Month: June 2014

4th Of July Celebrations Around Massachusetts

4TH OF JULY 2014

Along with Thanksgiving, July 4th is a holiday Americans can claim all to themselves. There’s no shortage of fun, family oriented things to do in Massachusetts this July 4th. Boston Harborfest is the king of all things 4th of July. With hundreds of events for adults and children, including historic reenactments, live music, food, and patriotic revelries, you won’t run out of things to do. But Independence Day celebrations aren’t limited to Boston. There is a solemn reading of the Declaration of Independence at Old Sturbridge Village; a Blessing of the Fleet with food and live music in New Bedford; art shows in Brewster ; a road race on Nantucket and many fireworks displays across the Commonwealth. Don’t miss any opportunity to get out there and have some patriotic fun. Here are just some of the things to do in Massachusetts this 4th of July.



Blue Star Museums Free admission to the military and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Boston Harborfest
 – July 2-6
 Festival includes more than 220 events: walking tours, concerts, Revolutionary-era historical reenactments, the famous Chowdafest, visits from U.S. and foreign naval ships; harbor cruises; State House tours; guided walking tours of the North End, Boston’s underground and the Harbor Islands; treasure hunt; tour of Coast Guard ships; whale watch and dinner cruises; chowder fest; USS Constitution Turnaround Cruise; Boston Pops concert and fireworks. Check out the MBTA’sspecial schedules during Harborfest.

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
 – July 4
 Free outdoor concert in the Hatch Shell aside the Charles River is a glittering, unforgettable Independence Day tradition. This Fourth of July musical celebration includes performances of patriotic favorites like “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “America,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”; thunderous rendition of Tchaikovsky”s “1812 Overture” followed by fireworks display over Charles River

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
 – Boston
 July 4
 – Only once a year, Boston residents and visitors get to hear the famous speech read from the balcony as it was on July 18, 1776. Location: Old State House, State and Division Streets.
10 – 10:30 a.m.
 Cost: free

Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships
 – Boston
 July 2 -7. 
 Lots of great tall ship events during Harborfest.

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets
 – July 4th Summer Sale
 Don’t miss the July 4th Summer Sale at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets®. Enjoy extra savings on top of already low outlet prices. Featuring 170 stores including Banana Republic Factory Store, Elie Tahari, Juicy Couture, Salvatore Ferragamo and many more. Visit the Sales & Events page for a sample of in-store promotions.

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Sudbury’s Annual Fourth of July Parade
 – Sudbury 
July 4
 All are welcome to come and watch one of the area’s best parades! (With a zip code like 1776, Sudbury’s patriotic spirit is one to be reckoned with…) The parade forms on Union Avenue between Station Road and Codjer Lane. Step off time is 1 p.m.

Acton Celebrates Independence Day
 – Acton
 July 4
 Fireworks and Concert. At NARA Park in Acton, MA. The day starts off with family fun activities from 3-7 PM, followed by a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones Tribute Band, The Blushing Brides at 7:30 PM and fireworks at 9:30 PM. Food vendors will be onsite. No alcoholic beverages permitted. Free Admission – some activities may have a small fee.

Picnic in the Park
 – Concord
 July 4
 A program of favorite patriotic tunes by this 50-year-old concert band. Location: Emerson Field, Stow Street. The concert will be in the Concord Armory if it rains. Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with band performance at 3 p.m.

Pepperell Fourth of July
 – Pepperell
 July 5
 Parade at 12:30 p.m.; Rockin Rib Fest at the Community Center fields; fireworks at dusk. Location: Parade starts at Pepperell Town Hall, travels on Main Street East around the rotary, follows Hollis Street North past town field, turns left onto and marching up Tucker Avenue, and ends at the large parking lot between Nissitissit Middle School and the field where the fireworks are displayed.

Salisbury Beach 4th of July
 – Salisbury
 July 4
 Enjoy the sea and surf, ice cream and cotton candy, beach pizza and fried dough, arcades and more. Dine over the ocean, listen to reggae on a giant oceanfront deck. Get your palm read. Play games on the Broadway Mall. Visit the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation’s Sea Life Discovery Center where you can come face-to-face with marine creatures at their new touch tank! Or take a surf lesson with Zapstix at their second, new oceanfront location. There’s something for everyone at Salisbury Beach!

Rockport Independence Day Celebration
 – TBD 
Rockport Firemen’s Parade at 6 p.m., followed by a Legion Band Concert and bonfire on Back Beach at about 8:30 p.m

Gloucester Independence Day Horribles Parade and Fireworks
 – TBD – 
Gloucester Horribles Parade begins at 6 p.m. and circles through downtown Gloucester. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Favorite viewing locations: Stacy Boulevard, Stage Fort Park, Western Avenue.

Danvers Family Festival
 – Danvers
 TBD Festivities leading up to the Danvers Fireworks on July 4 start about a month prior with themed nights, concerts, games and festivals. The Fireworks Festival itself takes place at Plains Park from 4 – 9 pm. The main stage hosts musical performances while various concession stands sell delicious food. The Just for Fun areas features games and rides for kids. Throughout the early evening there is a stunt plane show, along with parachuting and a military fly over. The famed fireworks show begins at 9:30 pm.

Beverly Farms Independence Day Celebration
 –  TBD 
 The featured events are the always unique morning Horribles Parade and a spectacular evening shoreline illumination and aerial fireworks display held at West Beach. Rounding out the holiday events, the Committee also sponsors the House Decorating Contest, the Family & Friends Cookout, the youngsters Scavenger Hunt, the post Parade “Old Timers” adult softball game at Dix Park, races and games at West Beach on the afternoon of the 4th, and musical entertainment at the Beach leading up to the fireworks.

