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Blog :: 2019

Our Favorite Summer Events In Marblehead & Swampscott

Our Marblehead Summer 2019 is in full swing at last, and Boston’s North Shore is brimming with options for outdoor fun. Sunny beach days, sailing afternoons, and casual cook-outs are summertime favorites. But look around Marblehead and Swampscott, and you’ll find local music concerts, outdoor festivals, family getaways and history-inspired events that bring even more excitement to these lazy, hazy days.

The Marblehead Great Picnic

Bring the kids and head over to Reynolds Playground in Marblehead on Sunday, July 14 for a family-friendly picnic. Enjoy a free hamburger or hot dog, or sample chowder recipes from Three Cod Tavern, The Landing Restaurant Marblehead and The Barnacle Restaurant Inc. Save room for dessert from Coffey Ice Cream. Sponsored by the Marblehead Old Car Club, the Great Picnic features hundreds of vintage and antique cars on display. There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids busy too.

The Marblehead Great Picnic


Fort Sewall Revolutionary War Camp

History buffs will love visiting the recreation of an 18th century Revolutionary War encampment, presented by the reenactors of Glover’s Marblehead Regiment. This living history event takes place at Fort Sewall the weekend of July 13-14. Learn about 18th-century life from demonstrations of musket ball making, navigation, marlin-spike work, medicine, candle making, cooking, and militia musket drills as part of tours of historic Fort Sewall. Listen to fife and drum concerts throughout the day, sample some 18th-century snacks, or shop for historic goods at the sutler.

Fort Sewall Revolutionary War Camp
 Photo Courtesy of Wicked Local

The Marblehead volunteer militia will be called upon to fight for liberty when the Forces of the Crown (also known as the Redcoats) land in Marblehead to stop the colonial rebels. You’ll see history in action as the two regiments battle it out. Kids can even sign up with the regiment and learn to drill and march to the beat of a drum. Everyone is invited to join our soldier sailors in singing traditional sea-chanteys. This family-friendly event is a hands-on history lesson for the kids that everyone will love.

The Marblehead Open Golf Tournament

The Marblehead Open Golf Tournament � 

Golfers will love the opportunity to play a round at the Tedesco Country Club on Monday, July 15. This Chamber of Commerce fundraiser starts at 11:30 am with registration and a lunch buffet, followed by a shotgun start at 1pm. Join us afterwards to celebrate with cocktails and a barbeque.


Family Camping Weekends on Childrens’ Island

Make summer-camp memories with your kids on Children’s Island, a beautiful kids summer camp in the middle of Marblehead Harbor. While the day camp is open to kids all summer, Family Camping weekends (July 20th and August 17) pack all kinds of summer-camp fun into two days. Just a 15 minute Hannah Glover Ferry ride, the rustic island is a great way to explore the coast while swimming, sailing, and kayaking with your kids. There’s a barn stocked with arts and crafts activities, a saltwater pool, and evening campfire.


Family Camping Weekends on Childrens Island


Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series

The Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series is an annual summer tradition that invites locals and tourists alike to listen to crowd-pleasing music on Swampscott’s beautiful Town Hall Lawn. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic Wednesdays from 6-8 pm.

Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series
 Photo Courtesy of

Here’s this summer’s lineup:

  •     July 17 - Amy Kucharik & Friends With Benefits – Swing & Blues
  •     July 31 - Southern City Band – Country
  •     July 24 - Stan Strickland – Jazz
  •     August 14 - Karen K and the Jitterbugs – Family and Kids


2019 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival

2019 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival

Photo Courtesy of Revere Beach Partnership

Head down to America’s first public beach to take in the world-class International Sand Sculpting Festival on July 26th – July 28th. With over a million visitors each year, this fun-in-the-sun event is centered around a magnificent sand sculpting competition. Grab a gourmet meal from one of the food trucks, shop the unique vendors and enjoy old-fashioned beach town amusements.


Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just like messing about, you’ll love watching classic wooden sailing yachts racing across the harbor. Hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club, the regatta celebrates “Classic Yachts and Characters” this year from Saturday, August 10 – Sunday, August 11.

