Blog :: 03-2016

Beyond Stainless Steel and Granite Counter Tops

What makes a house a home? Is it the number of bathrooms? Bedrooms? Whether there are stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops? A media room and walk-in closet? Or can it be something more.

30+ years in the real estate business and Steve has seen almost every kind of house there is to see. Everything from the lavishly big, to the small and understated, eccentric and kitschy, to traditional and classic. We also see why people gravitate towards certain homes, and many times it has nothing to do with their checklist of must-have’s. Rather, it’s the nuances of a home that draw people in – and keep them there.

Whether it’s the turn of the century stained glass window, built-in china cabinet with detailed woodwork that you just don’t see anymore, or the surprise sitting nook under the stairs, sometimes the softer sides are what sell a house.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with wanting a stainless steel refrigerator and shiny new granite counter tops (we’re only human after all). As a homebuyer, don’t forget to keep your eyes open to the more subtle details that make a house unique. And home sellers; don’t underestimate those distinctive characteristics and charming features that are potentially bigger selling points than you might think.

In the Zone: Q&A with Arlington's Sports Etc.

Since 1980, Sports Etc. on Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington Heights has been serving the sporting and hockey community of Arlington, Greater Boston and beyond.

In this edition of Storefront Stories, we face off with Paul Stanton, owner of Sports Etc. He shares with us some of the big changes he’s seen in the sport of hockey, and why the people of Arlington make Sports Etc. their go-to sports equipment store.

Have a read and learn more about this local Arlington business that is such a playmaker in contributing to the strength of our community!

Q&A With Arlington's Sports Etc.

What makes Arlington such a great location for your business?

Arlington has always had strong ties to the sport of hockey. This is a credit to an excellent youth hockey program, coupled with the long storied success of the Arlington High School, and Arlington Catholic hockey programs. The popularity of hockey in our community has allowed our business to thrive.

How has your store evolved to accommodate changing tastes/needs in sports?

The store really started out as a general sporting goods store, which catered to all team sports ranging from football to hockey. But it quickly became evident that Arlington and its surrounding communities had a strong hockey tradition, so there was definitely a need for a hockey store. Since then, the store has morphed into one of the leading hockey retailers in New England.

We also have a wide selection of equipment for baseball, lacrosse, field hockey and soccer. Recently, lacrosse and soccer in particular, have seen continuous growth in Arlington, so we have transitioned our focus a little bit to accommodate those growing sports.

How do you differentiate yourself from other sports supply stores? Have you had to address online competition?

We try to separate ourselves from our competition through an unmatched customer service experience. We feel that we know more about properly fitting equipment than any other sporting goods store in the area, and we try to use that knowledge to give the customer the best experience possible. Each staff member is trained extensively and every customer that enters the store is greeted and offered help with whatever they are looking to purchase. We have always had the focus that proper fit is more important than just making a sale. That is what keeps our customers coming back.

Yes, we have had to address online competition. We did a major overhaul of our website within the past couple years to cater to the online customer. We have had good success since the launch of the new website, and we are shipping orders all over the US.

You are primarily a hockey outfitter, but you also sell other sporting goods. What is your top-selling hockey item?

Hockey skates.

What is your top-selling non-hockey item?

Soccer/Baseball cleats.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the sport of hockey in the past 10 years or so?

One of the biggest changes has been in skate technology. Breaking in a skate used to require skating in them for weeks at a time before they became comfortable. Now, most skates are “heat moldable,” which has helped eliminate the sometimes tedious break-in process, and in turn, has made skates much more comfortable for the customer. The heating process allows for the skate to shape around a person’s foot for a truly custom fit.  

Who are your typical customers?

Our typical customer is usually a hockey parent, who is a repeat customer. We have a very loyal following, and often see the same customer numerous times in one week for skate sharpening or other equipment maintenance.

Who is your favorite all-time Bruin?

Cam Neely. He embodied everything you want in a Boston Bruin. He was tough, worked hard, and could score goals. It also doesn’t hurt that he has been shopping at Sports Etc. with his kids for years.

What is your vision for the future of the business? Where would you like to see it in 5 years?

We would like to see the sport of hockey grow. We are lucky to live in an area that has strong ties to the hockey community, but we would love to see the sport grow on a broader level so that more of today’s youth are exposed to it. This would help our business grow enough to potentially open up another location to help strengthen and build our brand. 

Spotlight: Arlington Homes of the Week!

With March Madness in full swing and St. Patrick’s Day carrying on its shenanigans throughout the weekend, there is a lot of luck and slam dunks going around.

Which makes sense because these new listings are nothin’ but net! If you like water views and fairytale charm then these Arlington open houses are a layup!

 

See you there!

