Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do It Now!

Newton, MA. real estate, Newton, MA. Top Brokers

Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do It Now!

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do It Now! | Keeping Current Matters

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. Demand is Strong

There is currently a pent-up demand of purchasers as many home buyers pushed off their search this past winter & early spring because of extreme weather. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of buyers in the market, which fell off dramatically in December, January and February, has begun to increase again over the last few months. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by the end of next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market and pricing it so it sells. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.


2014 Summer Seller Guide Available Now! | Keeping Current Matters



Newton BI MONTHLY Real Estate Recap

Please forgive my summer doldrums, I mistakenly reported the last recap as Bi Weekly instead of Bi Monthly…I do apologize for my summer brain.

The market is moving along at a summer pace but moving nonetheless.   Well priced homes are still being scooped up quickly and that is important as we make the transition into the fall market.  I predict that this fall we will see a significant uptick in properties selling over 2 million dollars….Let’s see if I am right.  Currently there are 144 single family homes on the market, only 38 are under 1 million dollars, 106 over 1 million with 54 of the 106 over 2 million!  29 homes went under agreement in the last 2 weeks and 15 were over 1 million.  There was even one sale over 5 million.  During the last 2 week 27 homes closed and the strongest price range was 1 million to 1.5.

If you are considering a home sale or purchase in the next few months or next spring (spring market starts here in mid January to early February) now is the time to begin the process.  Allow me to show you how to get top dollar and make your move as seamless as possible.




On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:27:24 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
 07/21/2014  7/21/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000 - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 1 40 1 40
$400,000 – $449,999 1 5 1 5
$450,000 – $499,999 1 5 1 5
$500,000 – $599,999 4 25 4 25
$600,000 – $699,999 8 47 8 53
$700,000 – $799,999 11 45 11 51
$800,000 – $899,999 4 76 4 83
$900,000 – $999,999 8 57 8 57
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 24 58 24 58
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 28 102 28 102
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 19 106 19 106
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 18 65 18 65
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 12 151 12 151
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 2 100 2 100
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 3 89 3 89
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 144 Avg. 80 144 Avg. 81
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,905,156
Total Market Volume: $274,342,587
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,905,156
Total Market Volume: $274,342,587



Pending Statistics
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:31:31 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 07/07/2014
End Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 1 - 1 - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 2 1 1 - -
$500,000 – $599,999 2 1 1 - -
$600,000 – $699,999 2 2 - - -
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1 - - -
$800,000 – $899,999 3 2 1 - -
$900,000 – $999,999 3 3 - - -
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 6 2 - -
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 1 3 - -
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 - 1 - -
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1 - - -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 - - - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 - - - - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 1 1 - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 29 19 10 0 0
Lowest Price: $399,000 Median Price: $1,099,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000 Average Price: $1,370,700
Total Market Volume: $39,750,300



Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:33:17 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 07/07/2014
End Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 1 43 $400,000 $409,000 98 $439,000 91
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 6 $550,000 $499,000 110 $499,000 110
$600,000 – $699,999 1 41 $638,000 $655,000 97 $630,000 101
$700,000 – $799,999 6 19 $738,500 $717,133 104 $717,133 104
$800,000 – $899,999 3 45 $823,200 $839,300 98 $872,000 94
$900,000 – $999,999 4 18 $965,750 $942,975 103 $942,975 103
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 23 $1,163,263 $1,156,688 101 $1,165,438 100
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 6 $1,510,000 $1,375,000 110 $1,375,000 110
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 50 $2,165,000 $2,234,500 97 $2,282,500 95
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 27 Avg. 26 $1,018,433 $1,009,374 102 $1,019,341 101
Lowest Price: $400,000 Median Price: $960,000
Highest Price: $2,200,000 Average Price: $1,018,433
Total Market Volume: $27,497,700

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%
Newton, MA. Top Realtors,  Newton, MA. Listing Agent
Web Editor-Boston Business Journal
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The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 5.5 percent in June, according to preliminary data released by the state this morning.

The state said Massachusetts added 3,700 jobs in June and the rate is the lowest since August 2008.

By sector:

  • Education and Health Services gained 6,000 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 20,700 (+2.8%) jobs.
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 10,000 (+1.8%) jobs.
  • Financial Activities had no change in its jobs level over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities added 1,100 (+0.5%) jobs.
  • Manufacturing lost 1,100 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing lost 1,600 (-0.6%) jobs.
  • Construction lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has added 800 (+0.7%) jobs.
  • Leisure and Hospitality lost 900 (-0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality added 1,900 (+0.6%) jobs.
  • Other Services lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services jobs are up 2,300 (+1.9%) jobs.
  • Information lost 100 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information gained 4,300 (+5.0%) jobs.
  • Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 100 (0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 9,800 (+1.9%) jobs.
  • Government added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government lost 500 (-0.1%) jobs.

Here’s the full release from the state.

Meanwhile, here are some headlines, with links, about companies hiring, or planning to hire soon, in Greater Boston:

Looking back a little farther:

Here are recent companies hiring in Massachusetts:

How Much of a Down Payment Do You Actually Need?

How Much of a Down Payment do You Actually Need?  Newton, Ma.  Top Realtors,

From Our Friends at KCM

How Much of a Down Payment do You Actually Need? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent survey by Zelman & Associates revealed that 38% of those between the ages of 25-29 years old and 42% of those between the ages of 30-34 years old believe that a minimum of 15% is required as a down payment to purchase a home. A recent questionnaire administered byFreddie Mac showed that over 50% of all respondents thought 20% was required as a down payment.

In actually, a purchaser may be able to put down far less.

Freddie Mac, in a recent blog post addressing the issue, confirmed that there is misinformation regarding the amount necessary when determining the down payment for a home purchase:

“Did you know 40 percent of today’s homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10 percent? And how about this: since 2010, the number of people putting down less than 10 percent for conventional loans has grown three-fold.  So, not only are low down payment options real, they represent a significant portion of today’s purchases.”

In a separate Executive Perspectives, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management explained further:

  • A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
  • Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family or grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Ms. Boyle goes on to explain:

“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Earning the Trust of Seniors in Real Estate Transactions

Earning the Trust of Seniors in Real Estate Transactions   Newton, MA.  Real Estate  Sotheby’s Realty Newton, MA.


Senior real estate picture

Last year my 87-year-old mother-in-law decided it was time to go to an Independent Living Community.  She had a few falls, which resulted in a broken hip from one fall and broken ribs from another.  We tried to convince her that living alone was no longer a viable option but she would have none of it.  One day I said to her wouldn’t you rather go on your own terms, pick the place you are going to live instead of us deciding?  A few weeks later she decided to take the plunge, but bear in mind this conversation had been ongoing for well over a year.  My husband and I went down to NJ and visited a few places that she knew about.  It’s amazing how you know as soon as you walk in the door!  It also didn’t hurt that her 91-year-old “friend” lived in this complex.

We met with management and we were shown a few apartments.  She already knew which building she wanted to live in and why so that was a huge help.  After the viewings as they were called, (seemed like a term for a wake to me) we were led back to an office.  I want to caution you here – make sure you or your parents understand that this is a hard sell!  My mother–in– law is no slouch but wow, she was flustered.  This is a buy in option Independent Living so the dollars we are talking is not chump change.  My mother-in-law wanted a specific apartment we saw and she was pressured into making a decision right there to secure her apartment.  We told mom that we would go to lunch and talk it over and come back in 2 hours.  Since they had no viewing appointments scheduled we thought it was unlikely that ‘her” apartment would be gone.

Mom took the apartment, has moved in, and loves it!  She says she was sorry she hadn’t done it sooner.  She also says she never could have made the move without us.  Mom is fortunate that she could buy her new place without having to sell her current condo.  Since I have lived in Boston for 20 years I didn’t know a Realtor in Morristown, NJ but the Independent Living Community recommended a Broker for mom.  The Realtor showed up at the appointed time, took as mom said, the nickel tour, and immediately whipped out her measuring laser!  As she was relaying this story to me, I was dumbfounded!  Mom said she was very efficient!  She brought her into the kitchen and handed her a contract to sign before she even did an analysis.   She told her that they would fill the price in later.  I was so relieved she didn’t sign!  When I asked her if she liked the broker she kept saying that she was very efficient and seemed capable.  I pressed further do you trust the broker?  The truth was she didn’t, she said there was something pushy about her as if she just assumed she would be selling the condo.  I told her to sleep on it but that she should interview other brokers.  I made a call to the manager of an office in Morristown, told him where Mom lived and her personality.  He immediately mentioned a Broker: Maggie Sellers.

Maggie went over to meet with mom and they hit it off beautifully.  Maggie understood mom’s needs and most importantly knew the neighborhood, the complex and the town.  Maggie had the analysis in 36 hours, she went over and sat with mom to make sure she understood the comps and how she came up with the price.  It was now 5 days since pushy broker came and mom still didn’t have the analysis.   Mom called pushy and was told she was a busy broker and highly respected by the Independent Living Community and she should be assured that she would get to her, her house would be sold and she should relax!  What?  After 10 days pushy dropped the analysis in the mailbox!  It was considerably higher than Maggie’s analysis.  I had Maggie and pushy e-mail me their comps and tried to figure out the discrepancy.  I have not lived in NJ for 20 years and I never lived in Morristown but it took me two minutes to figure out the problem.  Pushy used comps that weren’t comps for mom’s unit.  She used new construction and single-family homes along with similar condos  There had been enough sales in Mom’s complex in the past 6 months and there were two units currently listed.  Pushy did not understand the market or didn’t think she needed to.  After all she is the recommended broker for the Independent Living community for sellers in the greater Morristown area of which she gives 25% of her commission back to the IL Community not to the seller!

The point is mom felt an immediate connection with Maggie.  Maggie asked  mom if she could involve me in the process.  Maggie had worked with seniors and had an elderly mother of her own.  Maggie cared about her; Maggie had a list of people who bought items that the children didn’t want.  (My basement is loaded with china and silver that she hopes her grandchildren will want.)  Maggie recommended movers, and when an unknown problem was revealed at the inspection, she had trusted people to remedy the problem.

I asked Mom what she liked about Maggie and she was very clear.  While she felt the other agent was competent and successful, she didn’t necessarily think that they were a good fit.  She said she probably would have hired her if I had not gotten involved because she did not know any better.  She had a list of what she liked about Maggie.

  1.  Asked Me what I wanted
  2. She was prepared and did what she said she would do
  3. Treated me like an adult who was still capable of making decisions
  4. She wanted to introduce herself to my kids
  5. Let me make the final decision
  6. Had a list of companies to help facilitate the move and she had already vetted them
  7. Thoroughly explained the process without rushing me to sign paperwork


As a Realtor serving seniors, it is important that I understand that what makes a great partnership is in the eyes of our clients.  If you are not comfortable, there are many agents out there who will make you comfortable.


A good Realtor will make the process about you  and your needs.independt living pictureas









Newton, MA.  REAL ESTATE   Sotheby’s Newton

The market is quieting down for the summer but there is still activity happening…. I have added a new column at the end.

EXPIRED, WITHDRAWN, CANCELLED….I am adding this category at this time because many houses are withdrawn for the summer months.  Personally, I don’t think this is wise since there are only 86 single families on the market at this time! This is a supply and demand business and people look for a houses every day.  I personally bought a house on 4th of July weekend….I was relocating here from NJ 20 years ago this summer!   I have sold 2 houses on the 4th of July weekend.  19 homes were cancelled, expired or withdrawn in the past 2 weeks.  I temporarily withdrew 22 Lenox Street because the house isn’t finished but I would like brokers to know it’s out there.  I expect to put that back on the market next week.  Some brokers cancel because they feel the house gets “stale” and they will put it back on after Labor Day.  Some brokers cancel because they go away for the summer….hmmm, yes it’s true.  Time for a new broker.   Some people fire their agents because they think another agent is going to sell their overpriced home.  It’s the price not the agent… Some people just decide they aren’t going to sell at the price they want and let the listing expire.   Some people make some changes by painting a few rooms a more neutral color, removing some carpeting etc.  Often the seller realizes the agent was right and they should have done this from the start.  Happy Summer!!

