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North Brookline Bombarded by 40B Development Proposals

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Recently, North Brookline has been inundated with Chapter 40B development proposals. In addition to falling short of the required percentage of “affordable housing” required by state law, other factors such as low supply, high demand and increased real estate values have contributed to the increase in North Brookline’s Chapter 40B development proposals.

Chapter 40B is a Massachusetts state statute passed in 1969, which enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 10% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. With real estate in the Greater Boston area reaching new heights in recent years, neighborhoods that don’t meet the Chapter 40B requirements have become especially valuable for developers because it creates a faster and easier path to project approvals.

Below are a handful of the proposed 40B developments for the North Brookline neighborhood, still waiting to be approved, that we will be keeping a close eye on.


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45 Marion Street
64 units | 21 parking spaces

45 Marion Street is a luxurious, new rental building that aims to bring a modern touch to the historic Coolidge Corner neighborhood with its clean design and premium amenities. Units in this professionally managed, pet-friendly building will feature hardwood oak floors, in-unit washer/dryer, custom cabinetry, designer kitchens, porcelain tile bathrooms, video intercom systems, balconies and more. Building amenities include doorman, fitness room, covered parking and valet dry cleaning.


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21 Crowninshield Road
8 units | 16 parking spaces

The three-story, eight-unit development proposed for Brookline’s 21 Crowninshield Road has been thoughtfully designed and revised to alleviate concerns of the town and neighbors. 21 Crown, LLC, the developers of the project, have looked closely at the details of surrounding houses, selected those that work together as a coherent whole rather than randomly selecting details, and devised a plan that honors the neighborhood’s historic architecture. In response to neighborhood concerns, the MZO Group, the architects of the project, have added underground parking to reduce the height from four stories to three.

Spread across two buildings, each of the townhomes will feature luxurious three-bedroom layouts and come with private patios.


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40 Centre Place
45 units | 17 parking spaces

The project proposal for 40 Centre Place calls for the construction of a six-story building with 45 brand-new rental units, nine of which are marked as affordable housing (with “affordable” being defined as 50% of the neighborhood’s average median income). Located in the heart of Coolidge Corner, the proposed units would range in size from 494 square-foot studios to 1,194 square-foot three bedroom apartments. Developed by the Roth Family LLC, the project has earned support from the Brookline Fire Department and Neil A. Wishinsky, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen for Brookline.


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420 Harvard Street
36 units + retail | 35 parking spaces

Architectural plans submitted by 420 Harvard Associates, LLC call for the construction of a new six-story mixed-use building at 420 Harvard Street, with below-grade and street parking for 35 vehicles and 2,785 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The building would add 36 new rental units to Coolidge Corner’s JFK Crossing neighborhood. Initial plans were submitted in February 2016, with numerous revisions made since then in an effort to alleviate neighborhood concerns over the scale of the project.


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1299 Beacon Street
108 units + retail | 183 parking spaces

Located adjacent to Trader Joe’s in Coolidge Corner, this proposed project comes from Chestnut Hill Investments, LLC and calls for the construction of a 12-story rental building. The proposal calls for 108 brand-new apartments, two levels of retail and two levels of below-grade parking, with a total of 183 parking spaces.


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455 Harvard Street
17 units + retail | 12 parking spaces

An application submitted in October, 2016 by Harvard Danesh, LLC proposes a new four-story building, with ground-level retail and parking and 17 apartments on the top three floors. The project, estimated to cost nearly $9 million, would replace the one-story commercial building currently standing on the lot.


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Babcock Place | 134-138 Babcock Street
62 units | 31 parking spaces

In an application submitted to the City of Brookline just this month, Tremont Asset Management, LLC, proposed a new four-story residential rental building that would span 54,728 square feet. The building would include 28 studios, 24 one-bedrooms, 2 two-beds and 8 three-beds for a total of 62 new units, with 31 parking spaces. The development is budgeted for approximately $22 million and is awaiting a project eligibility determination from MassHousing.

 

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Construction Moves Along at the Faretra

 

 

 

East Boston has seen a dramatic increase in property values in recent years and that trend looks to continue with several new residential projects currently in development. The Faretra, a nine unit boutique building currently under construction at 186 Havre Street, stands out from the rest by bringing a new level of luxury to the flourishing neighborhood.

