Coldwell Banker Back Bay's Top 10, in Back Bay

So far 2019 has been a great year.  Especially for real estate, and even more so in Boston.  There are plenty of buildings going up, and homes being updated and renovated.  There’s a lot going on.  Cranes all across the skyline, “no parking” permits on every block. 

Here I wanted to highlight the top 10 sales from the Coldwell Banker Back Bay office, my office, in 2019, in the Back Bay.  This list is in reverse order.  Photos are from MLS unless I took them, which is noted. A few trends to notice are how quickly the property received an offer, and how close to the asking price the property sold for. The details are below, but in general, these properties sold quickly and for extremely close, if not exceeding, the asking price.

My prediction is that this trend will continue, especially as money gets cheaper. With interest rates dropping, it’s a lot more affordable to borrow money. That’s going to encourage buyers to offer more than they might have previously been willing. This increase in demand will also have an effect on days to offer. The market’s the busiest it’s been and buyers know it and want to act quickly.

#10

50 Commonwealth Avenue #901 - $1,535,000

Considering it went for over 96% of asking price and took fewer than 2 weeks to get an accepted offer, this was a great condo.  It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom top floor unit with a fireplace.  And the condo fee is low, $824/mo.  Sold for $1,535,000, or about $1250/sq ft.

#9

400 Stuart St #24C - $1,770,000

This building is known as The Clarendon and was a Related Beal development.  It’s connected to One Back Bay, which is the rental counterpart.  They’re separated, but share a few common areas, like the Equinox gym.  This was a 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo on the 24th floor.  Great views!  And the highlight for me, is the garaged parking space that’s included.  This is a full service building.  There are several common areas, a doorman, the works.  With that comes a higher condo fee.  Here, you’re looking at $1,282/mo.  This condo sold for over 94% asking price in under a month.  $1,770,000 or $1,560/sq ft.

#8

300 Boylston St #909 - $1,825,000

 This is my favorite of the larger condo buildings in Back Bay.  It’s called Heritage on the Garden.  There’s a library accessible only to residents which serves coffee and tea and the occasional Sunday brunch.  Everything is perfectly maintained and detailed.  There’s a concierge onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This unit was a pretty big 1 bedroom 1 and a half bathroom duplex.  It also includes a garaged parking space.  This condo was on the market for 175 days before an offer was accepted.  But hear me out, I still think that’s pretty good when you look at the big picture.  There aren’t many people out there looking to spend $1,995,000 on a 1 bedroom condo.  At the end of the day it went for over 91% of the asking price.  Final sale was for $1,825,000.  That’s about $1,393/sq ft.  These are my own photos.

#7

1 Charles St #14H - $1,837,000

One Charles is another full service condo building.  It’s in an interesting location between Downtown, Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the Theatre District.  This is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom 1,571 square foot condo on the 14th floor.  It includes a valet parking space.  Keep in mind, that will be reflected in the condo fee, which is $1,979/month.  On top of having valet parking, there’s also a gym, library, conference room and caterer’s kitchen.  There’s also a 24 hour concierge.  This sold for 97% of the asking price, $1,837,000 or about $1,170/sq ft.

#6

113 Commonwealth Ave #3 - $2,288,000

This condo is in a great location.  Located between Clarendon and Dartmouth, it’s somewhat central Back Bay but closer to the Public Garden.  And it’s south facing.  It includes a rental parking space directly out back.  There are 3 bedrooms and 2 and a half bathrooms.  The kitchen is pretty big and user friendly.  It took 8 days to get an offer, and sold for over 98% of the asking price.  $2,288,000 or about $1,230/sq ft.

#5

476 Beacon St #2 - $2,725,000

Here’s an immaculate 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom floor through condo.  Even numbers on Beacon are south facing buildings.  So it’s south facing, but also has Charles River views.  It’s on the 2nd floor with direct elevator access.  One garaged parking space is included.  The most surprising thing about this unit for me, is the condo fee.  A measly $637.50/mo.  Not bad at all.  Makes me think they’re a self managed building, but I don’t know that.  It was on the market for 20 days before receiving an offer, and sold for $2,725,000 which was over 97% of the asking price.  About $1,692/sq ft.