36 Peabody Road, Arlington  

36 Peabody Road, Arlington

Open House: Saturday, March 19th, 11:00 – 12:30

                       Sunday, March 12th, 11:00 – 12:30

Sweeping water views with waterfront access in Arlington? You bet! Situated on the shores of Spy Pond, this 5-bed, 2-bath home capitalizes on stunning views, streaming sunshine, & space for all of your lifestyle needs. The welcoming entryway draws you in and panoramic picture windows across the living room w/ fireplace & dining room will keep you there! Enjoy an open kitchen with island, lots of cabinet & counter space, & easy access to the deck and patio for those summer evening BBQ's! A bedroom and bath complete the first floor features. Upstairs you have a gorgeous master suite and 3 additional bedrooms and a full bath – waking up to those views will put you in the right frame of mind for the day! Hardwood floors, detailed woodwork, and built-ins abound! All of this conveniently located near Arlington Center shops and restaurants, Alewife Station, & Cambridge and Somerville are just a short distance away. Peaceful, serene living meets easy access to city life! House needs updating. (MLS #71973966) Click here for the full listing.

Listed: $1,295,000

What’s Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Route 2, Spy Pond, Alewife Station, Cambridge, Somerville.

 

 

309 Lake Street, Arlington  

309 Lake Street, Arlington

Open House: Saturday, March 19th, 11:00 – 12:30

                       Sunday, March 12th, 11:00 – 12:30

Right out of a fairy tale, this brick colonial with tiled roof, detailed architecture, intricate windows and manicured yard looks like a magical place to live. Enter the foyer and you are greeted with a view of beamed ceilings, hardwood floors and a warm living room with fireplace. Secret sitting nooks, built-in cabinets and stained glass will pleasantly surprise you around every turn. The open, eat-in kitchen is updated with new appliances and lots of counter space. All 3 baths are updated and all four bedrooms have ample closet space. The master suite has French doors, a giant walk-in shower, vaulted ceiling walk-in closet. There is plenty of storage in both the attic and basement there is an updated energy-efficient heating system for those cold winter nights. The yard is fenced-in the patio makes for pleasant summer entertaining. Easy access to Route 2, Alewife, Spy Pond and Arlington and Belmont Centers puts you at the heart of all things convenient without sacrificing privacy! (MLS #71973965) Click here for the full listing.

Listed: $749,000

What’s Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Route 2, Spy Pond, Alewife Station, Cambridge, Somerville.

 

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A Piece of the Pie

What day is more appropriate to talk about a slice of the pie than March 14th (3.14), the calendar version of the numerical constant.

Funny thing about pi is that while it is a mathematical constant, it is also an irrational number. So kinda like real estate. As a potential home buyer, the need for a home is always there, yet the process doesn’t always quite make sense.

For example, take your list of ‘must-have’s.’ They might include things like location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, garage, fireplace, yard size, etc. These are all important and logical choices as you begin your home search.

But, as we all know, once your home search gets cooking, trying to find everything on your list at a price point that is within budget can be like figuring out E=MC2. That’s when you need to start re-slicing and dicing. Maybe you wanted a nice big yard, but realizing that comes with a longer commute might put it lower on the priority list. Or, if you have a growing family, square footage might take the biggest slice of the pie with location being less important.

As you begin your home search you should definitely make that list and know what’s important to you. But also know that it is not a constant – while you may not get everything you want, the more you can shift and adjust your priorities based on what’s available to you in the market, you just might find you get your slice of the real estate pie.

 

 

 

Spotlight: Arlington Home of the Week!

As bright and sunny as spring itself, this 2-bed unit in Arlington Heights will freshen up you day! In addition to coming out to this open house, don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead and change the batteries to your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors!

24 Albermarle Street, Arlington   

Open House: Saturday, March 12th, 11:00 – 12:30

                       Sunday, March 13th, 11:00 – 12:30

Gracious Philadelphia style 2 bedroom located on a charming side street in Arlington Heights. Let the large foyer welcome you into this bright and sunny unit. Open living room and dining room make the perfect space for casual entertaining. Take note of the beautiful stained glass window that is prominently featured in the living room along with the bowed windows. The same curved windows and a beautiful built-in can be found in the dining room. An updated, spacious kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances are just what the cook in the family needs. There are 2 spacious bedrooms and an updated bath. Gleaming wood floors can be found throughout the unit. Ample closet space is an added bonus! Off street parking and an oversized yard complete the package. Access to Mass Ave., public transportation, shopping and restaurants are all just a short distance away. (MLS #71970005) Click here for the full listing.

Listed: $429,000

What’s Nearby: Arlington Heights and Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Mass Ave., Route 2, Memotomy Rocks Park, and Robbins Farm.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

In the words of the late, great David Bowie, time may change me but you can't trace time. Although you can track changes over time which is what we are looking at here.

In keeping with our '30 Years' theme of Steve's experiences in the real estate business since 1986, this timely video from Realtor.com shows just how much prices have changed in the past 30 years - including housing, gas, the Big Mac, and even Radio Shack stock prices.

 

These are national numbers of course, but it's kind of interesting to see how things ch-ch-change. For example, cell phones are less expensive and more accessible than they were 30 years ago, but some stores where you would buy them no longer exist.

And these days buying a house is not nearly as challenging as figuring out how to pay off those student loans. So study hard in your Finance 101 classes kids, balancing a budget and managing your money has never been so important for achieving your long term goals like buying a first home.

(Good thing Arlington is wicked smaht about managing their finances. According to a recent WalletHub study, Arlington residents are among America's best money managers.)