Blog :: 2016

Holiday House Tour 2016 Postponed

With the mild fall weather and no seasonal slow-down in the real estate market, the holidays kind of snuck up on us, and it appears we're not the only ones feeling this way. We were hard at work coordinating the 2016 Holiday House Tour with a Christmas in the Village theme along with some fun and interesting new elements when some key components fell through. At that point, we agreed with the Chamber's difficult decision to cancel. While we'll miss this festive event and the opportunity to welcome so many from the community at this special time of year, but just couldn't present something that wasn't our best. So we're taking a break for 2016 and are committed to returning next year, better than ever!

To help you get into the festive holiday mood, here's a look back at last year's tour — enjoy!

And we hope to see you out and about at all the other festive and seasonal activities in and around Bedford — this is such a wonderful time when our community comes together to celebrate and connect. We've been busy decorating our office and our homes — gathering greens, celebrating with colleagues, shopping for gifts and special

recipes. What makes this season special to you? Do you have a favorite family tradition or recipe? Please share on our Facebook page at — we'd love to hear from you!

And in case you need some ideas, here are some of our favorite upcoming community events!

Lexington Arts & Crafts Society Holiday Marketplace

Browse and shop for one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted gift items from baskets, paintings, and ceramics to fine jewelry and photography.

  • December 2-24, 30 Waltham St., Lexington.
  • Free admission and parking

Bedford Family Connection Holiday Party

Play reindeer games, join the holiday sing-a-long with Footnotes Music, make festive crafts, and contribute to the Giving Tree. Snack and drinks available.

  • Saturday, December 10, 10am-12noon, The Great Room, Old Town Hall, 16 South St., Bedford
  • $3 per child for members/$5 non-members

Concord Band Holiday Pops

Get in the spirit with holiday favorites and seasonal tunes for symphonic concert band.

  • Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10, 8 pm, 51 Walden, Concord
  • $25/$15 children under 12

30th Annual Bedford Rotary Breakfast with Santa

A morning of family fun that supports the Bedford Rotary's local scholarships, local and international service projects, and special beneficiaries.

  • Sunday, December 11, 9am-noon, Bedford High School
  • $8 admission

Wishing you a happy, safe, and blessed holiday season!


 

If You Can't Stand the Linoleum, Get It Out Of The Kitchen

Kitchens, oh, kitchens. Also known as the "heart of the home", the "deal breaker", or the "big ticket item". No matter what, they are a big deal, even if you can’t fry an egg. Having friends over? You're in the kitchen. Hosting the holidays? That’s where you'll be catching up with family over a glass of wine while tending the turkey in the oven.

Perhaps it’s a mix of elements that have changed our culture — women are spending more time working outside the home, men are also cooking, and family interactions are increasingly informal, so living rooms have merged with the eating area to accommodate a more casual lifestyle. However you look at it, the outcome is the same — we long for a more cohesive environment at home and that is often top priority in home buyers’ search criteria.

All that said, in New England, the average home is at least 40 years old. And values have risen significantly over the past couple of years, leaving very little room in our pockets for major renovations. Buyers often find themselves in the situation of purchasing an older house in order to move to the desired location or to acquire the amount of space desired. To update these homes, many can attest kitchen renovations can be a financial nightmare, washing those bright Pinterest board dreams down the drain.

Luckily, we are surrounded by friends and clients who prove that wonderful things can be done on a budget with lots of creativity and a bit of that infamous sweat equity. When working on the idea for this post (after recently completing my own kitchen rehab), I reached out to two great examples of a kitchen facelift: Lizzie McGlinchey and Andrea Vana. With the support of their families, great taste, and a modest investment, they turned their kitchens into the centerpiece of their homes, and we're happy to highlight their hard work here.


Lizzie's project, in her own words:

When my husband and I first toured our house, we had three main takeaways: the neighborhood was great, the house was well-built, and the kitchen needed work. We knew we could change the kitchen, though, and given that things like poor location and build quality were deal breakers for us, we made an offer right away.

Within the first few weeks of living in our new house, though, we realized we had to do something to make the kitchen more functional and frankly, less hideous! Since we didn't have the budget to do a full renovation right away, we decided to make as many visual, non-structural upgrades as we could, like replacing appliances, installing a new backsplash, and switching out the vinyl floor for hardwood.

Because we did the bulk of the work ourselves, we completed our kitchen makeover in just a couple of weeks and we saved a ton of money. Here are our 4 tips for homeowners looking to do the same!

  • If your cabinets are in decent shape, a fresh coat of paint and new hardware can make them look and feel like new.
  • Consider butcher block as an affordable countertop option. It looks great and is easy to cut to accommodate your kitchen's layout.
  • If you need new appliances, try to buy them all from the same brand — you can often get a bundle discount or rebate.
  • Don't be afraid to do the work yourself. We hired an electrician and plumber to make sure our new appliances were safely installed, but YouTube and handy family members helped guide us through the rest of the work.

