Finders, fixers.

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

The best places to live in and around Boston

Updated on April 26, 2022 On Sunday, 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 five years. For want of a better metric, the list is based on the spots with the biggest jumps in median home prices…

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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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diy lemonade stand with bistro style chalkboard

How to make a DIY lemonade stand from an old kitchen cabinet

There’s something pretty all-American about kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk on a hot summer day. And yet, a lot of modern American communities — I’m talking about those car-centric cul-de-sac suburbs off the highway — just don’t lend themselves to this smallest of business enterprises. That’s one of the reasons we think Quincy is one…

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house for sale in boston - home buying 101

I wrote a book! It’s called ‘Home Buying 101’

Listen, I’m as shocked as you are, but there you have it: I’ve got an honest-to-goodness book coming out on February 15, called Home Buying 101. It’s published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It’s a soup-to-nuts guide to buying your first home, with practical tips on saving for a down payment,…

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poland spring plastic water bottle on the beach - how to reduce plastic waste

10 ways to use less plastic at home

I was listening to Alie Ward’s delightful + insightful Ologies podcast the other day — an older episode about ocean health with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. There are a million reasons to listen, and to do more to help our marine ecology, but there was one startling statistic Dr. Johnson dropped that I hope will haunt you…

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aerial view of beacon hill and back bay in boston

How much is a year of your life worth? How about four?

What would you pay for an extra year of your life? A lot, right? People complain about the cost of housing in Massachusetts, and with good reason — it’s outrageously expensive to buy a home in the Boston area. The median price of an existing single-family home in the Boston area was $563,000 in 2020, according…

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home for sale with realtor sign in chelsea mass - how much to offer on a house

How much should you offer for a house? Here’s the best advice I’ve heard

How do you decide how much to offer on a home? The best advice I’ve heard came from Realtor Al Norton. “You want to bid a number where you’re happy if you get it at that price, and you’re happy if you don’t,” he told me. “That’s the trick.”

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: 68% White, 7% Black, 7% Asian, and 12% Latino, according to the 2020 Census. (The U.S. as a whole is 62%, 12%, 6%, and 19%, respectively.) But a lot of our minority residents are clustered in Boston (which is actually a lot more…

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