Developed by the Ballas Group, a Boston-based developer with an impressive portfolio of residential and commercial projects, The Faretra is a ground-up, new construction. Ground broke on the project over the summer with an anticipated completion date of Spring 2017. We recently stopped by the work site to check in on the progress and, as you can see below, things are coming along rather nicely.

 

For more information, including floor plans and specifications, please visit TheFaretra.com.

To stay updated on all of the developments currently under construction throughout the city, try out our exclusive Crane Watch feature on BostonRealEstate.com where you can follow projects through each stage of development, with the most comprehensive and current information available.

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Art of the Interior: Taking Great Real Estate Photos

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The interior photograph is a subject matter as feared as it is important to the real estate industry. In the digital age, most home buyers’ first impressions of a property will be through its online photographs. Further, the importance of professional photography in listings has only increased in recent years.

A 2015 survey by the American National Association of Realtors found that 87 percent of individuals who bought homes that year relied on online images to help influence their decisions. Another recent NAR survey concluded that online property listings with more photographs were sold faster than those with fewer photographs. A home with just one photo took an average of 70 days to sell on the market while a home with 20+ photos took an average of 32 days to sell. Producing outstanding photographs will allow your listings to exceed in a competitive market, attract more spectators to your listings and open houses, enhance the value of your listing, and develop increased quality for your brand and character.

When hiring a professional interior photographer is not an option, real estate agents should not be excessively concerned with developing their own photos. Below is an assortment of tips and advice for real estate agents seeking to improve upon their interior photography skills and enhance the quality of their listings.

Choosing your camera

The average “standard” of real estate photography is becoming easier to achieve as technology rapidly develops. The same 12-megapixel camera on your iPhone 7 would have cost you $8,000 for the 11-megapixel Canon EOS-1D in 2002. So long as you have a recent generation smartphone, your photos should already meet a certain standard of quality.

Purchasing a high-quality, professional DLSR camera could be one of the best investments that you make as a real estate agent. It may not be necessary to spend thousands on a camera such as the 40-megapixel Pentax 645D, but $800-$1,000 should be the start of your ideal budget. A wide angle lens is the key to real estate photography, as you’ll be looking to capture tight spaces in a single frame.

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Standard lens (left) vs. Wide-angle 11-16mm lens (right).

Many real estate photographers recommend starting with a Nikon or Canon such as the Nikon D7000 along with an 11-16 wide angle lens like the Tokina AT-X116PRDXN AT-X Pro 11-16mm ultra-wide angle lens. This pairing will ensure that you capture a sufficient amount of interior space in the best possible quality necessary for a listing photograph. The Canon DLSR equivalents are excellent as well, including the Canon 6D, Canon 5D MKIII, and Canon 70D. A tripod can be helpful, but is not a necessity.

Staging

Bushari’s Art of Staging article extensively details the necessary measures for outstanding home staging. One of the most important aspects is ensuring that all furniture angles are drawn to a focal point. A single focal point makes it easier for your viewers to envision the design and personality of a room.

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Poor staging with irregular furniture angles (left) vs. proper staging with a single focal point (right).

Other important staging tips elaborated upon in our previous blog post include decluttering, keeping furniture grouped away from the walls to expand the space, and accessorizing.

The Composition

Your goal in developing professional real estate photographs is to ensure that your viewers can envision themselves in your properties. After you’ve finished decluttering the room for staging, you’ll want to ensure that the furniture, as well, is cleanly arranged so that your audience can see that they have room to breathe.

Since you will be using a wide-angle lens for the shots, it is imperative that you find the best angle to get the largest shot of the room. This will vary depending on the shape of the interior, but it’s usually a safe to back yourself into a corner for the shot. A corner composition allows you to make the interior space look as large as possible. When you’re backed into the corner, you should avoid taking the shot at eye level, or angled downward. Instead, crouch down a bit to the approximate position that your chest would be if you were to stand straight. This will give you the perfect angle to ensure that all verticals are corrected.

