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James P. Furlong's Blog

By James P. Furlong | Agent in Boston, MA
  • Boston Shines - A great weekend to clean up our neighborhoods.

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Boston  |  April 29, 2012 6:29 AM  |  159 views  |  No comments

    Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined thousands of volunteers who pitched in yesterday to make the Hub a cleaner place to live.

    Part of the 10th annual Boston Shines Citywide Cleanup, the 6,500 volunteers descended on parks, streets and community centers throughout the city, from East Boston to Mattapan.

    Mayor Menino's year-round neighborhood clean up and community service program, Boston Shines 365, provides the tools and materials to help volunteers successfully complete projects in every neighborhood in Boston.

    On Saturday Mayor Menino took part in the cleanup with residents and volunteers at Berkeley Community Gardens in the South End, promising to return in August for some fresh vegetables. When asked by a gardener what was his favorite vegetable the Mayor responded "whatever vegetable you're growing". The Berkeley Street Community Garden is one of the largest in the city with over 150 garden plots, and is located on a parcel of land that once was home to Victorian era brick row-houses. The leadership group of the garden is an all volunteer group and has worked hard for decades to create a well run garden. Many of the gardens are still cultivated by gardeners who joined during the first years of operation. Many of the gardeners are Chinese and they garden in a unique vertical fashion producing many varieties of melon, which are quite valuable. The garden is part of the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust.

    “I’m so proud to see so many people willing to donate their time and resources to make our city better,” Menino said.

    The mayor also asked Boston residents to help out by taking time to tidy up their own sidewalks and yards this weekend.


    Posted Under: Home Selling in Boston, In My Neighborhood in Boston  |  April 15, 2012 10:24 AM  |  172 views  |  No comments

    How often do we hear the question “Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?”  The industry uses a supply and demand approach to determine the answer and it is based on the simple question “how long will it take to sell the properties currently for sale based on the most recent rate of sales”. The industry considers 6 months as a balanced market, less than 6 months as favoring the seller and more than 6 months as favoring the buyer. Based on today’s data and looking only at condominiums in neighborhoods of Greater Boston, here are some currents statistics:-

    4.5 month supply in The South End and Cambridge,

    5 month supply in Brighton, Seaport District, South Boston,

    6 month supply in Jamaica Plain, Somerville, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brookline,

    7 month supply in Fenway, North End, Dorchester,

    8 month supply in Charlestown, Roslindale.

    You can draw your own conclusions from the data. You could analyze it further using # bedrooms, living area and any other criteria that are important to you in your search. I think it is reasonable to conclude that the local markets are quite robust.

    As always, please feel free to contact FurChin, “Your Real Estate Solution”, with any questions about the local real estate market – jamesfurlong20@gmail.com (617)620-0669 and dalechin61@gmail.com (617)645-3254.


  • Boston Marathon - Streets will be closed - Check this list.

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Boston  |  April 14, 2012 5:41 AM  |  334 views  |  No comments

    Many streets along the Boston Marathon course will be closed to traffic on race day, Monday, April 16, and others in Boston will be closed even earlier to allow officials to set up the finish area. Here is a list of road closings provided by the Boston Athletic Association.


    Wednesday, April 11 to Tuesday, April 17: Boylston Street, both sides from Exeter Street to Arlington Street (intermittent closings)

    Saturday, April 14 to Tuesday, April 17: Dartmouth Street, both sides from St. James Avenue to Boylston Street

    Sunday, April 15 - 8-11 a.m. Various streets through Downtown, Beacon Hill and Back Bay for BAA 5K and Invitational Miles (closed as run progresses to finish line)

    Monday, April 16 All streets around Copley Square will be closed at 6 a.m. All streets inside of Massachusetts Avenue will be closed at 9 a.m. All streets outside of Massachusetts Avenue will be closed at 9:30 a.m.

    • Commonwealth Avenue from Newton Town Line (Lake Street) to Chestnut Hill Avenue
    • Chestnut Hill Avenue from Commonwealth avenue to Brookline Town Line (Ayr Road)
    • Beacon Street from Chestnut Hill Ave to Brookline Town Line (Cleveland Circle); from Beacon Street through Brookline; from Brookline Town Line (St. Mary's Street) to Comm Avenue
    • Berkeley Street from Stuart St. to Newbury Street
    • Commonwealth Avenue from Beacon Street to Gloucester Street
    • Massachusetts Avenue from Beacon Street to Belvidere Street
    • Boylston Street from Massachusetts Avenue to Arlington Street
    • Dalton Street from Belvidere Street to Boylston Street
    • Hereford Street from Commonwealth Avenue to Boylston Street
    • Gloucester Street from Commonwealth Avenue to Boylston Street
    • Fairfield Street from Boylston Street to Newbury Street
    • Exeter Street from Commonwealth Avenue to Huntington Avenue
    • Dartmouth Street from St. James Avenue to Newbury Street
    • Clarendon Street from Commonwealth Avenue to Stuart Street
    • Berkeley Street from Columbus Avenue to Newbury Street
    • St. James Avenue from Arlington Street to Dartmouth Street
    • Stuart St. from Arlington Street to Dartmouth Street
    • Trinity Plac from St. James Avenue to Mass. Turnpike on-ramp
    • Public Alley #440 from Exeter Street to Dartmouth Street
    • Providence Street from Arlington Street to Berkeley Street
  • Short Sale or Foreclosure - it's a tough question for many homeowners.