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 7/7/2014 11:24:29 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 07/07/2014
Towns: Needham
 07/07/2014  7/7/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000 - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 - - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 9 38 9 40
$600,000 – $699,999 5 40 5 40
$700,000 – $799,999 6 80 6 80
$800,000 – $899,999 3 50 3 50
$900,000 – $999,999 4 45 4 45
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 31 87 31 87
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 14 119 14 119
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 8 127 8 127
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 6 182 6 182
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 - - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 - - - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 86 Avg. 91 86 Avg. 91
Lowest Price: $500,000
Median Price: $1,398,500
Highest Price: $2,895,000
Average Price: $1,412,502
Total Market Volume: $121,475,200
Lowest Price: $500,000
Median Price: $1,398,500
Highest Price: $2,895,000
Average Price: $1,412,502
Total Market Volume: $121,475,200


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 7/7/2014 11:26:28 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 06/24/2014
End Date: 07/06/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 - - - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 1 1 - - -
$600,000 – $699,999 1 1 - - -
$700,000 – $799,999 3 1 2 - -
$800,000 – $899,999 6 3 3 - -
$900,000 – $999,999 2 1 1 - -
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 5 2 3 - -
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 3 - 3 - -
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 - - - - -
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1 - - -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 - - - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 - - - - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 22 10 12 0 0
Lowest Price: $579,000 Median Price: $914,000
Highest Price: $2,680,000 Average Price: $1,123,895
Total Market Volume: $24,725,700


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 7/7/2014 11:27:54 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 06/24/2014
End Date: 07/06/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 7 $571,000 $539,000 106 $539,000 106
$600,000 – $699,999 6 23 $648,333 $617,000 105 $617,000 105
$700,000 – $799,999 2 30 $734,500 $749,000 98 $763,500 96
$800,000 – $899,999 4 51 $845,500 $809,250 105 $809,250 105
$900,000 – $999,999 1 6 $936,000 $895,000 105 $895,000 105
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 12 50 $1,251,417 $1,218,249 103 $1,240,749 102
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 9 131 $1,699,756 $1,723,333 99 $1,820,556 94
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 13 $2,442,550 $2,399,000 102 $2,399,000 102
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 36 Avg. 61 $1,194,593 $1,177,750 103 $1,210,361 101
Lowest Price: $571,000 Median Price: $1,225,000
Highest Price: $2,442,550 Average Price: $1,194,593
Total Market Volume: $43,005,350



 EXP  $499,000
WDN $529,000
EXP $539,900
EXP $679,000
WDN $699,900
WDN $799,900
WDN $1,059,000
EXP $1,350,000
EXP $1,599,000
CAN $1,745,000
CAN $1,799,999
EXP $2,199,000
WDN $2,299,000
WDN $2,349,000
CAN $3,295,000
EXP $3,395,000
EXP $4,200,000
WDN $4,290,000
  Single Family Listings: 19    Avg. Liv.Area SqFt: 3,961.84    Avg. List$: $1,792,195    Avg. List$/SqFt: $435    Avg. DOM: 63.53


4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

Newton, MA.  Real Estate

4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:00 AM PDT

4 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent | The KCM Crew

Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.

Here are the top 4 demands you need to make of your Real Estate Agent when buying a home:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take your offer at any price and then try to ‘work’ both the seller and you while negotiating later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price you are offering. Make them show you their plan to get both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to you and then to your bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A recent survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the original offer.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family into a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. You agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.

4. FIND the right house!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with purchasing. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that finding the right house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. rethinking price), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

Buying a Home? Know ALL Your Options


Newton, MA…Realtor

Reposted from my friends over at KCM

Buying a Home? Know ALL Your Options

Posted: 02 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Buying a Home? Know ALL Your Options | Keeping Current Matters

In a post earlier this week, we suggested that the Millennial generation’s struggles with student debt and the overarching concept of homeownership are not the reasons for so many first time buyers hesitating to move forward with the purchase of their first home. Now there is another firm suggesting the same. The asset management company, Nomura, came out with strong guidance to their investors. According to an article in Housing Wire last week:

“Nomura’s note to clients has a take few have offered: The first time homebuyers are holding out and it’s not student debt, a shift away from homeownership as a choice by Millennials, or any of that.”

Instead, they think it is a lack of a full understanding of the mortgage process. The article explains:

“Analysts say it’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment. It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.”(emphasis added)

This comes off the heels of a survey by Zelman & Associates that revealed that 38% of those between the ages of 25-29 years old and 42% of those between the ages of 30-34 years old believe that a minimum of 15% is required as a down payment to purchase a home. In actually, a purchaser may be able to put down far less.

The Reality of the Situation

According to Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives piece:

  • A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
  • Freddie Mac’s purchase of mortgages with down payments under 10 percent more than quadrupled between 2009 and 2013.
  • More than one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages in 2014 put down 10 percent or less.
  • Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family or grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Ms. Boyle goes on to explain:

“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”

Bottom Line

If you have considered purchasing a house or moving-up to a new dream home, know all of your options. Reach out to a real estate and/or mortgage professional in your marketplace to get the best, most up-to-date information available. You may be surprised to learn what you and your family are capable of achieving.

4th Of July Celebrations Around Massachusetts

4TH OF JULY 2014

Along with Thanksgiving, July 4th is a holiday Americans can claim all to themselves. There’s no shortage of fun, family oriented things to do in Massachusetts this July 4th. Boston Harborfest is the king of all things 4th of July. With hundreds of events for adults and children, including historic reenactments, live music, food, and patriotic revelries, you won’t run out of things to do. But Independence Day celebrations aren’t limited to Boston. There is a solemn reading of the Declaration of Independence at Old Sturbridge Village; a Blessing of the Fleet with food and live music in New Bedford; art shows in Brewster ; a road race on Nantucket and many fireworks displays across the Commonwealth. Don’t miss any opportunity to get out there and have some patriotic fun. Here are just some of the things to do in Massachusetts this 4th of July.



Blue Star Museums Free admission to the military and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Boston Harborfest
 – July 2-6
 Festival includes more than 220 events: walking tours, concerts, Revolutionary-era historical reenactments, the famous Chowdafest, visits from U.S. and foreign naval ships; harbor cruises; State House tours; guided walking tours of the North End, Boston’s underground and the Harbor Islands; treasure hunt; tour of Coast Guard ships; whale watch and dinner cruises; chowder fest; USS Constitution Turnaround Cruise; Boston Pops concert and fireworks. Check out the MBTA’sspecial schedules during Harborfest.

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
 – July 4
 Free outdoor concert in the Hatch Shell aside the Charles River is a glittering, unforgettable Independence Day tradition. This Fourth of July musical celebration includes performances of patriotic favorites like “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “America,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”; thunderous rendition of Tchaikovsky”s “1812 Overture” followed by fireworks display over Charles River

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
 – Boston
 July 4
 – Only once a year, Boston residents and visitors get to hear the famous speech read from the balcony as it was on July 18, 1776. Location: Old State House, State and Division Streets.
10 – 10:30 a.m.
 Cost: free

Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships
 – Boston
 July 2 -7. 
 Lots of great tall ship events during Harborfest.

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets
 – July 4th Summer Sale
 Don’t miss the July 4th Summer Sale at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets®. Enjoy extra savings on top of already low outlet prices. Featuring 170 stores including Banana Republic Factory Store, Elie Tahari, Juicy Couture, Salvatore Ferragamo and many more. Visit the Sales & Events page for a sample of in-store promotions.

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Sudbury’s Annual Fourth of July Parade
 – Sudbury 
July 4
 All are welcome to come and watch one of the area’s best parades! (With a zip code like 1776, Sudbury’s patriotic spirit is one to be reckoned with…) The parade forms on Union Avenue between Station Road and Codjer Lane. Step off time is 1 p.m.

Acton Celebrates Independence Day
 – Acton
 July 4
 Fireworks and Concert. At NARA Park in Acton, MA. The day starts off with family fun activities from 3-7 PM, followed by a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones Tribute Band, The Blushing Brides at 7:30 PM and fireworks at 9:30 PM. Food vendors will be onsite. No alcoholic beverages permitted. Free Admission – some activities may have a small fee.

Picnic in the Park
 – Concord
 July 4
 A program of favorite patriotic tunes by this 50-year-old concert band. Location: Emerson Field, Stow Street. The concert will be in the Concord Armory if it rains. Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with band performance at 3 p.m.

Pepperell Fourth of July
 – Pepperell
 July 5
 Parade at 12:30 p.m.; Rockin Rib Fest at the Community Center fields; fireworks at dusk. Location: Parade starts at Pepperell Town Hall, travels on Main Street East around the rotary, follows Hollis Street North past town field, turns left onto and marching up Tucker Avenue, and ends at the large parking lot between Nissitissit Middle School and the field where the fireworks are displayed.

Salisbury Beach 4th of July
 – Salisbury
 July 4
 Enjoy the sea and surf, ice cream and cotton candy, beach pizza and fried dough, arcades and more. Dine over the ocean, listen to reggae on a giant oceanfront deck. Get your palm read. Play games on the Broadway Mall. Visit the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation’s Sea Life Discovery Center where you can come face-to-face with marine creatures at their new touch tank! Or take a surf lesson with Zapstix at their second, new oceanfront location. There’s something for everyone at Salisbury Beach!

Rockport Independence Day Celebration
 – TBD 
Rockport Firemen’s Parade at 6 p.m., followed by a Legion Band Concert and bonfire on Back Beach at about 8:30 p.m

Gloucester Independence Day Horribles Parade and Fireworks
 – TBD – 
Gloucester Horribles Parade begins at 6 p.m. and circles through downtown Gloucester. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Favorite viewing locations: Stacy Boulevard, Stage Fort Park, Western Avenue.

Danvers Family Festival
 – Danvers
 TBD Festivities leading up to the Danvers Fireworks on July 4 start about a month prior with themed nights, concerts, games and festivals. The Fireworks Festival itself takes place at Plains Park from 4 – 9 pm. The main stage hosts musical performances while various concession stands sell delicious food. The Just for Fun areas features games and rides for kids. Throughout the early evening there is a stunt plane show, along with parachuting and a military fly over. The famed fireworks show begins at 9:30 pm.

Beverly Farms Independence Day Celebration
 –  TBD 
 The featured events are the always unique morning Horribles Parade and a spectacular evening shoreline illumination and aerial fireworks display held at West Beach. Rounding out the holiday events, the Committee also sponsors the House Decorating Contest, the Family & Friends Cookout, the youngsters Scavenger Hunt, the post Parade “Old Timers” adult softball game at Dix Park, races and games at West Beach on the afternoon of the 4th, and musical entertainment at the Beach leading up to the fireworks.

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
 – Marblehead
 – July 4
 – Monday, July 4th, 2011 approximately 9:00 p.m. The Harbor Illumination will begin at 8:45 p.m. and immediately following we will LIGHT THE FUSE ON THIS YEAR’S EDITION OF FIREWORKS FOREVER!


Fireman’s Parade, Rockport, July 4, 6 pm.

Independence Day Parade, Manchester, July 4, 12 noon

Highlands Horribles Parade, Danvers, July 4, 9 am

Back Bay Parade, Danvers, July 4, 11 am

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Plymouth’s Star Spangled 4t of July Celebration
 – July 4 – 
Always a great time to be in America’s Home Town! Parade route begins at Cordage Park Marketplace on Court Street in North Plymouth and winds its way down Court Street through downtown Plymouth and Main Street, continuing onto Main St. Ext and, turning left onto Water Street to the reviewing stand next to the Plymouth Rock. The Legion Bud Band starts at 7pm and ends just before the fireworks begin, with the playing of the 1812 Overture 

New Bedford Folk Festival
 – July 5-6 -New Bedford Folk Festival brings together over 70 renowned and emerging performers and 90 juried arts and crafts vendors in New Bedford’s authentic historic district during the first weekend in July. The two day family-oriented festival offers continuous folk music from 11am to 9pm on seven sound stages in and around the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park ranging from the majestic 1200 seat Zeiterion Performing Arts Center to the intimacy of the National Park Garden Stage.

139th Brockton Fair
 – June 27-July 6 
Lively and exciting entertainment for all ages! In addition to the always-thrilling midway full of rides, other featured entertainment includes a surprise-filled magic show, exciting demolition derby, horse racing, amateur boxing, figure 8 racing, stock car football, big bear show, magician, petting zoo, puppet shows, livestock shows and spectacular fireworks displays!

Hingham Celebrates the 4th
 – July 4: Fireworks over Hingham Harbor, Hingham Road Race & 4th of July Parade
, Vintage Baseball Game.

39th Braintree Independence Celebration

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Cape Cod Baseball League Summer Schedule

Mashpee Wampanoag Annual Pow Wow
 – Mashpee
 July 4-6 
Native American cultural event including drummers, dancing, crafts and food.

Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks
 – Edgartown
 July 4
 Edgartown on the Fourth is classic Americana and Fella Caters offers you a classic American cookout – burgers and dogs with all the fixins’ and much more. Bring the family, spread out your blanket and relax and enjoy a great meal while waiting for the parade to start. Free marching band concerts in the Old Whaling Church before and after the parade are fun for the whole family. Food is sold and served a la carte and tickets are not needed to attend. It’s a great place to have a casual dinner after the parade and before the fireworks. Location: Old Whaling Church Lawn. 
4 – 8 p.m. Cost: admission is free, food is sold a la carte.