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
 – Marblehead
 – July 4
 – Monday, July 4th, 2011 approximately 9:00 p.m. The Harbor Illumination will begin at 8:45 p.m. and immediately following we will LIGHT THE FUSE ON THIS YEAR’S EDITION OF FIREWORKS FOREVER!


Fireman’s Parade, Rockport, July 4, 6 pm.

Independence Day Parade, Manchester, July 4, 12 noon

Highlands Horribles Parade, Danvers, July 4, 9 am

Back Bay Parade, Danvers, July 4, 11 am

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Plymouth’s Star Spangled 4t of July Celebration
 – July 4 – 
Always a great time to be in America’s Home Town! Parade route begins at Cordage Park Marketplace on Court Street in North Plymouth and winds its way down Court Street through downtown Plymouth and Main Street, continuing onto Main St. Ext and, turning left onto Water Street to the reviewing stand next to the Plymouth Rock. The Legion Bud Band starts at 7pm and ends just before the fireworks begin, with the playing of the 1812 Overture 

New Bedford Folk Festival
 – July 5-6 -New Bedford Folk Festival brings together over 70 renowned and emerging performers and 90 juried arts and crafts vendors in New Bedford’s authentic historic district during the first weekend in July. The two day family-oriented festival offers continuous folk music from 11am to 9pm on seven sound stages in and around the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park ranging from the majestic 1200 seat Zeiterion Performing Arts Center to the intimacy of the National Park Garden Stage.

139th Brockton Fair
 – June 27-July 6 
Lively and exciting entertainment for all ages! In addition to the always-thrilling midway full of rides, other featured entertainment includes a surprise-filled magic show, exciting demolition derby, horse racing, amateur boxing, figure 8 racing, stock car football, big bear show, magician, petting zoo, puppet shows, livestock shows and spectacular fireworks displays!

Hingham Celebrates the 4th
 – July 4: Fireworks over Hingham Harbor, Hingham Road Race & 4th of July Parade
, Vintage Baseball Game.

39th Braintree Independence Celebration

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Cape Cod Baseball League Summer Schedule

Mashpee Wampanoag Annual Pow Wow
 – Mashpee
 July 4-6 
Native American cultural event including drummers, dancing, crafts and food.

Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks
 – Edgartown
 July 4
 Edgartown on the Fourth is classic Americana and Fella Caters offers you a classic American cookout – burgers and dogs with all the fixins’ and much more. Bring the family, spread out your blanket and relax and enjoy a great meal while waiting for the parade to start. Free marching band concerts in the Old Whaling Church before and after the parade are fun for the whole family. Food is sold and served a la carte and tickets are not needed to attend. It’s a great place to have a casual dinner after the parade and before the fireworks. Location: Old Whaling Church Lawn. 
4 – 8 p.m. Cost: admission is free, food is sold a la carte.


Chatham’s “July 4th” Independence Day Parade
 – July 4
, 9:30AM – 11:30AM
 Main Street, Chatham.
 Chatham’s “July 4th Independence Day Parade” will be held on Saturday, July 3, 2010 – This year’s theme is “From Sea to Shining Sea”. Parade proceeds Down Main Street from the corner of Shore Road to Veteran’s Field.

Barnstable Village
 – Starting at 9:00 a.m.
The parade will commence at 9:00 a.m. at the County Complex on Railroad Avenue; proceed down Main Street (Route 6A); left onto Mill Way and continue to the Village Hollow where it will end for various activities.

 – July 4 – 
The parade starts at noon. Location: Starts at the Cape Inn and goes to Franklin Street

 Click Here for a complete list of Cape Cod events.

Wellfleet – July 4 – The Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 2014 4th of July Parade. The theme this year is Oysters R Us! The Parade route runs up Holbrook Avenue, turns right on Main Street, continues down Main Street, turns right on Commercial Street and ends at the Wellfleet Town Pier. The Judge’s stand will be on the lawn of the Town Hall on Main Street. The classic car parade begins at 9:30am and the general parade starts at 10:00am

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An 1830s Idependence Day Celebration
 – Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge. 
July 4
This Fourth of July, step back to a time when America was new, and veterans of the fight for freedom still lived.

4th of July Celebration — Shrewsbury
 – July 4
 The town of Shrewsbury’s 4th of July Celebration will include food, live music and DJs, inflatable amusements, clowns, and facepainting. A decorated bike and doll carriage parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Location: Main Street. Time: noon – 4 p.m. Cost: free.

Harvard Town Fireworks at Fruitlands
 – Fruitlands Museum, Harvard
 July 3
. The pastoral site of Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts will be home to an all-American Independence Day celebration on Friday, July 1st with bands, food, and fireworks. Music is slated to start at 5 P.M. Hot dogs, hamburger, and drinks will be available for purchase; local Girl Scouts will be on hand selling desserts. Visitors are also allowed to bring picnics to the event.

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Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade – 
 July 4 
Called one of the ten best Fourth of July parades in the country by USA Today, Pittsfield’s annual Independence Day parade is legendary for its outstanding musical acts, balloons and floats and its hometown feel. Location: Downtown Pittsfield beginning at Park Square and ending at Wahconah Park Time: 10 a.m.

Independence Day Celebration
 – Amherst
 July 4
 This promises to be an event that everyone will enjoy; featuring a children’s carnival, face-painting, games, field races, a pie-eating contest, the Amherst Community Band, and of course, fireworks. Location: Various around town.

July 4th Sidewalk Sale – 
July 3-6
 Don’t miss this weekend of spectacular savings on hot summer fashions!

