April 11, 2019

Will Arsenal Yards Finally Breathe Life into Watertown?

When I moved to Watertown from Jamaica Plain a little over 4 years ago, I went kicking and screaming. I did not want to leave the quiet convenience of a neighborhood just 3-5 MBTA stops away from the heart of the city, all while having the space and greenery of the suburbs. But Watertown has been nothing but a pleasant surprise to me.  Which is why I often wonder:  why is the town such an undiscovered gem?

At exactly 7 miles from Watertown Yard to Copley Place, it seems impossibly far from the city for any daily commuter, but with an express bus that runs consistently throughout the day at just a 16 minute trip point-to-point, living in Watertown is arguably much more convenient than living anywhere past Kenmore Square on the Green Line. And you're getting that convenience at a fraction of the price for renting in Boston.  You've got buses that run to Harvard Square, Central Square, Needham, Newton, Waltham, and Boston--you can get most places within 30 minutes and you get way more "bang for your buck". But places like East Boston, and Brighton have seen much more attention from renters.

With more details coming out about the Arsenal Yards project in Watertown, and the addition of bus lanes, and bike paths, we may finally see this begin to shift.  Housing stock is still healthy and affordable and will only continue to diversify over they next few years, and hopefully more restaurants and bars will come into the area.


Are you considering a move to Watertown? Call me today.

April 4, 2019

Featured Listing: 17 Strathmore Road, Unit 3

Classic Elegance in the Heart of Brookline

If you're one of the many buyers looking for a turn-key property in Brookline, you have surely seen the lack of inventory with any amount of character.  With this listing coming to market, brought to you exclusively by Krystyn Elek & Chris Masterman of Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty in Newton Centre, at least one new buyer will find that home they have been looking for.

Ideally located between Washington Square and Cleveland Circle, this beautifully-renovated 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Brookline penthouse sits on a secluded side street and checks all the boxes: gas fireplace, central air, in-unit laundry, two off-street parking spaces, and an abundance of storage. With a spacious and practical layout, a fully applianced eat-in kitchen, and large dining room adorned with original wood casings, moldings, and built-in, this home gives the feeling of single family living but with the ease and convenience of being in a condo association. Other highlights include Marvin windows, high ceilings, recently finished wood floors, Nest programmable thermostat system, Lutron lighting, speed oven, air filtration system, ceiling fans, and a large rear-facing porch. The building is pet friendly, and is just minutes from Dean Park and the B, C, and D lines of the MBTA.

If you think this could be the right fit for you, call Krystyn today at 843-209-5044 or visit:

Property Website

Open Houses will be held Saturday & Sunday from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

March 14, 2019

Featured Listing: 1514 Beacon Street, Unit 8-9


Classic Elegance in the Heart of Brookline

If you're one of the many buyers looking for a turn-key property in Brookline, you have surely seen the lack of inventory with any amount of character.  With this listing coming to market, brought to you exclusively by Krystyn Elek & Chris Masterman of Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty in Newton Centre, at least one new buyer will find that home they have been looking for.

Situated between Coolidge Corner and Washington Square, the historically significant Stoneholm is Brookline's finest instance of French Renaissance revival architecture. In this phenomenal home, you enter a grand round foyer leading to a dramatic corridor that awaits display of your personal art collection. With soaring ceilings, dazzling chandeliers, and deep crown moldings and casings, this completely updated flat is a sophisticated combination of classic detail and modern design. The luxury eat-in kitchen with marble counters and first-class appliances leads into a bright, south-facing formal dining room with a marble fireplace and handsome pocket door. With a magnificent living room, this condo is an entertainer’s dream: the intricate wood paneling and marble fireplace give it a sense of grandeur not often found in newer construction. There are three spacious bedrooms with towering windows and ample customized storage, one with an en-suite bathroom. In-unit laundry, two easily-accessible storage units, and two off-street parking spaces round out this refined space.

If you think this could be the right fit for you, call Krystyn today at 843-209-5044 or visit:


Private showings available upon request.

