New to the area? Allow me to help define this region West of Boston.
As a resident of MetroWest for most of my life, it wasn't until I become a realtor that I actually thought about defining MetroWest and its communities. According to Wikipedia:
"MetroWest is a cluster of cities and towns lying west of Boston and east of Worcester, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The name was coined in the 1980s by a local newspaper. While regional definitions vary, the MetroWest Economic Research Center at Framingham State University defines MetroWest as the nine towns of: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, and Wayland, representing a total population of approximately 184,000."
The MetroWest Chamber of Commerce has a service area that includes these nine towns plus Westborough. My definition coincides with the Chamber's ten towns. With the exception of Southborough and Westborough, in Worcester County, these towns are part of Middlesex County.
MetroWest has exceptional access to I-495, the MassTurnpike/I-90, I-95/Rte 128, Rte 9 and I-290, for ease of commuting to Boston, Worcester, and Providence, but also offers extensive and diverse housing options for all buyers at all price points.
If you are a home buyer and new to Massachusetts it can be daunting to pick a specific area to live. North Shore, South Shore, Cape and Islands, MetroWest, Berkshires.....how hard it must be to choose! While I know a little about all of these areas, I specialize in MetroWest, and I'd like to share a little about four towns that I know and love.
The Town of Framingham is a community, 20 miles west of Boston. In 2014 Framingham High School was ranked #25 by U.S. News & World Report‘s Best High Schools in MA, and in 2012 was placed #36 in CNN Money magazine’s Best Places to Live in the U.S. At nearly 67,000 inhabitants, Framingham is the largest town (not city) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the hub of MetroWest.
Framingham’s Routes 30 and 9 have extensive shopping, restaurants and entertainment. In the summer two farmers markets set up on the Village Green and Downtown, and there’s an abundance of outdoor recreation to fit most interests including Callahan State Park offering miles of walking, biking, and horse trails, Garden in the Woods, Framingham Country Club & Millwood Golf Course. It's also home to the Danforth Museum of Art, Amazing Things Art Center, two public libraries, Framingham State University, and MassBay Community College. The Earth Day Festival, Concerts on the Common, Framingham Farmers Markets, Flag Day Parade, Farm Pond Fall Festival, Annual Tree Lighting at Nevins Hall, Framingham Auxiliary Police Holiday Craft Fair, Framingham History Center Annual House Tour, and Taste of MetroWest are just a few of the events that Framingham residents look forward to each year.
The MBTA Commuter rail has a station in Framingham with parking available.
Chosen #31 by CNN Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live 2009, Southborough has a quiet rural charm enhanced by scenic roads, reservoirs, and open space, as well as two prestigious boarding schools, helping to frame Southborough’s historic village center. In the 2010 Census the town had just under 10,000 residents. Southborough is a wonderful home for those seeking outdoor recreation including Breakneck Hill Conservation Land offering walking trails, Sudbury Reservoir Trails, Chestnut Hill Farm Trails, Baypath Turenne Wildlife Habitat, and the Bay Circuit Trail, St. Mark’s Golf Course, Stonybrook Golf Course, and Fayville Park.
The town has 4 public elementary and middle schools, and is part of Algonquin Regional High School. It’s also home to the Fay School and St. Mark’s School. Annual Events include Southborough Summer Nights, Heritage Day, Santa Day, Annual Egg Hunt, and Gobble Wobble 5k.
The MBTA Commuter rail has a station in Southborough with parking available.
Ashland, 22 miles (35 km) west of Boston, has a population is just over 15,000. Over time, many farms and open spaces have given way to housing, although some untouched land still remains, including the Ashland Town Forest, Ashland State Park, Warren Woods, and land comprising the beach and dam portions of Hopkinton State Park. Businesses, residents and visitors look forward to “Ashland Day”, a not-to-be-missed annual celebration of traditional New England spirit, and a seasonal farmers market brings the town together on Saturday mornings.
The MBTA Commuter rail has a station in Ashland with parking available.
The Town of Hopkinton was established in 1715 and gains widespread media attention each year in April when the internationally known Boston Marathon is run. Runners from all over the world gather on Main Street to begin their 26-mile run in what is always a colorful and exciting event. In an unusual welcoming gesture, the Board of Selectmen writes a letter to each new resident describing Hopkinton’s facilities and programs and urging them to involve themselves in Town affairs as part of “warm and friendly Hopkinton”.
The town has no shortage of public and private recreational facilities including Hopkinton State Park, Whitehall State Park, the Town beach on Lake Maspenock, fishing, tennis courts, playgrounds, the Hopkinton Country Club and the YMCA. Annual Cultural events include the Hopkinton Polyarts Festival, Fourth of July parade and bonfire, and the summer concert series on the Town Common. The Town is proud of its community-supported educational system, its new, expanded,recycling facility and its leaf composting program. Hopkinton's population in 2010 was 14,633.
If you have any questions or would like to explore MetroWest and any of its 10 towns, please contact me at 617-640-1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Credits: Wikipedia, Mass.gov, City Data, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, Ashland, Framingham, Hopkinton and Southborough town websites - Thank you!
One Floor Living At Its Finest
Having grown up in the area, I can't tell you the number of times I've passed by this house and thought how lovely it is. It has understated elegance. It's a classic, set back from the road, past a stone wall. I am now honored to have the Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty sign bearing my name hanging in front of 116 Pine Hill Road.
This Royal Barry Wills-style home combines traditional refinement and quality in a bucolic 1.37 acre setting. Enter into the foyer featuring a stone floor and through French doors where you are greeted by a bright, spacious Living Room. The Library boasts built-ins and a wet bar and can be accessed through the Living Room or Master Bedroom. An over-sized kitchen island, two wall ovens, 7-burner cook range, new granite countertops, and gorgeous fireplace define the open floor plan Kitchen-Family Room.