Chatham’s “July 4th” Independence Day Parade
 – July 4
, 9:30AM – 11:30AM
 Main Street, Chatham.
 Chatham’s “July 4th Independence Day Parade” will be held on Saturday, July 3, 2010 – This year’s theme is “From Sea to Shining Sea”. Parade proceeds Down Main Street from the corner of Shore Road to Veteran’s Field.

Barnstable Village
 – Starting at 9:00 a.m.
The parade will commence at 9:00 a.m. at the County Complex on Railroad Avenue; proceed down Main Street (Route 6A); left onto Mill Way and continue to the Village Hollow where it will end for various activities.

 – July 4 – 
The parade starts at noon. Location: Starts at the Cape Inn and goes to Franklin Street

 Click Here for a complete list of Cape Cod events.

Wellfleet – July 4 – The Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 2014 4th of July Parade. The theme this year is Oysters R Us! The Parade route runs up Holbrook Avenue, turns right on Main Street, continues down Main Street, turns right on Commercial Street and ends at the Wellfleet Town Pier. The Judge’s stand will be on the lawn of the Town Hall on Main Street. The classic car parade begins at 9:30am and the general parade starts at 10:00am

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An 1830s Idependence Day Celebration
 – Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge. 
July 4
This Fourth of July, step back to a time when America was new, and veterans of the fight for freedom still lived.

4th of July Celebration — Shrewsbury
 – July 4
 The town of Shrewsbury’s 4th of July Celebration will include food, live music and DJs, inflatable amusements, clowns, and facepainting. A decorated bike and doll carriage parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Location: Main Street. Time: noon – 4 p.m. Cost: free.

Harvard Town Fireworks at Fruitlands
 – Fruitlands Museum, Harvard
 July 3
. The pastoral site of Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts will be home to an all-American Independence Day celebration on Friday, July 1st with bands, food, and fireworks. Music is slated to start at 5 P.M. Hot dogs, hamburger, and drinks will be available for purchase; local Girl Scouts will be on hand selling desserts. Visitors are also allowed to bring picnics to the event.

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Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade – 
 July 4 
Called one of the ten best Fourth of July parades in the country by USA Today, Pittsfield’s annual Independence Day parade is legendary for its outstanding musical acts, balloons and floats and its hometown feel. Location: Downtown Pittsfield beginning at Park Square and ending at Wahconah Park Time: 10 a.m.

Independence Day Celebration
 – Amherst
 July 4
 This promises to be an event that everyone will enjoy; featuring a children’s carnival, face-painting, games, field races, a pie-eating contest, the Amherst Community Band, and of course, fireworks. Location: Various around town.

July 4th Sidewalk Sale – 
July 3-6
 Don’t miss this weekend of spectacular savings on hot summer fashions!

Star Spangled Springfield
 – Springfield
, July 4
 Program begins at 7:00p.m., on the steps of City Hall, Celebrating America. Fireworks will commence at 9:30 p.m. from the Memorial Bridge with musical simulcast on MIX 93.1 FM.

Williamstown July 4th Celebration
 – Celebrate our nation’s independence in inimitable Williamstown style. At 10am, gather at the Williams College Museum of Art to hear WTF actors read the Declaration of Independence and the British reply before viewing the College’s amazing Founding Documents collection. Williamstown’s classic small-town parade kicks off on Spring Street at 11am and ends at The Clark Art Institute for the grand opening of their newly expanded campus. Take a break from the sun at our special 4pm performance of June Moon before heading out for some BBQ or catching the fireworks at The Clark. It’s a big day in Williamstown — an iconic 4th of July experience that’s not to be missed.

The 10 Most Exciting Suburbs in America….

The 10 Most Exciting Suburbs In America

HMMM what do you think?

Only that’s totally untrue.

After ranking the country’s most exciting cities — big and small — last year, we at the Movoto Real Estate Blog decided to start 2014 off by turning the preconceived notion that suburbs are boring on its ear. So, we applied the same Big Deal List formula responsible for rocketing places like Oakland, CA and Hoboken, NJ into the spotlight to the nation’s largest suburban cities. What did we find? Cambridge, MA is unquestionably America’s most happening ‘burb.

It wasn’t alone; we ended up ranking nearly 140 suburbs on numerous excitement factors, and 10 emerged as the absolute thrilling-est of the bunch. These are America’s Most Exciting Suburbs:

1. Cambridge, MA
2. Quincy, MA
3. Berkeley, CA
4. Miami Beach, FL
5. Santa Monica, CA
6. Lakewood, OH
7. Jacksonville Beach, FL
8. Tempe, AZ
9. Santa Clara, CA
10. Evanston, IL

Bravo to the Boston, MA area–not only did the historic city appear on our ranking of the most exciting big cities last year at No. 2 overall, but now two of its suburbs, Cambridge and Quincy, top this list. They inched out Berkeley, a suburb of Oakland, our most exciting big city and one of three California ‘burbs in this top 10.

How did we figure all this out, and what exactly constitutes “exciting” in our book? If you’ll keep reading, we’ll explain all that and more. We promise it’ll be exciting.

How We Found America’s Most Exciting Suburbs

For most people, math’s not very exciting. Yet math is the means by which we ranked the most exciting suburbs. Lots and lots of numbers went into the process, but it all started with 139: the number suburbs we looked at. These are the largest suburbs of the 50 largest cities in the nation.

The next number of importance was six: the number of criteria we used to determine how exciting a suburb is. We applied the same criteria to this ranking as we did for our two previous Most Exciting Cities rankings:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)

Each suburb was ranked from 1 to 139 across all these criterion, with one being the best possible score (like in golf). This was accomplished by looking at business listings for each city and U.S Census data—not, unfortunately, dining and dancing the night away in person. Once we’d done that, we averaged the individual criterion scores to produce an overall Big Deal Score, which was used to determine the final ranking (the lower the score the better in this case, too).

The cities which you’re about to read about below had the 10 lowest scores, but we went ahead and included stats on how the top 50 ranked across the board at the bottom of this post. That way, if your idea of “exciting” is spending a Friday night arguing over minutiae, you can do that. For everyone else, here’s the big picture on what made our top 10 shoot past the rest of the pack:

1. Cambridge, MA


When most people think of Cambridge, they either a) picture classrooms full of students at Harvard and M.I.T. with their noses buried in books or b) say “Hey, isn’t that in England?” From now on, when we think of this Boston suburb, we’re going to think “excitement.” 

True, a big part of Cambridge’s success in this ranking has to do with the fact that it’s home to not one, but two top-tier universities. Its population of 18- to 34-year-olds is, as a direct result, a whopping 49 percent, easily clinching a 1st place win for the city in this criterion by nearly 6 percentage points. Cambridge was also in the top 10 overall for active life options (third), live music (sixth), and nightlife (sixth).

Cambridge has one nightlife option for every 1,002 residents, and when they’re spots like The Druid and The Comedy Studio, that figure gets even more exciting. The city also ranked in the top 10 (10th, in fact) for its low percentage of fast food restaurants compared to all dining options (a mere 4 percent). This means your tastebuds will be subjected to fewer McDonalds and exposed to more A-grade eateries like Hungry Mother and Craigie On Main.

2. Quincy, MA


Excitement clearly runs in the Boston area family. Located not half an hour from our No. 1 most exciting suburb, Quincy is nevertheless far enough away that it has its own unique scene. It’s one that, for instance, relies much less on a young population to get the fun times rolling, as its 13 to 34 crowd makes up a (much) smaller 27 percent of its populace. 

Despite the drop in our most exciting age group, there’s still plenty to keep the days and nights hopping in Quincy. It placed fifth overall in terms of active options with spots like Olindy’s standing out, and a respectable 25th for live music and nightlife. So, whether you want to belt out some questionably-in-key karaoke at Fuji 1546 or down a few pints at The Fours, you won’t be wanting for evening activities. Plus, any town that has a restaurant called The Fat Cat among its huge 96 percent of non-chain dining spots gets a thumbs up from this feline-friendly blogging crew.

3. Berkeley, CA


This suburb of Oakland is right in Movoto’s back yard, so we’re more than a little familiar with what it has to offer in the way of excitement. Before you start saying “But wait, guys, isn’t it just a bunch of mellow hippie types,” though, we’ve got to stop you. This East Bay gem has plenty to offer excitement seekers of all hair lengths. 

Of course, with UC Berkeley in town, the 18 to 34 group is going to be plenty large; it sits at 43 percent, to be exact. Plus, with it being part of the notoriously health conscious Bay Area, a sixth place finish for active life options isn’t unexpected (there are parks and yoga places everywhere). What you might not be expecting, though, is that this seemingly laid back suburb has a lot of nightlife.

From bars such as Jupiter and the Albatross, to world-renowned venues like the Greek Theatre, it’s a fantastic town to hang out with friends after dark or take in an A-list act.

4. Miami Beach, FL


From the Bay Area, we head to the extreme opposite end of the country for our No. 4 most exciting suburb. Miami Beach is America’s suburban nightlife creme de la creme, ranking first overall in both live music and nightlife with one spot for every 304 people. If you’ve ever turned on TV to a reality show, though, you probably know this, as they’re seemingly always living it up in some South Beach hotspot like LIV or Mango’s. 

Miami Beach is, as expected, also a bastion for daytime excitement, placing sixth overall for active life options. It’s adjacent to the aforementioned South Beach, with its myriad boating, biking, and outdoor activity offerings. It’s also a great town to be a foodie, having placed fourth overall in terms of unique dining options–the best in our top 10–with only 2 percent of its restaurants being chains. If you’re ready to take a break from fast food, you can’t go wrong at places like Yardbird (where you may think you’ve died and gone to fried chicken heaven) and Cuban food paradise Puerto Sagua.

5. Santa Monica, CA


We’re trading a beach city in Southern Florida for one in Southern California at our No. 6 spot. Part of the mega-sprawl that is Los Angeles county, Santa Monica is pretty much the quintessential SoCal beach community, and its excitement can be felt by anyone who’s ever stepped foot on the Santa Monica Pier or the Third Street Promenade. 

It placed second overall for active options, including the pier, its adjoining beach, and thrilling activities like the Trapeze School New York. For as much fun in the sun as it has to offer, Santa Monica continues to shine after the sun has set. The city came in third overall for nightlife and live music, bolstered by places including The Room and Harvelle’s.

6. Lakewood, OH


Lakewood has been making quite a name for itself in the past few months, appearing on multiple rankings we’ve produced–including our Most Exciting Small Cities list. So, its appearance here comes as little surprise… even if it also made our list of best spots to retire. The young crowd is still strong in this Cleveland, OH suburb, however, making up 30 percent of the population and earning the city a 12th place finish for this criterion. 

While the retirees snooze away, the youngins will play at places like West End Tavern. Residents of all ages benefit from exciting non-chain dining options such as Melt and Buckeye Beer Engine that make up the impressive 97 percent of restaurants in Lakewood that aren’t your average, mass-produced fare. The only area this city could have done much better in was active life options, where it placed 90th overall.

7. Jacksonville Beach, FL


Our next suburb sits not on a lake, but on a much larger body of water: the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we’re back in Florida, but this time it’s near Jacksonville rather than Miami. With the geography sorted out, it should come as little surprise to readers of this ranking that Jacksonville Beach was second only to Miami Beach in terms of nightlife and live music on a per capita basis. We’re talking places like Lynch’s, Engine 15, and the Shim Sham Room. 

Also of zero surprise was this suburb’s fourth place finish for active life options, from beaches to waterparks to golf. Where Miami Beach absolutely trounced this fellow Floridian destination, however, was in non-chain dining options. Jacksonville Beach came in 50th for this criteria with 9 percent of its restaurants chains. Still, that doesn’t mean residents looking for some exciting eating options are out of luck, what with the likes of Eleven South and Salt Life Food Shack in town.

8. Tempe, AZ


The second-youngest city in our top 10, a full 44 percent of the residents in this Phoenix, AZsuburb are between the ages of 18 and 34. That’s not bad for a state that many people associate with retirement (Florida bucked that trend on this ranking, too). You might also find it hard to believe that Tempe is a nightlife hotspot for similar reasons, but it is, placing ninth overall for clubs, live music, and associated after dark attractions like the Mill Cue Club and Big Bang, a dueling piano bar. 

One area where Tempe shook its stereotype for the sort-of-worse was activity options, as it placed 22nd overall for those. It’s also note quite the daring dining destination of the other nine suburbs that comprise our top 10–in fact, at 59th overall for non-chain restaurant percentage, it’s the worst. Don’t tell that to people who swear by vegetarian delight Green or the Four Peaks Brewing Company ale house, though.

