Prep Your Home for Winter: Three Ways

As winter weather makes its way to us, we can make sure our home is ready for it. A long-time advisor to our clients, home inspector Mark George shares three top priorities for your home at this time of year: Clean and service your heating system to ensure it runs at optimum efficiency. Clean gutters, downspouts and […] Read More

A Seller’s Story: “The Wonderful World of 130”

Home can be a place of grounding and nesting. For the sellers of 130 Anawan Avenue in West Roxbury, it has been a place of family and community. Their kids (ages ten and seven) have loved the home so much, they wrote a story to share the inspiration and comfort of living there. [fusion_separator style_type=”default” […] Read More

When a Vibraphonist Doesn’t Have to Hustle for Space to Play

Boston is a city of arts––particularly music, from New England Conservatory to Berklee College of Music to Symphony Hall, and independent ensembles like Grammy-nominated A Far Cry. I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous musician clients, helping them set up homes where they can also make art, collaborate with others, and stay connected to […] Read More

Sell or Rent Out Your Home?

When a homeowner needs to move, most assume they will be selling their house. When I meet with clients during a seller’s meeting, we explore their priorities and the range of options for their situation. Part of that picture may include renting their home—either temporarily or long term—whether they’re moving nearby or relocating out of […] Read More

Pricing Low to Go High

Sometimes it’s wise to price low in order to go high. When we dropped the listing price from $445K to $425K, the home sold for $475K. Over the past five years, Boston area real estate has been in steep demand, with unprecedented competition among homebuyers and continuous increases in home values. In sought-after locations like […] Read More

Is It a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market? How to Tell

A common question I am asked is about whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. People want to know because they understand that can shift leverage and risk during a real estate transaction. Who has more leverage can vary by season or year—or even by location—but it’s often strongly influenced by larger market factors: interest rates […] Read More

Salem: City by the Sea

A client of mine is trading her Boston condo for a historic spot in Salem. As I sat at Milk & Honey Green Grocer for a bite to eat after the inspection, I came to appreciate why my client was drawn to this city by the sea. Salem is known for the 17-century witch trials […] Read More

Thinking about Selling?

Selling real estate can be a complex project. Thank you for considering my services. I’m eager to talk with you about how I can serve you with distinction. Your needs drive the process The following details will shape the marketing and pricing strategy I ultimately recommend: When do you need to move? Do you have […] Read More

Typical Home Sale Expenses in Massachusetts

What does it cost to sell your home? Some expenses will vary, such as repairs and improvements—either before coming to market or as a result of negotiations with your chosen buyer. There are other standard expenses related to your sale that you can expect: Brokerage commission Brokerage commission is the fee you’ll pay to the real estate […] Read More

Matchmaking in a Secret Garden

I love when we get to do matchmaking. My colleague Jay and I were preparing to bring this listing to market, when an out-of-state buyer of mine came into the picture: a retired couple from Vermont relocating to be near their grandchildren. As they pondered their transition from rural Vermont farm life back to the […] Read More

Boston Summer Fun

Summer in Boston is a great time to explore the city. Whether movies, music, or ziplining (yes, there’s urban ziplining) is your thing, Boston gives you plenty of reasons to stay in town. Events & Activities Boston Pops 4th of July Show Be sure to get to the Hatch Shell early to grab a spot […] Read More

Here Comes the Sun: Solar Energy Options in Massachusetts

Using solar energy is increasingly a viable option for many, even condo-dwellers, renters, and those with imperfect or shaded roofs. Here are four different ways to make use of solar-generated power for any living arrangement. Buying solar panels Homeowners can get the most savings in the long term from buying their own solar panel array. […] Read More

Urban Gardening

I know people who can’t wait to get into their garden each spring. Getting their hands in dirt is a soulful experience. In Boston, you don’t have to have your own plot to experience the rewards of gardening. From community gardens to pots on a deck, urban dwellers have a variety of choices. If you’re […] Read More

Your Home on Vacation

Heading out of town this summer season? Before you go, take these steps to prep your home so your return home is as relaxing as the vacation. Get a little help from your friends The best option for your home is to have someone stay there while you are away. It may thwart break-ins and […] Read More