Star Spangled Springfield
 – Springfield
, July 4
 Program begins at 7:00p.m., on the steps of City Hall, Celebrating America. Fireworks will commence at 9:30 p.m. from the Memorial Bridge with musical simulcast on MIX 93.1 FM.

Williamstown July 4th Celebration
 – Celebrate our nation’s independence in inimitable Williamstown style. At 10am, gather at the Williams College Museum of Art to hear WTF actors read the Declaration of Independence and the British reply before viewing the College’s amazing Founding Documents collection. Williamstown’s classic small-town parade kicks off on Spring Street at 11am and ends at The Clark Art Institute for the grand opening of their newly expanded campus. Take a break from the sun at our special 4pm performance of June Moon before heading out for some BBQ or catching the fireworks at The Clark. It’s a big day in Williamstown — an iconic 4th of July experience that’s not to be missed.

The 10 Most Exciting Suburbs in America….

The 10 Most Exciting Suburbs In America

HMMM what do you think?

Only that’s totally untrue.

After ranking the country’s most exciting cities — big and small — last year, we at the Movoto Real Estate Blog decided to start 2014 off by turning the preconceived notion that suburbs are boring on its ear. So, we applied the same Big Deal List formula responsible for rocketing places like Oakland, CA and Hoboken, NJ into the spotlight to the nation’s largest suburban cities. What did we find? Cambridge, MA is unquestionably America’s most happening ‘burb.

It wasn’t alone; we ended up ranking nearly 140 suburbs on numerous excitement factors, and 10 emerged as the absolute thrilling-est of the bunch. These are America’s Most Exciting Suburbs:

1. Cambridge, MA
2. Quincy, MA
3. Berkeley, CA
4. Miami Beach, FL
5. Santa Monica, CA
6. Lakewood, OH
7. Jacksonville Beach, FL
8. Tempe, AZ
9. Santa Clara, CA
10. Evanston, IL

Bravo to the Boston, MA area–not only did the historic city appear on our ranking of the most exciting big cities last year at No. 2 overall, but now two of its suburbs, Cambridge and Quincy, top this list. They inched out Berkeley, a suburb of Oakland, our most exciting big city and one of three California ‘burbs in this top 10.

How did we figure all this out, and what exactly constitutes “exciting” in our book? If you’ll keep reading, we’ll explain all that and more. We promise it’ll be exciting.

How We Found America’s Most Exciting Suburbs

For most people, math’s not very exciting. Yet math is the means by which we ranked the most exciting suburbs. Lots and lots of numbers went into the process, but it all started with 139: the number suburbs we looked at. These are the largest suburbs of the 50 largest cities in the nation.

The next number of importance was six: the number of criteria we used to determine how exciting a suburb is. We applied the same criteria to this ranking as we did for our two previous Most Exciting Cities rankings:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)

Each suburb was ranked from 1 to 139 across all these criterion, with one being the best possible score (like in golf). This was accomplished by looking at business listings for each city and U.S Census data—not, unfortunately, dining and dancing the night away in person. Once we’d done that, we averaged the individual criterion scores to produce an overall Big Deal Score, which was used to determine the final ranking (the lower the score the better in this case, too).

The cities which you’re about to read about below had the 10 lowest scores, but we went ahead and included stats on how the top 50 ranked across the board at the bottom of this post. That way, if your idea of “exciting” is spending a Friday night arguing over minutiae, you can do that. For everyone else, here’s the big picture on what made our top 10 shoot past the rest of the pack:

1. Cambridge, MA


When most people think of Cambridge, they either a) picture classrooms full of students at Harvard and M.I.T. with their noses buried in books or b) say “Hey, isn’t that in England?” From now on, when we think of this Boston suburb, we’re going to think “excitement.” 

True, a big part of Cambridge’s success in this ranking has to do with the fact that it’s home to not one, but two top-tier universities. Its population of 18- to 34-year-olds is, as a direct result, a whopping 49 percent, easily clinching a 1st place win for the city in this criterion by nearly 6 percentage points. Cambridge was also in the top 10 overall for active life options (third), live music (sixth), and nightlife (sixth).

Cambridge has one nightlife option for every 1,002 residents, and when they’re spots like The Druid and The Comedy Studio, that figure gets even more exciting. The city also ranked in the top 10 (10th, in fact) for its low percentage of fast food restaurants compared to all dining options (a mere 4 percent). This means your tastebuds will be subjected to fewer McDonalds and exposed to more A-grade eateries like Hungry Mother and Craigie On Main.

2. Quincy, MA


Excitement clearly runs in the Boston area family. Located not half an hour from our No. 1 most exciting suburb, Quincy is nevertheless far enough away that it has its own unique scene. It’s one that, for instance, relies much less on a young population to get the fun times rolling, as its 13 to 34 crowd makes up a (much) smaller 27 percent of its populace. 

Despite the drop in our most exciting age group, there’s still plenty to keep the days and nights hopping in Quincy. It placed fifth overall in terms of active options with spots like Olindy’s standing out, and a respectable 25th for live music and nightlife. So, whether you want to belt out some questionably-in-key karaoke at Fuji 1546 or down a few pints at The Fours, you won’t be wanting for evening activities. Plus, any town that has a restaurant called The Fat Cat among its huge 96 percent of non-chain dining spots gets a thumbs up from this feline-friendly blogging crew.

3. Berkeley, CA


This suburb of Oakland is right in Movoto’s back yard, so we’re more than a little familiar with what it has to offer in the way of excitement. Before you start saying “But wait, guys, isn’t it just a bunch of mellow hippie types,” though, we’ve got to stop you. This East Bay gem has plenty to offer excitement seekers of all hair lengths. 