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Perspective with odd angles (top) vs. corrected perspective with straight verticals (bottom). Image courtesy of BoostYourPhotography.

Lighting

Finding the perfect lighting for real estate photographs is usually the trickiest part of the venture. Be sure to take some time before shooting to study the natural and artificial lighting in a house. Interior lighting can be difficult because you are trying to find a balance between the room lighting (which usually produces a sort of orange glow) and the light pouring in from the windows (which will be much brighter). In the event that you have absolutely no artificial lighting in a house, then you run into an issue of balancing the dark room with the blinding window lights. Your ideal time for shooting may actually be during overcast or at dusk.

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Unless the sunlight has produced sufficient lighting in your rooms, you’ll want to flip on all of the lights. Once you judge that a room is thoroughly illuminated, you’re ready to take your shot. You may want to experiment with the various settings on your camera to see which looks best with the room’s lighting. You may want to use your “auto” setting, but be aware that flash settings can often cast shadows onto the floor, which can be difficult to clean up and balance during post editing work. Lighting is always going to be an experiment for interior photography. Take a few photos with flash, check how they turned out, take a few with increased ambient lighting, and check how they turned out. It can be a lengthy process, but the result will be well worth it over the traditional run-n-gun photography method many are so used to.

Post-Editing Work

This section is optional but recommended for those who want to go above and beyond with their photographs.

After narrowing down the best of your compositions, you can utilize several software programs to make them truly outstanding. The most popular software programs for real estate photographers will be Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Lightroom is a photo processing tool that allows for corrective retouching of digital images.

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After importing your photographs into the program, you can use the “develop” module to change several aspects of them. The “temperature” and “tint” sliders will alter the coloring of the photos, which may be necessary if your camera caught a lot of green light from the windows or any ambient orange glow from lightbulbs. “Exposure” and “highlights” are important for adjusting the brightness and whiteness of the lighting. If you have excess light streaming from the windows, you may want to turn down the highlights.

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Further, Lightroom can even alter the perspective of a photograph to adjust for disproportioned verticals. This can be especially helpful for small, tight rooms such as the bathroom. Use the “auto” or “vertical” perspective corrections to turn an awkward bathroom angle into a straight, open position.

After correcting the lighting and perspective of your photos, you can utilize Adobe Photoshop to clean up any smaller details you may want to correct. For instance, there may be a few wires jutting out from the television that can be cleaned up; or a dish in the sink that you hadn’t noticed during the initial shot. Photoshop will be the perfect tool for correcting these smaller mistakes.

Taking the quality of your listings and rentals to the next level will pay off when your viewers notice that you are taking the necessary strides to ensure that your photographs are flawless. Check back regularly on the Bushari Blog, as we will cover real estate photography software in the next “Art of real estate” publication.

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Katt Pease Joins Bushari Real Estate

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Bushari Real Estate is happy to announce Katt Pease as the newest member of our team.

Katt Pease is an energetic and dedicated residential sales and leasing professional with a “no nonsense” strategy and unique skill set that makes the home buying and selling process enjoyable for her clients.

Having grown up in Connecticut, Katt attended Johnson and Whales University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Culinary/Nutrition, and then continued her education at the University of Bridgeport, where she earned her Masters in Education. With a professional background in management and personal training, Katt made the move to Boston four years ago and pursued a career in real estate. She has spent the past several years helping clients find their perfect homes in the Greater Boston area.

Katt currently resides in the Kendall Square area. In her spare time, she enjoys kayaking, making wine and spending time with friends.
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Bushari Agents Featured in Boston Agent Magazine’s “Who’s Who 2016”

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Bushari is thrilled to have several of our agents represented in the first ever issue of Boston Agent magazine’s “Who’s Who in Boston Real Estate”. Agents Josh Drawas, Randall Horn, and Chris Thoman were selected for this honorable designation. The articles feature in-depth interviews that paint an extensive portrait of our agents’ real estate history and ambitions. We give our thanks to Boston Agent Magazine and our warmest congratulations to all of those who were featured in the publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Boutique Residences Coming Soon to Boston

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While Boston enters a residential tower boom, plans for a number of smaller, chic buildings have been coming to fruition. These boutique residences can be characterized by their small number of units (typically less than fifteen), and partiality toward fewer amenities. Our crane watch feature on the newly-redesigned BostonRealEstate.com highlights a number of these prospective developments in extensive detail. The following list of eight approved and under-construction boutique buildings is designed for those who seek luxury living in a smaller and more personal community.