9. Santa Clara, CA


If you’d asked anyone in the Movoto office to guess the top 10 most exciting suburbs in the country, Santa Clara would honestly not have been in the running. This ranking isn’t about preconceived notions, though; it’s about what the data says and exposing the truth. The truth is, then, that this San Jose, CA suburb is exciting. 

A big part of that is due to the considerable percentage of 18 to 34 residents (31 percent) and the fact that Santa Clara placed 20th out of 139 for nightlife. The number of karaoke joints like Arirang Music Studio are simply mind-boggling, too. Oh, and this city is also home to the California’s Great America theme park which, while perhaps not one of the country’s top-tier parks, is definitely a lot more exciting than most cities’ carnivals.

10. Evanston, IL


Evanston, Ill.

Google Earth


As Ol’ Blue Eyes used to croon, Chicago is a wonderful town. Evanston’s placing in our top 10 has us wondering “Evanston, Evanston, what an exciting town” wasn’t Sinatra’s second choice for lyrics. While the Chairman of the Board wouldn’t have sung the praises of Evanston’s 49th place finish for live music, at least he’d have enjoyed a dish at Dave’s, one of the town’s many non-chain restaurants (it ranked 23rd for those). 

Oh, and Evanston has a group of 18- to 34-year-olds who make up 32 percent of its total population. We wonder how many of those wouldn’t know a tune by the Sultan of Swoon if we played it for them?

Can You Feel The Excitement?

We think we accomplished what we set out to do: show that suburbs are definitely more than meet the eye. They’re not all full of 40-somethings obsessed with youth soccer and typesetting the minutes for their neighborhood watch meetings. They’ve got lots of things to do—day or night. Especially Cambridge, MA, where any egghead from M.I.T. can tell you that “suburb” is just a word; Excitement is a way of life.

Want to talk about our ranking, or share what makes your hometown exciting? Let’s hear it in the comments below.

Most Exciting Suburbs in America

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Bi-Weekly Newton Real Estate Recap

The numbers are in and the story doesn’t change much.  Busy busy under 1 million, not so much over 1.5 million.  The info below tells the story.  Heading into summer the market remains very active!  152 single family homes for sale, 33 homes have gone under agreement in the last 2 weeks and 32 have sold.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:40:31 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
 06/24/2014  6/24/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000 - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 2 19 2 26
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 1 1 1 1
$500,000 – $599,999 2 34 2 34
$600,000 – $699,999 4 50 4 50
$700,000 – $799,999 11 35 11 35
$800,000 – $899,999 8 36 8 40
$900,000 – $999,999 10 57 10 57
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 26 47 26 47
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 31 94 31 94
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 22 78 22 79
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 15 35 15 35
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 13 108 13 108
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 121 3 121
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 4 64 4 64
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 152 Avg. 65 152 Avg. 66
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,947,770
Total Market Volume: $296,061,097
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,947,770
Total Market Volume: $296,061,097


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:41:55 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 06/09/2014
End Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 - - - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2 - - -
$600,000 – $699,999 3 1 2 - -
$700,000 – $799,999 4 2 1 - 1
$800,000 – $899,999 4 2 1 - 1
$900,000 – $999,999 2 2 - - -
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 12 9 3 - -
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 6 5 1 - -
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 - - - - -
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 - - - - -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 - - - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 - - - - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 33 23 8 0 2
Lowest Price: $589,000 Median Price: $1,024,000
Highest Price: $1,899,000 Average Price: $1,161,139
Total Market Volume: $38,317,600


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 6/24/2014 9:42:56 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 06/09/2014
End Date: 06/24/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 4 $505,000 $499,000 101 $499,000 101
$600,000 – $699,999 3 46 $670,833 $670,667 100 $677,667 99
$700,000 – $799,999 3 104 $738,000 $739,000 100 $754,333 98
$800,000 – $899,999 4 52 $858,000 $851,500 101 $851,500 101
$900,000 – $999,999 6 6 $951,417 $909,333 105 $909,333 105
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 6 30 $1,223,083 $1,173,167 106 $1,173,167 106
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 5 59 $1,700,930 $1,734,000 98 $1,764,600 97
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 42 $2,046,750 $2,224,500 92 $2,224,500 92
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 223 $2,880,000 $2,995,000 96 $3,300,000 87
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 3 $3,925,000 $3,950,000 99 $3,950,000 99
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 32 Avg. 46 $1,269,177 $1,271,656 101 $1,288,063 100
Lowest Price: $505,000 Median Price: $982,250
Highest Price: $3,925,000 Average Price: $1,269,177
Total Market Volume: $40,613,650

22 Lenox Street

22 Lenox Street     West Newton Hill      $2,349,000

Listed by Margaret Szerlip — Karp Liberman Kern Sotheby’s




Victorian home meets 2014 with a complete down to the studs renovation at the top of West Newton Hill! The new version is stylish, and chic and fits perfectly with today’s lifestyle. Open concept first floor with outstanding kitchen and adjoining family room with fireplace and open staircase to the finished LL. Kitchen has custom cabinetry, honed Calcutta counters and professional grade Thermador appliances. Beautiful Master suite boasts a walk in closet and the most serene bathroom. 2 generous bedrooms, another top quality bath and laundry room complete the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor has high ceilings, abundant sunlight, 2 bedrooms, plus a loft area for office or play and another bath. Wonderful large renovated basement with bath and bar area. New roof, wood floors, electric, plumbing, HVAC, siding, kitchen, baths, walls, ceilings, spray foam insulation..everything. An eco-friendly new concept carport with “green” sides and garage doors is in the process of being built.

City expected to endorse Cleveland Circle plan despite resident-group’s objections

Jun 18, 2014, 12:11pm EDT  By Thomas Grillo, Boston Business Journal

City expected to endorse Cleveland Circle plan despite resident-group’s objections

0318 Cleveland Cirlce

An artist rendering of the hotel and apartments that would replace the Cleveland Circle Cinema.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is poised to approve a controversial $80 million mixed-use development that would redevelop the shuttered Cleveland Circle Cinema in Brighton, one of the earliest indicators yet of how the Walsh administration will balance neighborhood objections with private-sector plans to revitalize sections of the city.

On June 19, the BRA’s board is likely to endorse Boston Development Group’s plan to replace the cinema site at 399 Chestnut Hill Ave. with a mixed-use residential, hotel and retail complex. Typically, items that make it on the agenda win unanimous board approval. The thumbs-up is expected despite opposition from most members of the Impact Advisory Group, a city-appointed panel assembled to advise the BRA on the project. A majority of the panel wanted a development with fewer apartments, less height and guarantees that apartments would not be rented to undergraduates, among other demands.

“I’m very angry at the BRA,” said IAG member Mary Cronin. “Given that the city will not insist that the developer make these changes, the project will be a disaster for the people living near it. We are being left holding the bag and we are the ones who will take the hit once it’s built.”

Eva Webster, another IAG member, said while she has been supportive of the redevelopment, it should not proceed to the board without changes that would improve the overall project.

“This project needs to happen, but my support was conditioned on tying up the loose ends,” she said. “The things that I have been asking for are not deal breakers. They are things that would improve the project for the neighborhood and the developer.”

But Erico Lopez, the BRA’s project director, said while support from the IAG is preferable, he noted that based on the comment letters to the city, the neighborhood generally supports the redevelopment plan. Of the 259 comment letters to the BRA, 171 were in support, 84 were opposed and four were neutral, he said.

“We always want to have the IAG on the same page, but when we nominate members, we don’t nominate them for their voice to be the one and only voice,” he said. “The process for this project can never be questioned. We have gone through more than three years of community meetings. This project has gone through an evolution and the city received much more mitigation and community benefits than a lot of projects because we’ve had the community’s input.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh first hinted at his approval for the Cleveland Circle project last month in an interview with the Boston Business Journal. The project is among the first controversial development plans he has addressed since taking office earlier this year.

“People have a right to have a voice in the community,” said Walsh at the time. “If we are building a 60-story tower in an area that’s zoned for three stories, then that’s too much density. But here we are talking about a development that will result in a revitalization of the Cleveland Circle area.”

Real Estate — Summer To Do List

Summer To D0 List

Newton, MA. Top Agents, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.
Summer has finally arrived and our thoughts turn to a more carefree lifestyle and a tendency to put things on the back burner. If you are thinking of selling your house in the fall, summer is the perfect time to get your house in order at a more leisurely pace. I would say on average it takes 7-10 days to get a home in photography ready shape, of course that varies depending upon each person.  I have had sellers take years to get a house ready and sellers’ who can have a photographer show up that afternoon.   A motivated seller can have their house ready in 7-10 days.  Below you will find a guide to selling.  You cannot have it both ways, top dollar and no work is not a model for success. You want buyers to think that if they move to this home their closets can/will look amazing. Their kitchen cabinets will be clean and tidy and the toys in the basement magically put themselves away.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home

  • Stop thinking of the memories created in this home and try to imagine the memories you will make in your next home.
  • Your home is full of things and many of those things can be moved to a new home.
  • Picture yourself decorating your next home.
  • Indulge yourself and spend a morning reflecting about your life in this house and then start sorting and cleaning in the afternoon.
  • Imagine visiting your furniture or china or art in your child or grandchild’s house.


  • If you haven’t used or even looked at something in a year, it is time to throw away, donate, or give away
  • Bookshelves are for books and a FEW special knick-knacks — clean up those book shelves
  • Pack up or discard items you no longer want or even like
  • Kitchen counters must be cleared to the point of looking sterile
  • All horizontal surfaces (tables, shelves, dressers) must be free of clutter
  • Items used everyday can be put in a box and stored in a closet for showings
  • Remember you would have to do this anyway to move!


  • Remove plastic dry cleaning bags
  • Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in years
  • Hang alike garments together — pants with pants, shirts with shirts etc.
  • Have clothes face the same direction
  • Line up your shoes or put out of season shoes in storage

4. Kitchen

  • Clean your cabinets on the inside and outside
  • Take everything out of your cabinets and throw away items that you bought 10 years ago. I guarantee you will find some ridiculously old food item
  • Arrange your dishes to stack neatly and throw away broken or chipped cups and plates.
  • Clean up and arrange your spice jars
  • CLEAN your stove and refrigerator….buyers open the refrigerator – DON”T MAKE THEM GAG FROM THE SMELL OF YOURS.

5. Remove or Replace Fixtures You Wish to Keep

  • If you want your dining room chandelier, replace it now. As soon as buyer knows they cannot have it, they want it.
  • If you absolutely must have your draperies in the next home consider removing them. If they make a statement then be prepared for a buyer to want that same statement with the same drapes. Sellers, if your the drapes don’t fit your new house don’t be stingy; leave them for the next owner to enjoy
  • Washer and Dryer – When you find out how much it costs to move the washer and dryer just leave them.

Remove Furniture

  • Homes show better with less furniture. Remove any soiled, beaten up dingy furniture; they make the house look dingy.
  • Remove any furniture that creates an obstacle walking thru a room
  • Remove excess pieces of furniture — you are selling a home you don’t own a furniture store
  • Contrary to popular opinion, extra leaves in a dining room table make the room appear larger. Remove hutches and sideboards if the room seems cramped
  • Leave enough furniture in each room to showcase the rooms’ purpose with room to move around
  • Most professionals are going to come in and tell you to remove every personal picture you have displayed. I think that is overkill. You want a home to feel warm and inviting, as if people LIVE in a house not just inhabit the house. Get rid of any controversial pictures – pictures of you with Presidents or politicians, anything that might elicit a thought other than aw has to go. Too many artifacts from your children and your vacations are distracting. We want buyers to look at the house not your things.


Make Minor Repairs

  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
  • Remove wall to wall carpeting
  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that do not close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

Make the House Sparkle

  • Replace worn bed-coverings with crisp a crisp white duvet
  • Clean your child’s bedding! Teenage boys have stinky pillows
  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
  • I am going to hear from the energy police BUT replace your fluorescent lights while your house is on the market! The lighting quality is poor, the color is bad, and it makes your home look dark and dingy.

Think like a Buyer 

  • Stand at your front door — is it welcoming? If not make it so! Paint the front door and threshold
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Does the furniture placement make sense to a buyer?  You don’t live in a home the way you sell a home so inconvenience yourself for a few weeks and move the furniture around.  Think about how much more money you will net.
  • Make sure window coverings are clean and free of dust
  • Tune in to the room’s statement is it neutral yet inviting?

Check Curb Appeal

  • If a buyer will not get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you will never get her inside
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared
  • Mow the lawn
  • Paint faded window trim
  • Place of pot of colorful annuals near the front door
  • Trim your bushes
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number

The journey may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.  I have the tools and the people to help you accomplish the task.