Of course, with UC Berkeley in town, the 18 to 34 group is going to be plenty large; it sits at 43 percent, to be exact. Plus, with it being part of the notoriously health conscious Bay Area, a sixth place finish for active life options isn’t unexpected (there are parks and yoga places everywhere). What you might not be expecting, though, is that this seemingly laid back suburb has a lot of nightlife.

From bars such as Jupiter and the Albatross, to world-renowned venues like the Greek Theatre, it’s a fantastic town to hang out with friends after dark or take in an A-list act.

4. Miami Beach, FL


From the Bay Area, we head to the extreme opposite end of the country for our No. 4 most exciting suburb. Miami Beach is America’s suburban nightlife creme de la creme, ranking first overall in both live music and nightlife with one spot for every 304 people. If you’ve ever turned on TV to a reality show, though, you probably know this, as they’re seemingly always living it up in some South Beach hotspot like LIV or Mango’s. 

Miami Beach is, as expected, also a bastion for daytime excitement, placing sixth overall for active life options. It’s adjacent to the aforementioned South Beach, with its myriad boating, biking, and outdoor activity offerings. It’s also a great town to be a foodie, having placed fourth overall in terms of unique dining options–the best in our top 10–with only 2 percent of its restaurants being chains. If you’re ready to take a break from fast food, you can’t go wrong at places like Yardbird (where you may think you’ve died and gone to fried chicken heaven) and Cuban food paradise Puerto Sagua.

5. Santa Monica, CA


We’re trading a beach city in Southern Florida for one in Southern California at our No. 6 spot. Part of the mega-sprawl that is Los Angeles county, Santa Monica is pretty much the quintessential SoCal beach community, and its excitement can be felt by anyone who’s ever stepped foot on the Santa Monica Pier or the Third Street Promenade. 

It placed second overall for active options, including the pier, its adjoining beach, and thrilling activities like the Trapeze School New York. For as much fun in the sun as it has to offer, Santa Monica continues to shine after the sun has set. The city came in third overall for nightlife and live music, bolstered by places including The Room and Harvelle’s.

6. Lakewood, OH


Lakewood has been making quite a name for itself in the past few months, appearing on multiple rankings we’ve produced–including our Most Exciting Small Cities list. So, its appearance here comes as little surprise… even if it also made our list of best spots to retire. The young crowd is still strong in this Cleveland, OH suburb, however, making up 30 percent of the population and earning the city a 12th place finish for this criterion. 

While the retirees snooze away, the youngins will play at places like West End Tavern. Residents of all ages benefit from exciting non-chain dining options such as Melt and Buckeye Beer Engine that make up the impressive 97 percent of restaurants in Lakewood that aren’t your average, mass-produced fare. The only area this city could have done much better in was active life options, where it placed 90th overall.

7. Jacksonville Beach, FL


Our next suburb sits not on a lake, but on a much larger body of water: the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we’re back in Florida, but this time it’s near Jacksonville rather than Miami. With the geography sorted out, it should come as little surprise to readers of this ranking that Jacksonville Beach was second only to Miami Beach in terms of nightlife and live music on a per capita basis. We’re talking places like Lynch’s, Engine 15, and the Shim Sham Room. 

Also of zero surprise was this suburb’s fourth place finish for active life options, from beaches to waterparks to golf. Where Miami Beach absolutely trounced this fellow Floridian destination, however, was in non-chain dining options. Jacksonville Beach came in 50th for this criteria with 9 percent of its restaurants chains. Still, that doesn’t mean residents looking for some exciting eating options are out of luck, what with the likes of Eleven South and Salt Life Food Shack in town.

8. Tempe, AZ


The second-youngest city in our top 10, a full 44 percent of the residents in this Phoenix, AZsuburb are between the ages of 18 and 34. That’s not bad for a state that many people associate with retirement (Florida bucked that trend on this ranking, too). You might also find it hard to believe that Tempe is a nightlife hotspot for similar reasons, but it is, placing ninth overall for clubs, live music, and associated after dark attractions like the Mill Cue Club and Big Bang, a dueling piano bar. 

One area where Tempe shook its stereotype for the sort-of-worse was activity options, as it placed 22nd overall for those. It’s also note quite the daring dining destination of the other nine suburbs that comprise our top 10–in fact, at 59th overall for non-chain restaurant percentage, it’s the worst. Don’t tell that to people who swear by vegetarian delight Green or the Four Peaks Brewing Company ale house, though.

9. Santa Clara, CA


If you’d asked anyone in the Movoto office to guess the top 10 most exciting suburbs in the country, Santa Clara would honestly not have been in the running. This ranking isn’t about preconceived notions, though; it’s about what the data says and exposing the truth. The truth is, then, that this San Jose, CA suburb is exciting. 

A big part of that is due to the considerable percentage of 18 to 34 residents (31 percent) and the fact that Santa Clara placed 20th out of 139 for nightlife. The number of karaoke joints like Arirang Music Studio are simply mind-boggling, too. Oh, and this city is also home to the California’s Great America theme park which, while perhaps not one of the country’s top-tier parks, is definitely a lot more exciting than most cities’ carnivals.

10. Evanston, IL


Evanston, Ill.

Google Earth


As Ol’ Blue Eyes used to croon, Chicago is a wonderful town. Evanston’s placing in our top 10 has us wondering “Evanston, Evanston, what an exciting town” wasn’t Sinatra’s second choice for lyrics. While the Chairman of the Board wouldn’t have sung the praises of Evanston’s 49th place finish for live music, at least he’d have enjoyed a dish at Dave’s, one of the town’s many non-chain restaurants (it ranked 23rd for those). 

Oh, and Evanston has a group of 18- to 34-year-olds who make up 32 percent of its total population. We wonder how many of those wouldn’t know a tune by the Sultan of Swoon if we played it for them?