“There are only a few occasions where exquisite wooden sailboats of impressive pedigree actually get together and sail. They aren’t mooring mermaids. They love to duke it out with sailors onboard who know how to extract the type of performance their boats were designed to get.” --CCYC


 Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta

Image Courtesy of Panerai


With its exceptional port so close to Boston, Marblehead has long been known as the birthplace of the American Navy. Classic yacht regattas have been celebrating this sailing heritage every summer since the early ‘80s. Take a picnic up to Castle Rock or Chandler Hovey Park for great views of the sailing fleet in action.

You don’t need to live in Marblehead year round to enjoy our local events – it’s easy to plan your summer trip to see the regatta or have a family camping trip. But owning a home on the North Shore makes you part of this vibrant community, where every summer is special. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront, we’re your local experts – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.


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Design a Stylish Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

Is your deck designed for entertaining? Summertime is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and neighbors on the deck or patio. With our beautiful weather, everyone is longing to be outside. And with a fairly short season, we want to make the most of our outdoor spaces. To help you get your deck or patio summer-ready, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas.

Of course, if hiring a top interior designer is in your budget, you can have a dream patio like this one, by designer Mark D. Sikes:

Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes
 Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes


What makes this patio so inviting? Aside from the gorgeous color palette, it’s a design that accommodates both dinner parties and relaxed hanging out. If you want to live outdoors like this in summer, you’ll need to create an outdoor living room. Here’s how to make it happen:

Make Your Outdoor Furniture Comfortable

Hard wooden benches or rockers aren’t conducive to hanging out for hours. Add seat cushions and throw pillows from durable outdoor fabrics to make the outside as comfortable as indoors. If you have the space and budget, an outdoor sofa or sectional creates a cozy ambiance.

Outdoor Sectional by Ashley Outdoor Sectional by Ashley


Teak or metal frames are best, since they can be left outside all year. Traditional wicker will need to be painted every few years. If you’re shopping for wicker, look for resin wicker – it’s weatherproof and looks just like the real thing.

Outdoor fabrics do vary in quality – from cheap and cheerful pillows that only last a season, to high-end acrylic fabrics that last for years. Look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura for fabrics that are easy to clean and fade-resistant.

Even a simple bench or porch swing can get the “sofa” treatment, with a comfortable seat cushion and collection of throw pillows:

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

Porch swing by Ballard Designs


Don’t forget tables – your guests need a spot to set down drinks and snacks. Ceramic garden seats are perfect for smaller spaces. They’re portable, stylish, and just big enough to hold a small plate or two.

Add an outdoor rug to tie your seating area together with color and pattern:

  Outdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.comOutdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at

Get Your Deck Ready For Fun

Keep your guests cool with ceiling fans, or a standing fan in a corner to create a breeze. Books and old-fashioned games encourage everyone to put down their devices and unplug. Games like checkers and dominoes are durable and easy for everyone to play, and you can have a basket handy with a frisbee or soccer ball for a quick game on the lawn. If your crowd likes old-school games, a croquet set can be a lot of fun.

Create an Outdoor Dining Room

Whether it’s a bistro set for two or a long table for a crowd, a dining set keeps the party going. If you’re blessed with a long deck, set up a permanent dining table at one end and a seating area at the other, and you’ll always be ready if friends drop by.

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate


If your patio is small and you long for an elegant dining area, a built-in banquette is a great solution. It’s not an expensive project, and a bench can tuck easily into the end of a deck. Add a table and some extra chairs and you can seat a crowd. Plus, you’ll have a comfy reading nook. Splurge on upholstered seat cushions and some gorgeous throw pillows.

�Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard
 Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard


For extra seating (or a tiny deck where you only entertain occasionally) this folding dining set from Safavieh is really handy. The table folds down and the chairs store inside the base, so you can use it as a console when you’re not dining:

Source: Home Depot


For outdoor dining, you’ll probably want to set up a serving area. While a console or buffet is ideal, not every deck has space for a dedicated serving piece. Think creatively; re-purpose a potting bench or plant stand with pretty linens and colorful accessories for a charming buffet.

A bar cart is another handy accessory – you can use it on the patio, or move it into the garden. Keep it stocked with bar tools and glasses, so all you need is your favorite drink. The storage drawers and serving tray on this teak cart from Kingsley Bate make it the perfect summer accessory:

Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Storage For Outdoor Party Supplies

If you entertain often, it’s a good idea to add some storage to your deck for party supplies. Stock a cabinet or shelf with citronella candles, bug spray, a drinks tub, and a few throws for chilly nights.