Lizzie's completed project:

Andrea’s take on her renovation adventure — here's what we started with:

First, we removed the peninsula from the wall and anchored it in the center of the room to create an island. Then we painted the cabinets. The wood was in good shape, but the cabinets looked dated and dingy. The countertops and the peninsula were all chipped and dated red laminate, which we replaced with granite. While we loved the look of the various types of white marble, it was way too expensive and it wasn't as functional for a kitchen space (for us anyway). We ended up going with fantasy brown granite. It has that marble look to it with a bit more character and was a whole lot cheaper. I was worried it would be too much brown, but I love it. And I decided to switch things up for the island and ended up choosing a cherry wood top there. It really warms up the space.

We also got new appliances — fridge, dishwasher, sink, and faucet. The fridge was from a scratch and dent store, was very inexpensive, and we have yet to find a scratch or dent on it! The Kohler farmhouse sink was a big purchase, but we love it. I had my heart set on the champagne bronze Delta faucet, and even though my husband was skeptical, he trusted me and now he loves the look. Once all of that work was done, we needed some pendant lights over the island to really finish the space, and we got those at IKEA.

Andrea's completed kitchen:

As a Realtor who works exclusively with home buyers, I often see this topic come up as a challenge in my client’s home search. Exercising creativity, suggesting alternative solutions to ugly countertops and, above all, educating clients to see through the cosmetic challenges while focusing on the real priorities is my full-time job.

My point is that new home buyers should not give up on a great location and space because the house comes with a "vintage" oven or ugly linoleum.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the before and after photos above, and I am certain their sense of accomplishment more than makes up for any fancy soft-closing cabinet brand’s reviews online.

Incredible job Lizzie, Kyle, Andrea and Evan!

Thais Collins, Realtor • Buyer Specialist • Suzanne & Company

Cottages at Depot Crossing offering Sales Incentive This Weekend Only!

This weekend our builders at the Cottages at Depot Crossing project in Bedford are motivated to get 2 more units under agreement and they're offering some enticing incentives to do so! 

The first home to go under agreement by Monday, Nov 14 will receive two years worth of free condo fees and the second one after that will get one year worth of free condo fees.

We're hosting an open house Saturday, Nov 12 from 2 to 3pm at the site, which is located near 156 South Road in Bedford — you can't miss the Cottages sign! Come on out and see what all the excitement is about and take advantage of this great opportunity!

Customization and upgrade options are still available on the next 2 units to sell. Contact us with any questions — 781.275.2156.

Hope to see you there!

Election's Impact on Local Real Estate

After a surprising evening and a roller coaster of emotions, some of our clients and friends have reached out to our team with questions about where the market will head after the results of last night’s presidential election.

As real estate professionals, we partner with some of the most knowledgeable lenders and financial advisors in our area, so this morning we contacted some of them to get their take on the current scenario and what the new few months – and years — may look like under Donald Trump’s presidency.

We all know this election was divisive. We witnessed the interactions among friends on social media and in the traditional media outlets as well. With that, a strong market reaction was expected, regardless of its outcome.

Craig Tashijian, Senior Mortgage Consultant with Fairway Mortgage shares:

"As the election results were coming in the stock markets around the world were dropping, and once the final results were in early this morning, the markets began to stabilize. Wall Street likes consistency and stability so the business world can make strategic plans. That said, the business world adapts to the party in power and will make decisions to lead to the growth and profitability of their respective companies.

I see a continued low-interest rate environment and a strong real estate market in 2017 and beyond. We have a strong diverse economy in Massachusetts which will provide good paying jobs to help fuel the real estate market."

And from Andria Dolce, Loan Officer at Radius Financial Group:

"Today we find ourselves dealing with what a Trump presidency means. Understand that the reason for volatility in the market right now is not because Trump won or Clinton lost — it is because it was unexpected. Volatility stems from uncertainty. When we look at the housing market, we have to look at the long term — nothing will happen overnight, so we'll have time to react and plan. It will always be a good idea to buy your dream home, or invest in real estate, so my advice would be to not take one volatile day, week, or month and have that dictate the rest of your future. We will always be able to achieve the American Dream."

What we heard overall is that historically, the election has no negative impact on market performance over the long term and come January, the dust will have settled, Donald Trump’s policies will be in place, and then we'll be able to see the picture in a clearer way.

We encourage everyone to keep in mind that, no matter what your political position, we must look ahead in unity. Real estate isn’t only or always about business. We seek to strengthen our community, to embrace the challenges as a group in our neighborhoods, towns, and workplaces. Let’s continue to work from the ground up to build the villages we love.

Thais Collins and the team at Suzanne & Company

Building with Today's Buyers in Mind -- Cottages at Depot Crossing

One of our most exciting projects at Suzanne & Company this year is The Cottages at Depot Crossing, a green sustainable condominium community. We are honored and excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project from the beginning. The developer is a former client, and they approached us to market the units, advise on pricing, design [...]

Fun with the Kids Alert! Trunk or Treat Fri Oct 28

Ok, I'm not afraid to admit it — the entire team here at Suzanne & Company looks forward to this event! We've been hard at work on our costumes this year and can't wait for the big reveal. I'll give you a couple hints — it's related to real estate and based on one of our favorite pastimes. You'll have to come down to the Whole Foods parking [...]

How is Justice Best Served?

We are so fortunate to live in an engaged, caring community and one of the bright spots I'd like to highlight is the organization Communities for Restorative Justice. They are a nonprofit partnership of community members and police departments that facilitates restorative justice in the wake of crime. They provide a process where victims are [...]