking spot in the South End is a luxury. If you are thinking about moving to the South End, you may find a condo that checks all of your boxes except a deeded parking spot. All residents and tenants in the neighborhood are granted street parking permits which may serve as a viable solution.

                  We often ask our buyers whether a deeded parking spot is a must have or “nice-to have” feature in their desired home. If a parking spot is a necessity, we then find out if a parking “solution” nearby, which may be a public or privately-owned garage spot or outdoor space for a monthly rental rate would suffice. We put together the list below of parking “solutions” to answer the frequently asked questions about parking options in and around the South End.

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