The walkout basement with 1207sf has limitless possibilities, and is currently being used as Game Room/Play Room/ Exercise Room.
Enjoy watching the leaves change color from the new deck and recently fenced backyard. Other features include pegged hardwoods, 4 fireplaces, 8 heat zones, and 2 zones of Central A/C. Enjoy nearby Callahan State Park with 820 acres of conservation land and 7 miles of trails. You will be just minutes to Rte 9 and the MassPike in arguably the best commuter location in Southborough.
Visit http://www.116PineHill.com for further details or contact Maria Romero Vagnini to schedule a private showing.
Statistically, staged homes spend 90% less time on the market and sell close to asking price.
I have partnered with Turning Leaf Design and Staging to bring my summer listings yet another marketing edge. I am offering my listings a $1,000 credit towards staging and rentals with Turning Leaf through August 31, 2015!
I searched high and low to find home stagers who will design and stage both vacant and occupied properties for me, and when I discovered sisters Deb and Nancy of Turning Leaf Design and Staging I knew immediately that I wanted to work with them.
They own an extensive inventory of furniture and accessories which was essential to me (cutting out the middle man of furniture rental companies that charge high prices for inferior furnishings). Turning Leaf will use my client's existing furnishings and add furniture and accessories from their inventory as necessary.
Home Staging is the perfect complement to the extraordinary photography and videography that Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty has built its brand on. As buyers begin their home search online, it's essential to show a home looking its absolute best. I consider online viewing of a property the first showing, and the second showing is when a buyer enters the property, often making their purchasing decision within minutes of entering! Staging is essential and something I've always enjoyed doing myself, but filling empty rooms and finding the right accessories can be time consuming. Since meeting Deb and Nancy, I've decided to leave it to the professionals! I hope Sellers see this as an incredible added value.
If you know someone who is considering selling their home, please contact me for a free Comparative Market Analysis to establish the current market value of the home.
View Turning Leaf Design and Staging's Portfolio at http://turningleafhome.com/blog/.
*Staging credit to be used exclusively for this purpose and to be paid directly to Turning Leaf for their services by Maria Romero Vagnini.
**Not redeemable for cash or credit.
If I had a nickel for every time someone (friend, stranger, client) asked me if they should renovate their kitchen, I'd be a much wealthier woman. Of course, there is no definitive answer, so it ultimately depends on the reason for a renovation. Will it make you happier? Can you afford it? Than my answer is almost always "yes" do it, but do it wisely: Hire a professional, make a budget, and stick to it. However, if your plan is to "flip" the house be very careful because you may not recoup the cost.
Boston Magazine's March issue makes the argument for and against. The takeaway is that if you want to sell a house quickly, an updated kitchen will certainly help, and if your kitchen is out-dated plan to price it to sell or expect to sell it for less than asking. Read the article here:
Boston Magazine "Kitchen Renovation" article
Zillow.com addresses the question, "Should I remodel before selling" and offers some good advice:
1. Go to open houses for "remodeled homes." Think about the asking price and try to imagine how much less the sales price would be without the remodels. Remember that the idea is to sell your house as quickly as possible at the highest possible price. And the point is to make a profit! If all your profits are eaten up in remodeling costs, you've missed the opportunity to make money on your home.
2. In general, it's a bad idea to go into significant debt to remodel, especially if you're about to buy another home. If you take out a large loan to remodel it may hurt your credit rating and your ability to borrow for your new home.
3. Some remodels may be necessary just to make your house competitive in your market. If you own an older home that was built with only one bathroom, consider adding a small powder room. Other older homes in your price bracket that are on the market are likely to have added bathrooms.
4. If you do any remodeling at all, make it modest, and stylistically neutral. Select standard white porcelain toilets and sinks, and stick with faucets and towel racks that are nicely designed but not flashy. And of course, paint the room off-white. Remember, you want to appeal as many people as possible who tour your home.
Read the full article here: "Remodel Before Selling?"
Also, check out This Old House for tips on allocating your kitchen renovation budget: "Read This Before You Remodel a Kitchen" article.
If you need some luxury inspiration, SothebysRealty.com offers Extraordinary angles Inspired by....Kitchens. Click Here to enjoy some kitchen eye candy.
If you're still wondering if a renovation makes sense for your house, contact me to see if the comps in your neighborhood would a support the cost of your kitchen renovation.
It has been a great year for real estate in Metrowest! Check out my Market Snapshot for the towns of Framingham, Hopkinton, Southborough, and Sudbury.
On January 25th Patch.com reported that Massachusetts is seeing the fewest first-time homebuyers in twelve years, according to their source the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. They reported that first-time home buyers made up just 39 percent of the total homes bought in Massachusetts in 2014 (down from its usual 44.5 percent).
There certainly are buyers out there looking. I'm working with first-time-buyers right now who are searching for an affordable home, but with low inventory and high prices, they don't have a lot to choose from. I have to agree with MAR president Corinne Fitzgerald who says “While the market in Massachusetts has been steadily improving, the lack of homes for sale, and the resulting upward pressure on prices has pushed a lot of first-time buyers to the sidelines.”
I see this as a great opportunity for sellers under $400k in Metrowest. There's plenty of time left to begin preparing your home for the Spring Real Estate market, and make the American Dream of home ownership a reality for an eager first-time buyer.
To read the full Patch article click here:
* Listing data per MLSPIN.
Contact Maria Romero Vagnini to find out your home's value in the current Real Estate Market at 617.640.1400 or email email@example.com.
Maria Romero Vagnini
I am a Realtor with Mathieu Newton Sotheby's International Realty, working with buyers and sellers in suburban Boston's Metrowest communities.