In advancement of their goals to become more eco-friendly places to reside, both Arlington, MA and the City of Cambridge, MA were recently named by Gov. Deval Patrick as two of the Commonwealth's first official "Green Communities."
This is a distinct recognition by the Commonwealth that both Arlington and Cambridge are at the forefront of reducing energy usage and emissions through energy efficiency and reduction initiatives. The goal of the Green Communities Division is to help residents of both communities by maximizing energy efficiency in public buildings and managing rising energy costs.
"The designation recognizes all that the Town of Arlington has already done to demonstrate its commitment to being "green," said Arlington Town Manager Brian Sullivan. "It also puts the Town in the position to further reach energy reduction goals, through access to State grant dollars for green energy projects."
THe Town of Arlington met all five clean energy benchmarks set by the program, including the recent adoption of the energy-saving building "stretch code" voted by Town Meeting.
Working with Sustainable Arlington, the Arlington is planning to apply for projects that will reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. The grant application is intended to include:
- Request for Funding to begin converting High Pressure Sodium streetlights to LED streetlights.
- Upgrade of Energy Management System at the Hardy School.
- Replacement of Steam Traps in Arlington High School's heating system.
The Green Communities designation makes both communities, along with 33 other municipalities in the state, eligible for $8.1 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects. The projects promise to create green jobs and advance both municipal and state clean energy goals.
Read the full press release from the Governor's office and learn more about the Green Communities program at their web sites. For more information on the communities of Arlington, MA and Cambridge, MA, please visit Avenue 3 Real Estate's community web pages.
Until next time, Peace!
Driving along down Massachusetts Avenue toward Cambridge today I noticed the dreaded message flashing on the dashboard of the car. The 10,000 mile tune up was due (check-up and tune up message). The check-up exercise always leads to the same scenario, a day without a car, a costly problem found, a part needed to be ordered, another day with out the car, etc. etc. I also know that when it’s over and the car is officially “fixed” I will feel great satisfaction knowing that my investment is now in good working order and I can navigate around feeling all is well for at least a year or so. It feels good. This got me thinking about our largest investment, our homes, and why we don’t use that same “check-up”, “tune-up” system to keep things humming.
The checklist could look something like this:
1. Once a year refresh a room with new paint, touch up wood work where needed
2. Keep all systems on yearly contracts
3. Clean your gutters every fall
4. Improve the exterior and landscape each spring season.
5. Make some small update each year, like replace an old kitchen disposal
6. Weed out the attic and basement of unwanted items each fall
Make your own list of 3-4 maintenance projects and stick with it every year. Spending money keeping your home updated and polished on a regular schedule will prove to be a real benefit to you in the long term. Should you find yourself in a position of having to sell your property unexpectedly or on your own time -frame, you won’t be stressed by spending big to prepare your home for a speedy sale. Working day and night cleaning out the garden beds or calling in a chimney sweep at the last minute to clean out the flue won’t be tiring you out either because your home will be in good working order and ready to go!
Need a list of local service providers in the Boston/ Metro West area? Visit our website: Avenue 3 Real Estate
Thinking you may be selling your home in the near future? Download our "Smarter Seller Kit" for great marketing tips!
Lois Ardito and Karen Lilley, Principals
If you've been thinking about purchasing a condo in Cambridge, MA as an investment property, now would be a good time to make your move!
With the end of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, those who were renting and motivated to purchase have already done so and will be closing between now and July 1st. This will result in more rentals coming on the market over the next couple of months, which is prime rental season for the next influx of college students this fall. College students will most likely be your target tenant, given the preponderance of students and other academics throughout Cambridge. So not only will you want to act fast on purchasing that investment, you'll want to differentiate yourself, somehow, from the "competition" and make your particular unit the most attractive option available. Looking at the previous two months rental statistics in Cambridge, the news is encouraging. The average rent compared to the same time last year rose by 10.44% for all of Cambridge (from $2,116 in 2009 to $2,337 in 2010), with some neighborhoods reporting larger gains than others. The two Cambridge neighborhoods with the biggest increases were Cambridgeport with a 65.17% increase in monthly rental amount ($1,750/mo in 2009 to $2,900/mo this year) and East Cambridge with a 17.18% increase ($2,400/mo in 2009 to $2,812.50/mo this year).
