For real estate services (renovation consulting below)
“We recently used Bruce to purchase a home in the Huron Village neighborhood of Cambridge and have nothing but praise for him.
As a seller, he knows how to get you the price that you truly deserve. As a buyer, he works hard to ensure you don’t pay a dollar more than you need to. When making an offer, Bruce knows when to hold back and when to step on the gas. In short, he can recognize both a good value and a money pit, even when a house is both at the same time. Very few real estate brokers are capable of ‘undressing a house with their eyes,’ as the saying goes. Bruce is one of the few.
He is also a creative thinker who can find a clear way forward when transactions turn difficult (which they invariably do in a city like Cambridge). In our case, the sellers had owned the house for 60 years and were slow to move ahead–Bruce kept the deal alive and successfully saw it through to the end.
We have worked with many realtors over the years. Bruce is the one that we recommend to friends.”
Doug and Dee, Cambridge, MA
“We decided to relocate quickly; too quickly for mere mortals. Called to the scene, Bruce had our townhouse staged, photographed, and sold over asking within a month. Despite the tight timeline, he listened carefully to our concerns on all subjects, from pricing to open houses, and made an often stressful process run smoothly. We left for our new, green pastures with a spring in our step, and our recommendation for all of you: Bruce is your man.”
Caitlin, Cambridge, MA
“Thanks again for your expert guidance along our long, hazardous road to closing. We couldn’t have asked for a better ally in our search for the impossible: a small, affordable, single-family fixer-upper in Cambridge.”
Ebony and David, Cambridge, MA
“Bruce Irving: for me, a life and lifestyle savior. He and I recently came up triumphant, against all odds, in a long real estate transaction that spelled out to the world, ‘This sale will never happen.’
No one should ever encounter the obstacles that we faced. Without Bruce’s knowledge, experience, character, intelligence, and sense of humor, the half-year ordeal could never have been overcome. But his empathy, exceptional judgment, and strong intuitive sense made it happen; despite the difficulties, he knew this was the property that should and would belong to me. Without him, I would not be happily situated in my wonderful new home.
Fortunate is anyone who obtains the second-to-none professional services of Bruce Irving. He is among the most honest, trustworthy, and competent individuals I know. Let him do his magic for you.”
Julie, Somerville, MA
“I first worked with Bruce as a consultant after buying an unrenovated worker’s cottage in a historic district of Cambridge. I appreciated his experience and insight very much, but we really connected on his wit and enthusiasm. When it came time to list my house for sale, Bruce was the obvious choice. His appreciation for the property and deep understanding of its provenance and meaning made a real difference in marketing and selling the house. He was very professional throughout and made good use of his colleagues in the office to round out the team. I highly recommend Bruce as a consultant, broker, and comrade-in-arms.”
Adam, Cambridge, MA
“Bruce helped us find a condo in Cambridge. It was great to work with him because he listened and responded to our requests and interests, making sure our checklist was complete. He was great on the follow-up items too, even providing nearby restaurant recommendations and bus routes for getting to work. He was able to give a perspective on neighborhoods as well as personal knowledge of the building and other owners. It was a pleasure working with him and we would absolutely work with him again.”
Joan and Mike, Cambridge, MA
“Working with Bruce was a pleasure from start to finish. He has the knowledge, patience, and humor to make the overwhelming process of finding and buying a house painless and (dare we say?) fun. He’s intelligent, insightful, and down-to-earth. In other words, everything you want from an agent.”
Marta and Jake, Hamilton, MA
“We searched independently for our home for a long time, but when we started working with Bruce things really fell into place. His passion for architecture, knowledge of local real estate, and expertise in renovation projects all proved invaluable. Our home-buying experience went smoothly, and we greatly benefited from Bruce’s guidance each step of the way. Bruce not only helped us find the right home, but he was determined to make sure we had fun in the process.”
