MLK Day Service Opportunity in Cambridge

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

This coming Monday January 19th, Martin Luther King Day, several thousand people will arrive at a number of locations in Central Square to participate in a variety of hands-on service projects for the Many Helping Hands MLK Day of Service. This is a fun child-friendly event which include making fleece scarves and blankets for homeless children and adults; making valentines for elders and veterans; and sorting food, winter clothing, books and toiletries for people in need.

This event runs from 2:00 – 5:00 on 1/19/15. Get more details or register here via eventbrite.

If you’re crafty and want to help with the fleece project, check out Rachael’s blog post on no-sew fleece scarves and blankets.

Posted by admin on Jan 13th 2015 | Filed in Charitable,Community,Events | Comments (0)

2015 Workshops at ePlace


ePlace will offer the Savvy Home Buyer and the Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Investing workshop six times in 2015, beginning January 21st. These workshop cover a lot of information in a short time with a hands-on, interactive format. You’ll learn from other participants as well as from our instructor, Rachael Burger, who has been running the workshops since 2008.

Knowledge is power and these workshops are a great introduction to home buying or real estate investing. More information here.

Posted by admin on Dec 30th 2014 | Filed in Events,Home Buying,Real Estate Investing,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Free Workshops at ePlace on 11/19 and 12/3

6 years. 100 + workshops. 1000 + empowered participants.

ePlace is please to offer its latest Savvy Home Buyer and Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Investing workshops which will take place on November 19th and December 3rd. More information below.

The Savvy Home Buyer

The Savvy Home Buyer gives you an overview of the home buying process with special emphasis on things you should know to keep you safe through your search and purchase. In this two-hour workshop we’ll learn about:

1) mortgages, mortgage expenses, and getting pre-approved
2) how to evaluate different areas, find a home and learn what’s involved in working with an agent
3) how to vet a property and figure out its fair market value.

We’ll go through the specific forms involved in purchasing a property and talk about the home inspection, purchase and sale, mortgage contingency, walk-through and closing.

We’ll also have a special discussion about getting property in a highly competitive market and talk about some paths to affordable home ownership.

Workshops are interactive and information-packed, and there’s always an opportunity for questions. Happy house-hunting!

dates and registration here
comments from participants

Real Estate Investing

The Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Investing workshop is a hands-on introduction to real estate investing that aims to get your comfortable with some basic ways to evaluate real estate investment. In this workshop we will:

1) run the numbers on a multi-family investment property;
2) understand capitalization rate, rent multiplier, and return on investment;
3) discuss financing and taxes;
4) review detailed real-life examples of a condo conversion and a rental project;
5) discuss “lessons learned” from local investors, including myself.

These workshops are interactive, information-packed, and there’s always an opportunity for questions. Best of luck with all of your adventures in real estate.

dates and registration here
comments from participants

Workshop Registration

Posted by admin on Nov 14th 2014 | Filed in Events,Home Buying,Real Estate Investing | Comments (0)

Help Prevent Homelessness November 13th with CHAF (Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund) and ePlace


Join the ePlace team and other members of the Cambridge real estate, business, and non-profit communities for live music, hors d’oeuvres, storytelling, and networking at the The Regatta Bar at the Charles Hotel, November 13, 2014 to raise money for the innovative Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF).

By supplementing rental startup costs, the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund has helped more than 1,700 households transition into a stable home from life in a shelter, on the street or on the verge of homeless. Many of CHAF’s homeless are working families who have fallen on some hard times and need a “hand up” to get back on their feet. It costs CHAF, on average, $670 to prevent one family from falling into homelessness. Once homeless, it costs the state $37,000 to house that family in a shelter for one year. With counseling and follow up support services from their agency partners, 96 percent of the people helped by CHAF are still in their homes a year after receiving assistance. To read success stories, click here.

Founded by the Cambridge Community of Real Estate Professionals in 1999 as a response to the city’s growing numbers of homeless and out of the desire to maintain diversity in Cambridge, CHAF has grown from a fledgling group of concerned citizens into a citywide coalition including the Cambridge banking community, Harvard University, city officials, individuals and other businesses committed to opening doors for the homeless. Get more information or purchase tickets here or contact ePlace’s Jasmin Lucci who’s on the Planning Board for this event.

Posted by admin on Oct 7th 2014 | Filed in Charitable,Events | Comments (1)

Get Ready to Sell Pies!


Sign up as a Pie Seller to share the love and help Community Servings feed 1,525 critically ill neighbors.

It’s time for Community Servings’ 22nd annual Thanksgiving pie sale! In its 21 years, Pie in the Sky has raised over $7 million to provide tens of thousands of meals to critically ill neighbors in Massachusetts who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

Anyone can be a Pie Seller! Please share this information with a friend, create a pie selling team with friends, family, and coworkers! There is no minimum amount of fundraising required, but each $28 pie you sell will feed one of Community Servings’ 1,525 clients for an entire week.

Learn more about Pie in the Sky or RSVP to the kick-off party at District Hall on October 21st, 2014.

Posted by admin on Sep 30th 2014 | Filed in Charitable,Events | Comments (0)

Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Investing Workshop 9/24, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

ePlace’s Rachael Burger will be offering the Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Investing workshop on Wednesday September 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 at the ePlace offices at 830 Mass Ave in Central Square, Cambridge. More info here and intro below.