Bi Weekly Newton Real Estate Recap

Below you will find the Newton’s real estate story for the past 2 weeks.  Inventory continues to be extremely limited below 1 million dollars.  Although it appears we have a bit more inventory in the 700’s.  The last 2 weeks have been more active in the 1 million to 2 million range — 17 homes have gone under contract in the last 2 weeks!  The above 2 million market continues to struggle.  The first 2 weeks of June tend to be quiet times in the real estate market between graduations and last days of school activities, however this June we are continuing to see many homes coming to market. Broker Tour has been busy with new listings and price reductions.  If you liked a home and you thought the price was to high, now may be the time for an offer.  Ping me and get my opinion 617-921-6860…there are deals to be made!  If you are thinking of buying or selling in the Fall now is the time to reach out to Realtors.


On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:31:20 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 06/01/2014
Towns: Newton
 06/01/2014  6/13/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000 - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - 2 15
$400,000 – $449,999 1 55 1 67
$450,000 – $499,999 - - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 2 18 2 23
$600,000 – $699,999 6 26 7 29
$700,000 – $799,999 8 28 11 33
$800,000 – $899,999 6 40 8 33
$900,000 – $999,999 11 43 9 53
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 32 36 27 38
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 30 58 29 64
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 24 81 25 73
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 9 79 11 35
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 14 86 14 96
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 98 3 110
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 4 43 3 42
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 150 Avg. 56 152 Avg. 55
Lowest Price: $449,000
Median Price: $1,685,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,940,731
Total Market Volume: $291,109,797
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,675,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,901,687
Total Market Volume: $289,056,499

Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:12:15 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 06/01/2014
End Date: 06/13/2014
Towns: Newton

Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 - - - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2 - - -
$600,000 – $699,999 4 2 2 - -
$700,000 – $799,999 1 - - - 1
$800,000 – $899,999 3 2 1 - -
$900,000 – $999,999 4 3 1 - -
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 6 2 - -
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 9 6 3 - -
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 - - - - -
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 - - - - -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 - - - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 - - - - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 31 21 9 0 1
Lowest Price: $525,000 Median Price: $1,149,000
Highest Price: $1,875,000 Average Price: $1,164,903
Total Market Volume: $36,112,000


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 6/13/2014 10:14:57 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 06/01/2014
End Date: 06/13/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 29 $505,000 $560,000 90 $560,000 90
$600,000 – $699,999 1 6 $697,500 $699,000 100 $699,000 100
$700,000 – $799,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$800,000 – $899,999 4 25 $868,625 $816,750 107 $816,750 107
$900,000 – $999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 4 20 $1,222,700 $1,147,000 108 $1,147,000 108
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 72 $1,749,913 $1,836,750 96 $1,844,250 95
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 14 Avg. 36 $1,183,389 $1,175,786 102 $1,177,929 102
Lowest Price: $505,000 Median Price: $1,160,400
Highest Price: $1,950,000 Average Price: $1,183,389
Total Market Volume: $16,567,450




5 Reasons People Want a House in Newton

5 Reasons People Want a House in Newton

Margaret Szerlip June 11, 2014


Home buyers are searching high and low for an affordable home here in Newton.  There is only so much room and plenty of demand.  I see a need for a tastefully renovated smaller homes.  I have a hunch many older folks would like to sell their big old Victorian and move into a remodeled ranch.  Unfortunately, builders want to raze those homes and build a big monstrosity, which is why we have a glut of over 2 million dollar homes currently on the market.

1.  Newton is a Commuter’s Dream Location

Whether you work in Boston or New Hampshire Newton is beyond convenient to the Mass Pike and 128.  You can bike to Cambridge or take a bus.  While the Green Line of the T is slow; it is reliable, safe and clean.  You can get the express bus to Boston in either West Newton or Newton Corner.  If the commuter rail is more your style — no problem there are two stops in Newton.  Getting to Logan Airport is now a breeze, I have people text me when they land and I leave for the airport then.  No more circling the airport.

2.  The Local Schools are Very Well Respected

Any person with kids is justifiably concerned with the schools, and Newton is nationally recognized as a quality school system.  There are plenty of private schools around and of course multiple colleges right here in Newton

3.  The Residents are Educated and Employment is Diverse

Newton is blessed with an educated population and close proximity to institutions known to pay well.  Hospitals, pharmaceuticals, universities, financial firms, law firms, technology firms are all located either in Newton or a short drive away.

4. Newton is a Walkable Town

Milleniums want the freedom to walk many places and we cannot underestimate that choice when they are buying a home. They want to walk to coffee shops, restaurants, parks and most importantly to work.  If they can’t walk to work easy access to public transportation is a must.

5.  Strong Sense of Community

There are always things going on in Newton.  5K races, children’s activities including Art’s in the Park, dance studios, ceramics, painting, music classses along with a plethora of children’s sports.  The Y and the JCC have programs for both young and old alike.  The Senior Center is always busy with interesting speakers and activities.  The Newton Community education offers interesting classes at very reasonable rates.  Each village has something to offer and the community likes to get involved.

We are fortunate to be near an amazing network of hospitals and healthcare, professional and college athletic teams, outdoor activities on the Charles River and all the culture and history you could want from Boston to Concord.


The Dreaded Best and Final Offers…

The Dreaded Best and Final Offers, Newton, MA.


The definition of a Best and Final offer in real estate is a buyer’s last and highest offer.  A best and final is typical in response to a bidding war.  A seller who has received several offers will usually ask top bidders to submit a best and final offer.  This type of offer induces STRESS for the buyer and their agent.  As an agent I will do an analysis of the property to determine fair market value.  In a bidding war fair market value is determined by the person with the most potential to pay for the property and actually close the deal.  The buyer with the highest offer does not necessarily mean the best offer.  In the past 6 months prices in the under 1 million dollar market have sky-rocketed to the point of crazy.  When I have a buyer in a bidding war situation and there are no comps to justify an inflated price I kind of cringe.  What usually happens is a review of the comps and I speak frankly about the possibility of overpaying.  My advice is to offer a number that means you  don’t care if you don’t get the house for only $1.00 more, either because you can’t afford to pay more or you can’t justify paying more.  That number must come from the buyer…Agents cannot change a buyers finances or their view of a dream home. As a listing agent it makes me sort of smile.  My job as a listing agent is to close the deal at the highest price.  The “close the deal” is key.

I recently listed a house below 1 million dollars, the sellers did everything we told them, de-cluttered, put items in storage, cleared out baby things, went away for the weekend with their two very young children so we could accommodate any showings.   We had an open house on Saturday and Sunday and many private showings before or after the open house along with Friday and Monday showings.  Offers were due by 4 on Monday.  Realtors always know when the price is right…you phone rings — constantly! We had 100’s of prospective buyers view the home.  Monday afternoon rolled around and we had 6 offers, I actually expected more but I should note the amount of buyer fatigue we heard.  “I only have 20% to put down, I was out-bid on 3 other properties, I can’t waive my mortgage contingency, should I give up my inspection contingency?”  No never do that. We reviewed the offers and presented them to the seller: basically you lay out the offers on the dining room table.  This is the lowest, the middle and the highest.  But wait the highest offer doesn’t have great financing but the next highest offer has incredible financing.  It is easy to eliminate the low offers, not so easy to eliminate the fab financing offers.  Closing dates, dates for inspections all come into play.  In this particular case the highest offer also had the best financing.  Lots of money to put down and a considerable offer amount above the next competing bid.  Shortly after we left we had the unpleasant job of calling the agents or buyers themselves to relay the bad news.  Buyers who make offers without an agent typically make dumb offers.  Crazy high offers with 500 contingencies, low offers that would have made no sense 5 years ago and of course the ASK…”I am not using an agent so the seller only has to pay 1/2 the commission.”  UGH, that’s a post for another day.

We did not go back for the best and final in this case.  The offer was more than the seller had dreamed of, the financing was perfect, the buyers were seasoned and seemed reasonable while viewing the house.  We felt that these were the right buyers.  If we went back for best and final there is risk of annoying the buyer who stepped up to the plate from the beginning and feels he is not treated fairly and decides to walk. Or you can have a buyer increase their offer in the heat of the moment only to wake up with buyer’s remorse.  They may regret their decision and then try to “renegotiate” the price based on some little inspection issue.  In the end you want the seller to go to the closing table.  Most often the seller is purchasing another home and the timing of this closing must coincide with the closing of the new home.

Buyers — put your best foot forward, DON’T panic, and let the chips fall where they may.  There will be another house for you.  Sellers –DON’T get greedy, the most successful deals happen when each party leaves a little something on the table for the other guy.

Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Announces Relationship with Bloomberg


Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Announces Relationship with Bloomberg

Forwarded by Margaret Szerlip
MADISON, N.J. (June 3, 2014) – Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced the launch of a content marketing relationship with Bloomberg, a global business and financial information and news leader, designed to showcase the Sotheby’s International Realty® network’s listings to readers.

As part of the relationship, in 2014 the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s content units will appear in exclusive positions throughout’s property section on its Luxury Property channel. Bloomberg created the program exclusively for the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, which will showcase its network’s inventory of properties through a location comparison, new to market spotlight, search widget and lifestyle feature.

“The Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s target consumer is a direct fit with Bloomberg’s core audience, which is made up of today’s affluent leaders,” said Wendy Purvey, chief marketing officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “Bloomberg’s global readership is made up of those consumers searching for a second or third home that will meet their lifestyle needs, and who recognize the unique value real estate plays in building wealth.”

“Bloomberg is excited to have the Sotheby’s International Realty brand as a content marketing partner,” said Hugh Wiley, head of strategic account partnerships for Bloomberg Media. “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand content aligns perfectly with the Luxury Property section of’s Luxury Channel. Providing luxury property offerings around the world will appeal to’s audience, which is both affluent and global. This exclusive partnership further extends both the Bloomberg and Sotheby’s International Realty brands into the world of luxury lifestyle.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 15,000 independent sales associates located in approximately 700 offices in 54 countries and territories worldwide. Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the network’s brokers and clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.


Newton MA: Monthly Real Estate Recap

Newton, MA:  Monthly Real Estate Recap   The May Real Estate Recap tells and interesting story but an old story.  Inventory continues to be very low with a total of 151 single family homes listed today, up from 134 May 2nd.  87 homes went under agreement during the month of May and 41 homes were sold.  The breakdown is below but a few things stand out.  Homes priced under 1.5 are selling on average between 100% and 106% of the asking price.  Homes priced between 1.5M and 2M are averaging 92% of the asking price.  The 2.5M – 3M continues to lag the entire market and are selling at roughly 86% of the asking price.  I should note that this is not necessarily from the original listing price.  We are seeing renewed interest in the over 3 million dollar home — but only if it is new construction and in a superb location.  That pretty much sums up the over 2 million market, if it’s new or like new, it sells.  If not re-evaluate your price, your need to sell or willingness to make significant changes to attract buyers.  The old adage of what  you want or need has no bearing on what a buyer will pay.  Bear in mind that 43% of the entire inventory is homes priced over 2M!  I have not seen that in the 11 years in business. In summary we have a shortage of under 1.2M inventory and a steady amount up to 1.5M.  A glut of inventory from 2M to 3M and some activity over 3M.  There is no shortage of buyers out there but they have very specific desires and an unwillingness to comprise and a complete aversion to major renovation.  I believe that this is short-sighted.  Too many buyers are overpaying for average at best houses that look like the Property Brothers from HGTV did a quick renovation.  There is real value if you are willing to do a little work, buy a house and live in it and see what changes work for your family. Unfortunately even my own buyers look at me like I’m nuts.  Oh and if you are addicted to HGTV — you can’t redo a house and furnish it for 70K here in the western suburbs.