Mark and Janelle, Cambridge, MA
“Bruce Irving was for us more than a real estate agent. He was a guide and advisor in ways we never expected. His knowledge of Cambridge is encyclopedic, and newcomers can expect to know the neighborhood of any property they find attractive. More than this, he had a psychologist’s way of helping us through the process of learning what it was that we really wanted. He was patient and a good listener, giving a sense of working with us as well as for us as we gradually clarified our thoughts. He was willing to take chances, and tell us if he thought a property wasn’t good for us, or even if he simply didn’t like the property himself. In a word his expertise, judgment and good humor made our search a pleasure, indeed a privilege.”
Bob and Jayne, Cambridge, MA
“We enjoyed working with Bruce on our successful home search. Bruce brought his considerable knowledge of home construction and the Cambridge area to each viewing giving us an immediate insight into positive and challenging aspects of each home. Bruce listened to our feedback on properties to guide and narrow our search to find our perfect home. We found Bruce to be patient, affable, informative and extremely helpful in our search. I am happy to be able to recommend him to others.”
Cathryn and Steve, Arlington, MA
“Bruce and his team were incredibly helpful in the search for our new home. Bruce’s patience and diligence during the search helped us narrow the focus of where we wanted to look and what we truly wanted in a home. Since we were attracted to older homes, Bruce’s knowledge of construction and renovation was particularly reassuring and helped us avoid hidden costs.
Once we found the right house, we immediately found ourselves in a competitive situation. Bruce and his team strategized with us and recommended the right process that helped us submit the winning bid without over-paying. Our success was a direct result of the guidance and advice we received from Bruce and his team.
Most of all, Bruce’s humor and quick wit through out the entire process made it far more fun and enjoyable than either of us expected.”
Dave and Sara, Belmont, MA
For renovation consulting
“Thank you!! I can’t tell you how helpful you were. Actually, I can–for the first time in what seems like months, I’m not tossing about various schemes and feeling a bit like Solomon, trying to choose one thing over another and anxiously anticipating budget agony. Invaluable…this was just the result we had hoped for–clarity, priority-setting, and reality-checks. It puts my mind at ease.”
Shona and Chris, Cambridge, MA
“We’re empty nesters in a tired 1950s house that was great to raise a family in but now requires a lot of deferred maintenance–and decisions. We didn’t know where to begin or where to stop because we’re not likely to stay in our house after we retire.
We called in Bruce. After surveying our home and listening to our plans, he advised us on what to do now, what to leave for the next owner, and why. He knows the ins and outs of renovation, but more importantly, he understands that every house is a home. He provided us with sound, practical advice and prevented us from making a number of costly mistakes. Thanks Bruce!”
Julie and Bill, Westwood, MA
“We contacted Bruce to walk through a historic Mansard we were considering making an offer on. This was one of the best decisions we made during the home buying process. Bruce was able to visit the property with us on very short notice and provided a balanced, thoughtful, and deeply informed perspective on the house. Equally as important, Bruce outlined the dimensions of owning and updating a historic home. It was such an educational and truly enjoyable experience that we are excited to recommend Bruce to anyone who needs impartial and sound advice during the home buying process.”
Dave and Taylor, Cambridge MA
“The hour with Bruce was congenial and interesting and time passed quickly. I followed one of his suggestions to the letter and saved $23,000. Three other consultants, each of whom was selling something, had failed to point out this perfectly satisfactory, low-cost, and easy solution to the problem I’d asked them to help me with. I couldn’t be a more satisfied customer.”
Dan W., Cambridge, MA
“Thank you so very much. You have been my renovation angel amid what I have found to sometimes be a big chaotic mess!”
Kristina L., Washington, DC
“Bruce is the most informative guy I know…if you’ve not read his latest newsletter, you must. From passive European house design to good grass (who knew there was such a thing?), I now consider myself fully educated, which is more than I ever expected on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Susan F., Cambridge, MA
“Thanks so much for the time you spent with us yesterday. As you could tell, we really need a practical view — as Ethan said, a list of “Do do; don’t do — to keep us out of doo doo” — and you were FANTASTIC! Thanks for helping keep us on the straight and narrow!”