Outdoor storage boxes or benches make the perfect spot to store cushions and pillows in winter. Larger storage trunks can even be used as extra seating. When the party’s over, they can hold extra pillows, candles, small rugs, and games.

Baker’s racks or etageres make wonderful spots for seasonal displays, and you can use them for storage and serving too. This piece from Ballard Designs has a storage cabinet at the bottom, and open shelves you can set up as a bar or buffet area:

Etagere by Ballard Designs

Etagere by Ballard Designs


It’s the perfect piece to dress up the deck with a vignette of potted herbs or flowers too.

Set up your deck as an extension of your home, and you’ll enjoy being outside all summer. So gather your supplies, mix some drinks, and invite the neighbors over for dinner on the deck! If you’re looking to buy or sell a deck (with a home attached) on the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.

Landscaping Your Backyard For Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and it’s time to get the most out of your backyard. It’s easy to get your deck and porch ready for guests with attractive furniture and decor – but a great landscape design will make your backyard into a prime spot for visitors. Well-placed plantings can soften the edges of a deck, screen off unsightly views, and create separate areas for dining, relaxing, or play.

If you’re moving to a new home, layers of green and colorful summer flowers will get your outdoor spaces ready for guests. From fast, budget-friendly solutions to garden renovations, we’ve collected our favorite ideas here.

Patio Flowers for Outdoor Entertaining

Container gardens are a quick, low-cost way to add greenery to your deck or patio. Flowerpots let you put the color exactly where you need it, and you can add new plants during the season to keep the containers fresh and blooming. Mix various pot sizes, and add height to your display for extra impact:

Container gardens and flowerpots

Photo Courtesy of Signature Gardens


If your budget has room for a deck upgrade, consider adding a built-in bench. Benches are an easy way to add extra seating, and incorporating planters adds an upscale touch. Since they’re a permanent part of the deck, there’s no need to buy and store extra outdoor furniture for parties.

Planters for a kitchen garden.

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon


Planters near the grill area make the perfect spot for a kitchen garden. Plant salad greens and herbs for cooking, or grow cherry tomatoes on a trellis. A deep planter with an attached trellis is a great solution when you need to add privacy to your outdoor seating area. A wall of green helps keep your space cool, and having ready-to-pick produce is perfect for entertaining.

Dress Up A Deck Or Patio With Landscaping

A landscaped border between your deck or patio and the rest of the yard adds a sense of privacy, and softens hard edges. Use low shrubs and flowering plants for layers of color you can admire from the deck.

landscaped border between your deck or patio

Source: Lowe’s


If you have the budget for a larger project, building a pergola is a great way to bring landscaping to an outdoor seating area. At night, string outdoor lighting on a pergola for romantic dining. Grapevines, wisteria, and climbing roses are gorgeous climbing plants that provide plenty of shade. They’ll grow just as well in planters, so you can easily cover a pergola that’s close to the house.

pergola over an outdoor seating area

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide


This backyard renovation that includes built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees creates an elegant landscape for entertaining right beside the patio:

backyard renovation with built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees

Photo Courtesy of Swell Homes

Landscape Design Creates Outdoor Entertaining Zones

Great spaces for outdoor entertaining have areas for both dining and relaxing. Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, creates “outdoor rooms” for different activities. Formal planting beds and low walls are attractive landscaping features that separate activity areas.

using Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, to create outdoor rooms

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design


Shaded areas are important – carefully placed trees can be as shady as a pergola. Seating areas incorporated into the landscaping let you interact with the garden, while a formal dining area is more practical. This project by Amy Martin Landscape Design has all the features of a great backyard for entertaining:

using shaded areas in your landscaping

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design


A wide border garden makes a beautiful transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard. Use taller shrubs and small trees to screen off play equipment or a pet run. Small trees like Japanese maples or flowering almonds can be safely planted close to the house for privacy and shade.

using a wide border garden to transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard

Photo Courtesy of Garden Design


Backyard Destinations For Entertaining

If your yard is large enough, create a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat. Discovering a seating area behind a flowerbed or hedge is a nice surprise for guests, and you’ll enjoy it too.

a pergola that functions as a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat

Project Source: Lowe’s


If you have a large backyard, a dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining. While a permanent structure can be a big-budget project, an enclosed building isn’t necessary. This pergola by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining

Design by Timothy Lee Landscape Design


If formal dining isn’t your style, turn a corner of your lawn into a spot to relax. Throw in some curves to break up a boring, rectangular yard. Build a deck around a big tree, or incorporate a patio and fire pit into the landscape. This charming round patio has a matching curved pergola and a swing for fun:

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide


Even a simple landscaping project can completely transform the way you use your backyard. There’s nothing fancy about these chairs gathered around an open fire, but it’s certainly an inviting spot:

chairs gathered around an open fire pit

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Snow Photography


Our balmy summers here on the North Shore make it a wonderful area for summer entertaining. Larger properties are available with landscaped entertainment zones for dining, cocktails or hanging by the fire. Even the smallest cottage is sure to have an outdoor deck for soaking up the sun and relaxing in the evening. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront that’s built for entertaining, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111

New Construction or a Renovated Home, Which Is Best For You?

Choosing between a newly-built home or a renovated home? Don’t just make lists of pros and cons. Sometimes, the heart wants what it wants – and you just fall in love with a house. Or a village, or a beach. Depending on where you live, one type may have a distinct advantage over the other. We’ve put together a short guide – hopefully, it’ll help your house search head in the right direction.

1. Price

For many years it was typical for new construction to cost more than an older home, but that’s not necessarily true today. With cheaper building materials and efficient production, brand new homes can be built at affordable prices.

Renovated homes sell at premium prices if they’re close to a city center, on the water, or convenient to popular shopping or dining districts. The price of a renovated home will reflect its location and any work that’s been done to restore it. Remember – older homes are expensive to maintain, so any repairs and improvements made by the seller will save you money in the long run.

New homes that are being built as infill in older neighborhoods often command the highest prices – they offer both a great location and new construction features.

2. Location

Location is probably the biggest factor in home-buying decisions. Your brand-new dream house might be miles away from your favorite neighborhood, and you have to prioritize.

Many close-to-the-city neighborhoods are experiencing a renaissance as people move in and fix up older homes. Older neighborhoods are more likely to have mature trees, sidewalks, shops you can walk to, and larger yards. And with shorter commute times, prices are going up.

If you’re looking to buy in a historic area or waterfront property, often the only homes for sale are older, renovated homes.

Source: Rick Harris

If you’re determined to have a brand new house, you’ll have to buy a home in tear-down condition and build new – keeping in mind that this will be an expensive process.

Another source of new construction in older neighborhoods are in-fill projects. Developers buy two or three old homes to tear down and build several homes that are closer together. Lot sizes are usually much smaller than surrounding homes – but they’re ideally located.

3. Floor Plans

New construction homes offer popular features like open-plan kitchens, large master bathrooms, high ceilings, and large closets. If you work with a builder from the beginning, you can choose your interior finishes like countertops, flooring, and cabinetry.


Source: The Designory

You’ll often find these features in older homes too, but even a renovated home will have its limits. Master suite additions are common in renovated houses; but not every home can be remodeled to an open plan design. If an open layout is a must-have, it may be easier to find in a new development.

Older homes may not have every modern amenity, but you’ll find traditional features like a formal dining room, a butler’s pantry, a screen porch, or library.

Consider whether these areas can be re-purposed, or opened up to improve the floor plan. If you have your heart set on a certain older neighborhood, look at every listing with an open mind. A quick meeting with an interior designer can help you figure out a home’s potential before you buy.

Source: Big Old Houses

4. Construction:

New homes must meet modern building codes – this includes safer wiring, proper insulation, and ventilation. Some new houses are extremely energy-efficient, but every builder is different. Energy-efficient windows and improved exterior finishes dramatically reduce maintenance. Find out what construction methods are best for your climate, and check with your builder before making a final decision.

Depending on where you live, older homes that have been renovated may or may not be required to meet the newest codes. Upgraded wiring? Finished basement? Ask for specifics and get an inspection before you purchase a renovated home. Heating and cooling systems should definitely be upgraded to modern, high-efficiency equipment.

The upside of buying an older home is superior craftsmanship. Walls may be lathe and plaster; paneling and shelving might be walnut or redwood, and floors typically solid oak. Even mid-century homes are well-built with brick facades and solid wood cabinetry. Exterior features like wood siding and porches add plenty of charm, but they’ll need ongoing maintenance.

