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    5 Things to Do Around Boston This Memorial Day Weekend

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    Remember and celebrate the people who died while serving in the United States armed forces this Memorial Day weekend. Greet the beginnings of summer with decadent chocolate, great music and a Garden of Flags.

    Image courtesy of Nathan Forget and flickr.

    Image courtesy of Nathan Forget and flickr.

    GARDEN OF FLAGS

    Every year the Massachusetts Military Heroes organization plants a garden of 30,000 American flags on the Boston Common in memory of the Massachusetts service members who gave their lives to defend their country. It's a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to soak up the spring sun, breathe in the scent of fresh grass, listen to the musicians scattered around, and admire the sea of red, white and blue.

    When: May 20 - May 25

    Where: Boston Common


    BOSTON CALLING

    Get ready for three days of some of the biggest and best acts in live music! Boston Calling is back, and calling all music-lovers. Featuring a lineup including Beck, Tenacious D, Marina and the Diamonds, and so many more, this two-stage festival is one big party open to all ages. So get your sunscreen, hats and sunglasses on, and remember to stay hydrated.

    When: May 22 - May 24

    Where: City Hall Plaza


    Champagne Truffles. Image courtesy of Felicity Sweets.

    Champagne Truffles. Image courtesy of Felicity Sweets.

    SOUTH END WALKING CHOCOLATE TOUR

    What better way to get a taste of a neighborhood than by sampling its chocolate? The Boston Chocolate Tour of the South End takes you past the elegant, historic Victorian bow front houses the area is so well-known for. In two-and-a-half hours, you will pick up plenty of samples, and learn tips on tasting, buying and storing fine chocolate. Featured stop on this walking tour is Felicity Sweet, an amazing boutique with gems from regional producers like Lake Champlain Chocolates.

    When: Saturday, May 23

    Where: Code 10, 1638 Washington Street


    Image courtesy of Anna Hanks flickr.

    Image courtesy of Anna Hanks flickr.

    RED SOX AT FENWAY

    Start your weekend with America's favorite pastime. The Red Sox will face off against the Angels this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss the sound and scent of Fenway Franks sizzling away on the hot grill, and the roar of the crowds every time the Sox hit the ball!

    When: May 22 - May 24

    Where: Fenway Park


    SHREK THE MUSICAL

    Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig, this 2008 Broadway smash brings you the touching story of a horrible ogre, a feisty princess and a cheeky donkey. Shrek the Musical simultaneously subverts and fulfills fairy-tale expectations. Using wit and mischievous humor, this singing, dancing extravaganza explores the relative nature of beauty, the myth of "happily-ever-after," and the importance of accepting others for who they really are.

    When: April 17 - May 24

    Where: Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215

     

    Big Changes Coming to the Mortgage Closing Process

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    If you are closing on a home on or after August 1, 2015, you should be aware that big changes are coming to the closing documentation that so many people have become accustomed to. Replacing the old Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Truth In Lending (TIL) disclosures that mortgage applicants receive at the beginning of the process will be a new form, the "Loan Estimate." Similarly, the HUD-1 Settlement Statement that has long been a staple at closings is also disappearing. In its place we will have the "Closing Disclosure."

    This is the good part of the changes coming on August 1st. The GFE and TIL have been notoriously difficult for consumers to interpret. The HUD-1 has also required some explanation due to the amount of detail it tries to relay in a somewhat convoluted manner. The Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure remedy that. They are similar -- and thus much easier to compare -- but more user-friendly. Borrowers can expect to see numbers laid out in bold, and questions like, "Can my interest rate adjust?" written out and answered with a simple Yes/No, further detail provided as needed.

    What will aggravate unaware homebuyers is not the new forms, but the new timelines for when the closing documents must be distributed to the borrowers. Specifically, three days prior to closing. In theory, this is a good thing, as it gives buyers time to review the documents prior to the closing table. However, in this environment of sellers eager to close and documentation guidelines as tight as ever, lenders' and attorneys' offices aren't always able to get those documents out so quickly, resulting in potential delays in getting to the closing table.

    How can you avoid these problems? Quite simply by being very proactive with your document submission during the mortgage process. Even once a loan is clear-to-close, there are still steps that need to be taken by the lender's closing department and the attorney's office to verify the numbers and draw up the forms, both of which take time. Make sure you get the documents required by your lender to your loan officer as quickly as possible when you apply for a loan to prevent any last-minute delays! The 3-day waiting period will be federally mandated and therefore, unless they build in a way to waive it, will be unavoidable.


    Guest blogger Austin Reed is no stranger to the South End as both his home and office are located in the neighborhood. With over 40 years of combined mortgage experience, he and his team specialize in everything from first time homebuyers to the experienced homeowner looking at high-end condos or moving out to the suburbs surrounding Boston. Feel free to stop in and say hello at the Tremont Street office, or if you see Austin around the South End at one of the many restaurants he frequents after work.