Anne C. and Ethan H., Concord, MA
“Thank you again for taking the time with me–and for your candor. Given how little I’ve really considered what is involved in a renovation, your insight proved invaluable.”
Rich E., Medford, MA
“We truly appreciate knowing that Bruce is giving us independent information and advice, unsullied by any ulterior motive. His goal is simple: to make our renovation a smarter, easier, more cost-effective process—and to help us be more true to our own vision. His intelligent guidance is worth far more than we have paid for it, his warmth and kindness are infectious, and working with him has been thoroughly enjoyable.
We highly recommend Bruce—he is an opportunity not to be missed.”
Kristin L., Georgetown, MA
“As first-time homeowners, working with Bruce provided my husband and me with enormous peace of mind going into the final stages of our home purchase. Bruce helped us see past the “preferred list of home inspectors” and introduced us to someone that provided an unbiased, detailed inspection (we were told by our agent that it should only take a half hour; Bruce’s inspector took a very thorough two hours). In addition to referring us to a skilled inspector, Bruce was onsite with us during the inspection process, working with the inspector and bringing my husband and me into the process in a way that empowered us. We left feeling that we truly understood the property that we were making such a significant commitment to.
In the months since we bought our home, Boston has experienced some of the worst rain storms on record and I am regularly reminded of Bruce’s eye for detail and questions around such key issues as the pointing of the brick, the roof, seams in the brick (exterior issues that are often glossed over during condo inspections, and which have cost friends and neighbors thousands of dollars following the recent storms).
Purchasing a newly renovated condo in Boston’s South End, we found that Bruce’s trained eye also helped us see past the bells and whistles of the recently renovated property to identify the quality of the workmanship and whether the building had good bones beneath the things you fall for, like decorative moulding and stainless steel appliances.
Almost ten months later, we are fully settled into our home. We continue to be very happy with our decision to work with Bruce and feel confident referring him to friends and family beginning to navigate the home buying process.”
Kate, Boston, MA
“Bill and I want to thank you again for helping us to make a decision on how much we want to do on our house. You have great insight and look at the bigger picture when forming an opinion. I think you should also add ‘life coach’ to your credentials. It was a pleasure to meet you and we will pass along our praise to family and friends.”
Mary B., South Weymouth, MA
“We called Bruce when were having a difficult time trying to figure out how to add some much-needed bedroom and bath space to our older home. I firmly believe his thoughtful questions and insights got us past serious road blocks in the planning process and pointed us toward a much better design.
We then acted on Bruce’s recommendation for an architect; the firm we chose has been a great fit for us and we are extremely happy with the design of our addition.
Bruce’s sense of humor, intelligence, and sensitivity put us at ease early on in the hair-raising adventure known as home construction; he was a great resource who we could contact any time if we had questions or needed to bounce around ideas.”
Tina S., Waban, Mass.
“Working with Bruce felt right from the very beginning. Renovating our home was a decision we did not take lightly–Bruce gave us confidence in the undertaking and helped us analyze contractors’ proposals and choose the right one for us. During the project he helped us weigh all of our options, looking a wider array of products than we would have found on our own. In working with Bruce, we have been respectful of the architecture of our home, knowing that we are taking good care of it and ourselves for the long term. Having confidence like this made the process much more enjoyable–and we were able to sleep well at night.
Personally and professionally, working with Bruce has been a joy–and that’s something not often said by renovating homeowners.”
Bruce D., Chestnut Hill, MA
“Bruce Irving’s savvy eye, careful counsel and deep, wide-ranging experience proved invaluable to me in beginning a huge renovation project. He helped me understand what I wanted my house to be and how to embark on that journey thoughtfully, efficiently, and with the right people. I could not be more pleased with the result.”
Nancy, Belmont, MA
“I’ve worked with Bruce on several This Old House projects over the years and more recently in his capacity as Renovation Consultant, and I believe he has a much broader understanding of the residential renovation process than an architect. Why? At This Old House, Bruce conceived of the project, much like a homeowner, put together the design team of architect, landscape architect and interior designer, much like a homeowner, and shepherded the project right through to move-in, much like a homeowner. He now does the same for private clients, who benefit from his having been in their position many, many times.