#4

2 Commonwealth Ave #15D - $2,865,000

This is a 1 bedroom condo in the Carlton House, which is the residential condo building attached to the Taj.  It’s one of the best locations in Boston.  Located on the corner of Arlington and Commonwealth, it’s got views of the Commonwealth Ave Mall and the Boston Public Garden.  Probably more, considering this unit os on the 15th floor.  This building is similar to Heritage on the Garden (300 Boylston) in that it’s about as nice as you can get.  And the condo is similar to #8 in this list, in that it’s an expensive 1 bedroom, 1 and a half bathroom condo.  Except that it sold for $1,000,000 more.  The building has a 24 hour concierge and you have access to room service from the Taj.  One of my favorite restaurants.  The condo also includes a valet parking space.  Ninety-six days passed before receiving an offer.  It sold for $2,865,000, which was 96% of the asking price.  Now get this, that’s over $2,500/ sq ft.  I don’t think the $2,054/mo condo fee is going to be a problem for the new owners.

#3

192 Commonwealth Ave #5 - $3,350,000

This building is on the corner of Exeter and Commonwealth.  Corner buildings means there’s potential for windows on 3 sides, and this condo has just that.  There are 3 bedrooms and 3 and a half bathrooms.  It’s huge too, with over 2,700 square feet of living space.  The three fireplace are working and wood burning.  Swoon.  There’s no deeded parking, but there was a rental available.  Now for the fun part.  This condo was listed for 3 days before an offer was put in.  And it sold for $3,350,000.  That’s 105% of the asking price.  Let me reiterate.  It sold for over asking, in 3 days.

#2

380 Commonwealth Ave #1 - $4,300,000

If you live in the area, you might be familiar with 380 Commonwealth Ave.  That’s the address of the Harvard Club.  It’s a smaller building, with only 5 condos.  Anyway, it’s a very nicely done building.  This was a 3 bedroom, 3 and a half bathroom duplex with over 2,500 square feet of living space.  It also includes 2 parking spaces and a gas fireplace.  This was another hot property.  Four days to offer.  Sold for $4,300,000 which was 96% of the asking price.

#1

89 Marlborough St - $9,625,000

This is the only single family on the list.  It’s one of my favorite single families in Back Bay.  Not only do you get an entire building, it’s open on three sides.  This 7,600 square foot dwelling features 5 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms and 6 fireplaces.  Don’t get me started on all the outdoor spaces, including a roof deck.  There are 2 parking spaces behind the building and an au-pair suite with a private entrance.  This was on the market for 96 days before receiving an offer and sold for $9,625,000, or 88% of the asking price. These are my own photos.

If you have any questions or are in need of a real estate agent, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to shoot me an email, give me a call or a text.

willy.charleton@nemoves.com

617 528 8461

The Back Bay A to H: Sweetgreen

When Sweetgreen opened in the Back Bay, my world changed. At the time, it was exactly what I needed. A decent salad place, nestled between my office at the time and my apartment. While their menu does look good, I almost always go custom. I trust the ingredients. Every sweet green I’ve been to has a board listing the sources for the various ingredients. A lot of the time, they’re organic.

Long story short, if you haven’t been to a Sweetgreen, I urge you to check it out. For about $10, you can get one of the best salads in Back Bay. On top of top notch products, they also offer a pretty decent reward program through their app. You can also order online through the app, which can save lots of time, especially if you’re trying to go between the hours of 11:30am and 1:00pm. You can always count on a line.

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My go to is: Quinoa, arugula, onions, tomato, carrots, parmesan cheese, parmesan cheese crisps tossed with pesto vinaigrette. I highly recommend.

A Guide to the Most Dog Friendly Buildings in Boston

On the whole, Boston is a pretty dog friendly city. In the United States, almost 37% of households have a dog. I’d say that’s probably close to true for Boston as well. It’s easy having a dog here because there’s so much green space. The hardest part about having a dog is finding a pet friendly building, but even that isn’t too difficult.

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Most apartment buildings around the city welcome animals. However, many new buildings are really accommodating pet ownership. Almost every building that went up in the last 3 or 4 years has it’s own dog washing station and outdoor space. Below I’m going to highlight the buildings that I think are the best for dog owners.

  1. The Towers at Longfellow

This is an older building, which has its pros and its cons. Generally, older buildings have larger units. They were built before space was such a commodity. Another pro of the Towers at Longfellow is that every unit has a balcony. These towers also have great views of the city.