Report Run: 6/2/2014 9:25:38 AM Property Type(s): SF Snapshot Date: 5/2/2014 Towns: Newton
 5/2/2014  6/2/2014
Price Range Number of Listings Avg. Days on Market vs. today Number of Listings Avg. Days on Market
Under $50,000 - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 2 14 1 56
$450,000 – $499,999 1 0 - -
$500,000 – $599,999 2 2 2 19
$600,000 – $699,999 4 18 6 28
$700,000 – $799,999 8 42 8 35
$800,000 – $899,999 10 14 6 46
$900,000 – $999,999 9 30 11 45
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 28 59 32 37
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 32 67 31 59
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 14 85 24 82
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 10 76 9 80
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 9 58 14 87
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 79 3 99
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 2 34 4 44
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 134 Avg. 55 151 Avg. 58
Lowest Price: $439,000
Median Price: $1,599,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,817,576
Total Market Volume: $243,555,199
Lowest Price: $449,000
Median Price: $1,695,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,938,932
Total Market Volume: $292,778,797


Report Run: 6/2/2014 9:28:10 AM Property Type(s): SF Start Date: 5/2/2014 End Date: 6/2/2014 Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of Listings # UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 1 - 1 - -
$400,000 – $449,999 2 - 1 - 1
$450,000 – $499,999 2 2 - - -
$500,000 – $599,999 3 2 1 - -
$600,000 – $699,999 10 6 3 - 1
$700,000 – $799,999 12 10 2 - -
$800,000 – $899,999 11 10 1 - -
$900,000 – $999,999 6 3 2 - 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 23 20 - - 3
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 9 9 - - -
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 5 2 3 - -
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1 - - -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1 - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 - 1 - -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 87 66 15 0 6
Lowest Price: $399,000 Median Price: $995,000
Highest Price: $4,000,000 Average Price: $1,188,421
Total Market Volume: $103,392,700


Report Run: 6/2/2014 9:30:53 AM Property Type(s): SF Status: SLD Start Date: 5/2/2014 End Date: 6/2/2014 Towns: Newton
Price Range # of Listings Avg. Days on Market Average Sale Price Average List Price SP:LP Ratio Average Orig Price SP:OP Ratio
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 1 107 $425,000 $499,900 85 $559,000 76
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 3 17 $552,000 $525,667 105 $525,667 105
$600,000 – $699,999 3 15 $630,667 $594,333 106 $594,333 106
$700,000 – $799,999 2 15 $723,750 $682,000 106 $682,000 106
$800,000 – $899,999 6 17 $845,917 $817,317 104 $817,317 104
$900,000 – $999,999 7 22 $943,286 $930,714 102 $930,714 102
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 12 21 $1,204,354 $1,195,908 101 $1,208,408 100
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 99 $1,693,375 $1,828,250 93 $1,837,250 92
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 66 $2,050,000 $2,199,999 93 $2,275,000 90
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 258 $2,915,000 $2,999,000 97 $3,400,000 86
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1 $3,350,000 $3,395,000 99 $3,395,000 99
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 41 Avg. 36 $1,137,555 $1,143,919 101 $1,161,507 100
Lowest Price: $425,000 Median Price: $970,000
Highest Price: $3,350,000 Average Price: $1,137,555
Total Market Volume: $46,639,750


Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’

Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’

The millennial generation is showing differing housing tastes than their parents’ generation. For example, millennials say they prefer smaller, functional homes than sprawling “McMansions,” and they’re not interested in “cookie cutter” homes that look like everything else on the block. Instead, this generation of do-it-yourselfers wants to put their individual stamp on their home and make sure it reflects them and their tech-driven lifestyle.

I agree they millennials don’t want a home like their parents, they don’t want superfluous rooms, they don’t even want a living room.  I have not seen a DYI mentality in the western suburbs of Boston at all. In fact I see a reluctance to do any work, painting seems overwhelming to many.

Mllennials are the next big demographic of home buyers emerging in real estate.

“It’s critical that real estate professionals understand what embodies a quintessential home for the millennial generation, which vastly differs from the traditional norms of generations before them,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens recently conducted a survey of 1,000 adults aged 18-35, known as “Generation Y” or the millennial generation. “Understanding technologies to communicate with this generation is now only one piece of the puzzle for agents; smart technological capabilities must now be ingrained into the home itself.”  The search for the home is online and a possible drive by, more likely satellite imagery will be used.

I currently have a relocation buyer that knows what every home/building within a few blocks of any house he will be looking at by using google walk.  If he can’t figure it out I get a text to see whats what. 

About 30 percent of millennials surveyed say they prefer a “fixer-upper” home rather than a home that needs only a few repairs.

I am sure there are some out there, but I haven’t seen them especially in the higher price points.  

They desire homes where they can entertain, and they don’t necessarily need all the upgrades. Fifty-nine percent said they prefer extra space in the kitchen for a TV rather than having a second oven.

They’re also technology driven and they want their homes to reflect that too. Forty-one percent of Millennials surveyed say they are more likely to brag to a friend about a home automation system rather than a newly renovated kitchen. Seventy-seven percent say they want a home with technology capabilities.

This seems a bit overstated, millennials want renovated kitchens AND smart home capabilities.

They also want each room in their home to have a purpose. One in five of Millennials surveyed said they’d prefer the name “home office” be used for their dining room since that’s how they would usually use it. Forty-three percent said they’d like to change their living room into a home theatre, according to the survey.

This is an absolute, younger buyers want a kitchen, family room as one huge room and possibly an office on the first floor.  Gone are the days of the dining room.  I understand the living room being wasted space but a dining room?  One day they might want it.  I’ve seen a definite preference for a tricked out basement rather than living room home theatre, but they want the living room to be anything other than another under utilized space; perhaps that home office.

Boston as a Retirement Mecca?

Boston as a retirement mecca?

Non-Traditional “Retirement” Metros Becoming Meccas for Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place

Non-Traditional “Retirement” Metros Becoming Meccas for Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place | Keeping Current Matters

It’s probably only natural for real estate agents to assume that most boomers or retirees bent on moving to a new city to enjoy their golden years will be on the trail to Florida, Arizona, or some other state blessed with warmth and plenty of sunshine. And those states are probably the ones best situated to offer plenty of age-in-place benefits, right?


When a boomer or senior who’s open-minded about where they wish to move and retire searches Google for the best cities to age in place or best cities to retire, they finds some spots that are a bit out of the norm, but quite intriguing nonetheless.

Places like Sioux Falls, SD; Provo, UT; Iowa City, IA; Bismarck, ND; Columbia, MO; Omaha, NE; Madison, WI; and Boston, MA top the list.

As adults 55+ begin to contemplate their future and plan for a possible move, they are hearing more and more about the importance of preparing to age-in-place. They already know they hope to live in their own home, independently, for as long as possible. And the cities listed above – plus many other non-traditional retirement options – are receiving plenty of attention as go-to spots for their aging-in-place benefits in the form of quality healthcare, accessible transportation, government initiatives in building the city as senior-friendly, and a number of other indexes.

The Milken Institute, a non-partisan think tank, compiled a list in 2012 of the 259 Best Cities to Age Successfully. Another ranking is due later this summer of 2014. It divided the rankings into “Large Metros” and ‘Small Metros,” with Provo, Utah topping the Large City list and Sioux Falls the Small City rankings.

Others in the Top 10 of Large Cities to Age Successfully include Pittsburgh, Toledo, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.

Others in the Top 10 of Small Cities to Age Successfully include Rochester, MN, Ann Arbor, MI, Missoula, MT, Durham-Chapel Hill, NC, and Gainesville, FL.

See the entire list here and learn more about the Milken Institute’s approach to promoting aging-in-place awareness:

Frankly, if I were a real estate agent or broker in any of these top cities (and even many further down the list), I’d be going full-bore to make sure I was positioned to capture as much of this older adult segment in my town as possible. Yes, older adults will purposefully be moving to my city and I should be the one to serve them and find a stellar house for them to buy.



Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

Newton, MA.

Looking for something to do with your family this weekend? You can check out activities throughout Massachusetts.






Blue Star Museums
 – Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,500 museums across America. First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 26, through Labor Day, September 1, 2014.


Service of Commemoration
 – Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, May 25, 1:30-3:00pm
 Words and music will help us to remember those who have gone before us during this Memorial Day Service on Bigelow Chapel Lawn. In the event of inclement weather, the Service will be held in Bigelow Chapel.

Street Performers Festival – Boston
 – May 24-26
 – Street performers, world-class jugglers, clowns, storytellers, mimes, acrobats,
dancers, storytellers, and others will perform on the cobblestone streets of the
Faneuil Marketplace. Location: Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Time: all day. Cost: 
Free. 617- 523-1300

Memorial Day Weekend Sale
 – Wrentham Village Premium Outlets 
May 23 – May 26 – 
Don’t miss the annual Memorial Day Weekend Sale. Enjoy extra discounts on top of already low outlet prices. 
May 23 : 9am – 9pm
 May 24: 9am – 9pm
 May 25: 10am – 6pm
 May 26: 9am – 9pm

Museum of Fine Arts
 – Free Memorial Day open house


Arlington: 9:30
Cambridge: 9:30
Hudson: 10:00
Medford: 10:00
Needham: 6:50

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Newburyport Spring Fest – Newburyport
 – May 25-26
 – Celebrate the season in downtown Newburyport! Thousands attend to enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, food from Newburyport’s best restaurants and Kid’s Korner featuring entertainment for children and families and the ever popular Teddy Bear Parade.
Location: Downtown Newburyport
. Time: 10a.m.– 5 p.m. 
Cost: Free 
Information: 978-462-6680

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Haverhill: 10:30
Lexington: 9:00am
Marblehead: 9:00am
Methuen: 10:00am
Salem: 10:30am

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Free Admission for Veterans
 – May 24-26. All active duty, retired and reserve military personnel who show proof of service will be honored with free admission to Battleship Cove.

Memorial Day Ceremony May 26. Honor and commemorate the men and women who gave their lives for freedom. Experience a traditional military observance at 12:00 PM with the raising of the American flag from half-staff and a 21-gun salute. The ceremony is open to the public.

Colonial Military Arts
 – May 24-26
 Plimoth Plantation
n early Plymouth Colony, all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to serve in the town’s militia. Meet a member of New Plimoth’s militia in the center of the Century English Village. Free with general admission.

Military Service Appreciation Day
 – Buttonwood Park Zoo
 – 425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford – 
May 24 – 26. 
On Memorial Day Weekend all active duty, retired and reserve military personnel and their dependents who show proof of served will be honored with free admission to the Zoo.

Annual Fisherman’s Memorial Service
 – Starting at the Seamen’s Bethel
 – May 26 
10:00 am – 
Annual walk from Seamen’s Bethel on Johnny cake Hill down Union St. to Pier 3 on the New Bedford Waterfront for a service honoring all of the many fishermen who have lost their live going to sea.


Brockton: 11:00
Cohasset: 10:30
Fairhaven: 8:30
Fall River: 1:00
New Bedford: 11:00
Plymouth: 9:30
Somerset: 10:00
Swansea: 1:00
Taunton: 9:30
Westport: 8:00

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Massachusetts National Cemetery
 – May 26th 
Annual Memorial Day Services.
 (508) 563-7113

Cape Cod Scenic Railroad
 – May 24
 Opening day, tickets on sale for scenic passenger train rides from West Barnstable, until train time 11:50 am. Visit the historical museum 9:00am to 2:00pm every Saturday, May 28 through October 15, 2011. 
Location: 2469 Meetinghouse Way, West Barnstable
Information: 508-362-9287

43rd Annual Figawi Regatta
 – May 24-26
 Sailboat race from Hyannis to Nantucket Island and back; weekend-long festivities
Hyannis Yacht Club, Hyannis & Nantucket Boat Basin, Nantucket
. Information: 508-778-6100

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Wool Days at Old Sturbridge Village – Sturbridge
  – May 24-26
 Wool Days means sheepshearing at Old Sturbridge Village, plus demonstrations of other parts of the seasonal processing of wool, including scouring, carding, dyeing, spinning, and weaving. Try your hand and learn about other fibers available to early New Englanders at our textile exhibit. Wool Days fall on Memorial Day weekend, when the Old Sturbridge Village stagecoach returns for the summer, along with the Quinebaug River Boat Ride.

AIS 44th Annual Memorial Powwow
 – May 24-25
 Native American powwow
 4H Camp Marshall, 92 McCormick Rd., Spencer


Ashburnham: 8:45am
Ashby: 10:00am
Fitchburg: 10:00am
Westminster: 11:00am

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Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair
 – May 24-25
 Sheep shows, sheep dog trials, spinning contest, fiber contests & workshops, handcraft & hand spun yarn contests, fleece show & sale, shearing demo & shearing service.
 Location: 97 Fairgrounds Rd., Cummington
Time: May 29, 9-5; May 30, 9-4
 Fee: $8:00 per vehicle
. Information: 413-458-0168

Memorial Weekend Sidewalk Sale
 May 23-26
 Annual Memorial Weekend Sidewalk Sale featuring incredible savings on spring clearance and summer merchandise at participating stores.
 Lee Premium Outlets

Annual Memorial Day Marathon Races
 – May 25 Lenox. 
This annual event starts and finishes at the iconic Tanglewood Music Center in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Come experience The Berkshires, a true slice of Americana featuring the quaint towns, beautiful views, and friendly people depicted in Norman Rockwell’s art and James Taylor’s music, as we celebrate running – a true American pastime – on the national holiday honoring our fallen soldiers. The weekend will feature The Memorial Day Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, The Berkshires 10K & 5K, The MDM 15K Trail Race, The MDM Trail-Road Challenge, The MDM Kids Run and The MDM Pre-Race Expo at Tanglewood.

