Category Archives: Condos in Arlington MA

French School Condominium Unit 9 For Sale in North Cambridge

Opportunity strikes in North Cambridge! Unit 9 at the lovely French School Condominiums has become available. The building itself has an interesting history, and has been well cared for through the years.  Built in 1900 and converted to condos in 1989, the French School Condominiums offer a blend of modern living splashed with yesterday’s charm. Originally built for the Notre Dame de Pitie School, it has also served as a convent, a manufacturing facility, and artists lofts.

Just off Mass Ave in North Cambridge, this attractive Mansard has 16 units, four on each floor, with a wide stair case running up the middle. Units range from under and over 1000′ feet, and have soaring 10′ ceilings, exposed brick, open floor plans and great views. From this spot you can easily reach Porter, Davis and Harvard Square, Arlington, th Alewife T, the Minuteman Bike Trail, as well as numerous restaurants and shops nearby.

High Ceilings, plantation shutters

Unit 9 is currently for sale at $389,000. It has two beds and two baths, a modern but not fully updated kitchen, lovely hardwoods, built in bookshelves, in-unit laundry, a deeded parking spot, and extra storage. For a true lifestyle statement, this beats out ordinary condos any day. The light just streams in the beautiful tall windows, framed with plantation shutters and surrounded by exposed brick. Open and airy, this unit could be decorated in numerous ways, or kept simple and serene.  The $307 condo fee includes heat, hot water, master insurance, snow removal and maintenance. Very affordable, especially combined with Cambridge’s low taxes.

The French School Condominiums is a stable community. Only 5 of the 16 units are currently rented. Here are the sales in the buildings in the past 5 years:

Unit 1:   11/30/2005    $385,000

Unit 1:   7/17/2009   $403,500

Unit 5:  4/30/2009   $415,000

Unit 16:  8/23/2005   $485,000

To schedule a showing, contact listing agent Bija Satterlee at (781) 354-4835, or email bsatterlee@bowesre.com. See it soon!

Condo or Single Family: Which is Right For You?

Are you considering buying a Condo? Understanding the pro’s and con’s of condo living can save you a lot of heartache! About 50% of home sales in Arlington are condominiums. Condo ownership offers you certain advantages over owning a single family home, but the differences should be understood so you can make the best choice for you.

When you buy a single family home, you are buying the land and the buildings upon it, and you normally own it “fee simple,” which is the most complete form of ownership. Single Family homes provide the maximum privacy of ownership, and simultaneously more responsibility for upkeep and maintenance. Condominium ownership gives you exclusive right to the interior space of your unit, and you are a co-owner of the rest of the property, land, building, fences, driveways, etc.

Single family home owners are usually free to renovate or landscape at will, whereas condo owners would need the approval and cooperation of other unit owners, especially if joint funds are to be used for improvements.  The two-family home style condos in Arlington are mostly managed by the owners of the units, and arrangements can be informal.  In the larger condo complexes a professional management company handles most of the affairs of finances, repairs, and landscaping, etc. As a Trustee, you would be able to vote, but there is less absolute power of decision than either a two-family condo or a single family. In return for less responsibility for the upkeep of the property, individual unit owners have less say over decisions made and actions taken. At certain points in your life this may be a great choice.

Two-Family Style Condos in ARLINGTON

The majority of condos in Arlington are in Two-Family style homes, the largest density of which are located in East Arlington. A typical layout of a unit may have five rooms, two bedrooms and one bath. The early 1900’s was a boom for building most of these homes, and they still have the special charm of that era. Gleaming woodwork, built-in cabinets, crown molding, hardwood floors, and in some cases glass doorknobs (my favorite). Variations on the theme include fireplaces, sunrooms, and front or rear decks. Over time many of these have been updated to have amenities like granite and stainless steel kitchens, gorgeous modern baths, overhead lighting, better insulation, replacement windows, gas fireplaces, central air conditioning, and walk-ups to a finished 3rd floor. I always wonder what those original builders would think if they came back today and saw what we’ve done with their work!

When Two-Family homes are turned into condos, one property turns into two. Legal documents are created establishing the Condo Trust, the Rules and Regulations, Master Deed, Unit Deeds, and detailed floorplans including common and private areas. These documents must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds when the properties get sold.

If you buy a condo, you should review the Master Deed, Unit Deed, Rules & Regulations, Budget, and if possible, minutes of recent meetings. Normally your attorney reviews these during the inspection period, while you are also learning about the house itself. You also want to know if any future assessments are planned for improvements, which will be levied on unit owners. Your Buyers Agent will help get answers to these questions.