The Faretra

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Address: 186 Havre Street

Neighborhood: East Boston

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: Spring, 2017

The Faretra is a premier East Boston condominium development built from the ground up.  Each unit will feature 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.  Select units will feature private balconies and the penthouse units will feature exclusive private roof decks with direct access from each unit.  The building will have a well appointed lobby with elevator access to all floors, and garage parking.  Experience contemporary high end finishes with a clean and sophisticated aesthetic. Residents will enjoy fabulous Boston skyline views from many units and an abundance of natural sunlight.  This property is in a fantatsic East Boston location, awarding it a 95 Walkscore. Located just 10 minutes from the Maverick or Airport MBTA Blue Line T Stops, the Faretra allows easy access to Downtown Boston and State Street.  Minutes to Central Square, Piers Park and the wonderful restaurants throughout the entire neighborhood. See more about this development at www.thefaretra.com.

10 Farnsworth

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Address: 10 Farnsworth St

Neighborhood: Seaport

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: October, 2017

The corner of Farnsworth and Congress streets will soon be enriched by this stylish, glass-walled, six-story residence. The nine luxurious condominiums at 10 Farnsworth will blend the private character of a boutique building with a contemporary elegance. Featuring generously open floor plans with state-of-the-art finishes and appliances, the building is further enhanced by a 1,765 square foot roof terrance. 10 Farnsworth is a beacon of the stylish, modern character that has taken over the Seaport District. While residents may enjoy the advantages of garage parking, they are encouraged to further indulge in the growing number of shops, attractions and museums that call this neighborhood home.

31 Orleans St

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Address: 31 Orleans St

Neighborhood: East Boston

Number of Units: 14

Expected Completion Date: June, 2017

We’re seeing a significant change as an increasing number of developments and condo buyers assemble in the East Boston neighborhood. One of the most promising developments recently approved in popular Jeffries Point is the residences at 31 Orleans Street. Ranging from one- to three-bedrooms, its 14 residences will bring boutique charm to a growing neighborhood. Further, the new building will be Gold Certifiable under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Standards.

40 Fisher Ave

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Address: 40 Fisher Ave

Neighborhood: Mission Hill

Number of Units: 15

Expected Completion Date: 2017

The boutique residences at 40 Fisher Ave in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood plans for fifteen new rental units, with a unit mix of two one-bedroom units, six two-bedroom units, and seven three-bedroom units, along with car and bicycle parking. The site is in an excellent location for commuters; moments to Roxbury Crossing and Jackson Square Orange Line and Heath Street Green Line MBTA stations. This project will result in a number of public benefits for the Mission Hill community, including creation of much-needed residential rental housing, improving the streetscape by infilling a vacant site, and developing a project consistent with Mission Hill’s Community planning and zoning objectives. While a completion date has not yet been given, we can expect construction to wrap up before the end of 2017.

199 West Brookline

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Address: 199 West Brookline St

Neighborhood: South End

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: 2017

While little information has been brought to light surrounding the development of 199 West Brookline, its proposal has called for the adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of the existing Concord Baptist Church. Interestingly, a growing number of condominium developments around various Boston neighborhoods are being built out of older church buildings. This 9-unit development with 21 below-grade parking spaces is currently under construction in the busy intersection of the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods.

120 West 4th St

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Address: 120 West 4th St

Neighborhood: South Boston

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: TBD

A nine-unit boutique South Boston development has recently been approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The building will also include business space for photographer Michael Indresano. Each residential unit will include a parking space, with all parking spaces being concealed behind the facade of the building through photographic work built into the masonry wall. The building will be situated mere moments from the Broadway MBTA stop – surrounded by a number of popular shops and restaurants.

Residences at One Hundred A

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Address: 100 A. St.

