I grew up in California, but always regarded the East Coast as a place much grander. It seemed richer in history, more storied in architecture. Boston in particular mystified me with its deep roots to America’s beginnings: the Massacre, the Tea Party, the Revolution.
There is little that remains of colonial times in Boston today, except what I’d say is a sense of pride in belonging to a place so important to a country’s timeline. It echoes through Ruth Lerner’s blog:
“When I think of Brookline condos, I think of turn-of-the century buildings with ornamental details, hardwood floors, high ceilings and brilliant floor plans. There is a feeling of ‘They don’t make ‘em like they used to,’ when you walk around these brownstones.”
I had never said that my favorite feature of a real estate blog was its property listings until I found RuthMalkinLerner.com.
Ruth Malkin Lerner, a Boston area realtor, is every bit the Massachusetts girl. She attended the University of Amherst twice – once for her bachelor’s and then again for her master’s degree. Her listing territory covers the Boston neighborhoods of Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Brighton and West Roxbury. And when she writes up the description for a new listing, you’re transported there:
“Pre-war condo buildings in Brighton are known for their simplicity and austerity, wasting little space and sparing no amenities . . . Comfortable floor plans that make sense, high ceilings, and just the right amount of charm to make it feel like a pretty home – yet not too much to confuse you with Lord Grantham.”
With warmth and familiarity, Lerner constructs a small dreamscape in the introductions to many of her listings. She does not reach into a grab bag of trite adjectives and list them tiredly, but rather grabs your hand and pulls you inside a property with affecting words.
The Downton Abbey references are just the cherry on top.
Lerner’s blog offers much more than bewitching listings. She regularly provides market updates, but for a real treat explore the entries in which she has a bone to pick. In a post about open houses, Lerner maintains an East Coast attitude – she tells it like it is:
“I annoyed many people on Sunday. After an offer was accepted, I went ahead and hosted an open house . . . Remember, I work for the seller. It is my job to generate as much interest for her condo as possible. Even if we accepted an offer, who’s to say the buyers and sellers won’t have a falling out.”
If she’s not writing candidly about her professional integrity, Lerner offers a number of home buyer and seller education entries. One of my favorites addressed negotiation tactics, but it was the intro that drew me in:
“I was ten years old when the Saturn cars were introduced. All the excitement was over how you didn’t negotiate the price, it was the ‘no haggle’ brand. Even though I was just a kid, it sounded like a rotten deal to me and all the fun was taken out of buying a big ticket item. Who’d want a car not worth fighting for?”
Get the picture? You already know her entire point and she hasn’t even begun to discuss real estate.
I think Ruth Lerner gets the picture, and that translates most clearly in those now famous property listings. She knows and loves Boston, understands what makes people tick, and in her honest writing evokes a kind of nostalgia that’s difficult to shake: I’m not from Boston, but the Americana appeal of her blog makes me feel connected to our collective past, and the comfort of growing up lucky enough to have somewhere to call home.
If you’re based in Boston, I highly recommend you visit RuthMalkinLerner.com for exceptional real estate services, and if you’re in Boston or anywhere else in the United States, visit to take a heartening trip down memory lane.
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