Finders, fixers.

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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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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blown in insulation cost

Here’s how much blown-in insulation cost us, and how much it’s saved us so far

Over the summer, we finally got around to doing something that had been on our (lengthy) house to-do list ever since we moved in: We got insulation blown into our walls, at a steep 90% discount courtesy of MassSave. At 90% off, you’d wonder what the hell were we waiting for all these years. Well, we had…

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house for sale in quincy

Three reasons right now might be your best chance to buy a home in Boston

The past few years have seen home prices — all over the country and state, but particularly in and around Boston — race upward. To say it’s been a seller’s market would be a vast understatement. With too few homes on the market, fierce competition has forced buyers into costly bidding wars, waiving important contingencies, and rushing what should be…

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two prong light bulb adapter GU24 to E27 light bulb adapter

Need to replace a two prong light bulb? This gadget is a life saver.

We have a ceiling fan and light fixture that’s slowly grown dimmer as each of its three light bulbs burned out. The first time, I grabbed a new LED bulb out of the closet, unscrewed the lamp, and removed the burned-out bulb — only to find a light bulb with two prongs at the bottom, instead…

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victorian with tree out front

The simplest, cheapest, and prettiest way to save on home energy bills

From huge tax credits on solar panels to big rebates on efficient heating equipment and other appliances, there are a lot of financial incentives out there to encourage home improvements that save you both energy and money. This is especially true in Massachusetts, where Mass Save programs sweeten the deal even further; I recently wrote a guide for…

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best commutes in boston charles river esplanade bike path

Eight Boston-area commutes, ranked

In the past 20 years, I’ve lived and worked all over Boston. Until we bought our house, I rarely stayed at an apartment longer than a year or two, and the nature of the media and publishing industries meant I didn’t stay at any one job too long either. And in that time, I’ve had…

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house for sale - the real monthly costs of owning a home

The real monthly costs of owning a home (and how they add up)

You’ll find all kinds of articles online about the real or hidden monthly costs of owning a home. I’ve even written some of them. The gist of all these pieces is this: Owning a home is generally more expensive than you think. As a renter, there are a lot of hidden expenses bundled up in your monthly rent…

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wood stove or fireplace - fire in woodburning stove in hearth

Wood stove or fireplace? It’s no contest.

It’s that time of year, when the weather turns crisp and a young man’s fancy turns to… fire! When we first bought our house, I was excited about a lot of things — the driveway, for example, after circling for parking in the Back Bay for the three years — but none so much as the fireplace….

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roof with solar panels - is solar worth it

Are solar panels worth it? For us, absolutely.

In a piece I wrote for the Boston Globe two years ago, I researched the cost and benefits of installing rooftop solar panels on your home. In the process, I learned a ton about the solar energy industry, the various tax and legal incentives in place to encourage homeowners to go solar, and how to crunch all…

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toddler outside house - fair housing, familial discrimination and massachusetts lead law

Landlords are unabashedly (and illegally) discriminating against families with kids

Renting an apartment in Boston is expensive and difficult enough already (though maybe not so expensive and difficult as buying a home here). But trying to find a rental with young kids in tow? That’s damn near impossible – and it can leave parents feeling helpless and vulnerable. That’s what I learned while writing this piece on rental…

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