• nextdoorrealtyteam

You may remember 2011 as the year of Occupy Wall Street protests, the royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, and an unfortunate nationwide obsession with cake pops. It was also an interesting year in the Jamaica Plain housing market. While everyone else in town was playing it safe and securing their assets, Amy Vanko decided to take a big risk: she bought the most neglected house on the block at 11 Enfield Street. And she did it with glee.

Amy didn’t see the dilapidated kitchen, dirty walls, or ancient, peeling wallpaper. She looked past the closed-off, tree-shaded façade that resembled the home of every old hermit in any horror movie. Her parents renovated every home she lived in growing up. Following in their footsteps, she envisioned her dream, a single-family home in this vibrant neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.

That year, Amy renovated the entire home. She didn’t gut it outright—she wanted to preserve the home’s historic details—but she hired the right people to help her modernize the space and its utilities in a radical way. And Amy has continued to improve on the property ever since.

Now when you approach 11 Enfield, you feel the warmth of the spring sun shining into the new open porch, where Amy and her family have welcomed costumed kids on Halloween. Inside you can still experience the charming historical details, like the original wood floors, high ceilings, functioning pocket doors, and an original built-in china cabinet in the dining room. But instead of being stuck in the past, Amy’s upgrades have bumped the home into a much more stylish present.

The convenient second floor laundry room, deep, spacious closets are enough to make any homebuyer fall in love. But perhaps the most entrancing upgrade is the finished third floor, which went from a dark and dusty attic to a spacious and private master suite. Solar powered skylights with electronic blackout shades flood the space with light. The open concept floor allows for a resident’s interior creativity to run wild and the bright bathroom features a walk-in shower and double vanity.

Amy is creative, artistic, and a talented crocheter, and perhaps that’s how she was able to have such a vision for the property. Thanks to her efforts, 11 Enfield’s next owner will enjoy the best of both worlds in their newly renovated, four-bedroom Victorian gem.

Think you could be the next artistic eye to occupy 11 Enfield? Call us at 617-942-1741 to schedule a private showing.

  • nextdoorrealtyteam

Let’s stop playing; Boston is just better than New York City. We’re not biased at all. This is a completely impartial and ethical list of reasons why Beantown will always be a chowder-soaked cut above the Big Apple.


It’s very cute that New York has the American Stock Exchange building (built in 1921 which is basically yesterday by Boston standards) and the Flatiron building, 1901, but we’ve got the Freedom Trail, the Bunker Hill Monument, the Boston Tea Party site, the African Meeting House, and about a million other sites that represent the foundation of America. In history class, it’s Boston that takes the main stage. Seriously, what was New York even doing while we were winning the Revolutionary War?


New York loves to talk about Central Park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, but frankly, that was amateur hour. After making an easy buck on that project, Olmstead came back to Boston, where he lived thank you very much, and designed the true gem of his career: the Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace is 1,100 acres, versus 840 in Central Park, and it elegantly loops through the city of Boston, rather than awkwardly dividing it down the middle. Ahem. If you want to learn more about Olmsted, you don’t go to Brooklyn, you come to Brookline where the Frederick Law Olmsted Historic Site is.


Boston’s Union Oyster House (1826) is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America and you can still pop in for a bowl of clam chowder in 2020. Show us a restaurant in New York City that’s had that kind of longevity. New York may be known for pizza and bagels (though anyone who says that hasn’t been to Boston’s North End or Kupel’s in Coolidge Corner) but we’ve got clam chowder, Boston cream pie, baked beans, frappes, lobstah rolls (that’s lobster, people) and more. New York can keep their overrated, overpriced excuse for pizza; we’ll be on Martha’s Vineyard throwing a clambake with the Obamas.

Escape Routes

Manhattan is literally an island. The closest area you can flee to for a weekend getaway is Brooklyn, and frankly no sane getaway includes ironic beards and $15 lattes. From Boston you can easily drive to the beaches of Cape Cod, the mountains of New Hampshire for skiing or hiking, the rolling hills and cultural oasis of The Berkshires or the historic mansions of Newport. We’ve got mad vacation spots just a short drive from our beautiful city. And as Whitey Bulger would tell you, it’s important to have an easily accessible and scenic escape route.

Brains, Baby

Boston is really, really smart. Perhaps you’ve heard of a little school named Harvard University. In fact we’ve got over 100 colleges in the Boston area, including MIT, one of the top universities in the world for cutting edge technology. In fact, the Global Innovation Agency named Boston the most innovative city in the United States. Massachusetts has produced 62 Nobel Prize winners, compared to New York State’s measly 51. New York almost never makes the list of smartest cities in the country, probably because they’re too busy wishing they had gorgeous foliage like New England.

Real Estate

Even our real estate is better. Our houses have more character and architectural diversity. Our high rises have better views. It’s only 20-25 minutes to our financial district on the ‘T’ from even the furthest outskirts within the city proper (Hyde Park, West Roxbury). You can still get an apartment with outdoor space for under $3,000/month or buy a 2 bedroom condo with parking for under half a million dollars in several locations. Plus you won’t find the Nextdoor Realty Team at any Sotheby’s International Realty in NYC because NRT’s home is Boston.

If you are looking for a home in Boston you should contact the Nextdoor Realty Team. We can talk more smack about NYC (all in good fun, of course), grab a cup of chowdah together, and talk about helping you find the home of your dreams in this historic city.

  • nextdoorrealtyteam

There’s a certain amount of risk in buying a home and it can be scary to walk into a property not knowing what issues may have been left off the MLS or if the sellers will be easy and reasonable to work with. But it doesn’t all have to be guesswork. The next time you attend an open house, be sure to watch out for these red flags.

A Poorly Cared for Property

If you notice right off the bat that the home doesn’t look loved, be on your guard. Poorly maintained landscaping, a messy interior, or rooms that haven’t been cleaned can indicate that the sellers haven’t taken good care of the property. Dirty floors might not seem like a huge deal, they can be cleaned after all, but that could indicate disregard for larger issues like an aging roof or amateur repairs that could prove dangerous.

Moisture Problems

This is a biggie. If you see any standing water or dampness in the basement, start asking some serious questions. Boston homes are very old and often experience water issues due to porous foundations. But excessive moisture in a basement can lead to rust on boilers, furnaces, and hot water tanks which can cause them to not work properly and to need costly replacement parts. Buckled floors, stains on the ceiling, and the smell of mold or mildew are also signs of a moisture problem in this house. Find out whether the seller has addressed this issue, and if they haven’t, it might be time to hightail it out of there.

A Disorganized Seller

This could be on the part of the seller or the seller’s agent, but it can cause massive problems down the line. If you notice disorganization in the seller/seller agent’s manners, scheduling challenges, difficulty getting them on the phone, or you find them unfriendly and unaccommodating, be careful as you proceed. Buying a home is stressful enough; you don’t want to have to also deal with erratic or aggressive sellers.

Outdated Electrical

This is another major problem of the older homes in the Boston area, but it’s easier to check for than you think. Look for the electrical outlets in each room. Older homes often only have two prong outlets instead of three (your laptop is not going to be into that) and sometimes there are only one or two outlets in a room. Not only is this problematic on an outlet usage level, if you want to make major renovations in a home with outdated electrical you may be required to revamp the electric work in the entire house to do so.

The best way to avoid red flags like these is to work with a buyer’s agent who can spot problems in a property a mile away. Great news is, there’s us! Give Nextdoor Realty Team a ring at 617-942-1741 or email us at nextdoor@unlimitedsir.com to learn how we can help you through the buying process from the word “go.”

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