Paradise City Arts Festival
 – May 24-26, County Fairgrounds, Northampton. 
Ranked the #3 arts fair nationwide. This is truly one of the most spectacular fairs of fine craft, painting and sculpture in the whole country, lauded for its fresh, innovative approach. Four buildings, a big tent and a lush Sculpture Garden showcase 260 of the nation’s finest artists and craftspeople, featuring furniture, glass, large-scale sculpture, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, fashion and home furnishings. The Festival Dining Tent cooks up sensational cuisine by Northampton’s best chefs and a soundstage featuring live music with a New Orleans beat by the likes of Charles Neville and Samirah Evans. The theme this spring is “Wild Things!”, with an exhibit of art inspired by the animal kingdom, a silent art auction to benefit the Dakin Animal Shelter and a host of children’s activities and demonstrations centered on animals. Boston Magazine writes, ‘There’s no better place in the country to pick up original artwork than the Paradise City Arts Festival.’


Agawam: 10:30
Amherst: 9:30
Chicopee: 10:00
Easthampton: 10:30
East Longmeadow: 10:50
Greenfield: 10:00
Hampden: 10:00
Holyoke: 9:00
Ludlow: 9:00
Monson: 10:00
Montague: 10:15
Northampton: 9:30
Palmer: 10:15
South Hadley: 11:00
Southwick: 9:30
Ware: 1:00
West Brookfield: 9:00
Westfield: 10:00
West Springfield: 9:00
Wilbraham: 10:30

Rethinking The 55+ Real Estate Market

Rethinking the 55+ Market


Posted: 01 May 2014 04:00 AM PDT

I am excited to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today. Nikki  is considered a leading authority on seniors real estate and housing. – 

Many Seniors here in the Boston Suburbs are active and fit.  I rarely see an under 60 person looking to move to an over 55 community.  I do see many people in their 70’s and 80’s looking to stay in Newton and Brookline but there is nowhere for them to move.  Many of these Senior’s live in very large big old Victorians and the thought of moving into a 2 bedroom condo or small house is not feasible.  There is a huge market for townhouses with first floor master bedrooms with 2 beds and a bath upstairs.  These Seniors are engaged with their children and grandchildren and want room for them to stay.  They don’t want a retirement community or an over 55+ community.  They would like to live in a neighborhood with all age types.  I find that it’s not until Seniors are in their late 70’s and have had at least one health scare do they even consider an over 55+.  We just moved my 87-year-old mother in law into an Independent Living Community in NJ.  I can tell you she was scared to death to be with all those “old” people, she now loves it!  But what about the rest?  Where are the late 60’s to early 70’s going to go?  They no longer want to hassle with home maintenance and repairs, they don’t want to hire the landscapers or the snow plowing, or the exterior painter.

Many sellers also just don’t know where to begin.  We have people to help you with that.  Check out Laurie Norman’s website Next Stage Associates.  Laurie’s services are unrivaled and her prices are extremely competitive.

Builders, decide what the next big thing is…it’s here.  Townhouse with first floor master bedrooms or flats that are large, in a community that appeals to young, middle-aged and older.


Mature Couple at ParkSomeone said to me recently, “Sixty-five is the new forty-five.” We chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself in full agreement.

With more and more people working beyond traditional retirement age and the advances in modern medicine, the lines between middle and late adulthood are becoming a bit blurred.

What makes this relevant in the world of real estate?

As our population ages, we will see more and more organizations dedicating their marketing efforts toward the “senior” demographic. You have read previous KCM blogs about the various designations agents can earn for this specific purpose, and undoubtedly you have already seen real estate professionals in your market professing to “specialize”.

Reality check — not all seniors are the same.

Just as with using any label, we run the risk of putting people into a category when they may or may not actually belong there. This is especially true of the senior segment.

Despite the label of “senior,” there are 3 distinct types of moves you may encounter as a real estate professional —  all three involve seniors, but they aren’t based necessarily on age. You see, age is not a good predictor of relocation. Instead, people generally make changes in residence based on life circumstances.

Listed below are the three primary types of moves made by those labeled as seniors:

Move #1: Amenity-based

These individuals and/or couples are seeking a certain type of lifestyle and their home is only one component of a much larger picture. When looking to sell, they are usually transferring their equity from one home to the next and can usually either pay cash or put a significant down payment towards their purchase. Depending upon employment status, they may be moving across the country for more appealing climates or seeking a place near an airport making it easier to commute. Some are moving closer to kids and grandkids, while others are moving to destination locations where the family can enjoy visiting.

Social engagement, including quality family and friend connectedness, are key decision-making elements.

Move #2:  Anticipatory / Planning

As people age, they may begin to experience changes in personal health status or become the caregiver of a spouse requiring additional care. When this occurs, people may find their current home unmanageable or no longer suited for their current situation. Moving means simplifying and making preparations for future care needs and support. With this type of move, seniors are typically looking to either buy or lease a property with minimal maintenance, accessibility features, and in close proximity to quality healthcare. Family members and adult children may be called upon at this stage to assist, and will often have some influence in the relocation process.

Access to formal and informal support, as well as low maintenance and accessibility features, are primary decision-making factors. 

Move #3: Needs-based

While most people intend to live independently until they die, unfortunately, this reality isn’t always possible. As health declines to the point where more support is needed than can be provided for within the person’s home and community, relocation is necessary. This move may involve selling the personal residence and relocating to a senior living community or into the home of a family member. In many cases, needs-based moves involve caregivers and/or family members as additional decision makers. Late-life moves involving frail elderly or those experiencing illnesses or disease processes can be highly emotionally charged and necessitate a level of empathy in addition to real estate competency.

Timing, health status, and caregiver support are keys to decision-making.

As you can see from these various different types of moves, not all seniors share the same housing needs and goals. And while specializing in the 55+ housing market appeals to many, there are actually many sub-niche opportunities within the senior segment worth exploring.

Regardless of whether you choose to make working with mature home buyers and sellers a part of your overall business plan, with at least 1 in 4 home sellers over the age of 65, there is little doubt you will work with older adults in the course of your general real estate practice.  When encountering these opportunities, it will serve you well to consider the three types of moves listed here and evaluate your value proposition accordingly, so that you can be the very best agent possible for your mature clients.

6 Habits of Great Connectors

6 Habits of Great Connectors


Is is really so hard to smile?  Most of you who read my Blog know that I am not Polly Anna but please at least once a day there must be something to smile about?  If you meet someone new look them in the eye and smile, engage, smile, engage.  I think if we all concentrated on being open, having a dialogue, start a conversation the world will be a better place.  We would be happier and smile more!
Entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore shares the traits that the best networkers he’s met have in common.

The second part of the 1936 Dale Carnegie classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is called “Six Ways to Make People Like You.”

All these years later, connecting with new people remains a vital skill for any entrepreneur hoping to grow her network. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially for introverts. Not long ago entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore formed a list of the habits he’s observed in skillful connectors. In the spirit of Carnegie’s “Six Ways,” here are six habits from Dinsmore’s list, supplemented with timeless tidbits from How to Win Friends.

1. Smile. “Smiles are contagious and the simple act makes people feel better,” writes Dinsmore. Carnegie goes one step further: “The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” Carnegie even cites an old training program that phone companies provided to teach selling over the phone. “They suggest you smile when talking on the phone,” he writes. “Your ‘smile’ comes through in your voice.”

2. Make friends. “Ask, ‘How would I treat this person if they were my close friend or someone I’d want to be a close friend?'” explains Dinsmore. Carnegie stresses the practice of empathy. He tells the story of a Philadelphia fuel salesman named C.M. Knaphle who hated the advent of chain stores because a chain in Philadelphia bought its fuel from out-of-town dealers, instead of him. At Carnegie’s behest, Knaphle agreed to debate other students in Carnegie’s courses about whether chain stores were good or bad. The catch? Knaphle had to defend the chain stores. He went back to the store that wasn’t buying his fuel and asked the buyer for advice that could help him in the debate. “I must confess that he opened my eyes to things I had never even dreamed of,” wrote Knaphle. The buyer grew to like Knaphle personally–and ultimately became a customer.

3. Pay attention. “People want to tell their story. Be the person excited to hear it,” notes Dinsmore. Carnegie tells the story of meeting a woman at a party who’d just returned from a trip to Africa with her husband. “Africa!” Carnegie exclaimed. “How interesting. I’ve always wanted to see Africa.” He asked the women a quick series of questions. The woman wound up talking to him for 45 straight minutes.

4. See friends, not strangers. “When you walk into a room, see the new faces not as strangers but as friends you have yet to meet,” writes Dinsmore. Carnegie describes how Jim Farley, former chaiman of the Democratic National Committee, had a method for morphing strangers into friends. Whenever he met someone new, Farley found out their full names, their family situations, and a few business or political opinions. By soliciting these specifics, he was in a better position–when he met someone for the second time–“to shake hands, inquire about the family, and ask about the hollyhocks in the backyard.”

5. Contribute. “Meeting people is about making their lives better….Give like crazy, embrace generosity and make others more successful,” writes Dinsmore. For Carnegie, aiding others became both a sales technique and a method of persuasion. Once, when a storekeeper couldn’t pay him in cash, Carnegie accepted payment in shoes. He sold the shoes to the railroad men he’d befriended traveling throughout his territories, then forwarded the receipts to his employer. Later, when Carnegie was trying to persuade YMCAs to host his classes, he faced an uphill battle. YMCAs were incredulous that anyone could “make orators out of business people.” So Carnegie agreed to teach on a commission basis and only take his pay as a percentage of the profits. The YMCAs agreed to host his classes.

6. Be open to conversation. “Embrace conversation with those around you. Everyone has something to offer–your server or the guy next to you on a park bench or plane flight,” notes Dinsmore. Of course, being open to conversation isn’t easy, if you’re the shy type. But the only way to get better is to make an effort–even if it’s a fruitless effort. Carnegie certainly felt this way. The best method for overcoming fears, he believed, was “to do the thing you fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”

Read more:

Newton, MA. Real Estate Recap

Newton, MA.  Real Estate Recap   Margaret Szerlip

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately…market is too busy!  WE STILL NEED INVENTORY!  Just put a cute house on the market in CH last week for 899K…went WAY over asking.  We had about 120 buyers come through the house and received 6 offers.  It went WAY over asking.  We met some of the nicest people who had dejection written all over their faces.  They knew they could not compete.  It’s not easy making the I am sorry but the seller has accepted another offer phone call.  If you are even remotely thinking of selling your house call us now.  We can show you the way!  617-921-6860

Towns: Newton
Price Range Number of Listings Avg. Days on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999 - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - -
$250,000 – $299,999 1 25
$300,000 – $349,999 6 45
$350,000 – $399,999 5 36
$400,000 – $449,999 3 24
$450,000 – $499,999 3 16
$500,000 – $599,999 9 34
$600,000 – $699,999 6 12
$700,000 – $799,999 13 46
$800,000 – $899,999 11 25
$900,000 – $999,999 12 32
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 40 66
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 30 80
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 14 83
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 10 77
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 10 52
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 3 77
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 2 32
Over $10,000,000 - -
Total Properties 178 Avg. 59
Lowest Price:
Median Price: $839,900
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,108,135
Total Market Volume: $278,141,971
Lowest Price:
Median Price: $839,900
Highest Price: $7,500,000
Average Price: $1,108,135
Total Market Volume: $278,14


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 4/30/2014 11:09:12 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 04/15/2014
End Date: 04/30/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending
Price Range # of
Under $50,000 -
$50,000 – $99,999 -
$100,000 – $149,999 -
$150,000 – $199,999 -
$200,000 – $249,999 -
$250,000 – $299,999 -
$300,000 – $349,999 -
$350,000 – $399,999 -
$400,000 – $449,999 -
$450,000 – $499,999 3
$500,000 – $599,999 1
$600,000 – $699,999 6
$700,000 – $799,999 3
$800,000 – $899,999 7
$900,000 – $999,999 5
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 6
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 -
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 -
Over $10,000,000 -
Total Properties 37
Lowest Price: $465,000 Median Price: $895,000
Highest Price: $2,399,000 Average Price: $1,040,794
Total Market Volume: $38,509,399


Massachusetts Home Sales Post Drop in March

Massachusetts Home Sales Post Drop in March
The Warren Group posted this report and the same is happening in Newton.  During the same time in 2013, 95 homes sold vs. 79 this year, a decline of 17%.  It’s the inventory people….I cannot understand what sellers are waiting for? Someone has to be the first person in the pool.  When everyone jumps in price increases WILL slow down.  If interest rates rise and inventory increases prices will decrease!  We have an abundance of inventory over 2 million and seemingly endless supply of people who have the means but only want new or like new construction.  What’s with that?  Please if you are thinking about selling your home, NOW is the time, not September when all the other fence sitters decide it’s time.  This is a simple business people — Supply and Demand…
BOSTON, April 23, 2014 – Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts dipped in March, marking the fourth time sales have decreased in five months, according to a new report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
Single-family home sales dropped 7.8 percent to 2,749 in March, down from 2,980 in March 2013. Home sales in the first quarter were down 2.4 percent to 7,557 from 7,745 in last year’s first quarter.
The median price for single-family homes sold in March rose 8.6 percent to $315,000 from $290,000 a year earlier. It was the eighteenth consecutive month that monthly home prices have increased year-over-year. The first quarter median selling price was $305,000, a 7.0 percent increase from $285,000 in the first quarter of 2013.