Posted by admin on Sep 23rd 2014 | Filed in Events,Home Buying,Real Estate Investing | Comments (0)

Cambridge Realtor Finds a Sanctuary for Homeless Congregation

The Boston Ethiopian church had grown from a bible study group in 2006 meeting in a member’s living room to a congregation of over 400 with worship, a choir, and an extensive education program including bible study, Ethiopian language instruction, and tutoring in math and English. The growing church had rented space from a Seventh Day Adventist church in the Fenway and a Catholic parish in Boston but this congregation, home to a great number of Ethiopians in their adopted country, needed its own home.

In February, a parishioner and board member named Lee, charged with leading the search for a home for the congregation ventured in to the ePlace Real Estate office in Cambridge MA looking for help. After that first meeting agent Herb Kimsey went to work scouring all available sources to identify possible locations. He searched various databases, considering not only at church properties, but empty warehouses and veteran’s halls. He brainstormed with colleagues, and even searched City of Boston abandoned properties for potential bargain locations.

When the former Our Lady of Lourdes church in Revere became available a viewing was quickly arranged, and it became apparent that it met most of the necessary criteria with plenty of room to grow. However, as a decommissioned Catholic church that had sat empty for 10 years, it had fallen into significant disrepair.

Lee and her church board decided to make an offer that was within their budget but the knew it was going to fall short of several bids coming in from developers. With Herb’s help they persevered. At his suggestion they rallied church members to strengthen their bid by signing petitions, obtaining a dozen glowing letters of reference and another dozen letters from children hoping to secure a permanent home at Our Lady of Lourdes.

During several visits to the Revere site, neighbors and former parishioners wandered over to ask about the fate of the building, and have a chance to see it once more, maybe for the last time. All expressed their good wishes to the buyers, and their hopes that it would remain as a church and landmark in the community as it had been since its cornerstone was laid in 1902.

In his letter to the Archdiocese, Tsehay Beyene, the Senior Priest and Adminstrator said,

“We wanted to establish the church as the cornerstone of a stable and welcoming community for our families, and especially our children. We are devoted to the work of our Sunday schools in building morally and spiritually strong young people, and giving them the opportunity to study the Ethiopian language, that they remember their culture and history.

Our Lady of Lourdes was the heart of the community to its parishioners for 100 years, and a source of guidance and comfort through the cycle of life, from baptism to final rest, and all the joys and sorrows in between. We would welcome the opportunity to bring this building, holding all its history and stories, back to life.”

Happily, members’ efforts paid off and The Boston Menebere Leule Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s revised offer was accepted by the Archdiocese. The closing on the property was held Sept 5th, with head priest Tsehay Beyene and church board members signing the mortgage after a prayer of thanks. The keys were handed over amid a roomful of happy, relieved smiles.

This is just the start of a lot of hard work and fundraising by the parishioners. They are anxious to repair the building and get it polished and prepared for what is likely to be an impressive and memorable ceremony of consecration of their new church.

Posted by admin on Sep 18th 2014 | Filed in Home Buying,Real Estate Stories | Comments (0)

Free Savvy Home Buyer Workshop 9/17 at 6 p.m.

ePlace’s Rachael Burger will be offering the Savvy Home Buyer workshop on Wednesday September 17th from 6:00 – 8:00 at the ePlace offices at 830 Mass Ave in Central Square, Cambridge. More info here and intro below.

Posted by admin on Sep 2nd 2014 | Filed in Home,Home Buying | Comments (0)

Infographic: 3 Reasons to Sell Your Home


Data Source: MLSPIN (Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network)
Greater Cambridge is comprised of: Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, Belmont, and Watertown.

Posted by admin on Jul 9th 2014 | Filed in Selling Your Home | Comments (0)

Where can you buy without a bidding war?

Bidding wars are the norm in Cambridge these days, where the sale price relative to the last list price was a whopping 106% in the three months ending on June 5th 2014. How do other communities compare, and where might you buy without a bidding war? The following table shows sale prices relative list prices for a number of communities in the Boston area. Here’s what the numbers mean:

bright orange (100% or above): These communities are seeing lots of bidding wars. At the upper end, properties may go tens of thousands of dollars above asking.

light orange (98% – 99%): In these communities, the demand for property is still strong. You will see occasional but not constant bidding wars.

yellow (96% – 97%): These markets may still be competitive but bidding wars are not the norm.

Sales Price Relative to Last List Price in Assorted Boston-Area Communities

If these numbers aren’t making sense, here are some examples. Say a property lists for $425,000 then drops to $400,000. If it sells for $408,000 then the sale price divided by the last list price is $408,000/$400,000 = 102% (represented by 102 on our list). This means that the sale price was 2% above the last list price. If a property lists for $500,000 and sells immediately for $525,000 then its sale price divided by its last list price is $525,000/$500,000 = 105%. If a property lists for $500,000 and sells fro $490,000 its sale price divided by last list price is $500,000/$490,000 = 98%.

Data Source: MLSPIN

Posted by admin on Jun 6th 2014 | Filed in Home Buying,Market Data | Comments (0)

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