    Follow Austin on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit his website.

     

    South End Gardens

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    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here.


    The South End is well known for its meticulous urban gardens. The South End Garden Tour, usually held in June each year, is a neighborhood-wide event not to be missed! In the meantime, here's a peek at a few gorgeous outdoor spaces. 

    BLOOMING BIG BACKYARDS

    Kevin Caggiano remembers how struck he was by the sheer size of his new South End home's uncommonly large back yard. Guided by his symmetrical sense of style, a construction management degree, and basic architectural knowledge, he got to work transforming the bamboo-covered lot into a beautifully landscaped garden.

    "Everything here does well in shade, which I learned from experience. The first year I planted anything, it all died," Kevin admitted.

    It took him three years and plenty of trial-and-error to get the mahogany pergola, patio, and vibrant flora just right. But now Kevin gets to sit back and watch everything blossom and grow. "The fun stuff," he said. 

    FEATURED PLANTLIFE: Green Giants, Bradford Pear tree, cherry tree, sand plum, Japanese Maple, Sky Pencil, Japanese holly, Wisteria. 

    FEATURED PLANTLIFE: Green Giants, Bradford Pear tree, cherry tree, sand plum, Japanese Maple, Sky Pencil, Japanese holly, Wisteria.

    GARDEN WITH A VIEW

    When the Steven Cohen Team's own Ronnie Lee moved into her Wilkes Passage studio apartment, she knew immediately she wanted to make full use of her spacious deck. She conferred with gardener Susan Hughes from The Greening Touch and soon had a garden lush with colorful flowers.

    FEATURED PLANTLIFE: Cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, cilantro, dill, mint, basil, red maple tree, dahlias, begonias, roses, Lilac tree, Japanese Cherry tree. 

    FEATURED PLANTLIFE: Cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, cilantro, dill, mint, basil, red maple tree, dahlias, begonias, roses, Lilac tree, Japanese Cherry tree. 

    While Susan does most of the planting, Ronnie takes great joy in "doing some snipping here and there." Sprinkled among the vibrant begonias and dahlias are fresh herbs, plump tomatoes and leafy lettuce.

    "I made a salad once," Ronnie recalls, "and my grandchildren still talk about how we went out to get the lettuce from the garden." 


    Find this story and more in our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders's Report. Read all about the latest real estate trends, forecasts, and an in-depth look at the South End community.

    Green Silver: Taking the Leed

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    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here.


    Environmental awareness is a trait that South Enders Mark and Etta have instilled in their family: two of their four children work in agriculture and are deeply committed to environmental issues, and one is currently building a straw bale house in Western Massachusetts. When the couple purchased their South End townhouse in 2007, they knew they wanted to go green.

    Three years later, Mark and Etta became the proud owners of Boston's first single-family residence to earn a Silver Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    The couple admits their 4,000-square-foot home conversion would have been much more difficult to undertake 14 years ago, when they were seeking green products for their home on the Cape. Today there are a far greater number of products and services available to homeowners at lower costs. Architects, engineers, and builders are also now more environmentally aware.

    The five-story Victorian brownstone serves as a reference point for environmentally conscious owners of historic homes throughout the city. Low-e glass windows were custom designed to be both energy efficient and deemed historically accurate by the South End Landmark District Commission. Etta's pride and joy, a green roof planted with perennial sedum to keep the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, won the Mayor's Green Roof Award in 2011.

    About the LEED certification, Mark explained, "We weren't necessarily making the choices we did in order to get certified. We were making them either way." What was important to the couple was creating a comfortable and energy-efficient home using non-toxic, renewable materials.

    Thank you for taking the LEED, Mark and Etta!

    MARK AND ETTA'S RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS HOMEOWNER:

    • Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC): An indicator of sustainably harvested lumber.

    •  American Clay: A glittering mix of clay, pigment, crushed marble, and seashells used in the plaster process to improve air quality and repel dirt and mold.

    •  Low-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Paint: Lacks the toxic vapors in regular paint.

    •  Hard Wax Oil: A breathable oil product that penetrates wood and leaves behind a silky-matte, warm finish. Easily spot repaired.

    •  Paper Stone: A green alternative for counter- tops made from 50% to 100% post-consumer recycled paper and petroleum-free resin. 

    Builder: Payne/Bouchier 

    Architect: Amory Architects

    Photographer: Greg Premru


    Find this story and more in our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders's Report. Read all about the latest real estate trends, forecasts, and an in-depth look at the South End community.

    Service In The Sunshine

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    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here.


    Anchored by some of the city's most accomplished and well-known chefs, the South End is a focal point of Bos- ton's dining scene.

    With warmer weather right around the corner, we've compiled a list of local eateries that provide both table service and outside seating options. This resource will help you fully enjoy the great outdoors in 2015, South End style--with a delicious meal and the libation of your choice. 

    Save this list for the next time you're asked, "Where should we grab a bite?" 