So should you buy brand new? Adopt an older home? Think about your desired lifestyle, your family’s needs, and the location that will be the best fit. After that, you just may surprise yourself. 

If you need help choosing, Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty has over 70 highly agents who can guide you through the decision-making process.


Luxury Home Trends in Kitchen Design

Today’s luxury kitchens have evolved far beyond show-stopping commercial ranges and statement appliances.  Feature walls are the new stars of kitchen design – showcasing open shelving, handcrafted tile, book-matched stone, or a magnificent view. These carefully-curated display areas are complemented by appliances that are fully integrated into the cabinetry, so they almost disappear into the design. 

Islands Make a Statement:

Islands add a luxury touch when fully clad in a quartz surface material, a rich wood such as walnut, or a highly-figured stone:

Source: Knock Architecture and Design


With fewer upper cabinets, kitchen designers are using custom cabinetry walls as a way to fully integrate and conceal storage and appliances, leaving the island and prep areas uncluttered. Finished in beautiful wood, the “hidden kitchen” becomes a feature wall itself:

Source: Pinterest

Custom refrigerator and freezer units can be configured to disappear into drawers, or fit under the counters to preserve the clean lines of a modern kitchen.


Feature Walls Set The Stage:

A kitchen’s feature wall is its focal point – and in a modern luxury kitchen, that usually means tile or stone displayed in quantity.

Moody, darker colors are trending this year, and the contrast helps hardware and custom details to really stand out. With open shelving and a steel-trimmed range hood, this deep blue tile creates a stunning feature wall. Antique-inspired pendant lighting adds extra charm over the island:

Source: The Urban Electric Co.


A tiled feature wall adds Old-World charm to a kitchen with traditional beams and classic white cabinetry:

Source: Pinterest


This modern kitchen exudes high-end glamour with a full-height feature wall and island of Caesarstone. Dark stained cabinetry adds contrast, allowing the gold lighting, barstools and accent strip on the island to stand out. Everything about this kitchen has an air of understated, modern luxury:


Hardware Is Like Jewelry:

High-quality hardware adds richness and depth to a kitchen. Today’s luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black. These finishes are more difficult to produce and not widely distributed – a rarity that adds an instant aura of luxury to a kitchen.

For a traditional home, refrigerators in a custom color with deluxe gold hardware will display gourmet ingredients and a wine collection with style:

Source: True Appliances


Luxury Kitchen Lighting:

Quality lighting adds both function and character to a luxury kitchen. Advancements in lighting design have replaced old-style ceiling spots with bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs. Expect no fewer than three levels of lighting in a high-end kitchen. Task lighting is directed at work areas, so it may be a combination of under-cabinet lighting and pendants over an island. Ambient or general lighting comes from pendants or chandeliers, plus small ceiling spots as needed to keep the room comfortably bright. Accent lighting is added above or below cabinets, or behind glass doors, to add ambiance. Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three and set the mood.

Instead of small pendants for island lighting, here the designer has chosen three stylish fixtures with shades as a focal point:

Source: Atlanta Homes


A custom marble stove back, seamless marble installed on the walls, and massive marble island gives this Atlanta kitchen a sense of updated luxury. The bespoke range hood and custom display shelves are high-end features that make a traditional kitchen stand out.


The Butler’s Pantry Is New Again:

Removing upper cabinets creates an open, spacious feeling – but it also reduces storage. Butler’s pantries are the answer. This classic solution is making a comeback, and it can be the perfect spot for a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, or second dishwasher to keep the kitchen mess out of sight. Custom lighting and high-end finishes make it an extension of the kitchen:

Design: Jeff King and Co.


A luxury kitchen in 2019 focuses on the highest quality materials. Natural stone and quartz products are being used as statement pieces over large areas, and rich color or tile patterns inject personality. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen.




Should You Stage Your Home When Selling?

Most people put time and effort into staging their homes before selling – getting rid of clutter, planting flowers, and touching up paint. But the use of professional home staging services has grown tremendously in recent years. Many Realtors offer a few hours of professional staging as an added value when they list your home, so be sure to ask!  Real estate staging firms provide services as simple as a walk-through consultation, or as complex as furnishing an empty home. Studies have shown that staged homes sell faster, although not necessarily for higher prices. So, should you hire a professional home stager?

