Finders, fixers.

home in reading, mass. - the best places to live around Boston, Massachusetts

The best places to live in and around Boston

Last week, the Boston Globe Magazine published its annual “Top Spots to Live in Greater Boston” feature, which I’ve been fortunate enough to write for the past two years. For want of a better metric, the list is based on the spots with the biggest increases in median home prices over the previous five years — the…

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make way for ducklings statue on boston common - spring real estate guide home buying timeline

Countdown to closing: A first-time home buyer checklist and timeline

As in baseball, winter is the real estate off-season; if you’re a first-time home buyer who’s been scouting homes on Redfin or Trulia or Zillow, you probably noticed there wasn’t much coming up for sale the past few months, which can be really frustrating (or a great opportunity, since many other buyers put their search on hold for…

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new home checklist: couple moving into new house

New home checklist: 12 things homeowners should do right away

The weeks leading up to a home purchase are super stressful. Between the home inspection and finalizing your financing, you also have to start packing up your entire life and maybe arranging for movers — or even selling your old house under a tight timeline. Then there’s the actual closing, when you sign your life…

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marlborough st brownstones in bostons back bay

If you’ve always dreamed of living in the Back Bay, this might be your chance

Over the past decade or so, there’s been an accelerating “back to the city” movement, as young people and downsizing boomers alike seemed to prize walkable, vibrant, diverse neighborhoods. As prices in the urban core spiraled higher, many Millennials sacrificed size for prime location while retirees in desirable suburbs like Wellesley or Needham cashed in…

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biden/harris lawn sign with rabbit nearby

Why this October is a great time to scout new neighborhoods

Some friends of ours spent most of the summer searching for a home in Portsmouth, N.H. The finally found a property in their price range that they really liked, but the house across the street gave them pause. It had a giant “Trump 2020” banner draped across the garage, flapping high in the wind, that…

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rip up carpet in stairs before and after

Stairway makeover: Pulling up old carpet to reveal glowing hardwoods

Our entry stairs have always had salmon-pink walls and beige wall-to-wall carpeting. The peachy walls actually grew on us over our first few years in the house — they glow with an inviting warmth in the afternoon sun. But the carpeting never did. Then I learned that carpets can be up to 200% heavier when…

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homemade ant trap

Homemade ant traps and other ways to keep insects out of your house

Last year at this time, we were just overrun with ants. I mean, we’ve always seen a few stray ants around June when the weather warms up. But this was an absolute infestation: parades of little pavement ants traipsing along ant highways in our dining room and kitchen. I don’t know what changed, apart from…

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how to make a tire swing - genny tries out the tire swing and approves

How to make a tire swing: Stay-at-home summer, part 3

Playgrounds officially re-opened this week, but ours was a little crowded and crazy for our liking, so we’re still spending a lot more time in our yard. After installing monkey bars and a DIY rock climbing wall in the backyard, we turned our attention to the Norway maple tree out front — and thought about…

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diy tile coasters with maps

One-hour wonders: DIY tile coasters

Homemade coasters are really simple to make. And when customized with a thoughtful choice of maps, photos, sheet music, artwork, or pages from a favorite book, these DIY tile coasters can make a perfectly elegant gift, too. While you’ll want to give a bit of thought to the media you’re putting on the coasters and…

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casas de colores in the south end

Diverse communities in Massachusetts

Unlike its northern New England neighbors, Massachusetts is at least somewhat racially diverse: 72% White, 7% Black, 6% Asian, and 12% Latino, according to Census estimates. (The U.S. as a whole is 61%, 12%, 5%, and 18%, respectively.) But a lot of our minority residents are clustered in Boston (which is actually a lot more diverse…

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DIY rock climbing wall for children

DIY rock climbing wall: Stay-at-home summer, part 2

Our daughter’s always been a climber. She scales fences, trees, door frames —anything— and she loves going to the climbing gym. Since that probably won’t be happening during the stay-at-home summer of 2020, I decided it was finally time to build a DIY rock climbing wall for her in the backyard. As with our backyard…

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backyard monkey bars installed under deck

Backyard monkey bars: Stay-at-home summer, part 1

Greetings from quarantine! Hoo boy. Crazy times, eh? I hope you and yours are keeping safe and keeping your distance (although it’s still nice to holler hellos at your neighbors from the porch). When the weather turns nice like this after being cooped up all winter, we’re usually at the playground every day after school,…

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paint cans - VOCs and other chemicals and toxins in the home

Are you in a toxic relationship with your home?

I recently wrote an article about sourcing healthier home materials — and I learned a whole bunch of scary stuff in the process. Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary, but a lot of the materials, finishes, and furniture in our living spaces contain some pretty bad stuff. The Globe article focused largely on building products and finishes —…

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blue recycling bin - how to recycle in massachusetts

How to recycle (without screwing up the whole works)

Recycling is the least we can do to to help our ailing planet. It’s not hard. Single-stream (all-in-one bin) recycling has made the process easier than ever for homeowners. And yet, it’s clear a lot of people just don’t know how to recycle properly. In our neighborhood, I see pesky plastic bags stuffed in blue bins all…

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halibut point state park in rockport, mass

Looking for a cooler place to live (literally)

I love our city of Quincy — I think it’s one of the best places to live around Boston, in fact — but when you scour real estate listings for a living, you’re bound to get some wanderlust once in awhile. And that gets especially acute during a heat wave. Here by the ocean, our…

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