Expect Bruce to not only guide you through the maze of residential renovation but also to lay the foundation for what should be an exciting and enjoyable time in your life.”
Christopher L. Dallmus, AIA
Design Associates Inc., Cambridge, MA
“Because of Bruce, our home renovation experience has been 100% positive. He sourced the perfect people for every aspect of our job – both in personality and talent. Bruce took a process that most people define as ‘hellish’ and made it fun and worry-free. His quick wit and candor were definitely an added bonus! Thanks Bruce!”
Lara, Brookline, MA
“Finding Bruce came at a critical time in my thinking about and planning for major renovations to my unique home. He is equal parts old-home-investigator, historian, contractor, designer and therapist. His easy communication and candor are what I needed. His ability to help me with some early reality-checking made decision-making on the renovation planning front more clear. His counsel is unbiased and invaluable–a rarity by any measure. He is an investment that should be part of any old home renovation plan before it begins.”
John S., Haverhill, MA
“I was very pleased with the advice Bruce gave me when I began planning for a kitchen renovation. He understood immediately my driving concern about architectural integrity (in a 1910 triple-decker), had design suggestions, designer recommendations, and gave me a cost estimate that was almost exactly what I ended up paying.”
Ellen B., Somerville, MA
“Bruce has a warm, intuitive and practical approach to a house. He helped me better define my long-range dreams, while reining me in to an immediate project that was quick to complete and still provided me with the beautiful refuge I was looking for.”
Sherry F., Hopkinton, MA
“I’ve known Bruce Irving for nearly 20 years, and he’s the real deal. His unique experience means he knows the ins and outs of home renovation and preservation better than almost anyone in the business. He knows contracts, contractors, scheduling, the latest and best materials, tricks of the trade, and he knows quality. He also knows all the pitfalls and will protect you from them. He’s super-smart, totally honest, and he’s on your side. He’s responsive and a joy to work with.”
Joel O., Arlington, MA
“Two for two. Twice now I’ve had the good fortune of collaborating with a homeowner who benefited from your guidance. Both were far more focused than what I commonly experience when beginning a project. When I met these homeowners they were clear in their needs, solutions were blossoming in their minds, and they had realistic construction budgets for their renovations. The cacophony of disparate ideass that sometimes clouds homeowners’ minds was tuned to a symphony of complementary goals.
“As such, when I began my collaboration the projects already had momentum, and I was able to quickly begin my design work, streamlining my involvement. No doubt it was your advice that steered these projects onto the right path and allowed me to efficiently prepare design alternatives for the homeowners’ review.
“I welcome the opportunity to again work with your clients to help them realize their dreams for their homes.”
Frank Shirley, AIA
“Thanks for walking through the house I was considering and offering me the very best advice I could have hoped for–my husband is also infinitely grateful for all the heartache you saved us. It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing what you had to say: my-oh-my you are such a refreshingly straight shooter. You have sound judgment and a brain full of resources to boot.”
Nicole L., Cambridge, MA
“Thank you for your time and honest assessment of our home. It was precisely the perspective we needed.”
Lisa L., Stow, MA
“We are so happy we found you! As new homeowners in a 150-year-old brownstone facing a gut renovation with some potentially big design issues, probable water penetration and drainage issues, we just didn’t know where to go for honest advice. We were stymied by all the architect and contractor websites out there. You allowed us to filter through the noise and get advice that was tailored to our needs without fear of bias. Your architect recommendation was perfect for our home and our taste. In the design phase, you helped us to keep pushing for a floor plan that suited our needs in a practical manner. When we got to the contractor bidding phase, we chose the contractor you recommended, not only because he fit within our budget, but because he seemed to have so many innovative solutions for the issues we faced, and he was so enthusiastic about working on our project. Although there have been a few unanticipated surprises along the way, our renovation has gone as smoothly as possible and it has been a joy for us to see our vision for our home transformed into reality.”
Corrie Y., Boston, MA