Not only is this building dog friendly, it has its own dog park. Having an onsite dog park is really convenient for those early morning or late night walks. It’s also a great place to socialize with other dog-owning neighbors. Who knows, you could meet your next dog sitter! The last doggy highlight of this building is its close proximity to the Liberty Hotel. On Mondays and Wednesday between May and October, the Liberty hosts an event called Yappier Hour. It’s a great place for human and canine socialization. It starts at 5:30.

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2. Troy Boston

This building was built within the last few years, and was designed with dogs in mind. The entire building is pet friendly. There’s even a dog walking area with city views and a dog washing station. It doesn’t really get more convenient than that. Except that Troy is in the South End, which is a particularly dog friendly area. A short walk from Troy is Polk a Dog bakery. And just behind that is Peter’s park. Peter’s park is a somewhat large fenced in dog park. It’s a nice size with benches and shade. However, there’s only gravel and no grass, which isn’t the most comfortable for Minnie.

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3. 345 Harrison

This building is brand new. The first tenants moved in a few months ago. As you might be able to guess from the name, this building is in the South End. It’s very similar to Troy, in that it has a private dog park. It’s not huge, but it’s more than just a walk and offers some obstacles for the pups to play on. There’s also a dog washing station. Another nice feature, is that some of the apartments abut the dog park. I showed a unit there with a patio that led out to the dog park. Very convenient. This building is essentially across the street from Troy, so is in the same proximity to many doggy stores and other parks.

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4. Avalon Prudential Center

This is another slightly older building in Boston. Chances are, you’ve seen it. The building was built in the late sixties, and similar to the Towers at Longfellow, the units are larger than most newer apartments. Many also have balconies. There isn’t a designated dog walking area or washing station, but there is a grassy area where you can run your dog. Its an elevated walled in patio. Another nice feature is that it’s connected to the Prudential Center and Copley. If your dog is like Minnie, she hates getting wet. In the event of a rain storm, you can walk quite some distance without going outside. That’s also a nice option in the winter.

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A Peak Inside 59 Mt. Vernon St., Beacon Hill

Last week my friend Josh and I toured a beautiful single family home on Mt. Vernon in Beacon Hill.  It’s one of the most picturesque streets, right off Louisberg square.  The nice thing about Mt. Vernon, is that the buildings are set back from the street and many actually have a yard, and some even driveways.  This particular house was at 59 Mt. Vernon.  It’s got to be one of the highest points in Beacon Hill.

There are 6 bedrooms and 4 and a half bathrooms.  The home was built in 1837, and I get the impression it was designed with a live-in staff in mind.  The top floor has lower ceilings, is less detailed and includes a second kitchen.  There’s also a cupola with 360degree views.

The house itself is fantastic, but what really brings it together is the furnishing.  It’s almost entirely filled with antiques.  The home is listed with Nancy Tye (nancy.tye@nemoves.com), an agent from my office.  Here are some photos from the open house.  If you have ay questions about this property or anything else related to real estate, I’d love to hear from you!  My cellphone is 617 528 8461 and my email address is willy.charleton@nemoves.com.

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Willy's Top Tips for Renting in Boston

Boston is an expensive city.  But it’s worth it!  There’s no city quite like it.  It’s got an extensive history, is on the water with a great climate and has a strong community.  It’s a hub for education and medical advancements.  Couple that with high turnover due to the 152,000 college students and many visiting medical professionals and you’ve got a recipe for a hot rental market.

View from one of the decks at Troy Boston.

View from one of the decks at Troy Boston.

Here are my top five tips for renting in Boston:

 

  1. Be flexible with your move-in/out date.


The large student population results in a desired move-in date of September 1st.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  A September 1st move-in date offers you a lot of properties on the market, but you’ll also have to compete with everyone else wanting to move in that day.  And you will probably be paying a premium because it’s such a high-demand date.  

After the September 1st rush, the second busiest move-in dates are in June and July.

Having a flexible move-in date will open up more properties for you, and will probably make your move a bit easier.  Chances are, you’ll also pay less for the same apartment with an off-cycle move-in.

People change jobs suddenly, renovations happen.  Tenants get evicted or break their leases.  Most landlords aren’t going let their units sit empty from January through August.  The best case scenario is that you get a deal and you’re not competing with 50 other no- parking permits and moving trucks.  