    Posted Under: General Area in Boston, Market Conditions in Boston, Foreclosure in Boston  |  April 12, 2012 8:35 AM  |  322 views  |  5 comments
    Many homeowners are struggling to meet their mortgage obligations in today's economy. They are being bombarded with news stories about short sales, foreclosures, robo-signing, $26B settlements, loan modifications and so much more, while they try hard to keep a roof over their head. The unfortunate fact is that if the homeowner is unable to make their mortgage payment the day will come when they will need to leave their home. Banks will consider the options that are available to them for remedy. Foreclosure occurs when the bank takes the required legal action to take legal ownership of the property. This is the only path open to the bank when there is no contact with the bank from the homeowner. This is also an expensive option which the bank would like to avoid. The bank could accept the deed back from the homeowner - this is known as "deed in lieu". The bank might agree to allow a "short sale" where the property is sold for less than what is owed on the loan. The bank may forgive the debt in both these scenarios if there is proof of "hardship". Both these scenarios provide a level of control to the homeowner unlike in a foreclosure. The bank and homeowner will agree to a timeframe for the homeowner to vacate the property. Looking to the future for the homeowner the long term effect on their credit is less damaging in these two scenarios than with a foreclosure. The most damaging thing for the homeowner to do is to disregard the communications from the bank. It is difficult to make these tough decisions but it is important to do so.
  • Bank of America - Mortgage to Lease Program - Some Explanations.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston, Home Selling in Boston, Foreclosure in Boston  |  April 11, 2012 5:59 AM  |  229 views  |  1 comment
    Some homeowners have approached me about this pilot program that Bank of America has recently initiated, where the homeowner provides a deed-in-lieu to the bank and can remain in the property as a tenant (paying rent) for up to 3 years. At the end of the 3 years Bank of America will coordinate the sale of these properties to investors. The most important detail of the program is that it is a PILOT PROGRAM . Bank of America is going to test it in only 3 states - New York, Nevada and Arizona, and it is limited to 1000 participants during this trial phase. Bank of America will select  homeowners to participate in the program - a homeowner cannot apply to participate. There are strict requirements that must be satisfied and these may change as/if the program develops. The program is designed to (1) keep the homeowner in a home for an interim period and (2) reduce the number of properties coming into the market as short-sales and bank foreclosures in this 3 year period. There is no part of the program that provides for the homeowner to buy back the property in those 3 years (some people have asked me about that). We will need to wait and see how it works out but it is a good thing that innovative approaches are being considered.
  • Confidence is returning to the Back Bay luxury real estate market.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston, Home Selling in Boston, In My Neighborhood in Boston  |  April 10, 2012 6:05 PM  |  158 views  |  No comments
    The recent sale of the magnificent mansion at 15 Commonwealth Avenue might be an indicator of the return of confidence in the Boston luxury real estate market. The property has sold for $12.5M and will likely be one of the highest sales in Boston for 2012. It was originally listed in 2009 for $20M and languished there during the next few years of uncertainty. The word on the street is that the plans are to return it to a single family home, which further strengthens the belief that there is a returning confidence in the luxury real estate market. Other similarly historically significant properties that are currently for sale include the Peabody & Stearns designed Ames Webster Mansion on Dartmouth St listed for $18M, The Mason House on Commonweath Avenue listed for $17.9M and the Benjamin Mansion Mansion on Beacon St listed for $15M. The confidence will go sonic if these properties also sell in the near future.

    As always, feel free to call FurChin, “Your Real Estate Solution”, for any help in viewing these fine properties. [James Furlong 617-620-0669, or Dale Chin 617-645-3254].


  • Boston Real Estate - New Construction

    Posted Under: General Area in Boston, Home Buying in Boston, Home Selling in Boston  |  April 8, 2012 5:26 PM  |  148 views  |  No comments
    I thought it had gone the way of the dinosaur!! Of what do I speak? The construction crane on the Boston skyline. Construction is ongoing at the former headquarters of The Salvation Army on Berkeley St on the boundary of the South End and Back Bay with two beauties of construction cranes stretching their necks skywards. It is the new home of Liberty Mutual, a 22 storey office tower producing 500 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs. Work is near complete on the 21 storey residential tower for Mass College of Art on Huntington Avenue. Ground has been broken on Mass Ave and the new home of a 16 storey dormitory tower for 370 students at Berklee College of Music, producing 300 construction jobs. This is all good new for Boston and it's real estate, it is a good thing that financial and educational entities are investing in Boston.
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