Can You Feel The Excitement?

We think we accomplished what we set out to do: show that suburbs are definitely more than meet the eye. They’re not all full of 40-somethings obsessed with youth soccer and typesetting the minutes for their neighborhood watch meetings. They’ve got lots of things to do—day or night. Especially Cambridge, MA, where any egghead from M.I.T. can tell you that “suburb” is just a word; Excitement is a way of life.

Want to talk about our ranking, or share what makes your hometown exciting? Let’s hear it in the comments below.

Most Exciting Suburbs in America

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Bi-Weekly Newton Real Estate Recap

The numbers are in and the story doesn’t change much.  Busy busy under 1 million, not so much over 1.5 million.  The info below tells the story.  Heading into summer the market remains very active!  152 single family homes for sale, 33 homes have gone under agreement in the last 2 weeks and 32 have sold.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:40:31 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
 06/24/2014  6/24/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 2 19 2 26
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 1 1 1 1
$500,000 – $599,999 2 34 2 34
$600,000 – $699,999 4 50 4 50
$700,000 – $799,999 11 35 11 35
$800,000 – $899,999 8 36 8 40
$900,000 – $999,999 10 57 10 57
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 26 47 26 47
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 31 94 31 94
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 22 78 22 79
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 15 35 15 35
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 13 108 13 108
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 121 3 121
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 4 64 4 64
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 152 Avg. 65 152 Avg. 66
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,947,770
Total Market Volume: $296,061,097
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,947,770
Total Market Volume: $296,061,097


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:41:55 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 06/09/2014
End Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2
$600,000 – $699,999 3 1 2
$700,000 – $799,999 4 2 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 4 2 1 1
$900,000 – $999,999 2 2
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 12 9 3
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 6 5 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 33 23 8 0 2
Lowest Price: $589,000 Median Price: $1,024,000
Highest Price: $1,899,000 Average Price: $1,161,139
Total Market Volume: $38,317,600


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:42:56 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 06/09/2014
End Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 4 $505,000 $499,000 101 $499,000 101
$600,000 – $699,999 3 46 $670,833 $670,667 100 $677,667 99
$700,000 – $799,999 3 104 $738,000 $739,000 100 $754,333 98
$800,000 – $899,999 4 52 $858,000 $851,500 101 $851,500 101
$900,000 – $999,999 6 6 $951,417 $909,333 105 $909,333 105
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 6 30 $1,223,083 $1,173,167 106 $1,173,167 106
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 5 59 $1,700,930 $1,734,000 98 $1,764,600 97
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 42 $2,046,750 $2,224,500 92 $2,224,500 92
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 223 $2,880,000 $2,995,000 96 $3,300,000 87
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 3 $3,925,000 $3,950,000 99 $3,950,000 99
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 32 Avg. 46 $1,269,177 $1,271,656 101 $1,288,063 100
Lowest Price: $505,000 Median Price: $982,250
Highest Price: $3,925,000 Average Price: $1,269,177
Total Market Volume: $40,613,650

22 Lenox Street

22 Lenox Street     West Newton Hill      $2,349,000

Listed by Margaret Szerlip — Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s




Victorian home meets 2014 with a complete down to the studs renovation at the top of West Newton Hill! The new version is stylish, and chic and fits perfectly with today’s lifestyle. Open concept first floor with outstanding kitchen and adjoining family room with fireplace and open staircase to the finished LL. Kitchen has custom cabinetry, honed Calcutta counters and professional grade Thermador appliances. Beautiful Master suite boasts a walk in closet and the most serene bathroom. 2 generous bedrooms, another top quality bath and laundry room complete the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor has high ceilings, abundant sunlight, 2 bedrooms, plus a loft area for office or play and another bath. Wonderful large renovated basement with bath and bar area. New roof, wood floors, electric, plumbing, HVAC, siding, kitchen, baths, walls, ceilings, spray foam insulation..everything. An eco-friendly new concept carport with “green” sides and garage doors is in the process of being built.

City expected to endorse Cleveland Circle plan despite resident-group’s objections

Jun 18, 2014, 12:11pm EDT  By Thomas Grillo, Boston Business Journal

City expected to endorse Cleveland Circle plan despite resident-group’s objections

0318 Cleveland Cirlce

An artist rendering of the hotel and apartments that would replace the Cleveland Circle Cinema.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is poised to approve a controversial $80 million mixed-use development that would redevelop the shuttered Cleveland Circle Cinema in Brighton, one of the earliest indicators yet of how the Walsh administration will balance neighborhood objections with private-sector plans to revitalize sections of the city.

On June 19, the BRA’s board is likely to endorse Boston Development Group’s plan to replace the cinema site at 399 Chestnut Hill Ave. with a mixed-use residential, hotel and retail complex. Typically, items that make it on the agenda win unanimous board approval. The thumbs-up is expected despite opposition from most members of the Impact Advisory Group, a city-appointed panel assembled to advise the BRA on the project. A majority of the panel wanted a development with fewer apartments, less height and guarantees that apartments would not be rented to undergraduates, among other demands.

“I’m very angry at the BRA,” said IAG member Mary Cronin. “Given that the city will not insist that the developer make these changes, the project will be a disaster for the people living near it. We are being left holding the bag and we are the ones who will take the hit once it’s built.”

Eva Webster, another IAG member, said while she has been supportive of the redevelopment, it should not proceed to the board without changes that would improve the overall project.

“This project needs to happen, but my support was conditioned on tying up the loose ends,” she said. “The things that I have been asking for are not deal breakers. They are things that would improve the project for the neighborhood and the developer.”