Celebrating the Eliot School

In celebrating the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts, of which I’m a trustee, I emceed our 02130 Party fundraiser in April. Hosted in a stately pre-Civil War home, the house was packed with Jamaica Plain neighbors—a lively outpouring of support for the school’s mission to bring art-making to all. Among the afternoon’s highlights, […] Read More

Think Smart about Security for Your Open House

Security is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of preparing for an open house. While the vast majority of guests touring an open house are coming just to see your home, don’t discount the possibility that someone may come with other intentions. Protect your valuables Before open house—and even before your photo session—remove items of […] Read More

Buying a Home with Gift Money

How to use gift funds for your loan down payment As I prepare homebuyers to navigate Boston’s hyper-competitive markets—whether they’re first-timers or multi-homeowners—I inform them that family money has become a significant force behind area home sales. (More than half of my buyer clients are using family funds of some kind.) With inventory super-tight and […] Read More

3 Reasons Boston’s Housing Market is Tight

Where Do You Fit in the Picture? With limited homes for sale over the past five years, Boston’s real estate markets are increasingly competitive and expensive—similar to other in-demand cities like Los Angeles and Seattle. Here, three reasons home buying options remain limited, competition stiff and prices high. If you’re relocating to the area—or if […] Read More

4 Events to Hit at This Year’s Boston Design Week

Sashya Thind Fernandes, an interior architect and principal of Boston-based ID8 Design Studio, offers her top picks for Design Week Boston. Boston Design Week (March 29–April 9, 2017) is upon us, and there are several events that are must-see for designers and non-designers alike. All of these panels speak to the growth and future of Boston, […] Read More

How to Use an Open House

There will be times where you will need to attend an open house without me. During our buyers meeting, I’ll teach you: what to look for at an open house how to compare one property to the next Be prepared to take notes as you tour a property and debrief with me afterward. Do’s and […] Read More

Home Appraisal: What If It Comes in Low?

Most sellers want as much as they can get for their property, but that doesn’t come without risks. Unless a buyer is purchasing entirely in cash, a seller should evaluate an offer price for its ability to match or exceed a potential appraised value. In a seller’s market, competing buyers’ offer prices are likely to […] Read More

Renting Now and Planning to Buy?

Read your lease terms and plan ahead If you are renting now and planning to buy, be sure to understand what, if any, flexibility your lease allows. Why? It’s currently a strong seller’s market in Boston. It is typical for a seller to receive numerous offers, and you don’t want lose out due to your […] Read More

Where to Donate Items

Seller’s often ask about staging their home to sell. While that may be necessary, often simply editing a space will suffice. Accomplish a good portion of your editing by donating items you don’t want that have accumulated over the years. Double bonus: you’ll have less to sort through when packing to move. There are many […] Read More

Staging Your Home to Tell a Story

When presenting your property to the market, your goal is to attract serious buyers to cross the threshold and tour your space. But we don’t always keep our space in magazine-ready condition. That’s quite alright—that’s where my discerning eye comes into play. Below, view examples of homes that have been staged to varying degrees. When […] Read More

Home Buyers and Sellers: How Appraisals Fit into Your Strategy

In Greater Boston, buyers gearing up for the spring’s purchase market will need to plan how they’ll navigate the very competitive terrain. If you’re buying with financing, your offer strategy will need to address appraisals. If your appraisal comes in below your offer price, you may need to make up the difference––in addition to the […] Read More

Reduce Your Property Tax with a Residential Exemption

Do you own your primary residence in the Boston area? Be sure you’re not overypaying your property tax. If you own the property you live in as your primary residence, you may qualify for a residential tax exemption, which will automatically reduce your property tax each year. For fiscal year 2017, Boston’s city council voted to […] Read More

Rent or Own, Tax Deductions for Your Home

Tax time is just around the corner. Whether you rent or own, there are home-related deductions you’ll want to make sure to keep track of. Property owners have substantially more deductions related to their home than renters. But even renters in Massachusetts can deduct some home-related expenses. Massachusetts rent paid deduction Massachusetts allows a deduction […] Read More

Buyers: Find Your Edge in Boston’s Real Estate Market

While it’s smart to casually begin checking out open houses and considering your ideal moving timeline, several critical factors may compel you to get a well informed buying strategy in place right out of the gate. Here’s what to know: Start right now The sooner we get you informed about the market and your options […] Read More

Thinking of Selling in 2017?