Townhomes in Arlington

Another popular style of home is the Townhouse, or side-by-side condo. The layout provides a unit to have multiple levels of living area, from basement to second or third floor. Some recent builds (since the late 1990’s) have become some of Arlington’s most popular housing options. These could have 2500′ or more of finished living area, built to modern code standards, while maintaining yesterday’s charm. These townhouses range from the mid $400,000’s to the mid 5’s.

There are about 20 larger condo complexes in Arlington, which are managed professionally. Condo-living in a building or larger complex has the appeal of requiring less physical involvement in the upkeep, and are potentially more private (less involvement with your direct neighbor) than living in a Multi-Family style condo. A larger building condo may also have under-cover parking and elevators. These are advantages, and you do pay for them. Condo Fees are usually higher in building-style condominiums, and can range from $300 a month to as high as $800! Check the listing sheet!

As a rule of thumb, the interior living space of a “renovated condo” is higher than that of a single family home when compared dollar-for-dollar. Taking exmples straight from recent MLS sales in Arlington, here are photos of kitchens from properties that sold for around $300,000. See if you can guess which one belongs to the single family home, and which one belongs to the condo:

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES in Arlington

Depending on your stage in life maybe you are physically and financially ready to tackle landscaping, repairs, shoveling, and maintenance. Perhaps you need the room for a growing family. Many people forego the fancy condo updates in favor of the privacy of owning their own house. Over time you can make improvements that will add to your enjoyment and the value of the home. With some soul-searching and thorough property touring, I believe you will come to your own conclusion of which is right for you, a Single Family, or a Condo. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one, just where you think you’d like to call HOME.

Condos make a great alternative to renting, and are ideal for First Time Home Buyers. Once you outgrow your space there will be someone thrilled to buy your condo when you move up to your Single Family Home!

What other advantages or disadvantages do you expect from owning a condo? If you would like help exploring this topic, feel free to contact me for some help. I specialize in helping first time home buyers, who often find condos in Arlington the perfect choice.

“Best Condo in Arlington MA for the Price”

46 Broadway Best Deal In Arlington MAWow! I have to shout from the rooftops on this one: the townhouse at 46 Broadway is the best buy in Arlington MA right now! It was built new in 2004 by North Shore Construction and Development, and they did such a phenomenal job on this one I wish they had built 20 more just like it. This condo is among the “new breed” of properties that have sprung up around Arlington in the last 10 or so years that truly reflects the lifestyle and interests of todays savvy home buyers. These builders have variations on the theme, but this is the basic idea:

  • New build (not a renovation) Two units “side by side”
  • Townhouse style, not one on top of the other
  • Built to current code: foundation, electric, plumbing, etc.
  • 1900+ sq ft living space, plenty of storage, central a/c
  • Charm and character of those fabulous homes built in the 1920’s
  • Most were between $500 – $700K, but the average price over ten years has been $594K.

What makes 46 Broadway Arlington MA special?

The floorplan, the finishes, the quality of craftsmanship. The layout is not your typical “railroad” front to back style where one large rectangle front to back makes up the living room, dining room then kitchen. This clever townhouse has an “L” shaped first floor layout, feeling very open. Sliders to the back deck off the dining room give great light and an outdoor escape. The gorgeous granite and stainless kitchen is laid out perfectly and with every convenience.  The gas fireplace in the Living Room has subtle scrollwork, the mouldings are perfectly plumbed around the room, and reflect the era of gracious 1920’s homes. Proportion and flow are essential, and this first floor has it all. As well as a bathroom and excellent closet storage.

Perfect for Entertaining

The second floor holds two substantial size bedrooms – the Master has wonderful closet space, so you can expand your wardrobe with abandon, have a hat and shoe collection, there’s room for all of it and more! The master bath is of course tastefully appointed with stone tile and soothing colors. There is an additional bath on the 2nd floor for the other bedroom.

On to the 3rd floor – what awaits but an expansive loft, lit up by the gorgeous skylights. You’ll also find a great nook for an office space and yet again more storage. What a place to hang out, you can forget all your cares in this hideaway space. The basement in this townhouse is unfinished, but what a basement!  It got NO water in the recent rains! High ceilings, perfectly clean and dry, THIS would be my gym and playroom and TV room combined, I would finish it off and have a total of FOUR living levels.

What is amazing is the price: It is available to you today for a mere $485,000. With 1984 sq ft living area on three finished levels, it is $244./sq ft- which is the lowest in town, and for this quality of home is a-ma-zing!

Location – Location – Location! East Arlington is hot for the urban dweller, looking to get a shot at a quality home in this price range, plus everything Arlington has to offer. Located close to Arlington center, Davis Square, 93, Route 2, it is on two bus lines and close to Alewife.  Contact me today if you want to explore this townhouse for yourself.