But Erico Lopez, the BRA’s project director, said while support from the IAG is preferable, he noted that based on the comment letters to the city, the neighborhood generally supports the redevelopment plan. Of the 259 comment letters to the BRA, 171 were in support, 84 were opposed and four were neutral, he said.

“We always want to have the IAG on the same page, but when we nominate members, we don’t nominate them for their voice to be the one and only voice,” he said. “The process for this project can never be questioned. We have gone through more than three years of community meetings. This project has gone through an evolution and the city received much more mitigation and community benefits than a lot of projects because we’ve had the community’s input.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh first hinted at his approval for the Cleveland Circle project last month in an interview with the Boston Business Journal. The project is among the first controversial development plans he has addressed since taking office earlier this year.

“People have a right to have a voice in the community,” said Walsh at the time. “If we are building a 60-story tower in an area that’s zoned for three stories, then that’s too much density. But here we are talking about a development that will result in a revitalization of the Cleveland Circle area.”

Real Estate — Summer To Do List

Summer To D0 List

Newton, MA. Top Agents, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.
Summer has finally arrived and our thoughts turn to a more carefree lifestyle and a tendency to put things on the back burner. If you are thinking of selling your house in the fall, summer is the perfect time to get your house in order at a more leisurely pace. I would say on average it takes 7-10 days to get a home in photography ready shape, of course that varies depending upon each person.  I have had sellers take years to get a house ready and sellers’ who can have a photographer show up that afternoon.   A motivated seller can have their house ready in 7-10 days.  Below you will find a guide to selling.  You cannot have it both ways, top dollar and no work is not a model for success. You want buyers to think that if they move to this home their closets can/will look amazing. Their kitchen cabinets will be clean and tidy and the toys in the basement magically put themselves away.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home

  • Stop thinking of the memories created in this home and try to imagine the memories you will make in your next home.
  • Your home is full of things and many of those things can be moved to a new home.
  • Picture yourself decorating your next home.
  • Indulge yourself and spend a morning reflecting about your life in this house and then start sorting and cleaning in the afternoon.
  • Imagine visiting your furniture or china or art in your child or grandchild’s house.


  • If you haven’t used or even looked at something in a year, it is time to throw away, donate, or give away
  • Bookshelves are for books and a FEW special knick-knacks — clean up those book shelves
  • Pack up or discard items you no longer want or even like
  • Kitchen counters must be cleared to the point of looking sterile
  • All horizontal surfaces (tables, shelves, dressers) must be free of clutter
  • Items used everyday can be put in a box and stored in a closet for showings
  • Remember you would have to do this anyway to move!


  • Remove plastic dry cleaning bags
  • Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in years
  • Hang alike garments together — pants with pants, shirts with shirts etc.
  • Have clothes face the same direction
  • Line up your shoes or put out of season shoes in storage

4. Kitchen

  • Clean your cabinets on the inside and outside
  • Take everything out of your cabinets and throw away items that you bought 10 years ago. I guarantee you will find some ridiculously old food item
  • Arrange your dishes to stack neatly and throw away broken or chipped cups and plates.
  • Clean up and arrange your spice jars
  • CLEAN your stove and refrigerator….buyers open the refrigerator – DON”T MAKE THEM GAG FROM THE SMELL OF YOURS.

5. Remove or Replace Fixtures You Wish to Keep

  • If you want your dining room chandelier, replace it now. As soon as buyer knows they cannot have it, they want it.
  • If you absolutely must have your draperies in the next home consider removing them. If they make a statement then be prepared for a buyer to want that same statement with the same drapes. Sellers, if your the drapes don’t fit your new house don’t be stingy; leave them for the next owner to enjoy
  • Washer and Dryer – When you find out how much it costs to move the washer and dryer just leave them.

Remove Furniture

  • Homes show better with less furniture. Remove any soiled, beaten up dingy furniture; they make the house look dingy.
  • Remove any furniture that creates an obstacle walking thru a room
  • Remove excess pieces of furniture — you are selling a home you don’t own a furniture store
  • Contrary to popular opinion, extra leaves in a dining room table make the room appear larger. Remove hutches and sideboards if the room seems cramped
  • Leave enough furniture in each room to showcase the rooms’ purpose with room to move around
  • Most professionals are going to come in and tell you to remove every personal picture you have displayed. I think that is overkill. You want a home to feel warm and inviting, as if people LIVE in a house not just inhabit the house. Get rid of any controversial pictures – pictures of you with Presidents or politicians, anything that might elicit a thought other than aw has to go. Too many artifacts from your children and your vacations are distracting. We want buyers to look at the house not your things.


Make Minor Repairs

  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
  • Remove wall to wall carpeting
  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that do not close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

Make the House Sparkle

  • Replace worn bed-coverings with crisp a crisp white duvet
  • Clean your child’s bedding! Teenage boys have stinky pillows
  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
  • I am going to hear from the energy police BUT replace your fluorescent lights while your house is on the market! The lighting quality is poor, the color is bad, and it makes your home look dark and dingy.

Think like a Buyer 

  • Stand at your front door — is it welcoming? If not make it so! Paint the front door and threshold
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Does the furniture placement make sense to a buyer?  You don’t live in a home the way you sell a home so inconvenience yourself for a few weeks and move the furniture around.  Think about how much more money you will net.
  • Make sure window coverings are clean and free of dust
  • Tune in to the room’s statement is it neutral yet inviting?

Check Curb Appeal

  • If a buyer will not get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you will never get her inside
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared
  • Mow the lawn
  • Paint faded window trim
  • Place of pot of colorful annuals near the front door
  • Trim your bushes
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number

The journey may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.  I have the tools and the people to help you accomplish the task.

