Last week, the Boston Planning and Development Agency met for their first monthly meeting of 2017 and approved a pair of developments that will not only bring hundreds of new residential units to the area but also look to improve transit conditions in their respective communities.
The first of these projects, The Residences at Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain, will include 250 new residential units and approximately 4,070 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space. The project will be located across the street from the Forest Hills MBTA station on three unoccupied parcels of land, totaling 91,730 square feet, as you can see below.
Jamaica Plain has a reputation for being one of the city’s most bicycle-friendly neighborhoods—something that the plans for the Residences at Forest Hills have certainly taken into account. The building will cater to bike enthusiasts by including indoor bike storage, short-term outdoor bike racks, complimentary bikes for tenants, and 38,000 square feet of open space. For those who prefer to get around on four wheels, there will be electric vehicle charging stations and 146 parking spaces, with some of those reserved for Zipcars.
The project will further contribute to the well-being of the community by improving pedestrian pathways and creating easier access to Southwest Corridor Park, a popular route for bicycle commuters. Additionally, the project will add more than 200 construction jobs, as well as permanent retail and property management jobs.
BLDG 89, the second of these newly approved developments will be located at 89 Brighton Avenue in Allston. The development calls for 129 residential units, 7,500 square feet of new retail space, 79 parking spaces, storage for 138 bicycles and an on-site bicycle repair station. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, the forward-thinking architects of the project, have also taken great care and collaborated with local residents, business owners and city officials to ensure the development will provide solutions to the concerns of the community.
Site of BLDG 89
Included in the plans for 89 Brighton Avenue are improvements to the overall pedestrian, bike and vehicular safety of the intersection at Brighton Ave and Linden Street by removing approximately 60 feet of curb along Linden and increasing the width of the sidewalk on Brighton Ave. The project will also provide active retail space for smaller retailers and add planters, street trees and bicycle parking along Brighton Avenue.
To stay updated on these developments, as well as any of the developments currently under construction throughout the city, try out our exclusive Crane Watch feature at BostonRealEstate.com, where you can follow projects through each stage of development, with the most comprehensive and current information available.
With 2016 behind us, it’s time to take a look at the numbers that defined the year in the Boston real estate market. Overall sales in Boston last year were $4,882,326,526, which represents an 11% increase over 2015. Of course, the big story of 2016 was the opening of Millennium Tower, which helped propel Midtown to the #4 spot, in terms of sales volume amongst neighborhoods for the year.
Using sales data accumulated from MLS-PIN, we have compiled the list of Boston’s Top 10 neighborhoods in 2016 (according to overall sales volume). We have also provided the data from 2015, to gain an easy understanding of how the market changed in each neighborhood over the past year. Where does your neighborhood rank?
If you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for that special someone this holiday season, what better way to express your love and appreciation than with the gift of real estate? As we did last year, we have compiled a list of the ten highest-priced luxury homes currently on the market in Boston (excluding any listings that are currently under construction or in pre-construction). It should come as little surprise to those familiar with the Boston real estate market that three of the top ten listings are in Millennium Tower.
Which one of these properties would you like to call “home” for the holidays?
Bushari agents were busy in Brookline in November, with three agents amongst the Top 5 for the month. Congratulations on an excellent month to Eric Tam and the Andrea McDonough Team, who tied for the top spot with $5,800,000 in sales for each, and to Liz Dehler, whose $2,340,000 places her at #5.
On December 1st, new smoke and CO detector regulations were put in place by the state of Massachusetts. Real estate agents and homeowners alike should familiarize themselves with these new rules to ensure that their properties are up to code.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poor staging with irregular furniture angles (left) vs. proper staging with a single focal point (right).
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.
Perspective with odd angles (top) vs. corrected perspective with straight verticals (bottom). Image courtesy of BoostYourPhotography.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.