Your “spring” market starts now. If you’re contemplating selling your home in 2017, you may be generally aiming for the “spring market”—that post-freeze time of year when the ground has thawed, making way for crocuses and daffodils. The sun will be out longer and more folks will be out and about on foot: that seems […] Read More

About Melony and Good Boston Living

Melony Swasey and the Good Boston Living team represent clients who seek insightful advising and attentive service for buying and selling homes in and around Boston. For Melony, the joy in real estate sales is forging genuine relationships with her clients. Since 2010, she’s worked closely with home buyers and sellers of all stages of […] Read More

Community, Credenzas, and Color

Sky and Madison expected a gradual, laid-back buying process. They’d told themselves they would allow a year for their search. It didn’t take a year; it took a week—and the process went smoothly. Their next task was configuring their massive North Dorchester newly built condo, with its city views. Considering community SKY: It was kind […] Read More

Unlimited SIR has Opened in Newton Centre

My brokerage, Unlimited | Sotheby’s International Realty, has opened our third office, in the heart of Newton Centre at 767 Beacon Street. From local to global Locally owned and operated, we’re based in key residential centers, including Brookline’s Coolidge Corner and Jamaica Plain’s Centre Street. We’re well positioned to serve clientele from the innovation districts […] Read More

Melville Park Curiosities and Conversations

After looking on and off for three years, Mike found just the right place in Dorchester’s Melville Park near Shawmut Station. He and his partner Brandon love the house and the neighborhood. They describe settling into a new house and neighborhood, using art and curiosities to generate conversations, and what it’s like working with Melony. […] Read More

Put Relationships at the Center of Your Strategy

The Boston area markets, from the South End to the suburbs, are fast-paced. And they continuously break new ground on prices—and on the risk-taking required of competing buyers to get a deal done. I am unmistakably competitive and, as I often say to both my seller and buyer clients, I play to win. I’m guided […] Read More

Business Based in Love

I am often taken by the camaraderie, human connection, and goodwill that moves the business I’m in. Yes, the Boston area real estate market is intensely competitive and increasingly expensive. But I’m struck by the heart that’s involved—between agents as well as between buyers and sellers. The stories in my daily dealings are numerous. Take […] Read More

Voter Registration to Parking Permits: Get it Done at Boston.gov

Boston has a history of using technology to improve city services. The Office of New Urban Mechanics began in 2010, but even before that, the city launched Citizens Connect, a mobile app alternative to the 311 hotline used to report issues around the city. With the new Boston.gov, services are even easier to access. The […] Read More

How I Distinguish a Home to Sell

493 Walnut Avenue in Jamaica Plain sold quickly and above asking price—at $880,000—after just one week on market. A Case Study: Marketing 493 Walnut Avenue, on Jamaica Plain’s Franklin Park My seller had raised her family for over 30 years in this grand Colonial in Jamaica Plain’s Olmsted neighborhood. By crafting a story around her […] Read More

Boston’s Seller’s Market

Unless you are new to the area, you know Boston is experiencing an intense real estate market marked by low inventory and eager buyers. Sellers are in a fortunate position of having multiple offers with favorable terms and often above asking—and this has been the case for the past few years. How did we get here and […] Read More

Cash vs. Financing: Why Cash is King

Both seller and buyer are measuring and negotiating risk—risk in the timeline before closing and the level of buyer deposits to bind the agreements. The more risk a buyer is willing to take on, the more confident a seller can be in accepting their offer. A cash offer—even if it’s priced lower than offers that […] Read More

Why I Don’t Use the Term “Bidding War”

Google “bidding war” and you’ll find over half the search results reference residential real estate. It conjures up images of an intense, competitive back-and-forth with escalating prices each party is willing to make to win the house at any cost. I understand a buyer’s reluctance to enter into a bidding war. I don’t use the […] Read More