Bi Weekly Newton Real Estate Recap

Below you will find the Newton’s real estate story for the past 2 weeks.  Inventory continues to be extremely limited below 1 million dollars.  Although it appears we have a bit more inventory in the 700’s.  The last 2 weeks have been more active in the 1 million to 2 million range — 17 homes have gone under contract in the last 2 weeks!  The above 2 million market continues to struggle.  The first 2 weeks of June tend to be quiet times in the real estate market between graduations and last days of school activities, however this June we are continuing to see many homes coming to market. Broker Tour has been busy with new listings and price reductions.  If you liked a home and you thought the price was to high, now may be the time for an offer.  Ping me and get my opinion 617-921-6860…there are deals to be made!  If you are thinking of buying or selling in the Fall now is the time to reach out to Realtors.


On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:31:20 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 06/01/2014
Towns: Newton
 06/01/2014  6/13/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 2 15
$400,000 – $449,999 1 55 1 67
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 2 18 2 23
$600,000 – $699,999 6 26 7 29
$700,000 – $799,999 8 28 11 33
$800,000 – $899,999 6 40 8 33
$900,000 – $999,999 11 43 9 53
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 32 36 27 38
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 30 58 29 64
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 24 81 25 73
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 9 79 11 35
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 14 86 14 96
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 98 3 110
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 4 43 3 42
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 150 Avg. 56 152 Avg. 55
Lowest Price: $449,000
Median Price: $1,685,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,940,731
Total Market Volume: $291,109,797
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,675,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,901,687
Total Market Volume: $289,056,499

Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:12:15 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 06/01/2014
End Date: 06/13/2014
Towns: Newton

Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2
$600,000 – $699,999 4 2 2
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 3 2 1
$900,000 – $999,999 4 3 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 6 2
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 9 6 3
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 31 21 9 0 1
Lowest Price: $525,000 Median Price: $1,149,000
Highest Price: $1,875,000 Average Price: $1,164,903
Total Market Volume: $36,112,000


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:14:57 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 06/01/2014
End Date: 06/13/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 29 $505,000 $560,000 90 $560,000 90
$600,000 – $699,999 1 6 $697,500 $699,000 100 $699,000 100
$700,000 – $799,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$800,000 – $899,999 4 25 $868,625 $816,750 107 $816,750 107
$900,000 – $999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 4 20 $1,222,700 $1,147,000 108 $1,147,000 108
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 72 $1,749,913 $1,836,750 96 $1,844,250 95
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 14 Avg. 36 $1,183,389 $1,175,786 102 $1,177,929 102
Lowest Price: $505,000 Median Price: $1,160,400
Highest Price: $1,950,000 Average Price: $1,183,389
Total Market Volume: $16,567,450




5 Reasons People Want a House in Newton

5 Reasons People Want a House in Newton

Margaret Szerlip June 11, 2014


Home buyers are searching high and low for an affordable home here in Newton.  There is only so much room and plenty of demand.  I see a need for a tastefully renovated smaller homes.  I have a hunch many older folks would like to sell their big old Victorian and move into a remodeled ranch.  Unfortunately, builders want to raze those homes and build a big monstrosity, which is why we have a glut of over 2 million dollar homes currently on the market.

1.  Newton is a Commuter’s Dream Location

Whether you work in Boston or New Hampshire Newton is beyond convenient to the Mass Pike and 128.  You can bike to Cambridge or take a bus.  While the Green Line of the T is slow; it is reliable, safe and clean.  You can get the express bus to Boston in either West Newton or Newton Corner.  If the commuter rail is more your style — no problem there are two stops in Newton.  Getting to Logan Airport is now a breeze, I have people text me when they land and I leave for the airport then.  No more circling the airport.

2.  The Local Schools are Very Well Respected

Any person with kids is justifiably concerned with the schools, and Newton is nationally recognized as a quality school system.  There are plenty of private schools around and of course multiple colleges right here in Newton

3.  The Residents are Educated and Employment is Diverse

Newton is blessed with an educated population and close proximity to institutions known to pay well.  Hospitals, pharmaceuticals, universities, financial firms, law firms, technology firms are all located either in Newton or a short drive away.

4. Newton is a Walkable Town

Milleniums want the freedom to walk many places and we cannot underestimate that choice when they are buying a home. They want to walk to coffee shops, restaurants, parks and most importantly to work.  If they can’t walk to work easy access to public transportation is a must.

5.  Strong Sense of Community

There are always things going on in Newton.  5K races, children’s activities including Art’s in the Park, dance studios, ceramics, painting, music classses along with a plethora of children’s sports.  The Y and the JCC have programs for both young and old alike.  The Senior Center is always busy with interesting speakers and activities.  The Newton Community education offers interesting classes at very reasonable rates.  Each village has something to offer and the community likes to get involved.

We are fortunate to be near an amazing network of hospitals and healthcare, professional and college athletic teams, outdoor activities on the Charles River and all the culture and history you could want from Boston to Concord.




There has been a lot written about how buying a home is less expensive than renting one in most parts of the country. Rents are skyrocketing and homes are still at great prices. These two situations are also causing some sellers to consider renting their home instead of selling it. After all, a homeowner can get great rental income now and perhaps wait until house values increase even further before selling.

This logic makes sense in some cases. There is a strong belief that residential real estate is a great investment right now. However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for.

Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family. The most important question is your motivation for renting.
Do you wish to rent your house now because you think it will be worth more in a few years? Is that realistic? If you over paid for a house a few years ago but the house is in great condition and the floor plan works for today’s buyer, than rent it. You will probably make some money after you cover the monthly expenses. Do you want to rent for an emotional reason? Maybe you just want to try out a new lifestyle such as living in the city or maybe you’re not sure if the suburbs are what you want. If you can afford this option than by all means go for it. This option works best if you can afford to buy a new home without selling your current home. Why? If you are considering renting because you NEED a certain amount of money and are hoping a rising market will add value, you must be honest with yourself. Is this home going to rise in value ENOUGH to fulfill and fund the next dream? Why isn’t your current house selling? Other than the price the most obvious reason homes are selling for less money is an obsolete floor plan. A functionally obsolete home is described as:

An original house in an older part of town that has two bedrooms and one bathroom could be considered functionally obsolete if all the other original homes in the area are torn down over the years and replaced with five bedroom, three bathroom houses. Because the old house does not have the features that most modern buyers want, it is said to be functionally obsolete, even if it is still in good condition and is perfectly livable.

As another example, many home entertainment centers became functionally obsolete as flat-panel televisions replaced bulky analog televisions. The old entertainment centers were too deep to accommodate the new, thin televisions.

If your floor plan is obsolete today it will be obsolete next year also! If you wait 20 years and we have a new generation of buyers who will ask why did those people take down all those walls, maybe they will want your house. Every house is salable …. The question is always at what price. A wise person once said to me that price melts away objections and that is the truth. When a house is not up to a buyer’s standards they mentally deduct from the price of the house so they can make those changes, if they are up to making changes. Buyers’s pay a premium for a renovated house while a house that seems antiquated will sell at a discount. As brokers, we often ask ourselves why sellers spent so much money renovating and they didn’t fix the floor plan. Sellers when you are looking for a new home, honestly evaluate what you are looking for. Do you want to do work? Do you desire the open floor plan? Do you want a dedicated home office? Do you want a living room and a dining room and a family room? So if you decide to rent ask yourself these questions.

What happens when the tenant says they can’t afford to pay the rent this month because of more pressing obligations? (This happens most often during holiday season and back-to-school time when families with children have extra expenses).

Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?

Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?

Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?

Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?

How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?

Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?

Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?

How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?

Will you alert your current neighbors that you are renting the house?

Bottom Line

Again, renting out residential real estate is historically a great investment. However, it is not without its challenges. Make sure you have decided to rent the house because you want to be an investor, not because you are hoping to get a few extra dollars by postponing a sale.


The Dreaded Best and Final Offers…

The Dreaded Best and Final Offers, Newton, MA.


The definition of a Best and Final offer in real estate is a buyer’s last and highest offer.  A best and final is typical in response to a bidding war.  A seller who has received several offers will usually ask top bidders to submit a best and final offer.  This type of offer induces STRESS for the buyer and their agent.  As an agent I will do an analysis of the property to determine fair market value.  In a bidding war fair market value is determined by the person with the most potential to pay for the property and actually close the deal.  The buyer with the highest offer does not necessarily mean the best offer.  In the past 6 months prices in the under 1 million dollar market have sky-rocketed to the point of crazy.  When I have a buyer in a bidding war situation and there are no comps to justify an inflated price I kind of cringe.  What usually happens is a review of the comps and I speak frankly about the possibility of overpaying.  My advice is to offer a number that means you  don’t care if you don’t get the house for only $1.00 more, either because you can’t afford to pay more or you can’t justify paying more.  That number must come from the buyer…Agents cannot change a buyers finances or their view of a dream home. As a listing agent it makes me sort of smile.  My job as a listing agent is to close the deal at the highest price.  The “close the deal” is key.

I recently listed a house below 1 million dollars, the sellers did everything we told them, de-cluttered, put items in storage, cleared out baby things, went away for the weekend with their two very young children so we could accommodate any showings.   We had an open house on Saturday and Sunday and many private showings before or after the open house along with Friday and Monday showings.  Offers were due by 4 on Monday.  Realtors always know when the price is right…you phone rings — constantly! We had 100’s of prospective buyers view the home.  Monday afternoon rolled around and we had 6 offers, I actually expected more but I should note the amount of buyer fatigue we heard.  “I only have 20% to put down, I was out-bid on 3 other properties, I can’t waive my mortgage contingency, should I give up my inspection contingency?”  No never do that. We reviewed the offers and presented them to the seller: basically you lay out the offers on the dining room table.  This is the lowest, the middle and the highest.  But wait the highest offer doesn’t have great financing but the next highest offer has incredible financing.  It is easy to eliminate the low offers, not so easy to eliminate the fab financing offers.  Closing dates, dates for inspections all come into play.  In this particular case the highest offer also had the best financing.  Lots of money to put down and a considerable offer amount above the next competing bid.  Shortly after we left we had the unpleasant job of calling the agents or buyers themselves to relay the bad news.  Buyers who make offers without an agent typically make dumb offers.  Crazy high offers with 500 contingencies, low offers that would have made no sense 5 years ago and of course the ASK…”I am not using an agent so the seller only has to pay 1/2 the commission.”  UGH, that’s a post for another day.

We did not go back for the best and final in this case.  The offer was more than the seller had dreamed of, the financing was perfect, the buyers were seasoned and seemed reasonable while viewing the house.  We felt that these were the right buyers.  If we went back for best and final there is risk of annoying the buyer who stepped up to the plate from the beginning and feels he is not treated fairly and decides to walk. Or you can have a buyer increase their offer in the heat of the moment only to wake up with buyer’s remorse.  They may regret their decision and then try to “renegotiate” the price based on some little inspection issue.  In the end you want the seller to go to the closing table.  Most often the seller is purchasing another home and the timing of this closing must coincide with the closing of the new home.

Buyers — put your best foot forward, DON’T panic, and let the chips fall where they may.  There will be another house for you.  Sellers –DON’T get greedy, the most successful deals happen when each party leaves a little something on the table for the other guy.

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