Feb. 21, 2019

Make Sure Your Mortgage Crosses the Finish Line

One of the most important steps to take prior to looking at homes is getting pre-approved for a mortgage.  Before viewing or offering on properties, you want to make sure you’re looking at homes that are within your budget; it also signals to the seller that you are a serious buyer who is likely to move through the buying process seamlessly and get to the closing table. However, there is no guarantee that you will successfully obtain financing, even after a pre-approval. As a buyer, this is what a mortgage contingency allows for, but it’s probably even more important for your eventual happiness that you do everything in your power to make sure the mortgage commitment actually comes through.

In most cases, if your mortgage is denied after pre-approval, it is due to something avoidable either on the part of the lender or yourself. It’s important to know what not to do:

    1. Issues With Appraisal -This one is a little less in your control, and it varies from lender to lender but most lenders will issue a mortgage pre-approval for a buyer subject to a satisfactory bank appraisal.  The reality is that there can be unforeseen issues with the bank appraisal that have to do with the marketable value of the home or a punchiest that came up from an inspection. The part you can control: don't go crazy with an offer. If your agent is showing you comps that show the home is worth $700k and you offer $800k, you are likely going to run into an appraisal issue.
    2. Misinformation - We know a client is not misleading anyone on purpose, but it is important to recognize that when you “spitball” numbers for a pre-approval, you are setting yourself up for potential problems. Once you’ve made an offer on a home, your lender will start to verify the information you submitted for your pre-approval. If you think your credit rating is “about 780” and it turns out to only be 700, this could affect your loan. Or if you are self-employed and forget to report income that’s on your tax return, this could be the difference between the loan coming through or not.
    3. Change Of Employment - One of the most common reasons a mortgage is denied is due to a change in employment.  Depending on the type of financing a buyer is obtaining, there are certain requirements for length of consistent employment.  It’s important that a buyer who is pre-approved asks their mortgage consultant about a possible employment change before making the change.  In most cases, a top mortgage consultant will be able to predict whether there will be an issue with ultimately obtaining the financing or not.
    4. Additional Debt is Incurred - Another very common reason a mortgage is denied after a pre-approval is because a buyer takes on additional debt.  Don’t take out a new car loan or open a new credit card after you’re under agreement on a home.  This can have a huge impact on debt to income ratios and ultimately can lead to a mortgage that is denied.

Tips To Make Sure Your Mortgage Doesn’t Get Denied After Pre-Approval

The majority of mortgage lenders do an excellent job to ensure most of their pre-approvals actually make it to the closing table. Some additional tips to help ensure your mortgage is not denied include;

  • Provide all requested documentation to lender in timely fashion
  • Don’t make any large deposits into your bank accounts without having proof as to where they came from
  • Don’t withdraw large amounts of money from your bank accounts
  • Continue to save money in the event your closing expenses are more than originally estimated

It can be devastating for a pre-approved buyer to have their mortgage denied at the last minute.  Prior to making any decisions that could impact your financial situation, consult with either your mortgage professional or real estate professional.  In most cases this can prevent you from making a decision that could impact whether or not your mortgage is denied.

Feb. 14, 2019

A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Buying

If you are a bargain-hunter who believes only chumps pay full price, the thought of purchasing ABOVE asking price (something that happens quite frequently here in the Greater Boston area) can be painful. You're used to shopping around and making a slow and thoughtful decision about what to buy and for how much—why would a home purchase be any different? There are certainly ways to bring fiscal savvy to the process of buying a home without just submitting a lowball offer. I’ve pulled together four legitimate strategies you can use to get that bargain you’re hunting for:


1. Put down at least 20%

It's not exactly groundbreaking news, but it’s hard to beat the benefits of offering a substantial down payment (or being a cash buyer). By putting at least 20% down, you can avoid having to pay additional mortgage insurance on your loan. This will also help you stand out against other buyers offering a higher purchase price but who have a shakier pre-approval or mortgage contingency.


2. Find the seller's motivation

Let’s be clear: price is king in this market, but if you can try to understand the sellers' specific needs and situation you can hedge your bets a bit. Do they need to relocate for a new job immediately? Move up your P&S and closing dates. Do they want to stay put through the school year for their kids? Let them stay in the home after the sale—in exchange, of course, for a reduction in price. Always have your agent to speak with the listing agent to find out what terms might make the sellers find the silver lining in a lower offer price.