At Piano Craft Guild, you can paint your own door!

At Piano Craft Guild, you can paint your own door!

2. Use a Realtor®.

Specifically, me!

  There are plenty of people who search for apartments online and find a good one on Craigslist or Zillow.  However, you’ll have many more options when using a real human with personal connections.  Not every apartment is advertised online!  A Realtor® can give you advice or viewpoints you hadn’t even considered.   It’s also a lot easier to deal with one person than to schedule five showings with five different agents.  Using a Realtor® can also give you inside knowledge of the neighborhood.  It’s also to your advantage as the tenant, to have someone with experience negotiating your lease on your behalf.  

Ava Theatre District

Ava Theatre District


3. Understand the math

Essentially, this is how to factor discounts and promotions into your rent.  In Boston, the standard rental fee is one month’s rent.  Sometimes the landlord pays the fee, and sometimes the client does.  Some larger buildings at times also offer months of free rent.    If the client is paying the fee, you can look at it like they’re paying 13 months rent for a 12 month lease.  Here are a few examples of how this can be done.

Ex1:

You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2,500/mo and you have to pay the fee.  

($2500 x 13) / 12 = $2708.33/mo

Ex2:

You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2500/mo and the landlord is paying the fee and offering first month’s rent free.

($2500 x 11) / 12 = $2291.67/mo

Ex3:

You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2500/mo and you have to pay the fee but your realtor negotiated your first month fee.  Well, that’s a wash.  $2500/mo.

Ink Block is an apartment building in the old Boston Herald HQ. The walls are covered in old newspapers!

Ink Block is an apartment building in the old Boston Herald HQ. The walls are covered in old newspapers!

4. Respect pet rules.

If the property/unit is not pet-friendly, please be respectful.  Don’t say you have a service animal if you don’t.  Please realize this is not the place for you.  It won’t work out well for you or your landlord.  

Micropolis, Beacon Hill

Micropolis, Beacon Hill

5. Use local resources.

The community within Boston is what really makes it shine.  The best way to be involved in the community is to know what’s going on.  Check out resources and websites like @Boston311 or www.eventbrite.com to see what goes in the neighborhood.

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If you’re planning a move to Boston, congratulations!  It’s a great city!

And if you have any questions about Back Bay or Boston rentals or sales, or about the market in general, please ask me!  My cellphone number is 617 528 8461 and my email address is willy.charleton@nemoves.com.  I’d love to hear from you.

175 Marlborough St #2

Like many other Sundays, I spent the afternoon touring open houses. There were a total of 17 today. I made it to five of them. There’s a really good selection out there right now, but one really stood out. 175 Marlborough Unit 2. The listing agent is Ryan Clunan (617 686 4966 rclunan@campionre.com) from Campion and Co. It’s a five bedroom, three full and two half bathroom triplex with a roofdeck, outdoor space and a tandem parking spot. The building itself has only three units. The asking price is $4,999,000 for 4,171sq ft of space. Taxes are $55,472 and the condo fee is $1,830/mo and includes heat and water.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the photos. The layout was really interesting with interiors windows and balconies, along with several staircases. At the end of the day, it’s a large condo with a single family feel.

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I love this atrium. South facing. The brass looks well maintained.

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I’m a big fan of the kitchen. No marble countertops. Full size sub, plus I noticed some drawer refrigerators.

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There’s a pretty good sized patio off the kitchen.

This condo had a really interesting feel to it. The rooms were compartmentalized but everything was open. You’ll see when you scroll down, the center of the unit is pretty much hollow.

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When I was in the unit, I counted four bedrooms. I think this was the fifth. High ceilings, big windows and built ins. My only complaint is the lack of working fireplace.

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This walkway/balcony connects the master bedroom with the study.

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Again, that great southern exposure.

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I’m not really a bath guy, but I could definitely see myself having a soak to that view, if I lived there.

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The top floor has a cozy family room, with even more built ins-not pictured.

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And to top it off, there’s a private roof deck. So that makes 2 outdoor spaces. Oh, and did I mention it includes parking too? I think I did.

The listing agent for this property is:

Ryan Clunan 617 686 4966 rclunan@campionre.com

MLS# 72463240