Neighborhood: South Boston

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: April, 2017

A new proposed residential project in South Boston will bring 9 luxury condominiums to the triangular intersection of West Third Street, West Second Street, and A Streets. Conveniently located moments from one of the busiest transportation nodes in Boston – the Broadway T Stop – the development at One Hundred A is conveniently situated for commuters, shoppers and foodies.

The project will provide new housing units at a time when demand is strong for new housing in South Boston. It will reflect an attractive aesthetic with warm earth-toned brick and black framed curtain walls. The development will also provide an increase in the strong economic vitality of the neighborhood, assist in the continued revitalization of its residential district and lend financial support to various small local businesses on West Broadway. 8 units will feature 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms with approximately 1,750 square feet of living space. The penthouse unit will include 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and include 3,608 square feet of space.

377 West First St

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Address: 377 West 1st St

Neighborhood: South Boston

Number of Units: 9

Expected Completion Date: TBD

Recently approved for construction by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the nine opulent residences on 377 West First St will consist of six two-bedroom and three three-bedroom units. The parking garage, situated at grade level, will provide sheltered off-street parking for 15 motor vehicles. Great care has been put into the design of the development, featuring an inviting and attractive building entry. Each unit will have “smart” wifi-enabled thermostat devices and will be serviced by its own hybrid water heater for maximum efficiency. Its development will offer many public benefits to the South Boston neighborhood including tax revenue and construction jobs; and will also exhibit an attractive residential facade in place of the current underutilized vacant lot for industrial vehicles. Construction and completion dates are currently to be determined, be sure to check back regularly on our crane watch at BostonRealEstate.com for more information on these and more buildings.

 

(The Faretra rendering courtesy of Bushari Real Estate & The Ballas Group. All other images courtesy of Boston Redevelopment Authority).

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Chris Thoman Places in Brookline’s Top 20 for September 2016

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Congratulations to Bushari’s Chris Thoman for placing among the Top 20 agents in Brookline for the month of September 2016 with $2.15 million in sales, according to MLS-PIN.

Chris Thoman has been an active member of Boston’s real estate community for over thirteen years, assisting a wide-range of clients with buying, selling and renting both residential and commercial properties. Prior to that, he worked in the mortgage and real estate law industries, which has given him a broad and valuable perspective of real estate transactions.

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Market Trends at BostonRealEstate.com – A Brand New Feature for Finding Your Ideal Home

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Last week, Bushari unveiled the newly redesigned BostonRealEstate.com – your destination for all information pertaining to the Greater Boston real estate market. As Boston homebuyers begin their searches, they’ll want to take notice of any market trends in their prospective neighborhoods. Keeping a close eye on real estate trends is the best way to gauge the perfect time to buy or sell your home. Through BostonRealEstate.com’s easy-to-follow market trend graphs, you’ll see average days on market and average sales prices for home in the neighborhood, as well as the inventory for each month.

 

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Our reports are automatically updated so that we may provide you with the best and most current market information, no matter which neighborhood you would like to call home.

 

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Buyers can compare and contrast the average days on market for homes priced from $0-$500,000, $501-$1,000,000, $1,000,001-$1,500,000, $1,500,001-$2,000,000, $2,000,001-$3,000,000, and $3,000,000+.

The above example shares the average number of days on the market, separated by price, for homes in the South End. This data is collected from market reports in the last three months. You can change the input to six months or one year for further insight into the neighborhood’s longer-term market trends.

 

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The average sales price chart provides information on the cost of living in your prospective neighborhood. Buyers can compare the list price and sale price of homes bought in the neighborhood to consider when they want to buy or sell their home. Similar to the average days on market chart, buyers can switch between data collected from the last 3 months, 6 months, and one year. The above graph shows us that the average sales price for a home in the South End was approximately $763,081.

 

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One of the most fundamental parts of buying or selling your home is finding the perfect time to do so. Our inventory market trends analyze the number of homes that were on the market in a particular month. This chart, which collects inventory for South End homes in the past year, shows us that there are a larger number of homes on the market in the summer months than the winter months. Analyzing this information is beneficial to homebuyers or anyone interested in learning more about the market trends in the Greater Boston neighborhoods. See more of our exclusive listings and get up to date market reports on the latest homes to hit the market at http://www.bostonrealestate.com/.