3. Find a lackluster kitchen

An outdated or ugly kitchen can drive buyers away, causing a home to sit on the market for months and sell for less than it’s worth. Think about the size and layout, and whether or not there are things you can work with—then consider the things you can easily fix.  For example:  you can repaint wood cabinets, replace the faucet, add distinctive cabinet pulls, and redo the floors and counters for a relatively small investment.


4. Look out for price reductions

If a listing has been sitting on the market without interest, the sellers might be itching to get it under agreement, especially if the price has already been reduced. Your agent should be able to help you identify these opportunities, and once a price reduction has occurred, the listing will likely fetch even less than the reduced price.



What other approaches have helped you seal the seal under market price?

Jan. 31, 2019

4 Steps to Take Before Buying a Home

Are you thinking of buying your first home? It’s a great time to get started with your search, as a relatively mild winter up until this point has jump-started the spring market and sellers are already listing their homes.  While it’s exciting to shop around for a place to call your own, buying a house is a big deal! In Massachusetts, the median home price in 2018 was $344,900 at 99 percent of the asking price. Before making the biggest investment of your life, learn more about how to prepare to buy your first home.


Step 1: Start saving money. Good savers set aside 10-20% of every paycheck, regardless of future plans and impending purchases, but this gets kicked into overdrive when thinking of making a home purchase. While you don’t technically have to have a hefty downpayment to buy or to get a mortgage, the reality in the Greater Boston area is that you will likely not be competitive if there are a lot of other buyers in the mix and you have less than 10% saved for a downpayment.  You also want to be able to cover other expenses such as home inspections and closing costs which is typically about 1-3% of the cost of the house. And don’t forget that you’ll want to save money consistently after purchase to deal with any maintenance needed.


Step 2: Get your finances in check. Lenders will be reviewing your income, debt, and credit utilization. Avoid red flags on your credit report by keeping your debt-to-income ratio low and your available credit high. Also avoid any new credit applications at least for 3-6 months prior to applying for a home loan and any large purchases or income changes up until closing.


Step 3: Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting pre-approved for a home loan gives you perspective on how much home you can afford and keeps you from wasting your time looking at homes that are out of your range.  Make sure that you work with a local lender who has good relationships and answers calls and emails on the weekends.


Step 4: Find a great realtor. Ask friends and family for realtor recommendations and look those people up online! This person is going to be vital to making the home buying process straightforward and efficient so do not be shy when it comes to interviewing a few people until you find the one who makes you feel like you're in safe hands. Avoid saying yes to the first realtor you meet (until after you've spoken to a few).


I wish you luck on your home-buying journey and hope you consider working with me!


Jan. 24, 2019

Featured Listing: 3 Tannery Brook Row, Unit 4

Living Room_3 TBR

Chic Davis Square Loft with Off-Street Parking

Rarely available to the open market and highly sought-after, this 2BR/2BA condo at Tannery Brook Row redefines the industrial loft concept by marrying strong details of exposed brick and beam with soft traditional touches in the kitchen and bathrooms. Drenched in sunlight with two exposures, this condominium boasts a generous footprint with a flexible open-concept living/dining/office and kitchen--all complemented with oversized windows and beautiful wood flooring.  The high-end kitchen features shaker-style white cabinetry, a Viking range with vented hood, dishwasher, and ample counter space including an overly generous island with storage.  The master bedroom plays host to a large double closet with washer & dryer, a second walk-in closet, and a magnificent en-suite bathroom. The second bedroom is well-sized and features two double closets. Located in the heart of Davis Square, this association is nestled in a wooded enclave directly off of the Somerville Community Bike Path yet minutes from diverse dining options, music and theatre venues, and the Red line MBTA. Other highlights include central air and off-street parking for one car.
If you think this could be the right fit for you, call Krystyn today at 843-209-5044 or visit:


Open Houses will be hosted this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

Nov. 1, 2018

Natural Air Fresheners to Use at Home

Coming up on the holiday season, your home is bound to be filled with the smells of cooking, old food, or trash. But before reaching for an air freshener that may contain potentially harmful ingredients consider using a do-it-yourself, green alternative. Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell. They can often irritate your airways, and can be problematic if not stored safely around children.  Here are a few ideas to keep your kitchen smelling fresh without harsh chemicals:

  • Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
  • Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
  • Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
  • Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
  • Leave baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
  • Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.
  • Have house plants to reduce odors in the home by purifying the air.