The decision to hire a stager is something you’ll make in consultation with your listing agent. Consider your lifestyle and local market conditions – in a hot market, homes may already be selling quickly, with multiple offers. However, staged homes garner a lot more interest – their photo-ready interiors look more appealing, especially on the selling agent’s website and online listings.

Home staging isn’t decorating. It neutralizes the decor and can minimize some features and accentuate others. If you’re unsure whether staging is right for you, discuss the following questions with your Realtor:

  • What’s the available inventory for homes similar to yours, in features and price point?
  • Are there deficiencies that can be minimized by creative staging?
  • Are there rooms that have an undefined purpose?
  • Are you in a hurry to sell?

Talk with your Realtor about competing listings, and how staging can transform your home into a sought-after property. Staged homes attract more shoppers, and increased competition for a listing can have a positive effect on its final selling price. A 2017 profile by the National Association of Realtors found that:

  • 29% of sellers’ agents reported an increase of 1% to 5% of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes.
  • 21% percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6% and 10%.
  • 39% percent of sellers’ agents stated that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market. (Source: The Profile of Home Staging)

Staging an Empty Home

Home-staging won’t hide your home’s flaws, but it certainly keeps buyers focused on imagining the listing as a lived-in home. Realtors Heather Murray and Jack Brown of The Murray Brown Group at Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Swampscott, Massachusetts  advise their clients to consider staging:

“When a home we’re selling is empty or sparsely decorated, we like to either stage the home ourselves or use a professional stager depending on the amount of staging needed. When a home is empty, staging can help buyers envision how the space will look with their furniture in it and how the rooms function and flow. When a home is sparsely decorated, staging can help “finish” the look and create a more attractive and appealing aspirational look. Any of the times we’ve staged a home we’ve felt it significantly helped sell the home faster and at a higher price than we would have gotten with it un-staged.”

If the home is empty, the rooms can actually appear smaller. Staging the main rooms with furniture helps buyers understand the scale of each space – they can see at a glance how a sectional sofa or dining table will fit. In older homes with small rooms, furniture that’s the right scale makes the spaces feel livable. Instead of unflattering ceiling light, staging adds warm and inviting lamplight to the home.

A new, high-tech approach to staging an empty home is Sotheby’s International Realty’s Curate App. Using virtual reality, Curate by Sotheby's International Realty allows consumers to select and place furniture, rugs and lighting into images of empty rooms. It even offers different interior design styles, so users can see how their taste and style will work with the home.

Home staging will ensure that your home looks its best while it’s on the market. This is especially helpful when real estate agents show your home without your listing agent there. Prices for staging vary significantly from one city to another. For a large home, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars a month to have a professionally-decorated, expensively-furnished interior.

Staging a Lived-In Home

In a home that’s occupied, personal mementos and clutter can stand in the way of a buyer’s ability to imagine themselves living in the home. When you decide to sell, work closely with your Realtor to transform your home so that it appeals to a buyer, not to your tastes. Your listing agent will alert you to any problem areas and share valuable resources with you, like trusted cleaning services, painters, and staging professionals. Professional help is critical as you prepare your home for sale.

Decluttering can be the most difficult part of selling a long-term residence, but it’s a critical part of staging a home. If closets are stuffed and rooms look crowded, buyers get the impression that the home doesn’t have enough space. Your Realtor’s expertise is invaluable at this stage – remember, they’re experts in how buyers will view your home. When a Realtor recommends professional staging services, they’re using on their knowledge of the market to give you the best possible outcome.

If you decide to hire a staging service, the home stager provides a list of changes to make and acts as a neutral advisor as you de-personalize your home. They may advise you to strip wallpaper, change a bold paint color, and put lots and lots of things in storage. A home stager will create a plan and help you find movers, storage facilities, painters and cleaners to get the job done.

Should You Stage the Home Yourself?

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s fairly easy to find tips on how to stage your home, and handle the project yourself. Just be sure to factor in your own time, and consider whether you have the resources to get the work done. If you already have an attractively-furnished home, your listing agent can offer expert advice on staging techniques to make your home more marketable. They may even recommend a professional home stager for a walk-through consultation. For a small fee, you’ll receive professional advice and a plan that you can implement yourself.