Prepping to Close Your Sale

You prepped to put your property on the market; here are things for you to do as you prepare to close. Hire your mover, and consider storage and packing You may have begun pre-packing before you came to market. But don’t wait to book your moving company; get on your mover’s schedule as soon as […] Read More

Smart Pricing Strategy

It’s critical to price your property accurately—right out of the gate. Properties priced within market range generate more showings and offers sooner—and sell in a shorter period of time. Conversely, properties priced too high take longer to sell and with more difficulty. A comparative market analysis of recent sales can give us a good indication of […] Read More

Moving Out When You Sell Your House

There are a lot things to coordinate when you are preparing to move out of your house. What should you take? What should you leave? How best to coordinate it all? Below some resources to help. Utilities and home insurance: When to cancel? You have your closing date but don’t cancel your utilities and home […] Read More

First Impressions Matter

What to Focus on When Selling Your Home Homeowners often want to know which home renovations will bring the best return on their investment. My first tip? Go after the easy, low-hanging items that can really aide in how outsiders perceive your home. Prospective buyers want to know they’re making a good investment in choosing […] Read More

What’s an Escalation Clause, and How Does It Work?

Escalation clause (or escalator clause) is a device that’s gained so much traction, the Boston Globe featured its pros and cons. What is an escalation clause? Simply put, an escalation clause says the buyer will pay a certain amount over another, competing offer. If structured smartly, an escalation clause can work favorably for both buyer and seller: […] Read More

Offer Deadlines: When and How?

An offer deadline can create urgency for buyers not to wait on submitting, which can be useful if you expect multiple offers quickly. (Let your realtor advise you on that likelihood.) This approach can establish order for the seller, as you can compare all offers at once and, if you choose, give them (or a […] Read More

How to Compare Multiple Offers

(Buyers: take note.) There are not enough homes coming to market in the Boston area to meet the intense buyer demand. As a result, it’s typical for sellers to receive multiple offers on their home—often within the first week and with an array of competitive terms. When reviewing them as the seller, it can seem like […] Read More

Buying Property? Assemble Your Team

In addition to the buyer and seller, there are multiple critical players in any real estate transaction—with your buyer’s agent serving as the hub. Working closely with top-notch, client-focused experts, I hand-pick an airtight team to work seamlessly your behalf. Buyer’s agent Your real estate professional guides you through the home buying process from start to finish. […] Read More

“Strategy helped us get our home”

Cara and her husband Chris wanted a more permanent home to raise their daughter in Jamaica Plain. “Melony really helped us (a) understand that there was strategy [to buying a home], and (b) helped us come up with a really excellent strategy that we were happy with and could sleep with at night.” “I came […] Read More

Why Speak With A Loan Officer First?

Buyers often want to jump right into looking at properties. But before we do that, we need to discuss your priorities and strategize to win them. Part of that is determining your buying power up front. That is, what are the best ways to structure your financing given: the funds you have on hand where you’re […] Read More

Your Buyers Meeting

Once you’ve prepped for your buyers meeting, we’ll meet in person and cover the following (allow two hours): What’s your key need? What’s making you need or want to buy right now? What happens in the next five to ten years? In order to win your priorities in a vibrant home sale market like many […] Read More

How Much House Can I Afford?

Unless you’re buying entirely with cash, you’ll be leveraging funds from a lender in order to make your purchase. To decide what you can afford, you might begin with a feeling or perception, such as “I don’t want to spend more than $500,000.” But don’t stop there; that perception may not reflect these critical factors: […] Read More

Buyers Meeting Prep: Making Informed Financial Decisions

If you’re thinking about buying a home, then you’re also pursuing an investment—an asset to be stewarded over time. Let’s proceed in a way that satisfies your needs financially as well as logistically and aesthetically. We will have an in-depth meeting to lay out your priorities but before we do, there are several steps for you […] Read More

What’s a Buyers Agent—And Why Use One?

Simply put, a buyers agent is the real estate agent working on behalf of the buyer. Typically, a seller has hired a real estate agent (a “listing agent”) to market their property and help them negotiate the best price and terms for them. As a buyer, you will be smart to do the same. While […] Read More