Have any other fresh tips? Post them in the comments below!


This will be my last blog until mid-December. Catch you on the flip-side!

Sept. 27, 2018

Featured Listing: 18 Hale Street

Living Room_18HaleSt

Spacious Upper Falls Condo with Off-Street Parking & In-Unit Laundry

If you're one of the many buyers looking for a turn-key property in Boston, you have surely seen the lack of inventory.  With this listing returning to market, brought to you exclusively by Krystyn Elek & Chris Masterman of Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty in Newton Centre, at least one new buyer will find that home they have been looking for.

This beautifully-updated 3 bedroom plus office sits on the top two floors of a two-family condominium building in the Historic Newton Upper Falls neighborhood. During the day, the unit is flooded with sunlight, showcasing its gracious open floor plan, shining wood floors, and large kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and lovely shaker-style maple cabinets. The living room and dining room flow nicely from the kitchen, making the home perfect for entertaining. Rounding out the first floor are two sizable bedrooms and a full bathroom. Upstairs, you will find an oversized master bedroom with plenty of space for an additional seating area, and a spacious home office or media room.

The home also plays host to ample basement storage and two-car tandem parking. Enjoy time on the Charles River, shopping, and a burgeoning local restaurant scene, or spend some quality time relaxing on your lovely front porch. With easy access to the MBTA, the express bus, Route 9, I-95, and I-90, this is a commuter’s dream.

If you think this could be the right fit for you, call Krystyn today at 843-209-5044 or visit:


Open Houses will be hosted this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 12:30pm.

Sept. 20, 2018

Issues to Consider when Buying an Older Home

Buying a single family home in Boston, Newton, or Brookline can seem like an enormous task. In general, the home-buying process can be arduous, confusing, and anxiety-provoking, but when you add into the equation the fact that many of the homes built in this area are of the 1900-era, you have another level of worry for most buyers. You do need to pay special attention if you plan to buy an older home, as they can come with some unanticipated surprises.  To avoid any headaches down the road, learn about the following issues before offering on a home if you have the chance.

Hazardous Materials

When looking at older houses, ask about the construction date of the homes. If the homes you are considering date to years before the 1980s, they may contain materials such as lead paint and asbestos. When ingested, lead paint can cause developmental issues.  Asbestos has been linked to cancer if it is disturbed and becomes airborne and is inhaled.

Electric Wiring

Knob-and-tube wiring is an early standardized method of electrical wiring in buildings, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. Modern home buyers often find that existing K&T systems lack the capacity for today's levels of power use. First-generation wiring systems became susceptible to abuse by homeowners who would replace blown fuses with fuses rated for higher current. This subjects wiring to higher levels of current and risks heat damage or fire. As existing K&T wiring gets older, insurance companies may deny coverage due to a perception of increased risk.

Insulation Quality

Proper insulation can help you keep your home cool and warm. You’ll want to check to make sure the house you plan to buy has proper insulation. Otherwise, you could spend a small fortune to insulate it, heat, or cool it every year.

Pest Infestations

If you see any signs of infestation when you’re looking at an older house, take the problem seriously. Dealing with unwanted animals, such as mice, termites, powder post beetles, or carpenter ants can be a hassle--and an extra cost.

Plumbing and Leaks

Many older houses still have original cast-iron pipes. Over time, these pipes tend to corrode, which results in leaks and low water pressure. If the leaking is severe, you could also have a moisture problem, which can cause wall paint to peel and stain and contribute to mold growth. Wet areas can also be a safe-haven for some rodents. Or, your home may have lead water lines, which can present contamination issues.


At the end of the day, older houses can be stylish and cozy. However, getting these features sometimes comes with a price.  In an area such as ourts, you may offer on a home that has a number of these issues, and at the end of the day most of them are not deal-breakers, but you always want to be educated going into the process of buying so you are not caught off guard with a costly repair down the line.