    Restaurant Cuisine Address Website
    B&G Oysters Seafood, Raw Bar 550 Tremont St. bandgoysters.com
    The Beehive American (Bohemian) 541 Tremont St. beehiveboston.com
    Boston Chops Steakhouse 1375 Washington St. bostonchops.com
    Cathedral Station American (Pub Fare) 1222 Washington St. cathedralstation.com
    Cinquecento Italian Trattoria 500 Harrison Ave. cinquecentoboston.com
    Coppa Italian Enoteca, Charcuterie 253 Shawmut Ave. coppaboston.com
    El Centro Mexican 472 Shawmut Ave. yelp.com/biz/el-centro-boston
    Equator Thai 1721 Washington St. bostonequator.com
    Estelle's American (Southern) 782 Tremont St. estellesboston.com
    Estragon Spanish, Tapas 700 Harrison Ave. estragontapas.com
    Five Horses Tavern American (Comfort, Modern) 535 Columbus Ave. fivehorsestavern.com
    Gaslight French Brasserie 560 Harrison Ave. gaslight560.com
    House of Siam on Tremont Thai 592 Tremont St. houseofsiamboston.com
    Jae's Cafe? Pan-Asian 520 Columbus Ave. jaescafe.com
    Kitchen American (Vintage) 560 Tremont St. kitchenbostonmass.com
    Masa Southwestern 439 Tremont St. masarestaurant.com
    Merrill & Co. American (Comfort, Southern) 1 Appleton St. merrillandcoboston.com
    Myers + Chang Asian-Fusion 1145 Washington St. myersandchang.com
    Orinoco Venezuelan 477 Shawmut Ave. orinocokitchen.com
    Parish Cafe? Salads, Sandwiches 493 Mass Ave. parishcafe.com
    Petit Robert French Bistro 480 Columbus Ave. petitrobertbistro.com
    Picco Pizza, Ice Cream 513 Tremont St. piccorestaurant.com
    The Salty Pig Charcuterie, Pizza 130 Dartmouth St. thesaltypig.com
    Seiyo Pizza, Ice Cream 1721-C Washington St. seiyoboston.com
    South End Buttery American, (Cafe?) 314 Shawmut Ave. southendbuttery.com
    Stella Italian 1525 Washington St. bostonstella.com
    Stephi's on Tremont American (Modern) 571 Tremont St. stephisontremont.com
    Teranga Senegalese 1746 Washington St. terangaboston.com
    Toro Spanish, Tapas 1704 Washington St. toro-restaurant.com/boston
    30 Tremont 647 & Sister Sorel American (Global Fusion) 647 Tremont St. tremont647.com
    Vejigantes Puerto Rican 57 West Dedham St. vejigantesrestaurant.com

    Created with the HTML Table Generator

    Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments section and we'll be happy to add them to our list!

    Photo courtesy of The Beehive on 541 Tremont Street.


    Find this story and more in our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders's Report. Read all about the latest real estate trends, forecasts, and an in-depth look at the South End community.

    - See more at: http://www.stevencohenteam.com/blog/2015/4/13/service-in-the-sunshine#sthash.DZoNO47b.dpuf

    Blog

    5 Things to Do Around Boston This Memorial Day Weekend - 05.20.2015

    Remember and celebrate the people who died while serving in the United States armed forces this Memorial Day weekend. Greet the beginnings of summer with decadent chocolate, great music and a Garden of Flags. Image courtesy of Nathan Forget and flickr. GARDEN OF FLAGS Every year [...]

    Big Changes Coming to the Mortgage Closing Process - 05.13.2015

    If you are closing on a home on or after August 1, 2015, you should be aware that big changes are coming to the closing documentation that so many people have become accustomed to. Replacing the old Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Truth In Lending (TIL) disclosures that mortgage applicants [...]

    South End Gardens - 05.06.2015

    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here. The South End is well known for its meticulous urban [...]

    Green Silver: Taking the Leed - 04.29.2015

    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here. Environmental awareness is a trait that South Enders [...]

    Service In The Sunshine - 04.22.2015

    The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 South End Stakeholders' Report, a report on the state of the South End real estate market and a glimpse into life in our neighborhood. You can download the full report here. Anchored by some of the city's most accomplished [...]

    Meet a South Ender: Alexandra Cherubini & Camilo Alvarez - 04.15.2015

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    We Asked - You Answered III - 04.08.2015

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    Should I Rent Or Should I Buy - 04.01.2015

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    Trucking Into Spring: Food Trucks of the South End - 03.25.2015

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    We Asked - You Answered II - 03.18.2015

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    Residential Tax Exemption [Video] - 03.11.2015

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    Cities To Watch - 03.03.2015

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    We Asked - You Answered - 02.26.2015

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    Spring Is Here! Watch Your MailBoxes For Our Spring 2015 Report - 02.23.2015

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    No More "Space Saving" For On-Street Parking [Video] - 02.09.2015

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