Check the pie chart to see the average Cambridge MA neighborhood rental rates for a 1-2 bed condominium with 1 or 2 bathrooms over the past two months. As you can see, Kendall Square, East Cambridge, and Cambridgeport are the neighborhoods currently commanding the highest rents, while the most affordable areas remain mid-Cambridge and North Cambridge.
Harvard Square has actually decreased slightly to $1,925/month this year from $2,050/month last year. Remember, however, these are average prices, and some condos in Harvard Square have recently rented as high as $2,500/month.
Of course, there are other areas in Cambridge that are highly popular, such as Central Square or Inman Square, but they are not always indicated as such in the Multiple Listing Service (my source for this data). These areas, along with the remainder of Cambridge rentals, are included in the "other" category of the chart.
As you prepare your new condo purchase for rental, you'll want to somehow differentiate yourself from the other rental units available on the market at that time. Doing so will definitely help to reduce the average days on market (which most recently was 51.7 days) and get you a paying tenant as soon as possible. So consider this - a potential tenant, such as a student, will not have a car and may rely heavily on public transit. So one idea you might consider is to purchase a bicycle and make it part of the rental agreement. If the tenant agrees and wants to use the bike, you can simply give them the lock combo and off they go. If they're not interested, you can always keep the bike parked in the condo basement (most have bicycle storage) and rent it out to other tenants in the building. This is a great way to "go green" while also being a landlord!
First step, though - find a good condo in a nice neighborhood. Start by visiting our Avenue 3 web site and searching for condos in Cambridge. If you see anything you like, give me a call and we'll take a look! And why not visit our FaceBook Fan Page while you're thinking about it? We post lots of great info on a continuous basis and I'm sure you'll find something useful whenever you visit.
Until next time, Peace!
One of Arlington, MA's most treasured spots for both residents and visitors alike is Spy Pond, located just south of Mass Ave. and east of Pleasant St. in East Arlington.
Spy Pond was originally formed during the last great ice age, about 50,000 years ago, when it was covered by the Wisconsin Glacier. As it melted, between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago, the glacier left a depression in the ground known as a "kettle hole," which then filled with water and formed the pond we know today.
As part of its rich history, Spy Pond was notable as an ice harvesting spot, supplying ice to the greater Boston area and exporting it as far as India. This prompted the building of the local railroad and an increase of manufacturing in the area, primarily ice-cutting tools.
As the area expanded and became known as "West Cambridge," the pond became a source of potable water for local residents. Eventually West Cambridge was incorporated as Arlington, MA and Spy Pond was officially named.
Today Spy Pond is one of the most relaxing and peaceful places to visit in Arlington. But it needs help to remain so. To that end, this coming Saturday, May 8, 2010, local volunteer residents, in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, will gather to clean up the shores of Spy Pond.
Volunteers are asked to meet along the Route 2 path from 9:00am until 1:00pm. Volunteers will spend time picking up trash, cleaning debris from trails, pruning, planting, and weeding out some of the invasive weeds that have infiltrated the area.
If you want to take part, all you need is some time, gloves, and a few garden tools (rakes, shovels, pruning shears, etc.). If you don't have any equipment to bring, don't worry. Everyone is welcome and snacks will be provided (free food always attracts more people, doesn't it?).
If you'd like more information on how you can help, contact either Elizabeth Karpati at 781.643.4172 (email: email@example.com) or Stroker Rogovin at 781.641.2506 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also visit the Spy Pond Vision 2020 Committee web site at www.arlingtonma.gov/spypond.
Read more about Arlington's history and get more information on the local area at these web resources:
I hope to see some of you there!
Until next time, Peace!