Is Home Staging Worth the Expense?

Demand for home staging services has increased dramatically in the last several years, as statistics show that staging helps properties sell faster. According to the National Association for Realtors, staging increases the sale price of the home anywhere from 1 to 15 percent. If you’re living in the home, a faster sale avoids the stress of keeping a spotlessly clean home for weeks, or even months, while it’s for sale. When you factor in the cost of carrying an empty home while it’s on the market, including home staging in your selling plan makes good financial sense.  

If you are interested in staging your home, contact one of our realtors at (781) 593-6111 to review your options and discuss whether staging is right for your home and budget.  


Life on the Water in Marblehead

Known as one of the great yachting capitals of the world, Marblehead Harbor has been a center of classic shipbuilding and waterfront life since the Revolutionary War. While these days the rocky shoreline is lined with stunning homes, Marblehead still remains true to its seafaring roots. Five yacht clubs line a sheltered harbor full of boats of all types – from fishing dinghies to historic schooners and globe-circling sailing yachts. Local shipbuilders and sail makers keep the art and craft of classic wooden boat-building alive.

Summertime Sailing

Summer in Marblehead Harbor is a bustling scene, as local sailing regattas compete for space with kayakers, paddlers and fishing charters. If you’re not a boat owner yet, you can set sail in one of Atlantic Charter’s well-appointed sailboats for the day, or book a weekend sail around the outer islands. You can even charter a historic Schooner built for Gen. George Patton. Or, dive deep into the local sailing scene by joining the annual Marblehead to Halifax Race. Joining a yacht club will give you access to launches, boat slips, storage, and a clubhouse where you can meet fellow sailors and learn more about local conditions and events.

 Photo: Karim Benali, via Sail Magazine

Paddling the Coves

Summer fun on the water includes puttering about Marblehead’s coast by standup paddle board and kayak. Pull ashore on Crowninshield Island, an uninhabited island that marks the entrance to Marblehead’s Little Harbor. Explore the rocky shoreline on the ocean-side, and a sandy beach and salt marsh on the cove-side. Before paddling home, be sure to hike the short loop trail that leads to a great view of the harbor and 17th-century Fort Sewall.

 Source: Dakota Donovan

If your family loves paddling or kayaking, check out the Paddlers Membership at the Dolphin Yacht Club. You can store and launch your equipment from the club, and join up with other members who share your love of the water. The club’s waterfront restaurant is a popular local dining spot, with expansive views of the harbor.

Marblehead Harbor’s rocky islands and inlets are just perfect for exploring, and you don’t need your own equipment. Just north of the harbor you’ll find Little Harbor Boathouse. Protected by Crowninshield and Gerry’s Island, it’s an ideal launch point. They sell and rent a selection of Hobie Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards, and their summer programs will have your kids paddling in no time. Try out their easy pedal-kayaks, or fish the quiet coves from a well-equipped fishing kayak.

Fishing Around Marblehead Harbor

Kayak fishing is quickly becoming a popular sport for anyone who loves to fish. Here you’ll catch striped bass and bluefish while exploring the productive fishing areas in and around Marblehead, known as the best fishing town in New England.

You don’t have to go too far out to sea for a great catch, either. The many rocks and ledges close to shore provide fun fishing for the entire family. Or head further out to troll around the islands for striped bass and tuna, which arrive every June like clockwork. If you live in Marblehead and love to fish, you’ll probably want your own boat; but the local charter fleet is outstanding as well:

Messing About In Boats

It may begin with your first dinghy as a child, a weekend paddling trip, or a sunset sail; it can end with a lifelong passion for fishing or an annual pilgrimage for the summer regatta season. But life on the water in Marblehead offers every opportunity for what’s affectionately known as “messing about in boats”.

 Source: Allison Horrocks

And if all of this activity is too much, you can always take a break at Devereaux Beach, catch some rays and indulge in some ice cream from Lime Ricky’s Beach Shack.

If you’ve always dreamt about living on the coast, don’t wait to live your dream! Marblehead is the ideal community for those who share a love of the ocean. Contact one of our Realtors at (781) 593-6111 to view homes for sale in this beautiful, historic town.


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Explore The North Shore

bench facing harbor with moored boats

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