“The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Motivated buyers, however, are eagerly bidding for the limited supply which accounts for the increasing sales prices. People want to buy homes before prices and interest rates rise further.”
Condominium sales increased statewide by 12.6 percent in March 2014 with 1,328 sales up from 1,179 in March of last year. A total of 3,420 condo sales transactions were recorded in the first three months of the year, a 12.2 percent increase from the 3,049 transactions a year earlier.
The median price for condos sold in March was $291,500, up more than 10.4 percent from $264,000 in March 2013. The first quarter median condo price was also up more than 15.7 percent to $290,000 from $250,500 during the prior year’s first quarter.
“As we see from the sales numbers, condos continue to be an attractive option for first-time home buyers or empty nesters,” said Warren. “With a tight apartment market and rising rents, condominiums are hot right now.”
The Warren Group also tracked the number of mortgage loans (purchase and non-purchase up to $750,000) on single-family properties  in March 2014. 2,324 purchase loans were recorded this month, down 11.0 percent from the 2,611 purchase loans taken out last year at this time. In the first quarter of this year, purchase loans were down by 4.8 percent to 6,348 loans compared with 6,665 in the first quarter of last year.
Non-purchase loans for single-family homes, which include home equity loans and lines of credit, refinances, reverse mortgages and new construction loans up to $750,000, were down by 59.3 percent in March 2014. 6,710 non-purchase loans were recorded in March compared with 16,469 recorded at the same time last year.  Non-purchase loans for the first quarter of this year were also down 65.0 percent to 18,419 transactions compared with 52,474 recorded in the first quarter of last year.

Margaret Szerlip   617-921-6860

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy Newton, MA.  Real Estate

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

We have never hid our belief in homeownership. That does not mean we think EVERYONE should run out and buy a house. However, if a person or family is readywilling and able to purchase a home, we believe that owning is much better than renting. And we believe that now is a great time to buy.

We are not the only ones that think owning has massive benefits or that now is a sensational time to plunge into owning your own home. Here are a few others:

Benefits of Owning

Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord…Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

The Federal Reserve

“Renters have much lower median and mean net worth than homeowners in any survey year.”

Benefits of Buying Now


“Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros… Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally.”

Freddie Mac

“One thing seems certain: we are not likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012…Yes, rates are higher than they were a year ago – and certainly higher than two years ago. But if you look at the averages over the last four decades, today’s rates remain historically low.”

True real estate professionals have information like this at their fingertips.  Call me at 617-921-6860 or


How Buyers Can Irk Sellers

How Buyers Can Irk Sellers


Worth reading~

Both parties have to come together in a transaction, and real estate professionals sometimes find themselves wedged in the middle of buyer and seller disagreements. Some sellers may accuse the home buyers of being too pushy with their demands. recently highlighted several ways that homebuyers have been annoying some sellers recently, including:

  • Disrespectful house visitors: Some buyers may not be respectful when touring a home, letting their child run wild or bounce on the furniture, cranking up the heat and air conditioning, or even using the restroom. Lisa Ramsey, a real estate professional with the The Ramsey Group, says it’s up to the real estate agents to lay down some house rules when the seller isn’t there. “I tell buyers, ‘Let’s just pretend we’re walking into the White House.” She’ll also talk to her buyers “about the trend of sellers putting [microphones and] cameras in the home. … I go into every house assuming there’s a recording device in the house. We’re not going to talk money or strategy in the house.”
  • Submitting a long list of defects: Ron Phipps, principal with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., and a former president of the National Association of REALTORS®, says that buyers are doing themselves a disservice when submitting an offer with a long list of what’s wrong with the house. It makes sellers question why the buyers would want this place. Instead, Phipps recommends a gentler approach: Submit a list of comparables with the offer as well as a personal letter where buyers introduce themselves and explain why they want the house. In the letter, they can mention two or three of the major issues with the house while keeping it neutral and referencing third-party, empirical sources.
  • Too many visits: After buyers have committed to purchase a home, they want to make lots of visits to their future home, bringing the decorators, architects as well and entire family with them, says Mike Lubin, associate broker for Brown Harris Stevens in New York. The sellers may find the constant visits disruptive, however, as they’re busy packing and possibly doing repairs to meet a deadline. Lubin says a possible compromise could be to have the buyer arrange a visit while the inspector is present as well as another visit during the final walkthrough before closing.
  • Renegotiation: Buyers may agree on the price but then repeatedly demand concessions and discounts. The home inspection can be a culprit. For example, buyers may realize the furnace has about five good years left and then make a demand for a new furnace or monetary equivalent. “A realistic buyer knows everything’s not going to be perfect,” says Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago. But signed contracts don’t often stop a buyer from trying to renegotiate, Laricy adds. Buyers may say the market has changed or that they’ve overpaid or they may even suffer from buyer’s remorse, he says. “It’s extremely awkward,” Lubin says. “It’s violating the terms of the contract, and it’s insulting.”

Simplify Your Next Move

Simplify Your Next Move

Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates will explain how she and her team can truly simplify your move.  Laurie will be speaking at Fairway Independent Mortgage on April 22nd at 6PM.  Please join us for this free event.  Please check out Next Stage Associates website! 60 Wells Avenue Suite 101Simplify Your Move Newton, MA. 6PM-8PM Light Dinner will be Served Space is limited so please register today at   781-719-4674

Multiple Offers

Multiple Offers

Content courtesy of Amy Tierce, Regional Vice President, Fairway Independent Mortgage


It’s a seller’s market again this spring so we are dusting off this blog from last year in hopes that it helps some of you get your offers accepted…

Market forces have shifted and today it’s a seller’s market in many communities. Here are some tips for frustrated buyers and buyer’s agents to help get offers accepted!

Make a Large Down Payment– the larger your down payment the more attractive your offer. Why? Because if the appraisal comes in low the buyer with the largest down payment may not have their financing impacted by a low appraisal and can move forward on the purchase without further negotiation.

Pay Cash– If you can, make a cash offer. If the purchase timeframe allows you can still get a mortgage or you can mortgage the property after the purchase transaction is concluded.

Date Flexibility– if you can determine exactly what the sellers’ need in terms of closing dates and then meet those dates – your offer could win even if the price you are offering is lower than others. You can go for an extended closing or even offer to rent the property back to the seller for up to 60 days. Meeting challenging timing needs for the seller can make you the perfect buyer!

Removal of Contingencies/ Financing– We are never comfortable recommending that a buyer remove their mortgage contingency unless they can truly pay cash for the property- BUT we certainly know a winner when we see one and often have buyers who remove their mortgage contingencies with a very THOROUGH pre-approval process.  A very thorough pre-approval.

For added protection– IF you choose to remove a mortgage contingency or make a cash offer or one with a large down payment, the buyer can put an appraisal contingency into their offer so that they have options if the property appraisal comes in low.

Removal of Contingencies/Home Inspection- If you are knowledgeable about home construction or have a friend or family member who is an expert, you might want to consider removing your inspection contingency. Of course you will have no recourse if a structural problem arises that you were not aware of… Removing contingencies also removes protection for the buyer so keep that in mind. I am not keen on this….

The Personal Approach – Introduce yourself!
Selling a home is a very emotional experience for many people and often they want to know that their home is going to a ‘good’ family or person, especially if this was the sellers first home or they raised their family there. A letter from a perspective buyer introducing themselves and explaining why buying this property means so much could make a difference in the offer process and negotiation.

Don’t Give Up

It can be really disappointing and frustrating for buyers today. Don’t give up! As the market improves more sellers will be ready to put their property on the market increasing inventory and perhaps eliminating the multiple offer effect that we are seeing in some areas today.

It is anticipated that rates will remain low for the foreseeable future. However, even if not at their record lows it is important to keep rate movement in perspective. Rates can go up much more before they start to come up off the historic lows that we are seeing today.

Homeowners – ready to move up, down or out? This is a great time to sell so what’s keeping your from taking advantage of this fantastic market Don’t let your stuff hold you back from moving.  Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates will show you the way.  Laurie and her team can help you or your parents move on to enjoy the next stage of life.



60 Wells Ave, Newton  

Light Refreshments





My friends over at Keeping Current Matters posted this blog this morning.  I have added my thoughts after each point.

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this SpringPosted: 08 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

4.8 VisualMany sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Here in Newton/Brookline the Spring market begins in late January with the peak time being right after President’s weekend.  We are most definitely seeing an uptick in homes coming on but not anywhere near levels of a normal market.  We have a 104 homes for sale in comparison to 200 in a typical Spring market.  (Read my Blog post from yesterday for more details)  Once we move into May the frenzy usually subsides.  Memorial Day weekend is the last hurrah for house hunters.  That may change this year so I will keep you updated if I continue to see a fair amount of new inventory.  I am putting on a great house in CH (below a million dollars) the week of April 20th.

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

The biggest problem sellers have is finding a new place to go.  Thankfully negative equity did not wreak havoc here.  There were definitely a few instances but it was not a debilitating factor in our market.  My biggest concerns are the crazy prices people are paying for SOME homes priced under 1 million dollars.  $600.00 a square foot for an average neighborhood is not a smart decision.  I am hoping that an increase in inventory will halt the crazy escalation of home prices that are completely out of whack with reality.  It is also interesting to note that homes priced between 1.5 and 2.5 continue to be lagging.  We have not seen the usual lower priced homes pushing the mid-priced homes.  That segment of the market is very slow.  Again we are having bidding wars for a property priced at 1.2 and ultimately selling for 1.5, that’s probably really worth 1.3.  Take a look at some of the homes priced between 1.5 and 1.8 and see if you can’t negotiate a bargain.  Or stretch to buy a house and not an illusion.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

Yup!  All true.  I say this so often I am starting to annoy myself — This is a supply and demand business.  Sellers if you plan to sell don’t wait until everyone else does.  I guarantee you will find a new home.  For the 1.5 – 2.5 buyer you may have to consider a serious price reduction or doing some work.  Remove wallpaper, wall to wall carpeting etc.  





Newton Real Estate Market Recap

Newton, Top Realtors



Yes, yes this market is crazy, houses selling for 300K over asking, a line to get into an open house, 8 offers, 15 offers, 26 offers!  Insanity…That is NOT the whole story though.  The insanity in this market is happening in homes priced below 1.5 million and even more insanity below 1 milion.  There are currently 104 house on the market, a definite uptick from the 57 houses we had in the early part of the year.  We still have about 50% FEWER homes for sale than in a “normal” market.  We had closer to 400 homes for sale during the debacle. Currently, there are 57 houses for sale priced above 1.5 millon dollars or 52% of the market share is OVER 1.5 million dollars.  There are a total of 96 homes under agreement but only 22 are priced over 1.5 million or 23% of the market.  That spells a depreciating market in the over 1.5 category.  Let’s take a closer look at those numbers — There are 11 homes under agreement over 2 million of which 8 are either new or like new.  In the 1.5 to 2 million range 12 homes are under agreement and 6 of those are new or like new.

Buyers, what are you thinking?  WHY would you spend 1.4 million dollars on a home that can NEVER get any better?  The lot can’t get bigger, the location can’t change, you have already paid a HUGE PREMIUM for renovated kitchen and bathrooms.  Why oh why would you not look at a more substantial house in a better neighborhood that needs some work?  I’m not talking a demo here, just some paint and floor sanding to get you in.  So maybe the kitchen isn’t your dream kitchen and the bathrooms are a BIT outdated, but you can change that!  You can do a room at a time.  You can make the house your own.  You can build some equity.

I say this to clients all the time…unless you are buying a 3-5 million dollar custom home with exceptional and timeless finishes; in 10 years you have a 10-year-old house.  Your house is no longer new or old, it doesn’t have the charm of a home built between 1890 and 1930 and it’s no longer brand new.

PLEASE do yourself a favor, do not get caught up in this buying panic, do not over pay for an average house — there will always be another house.  Do not ever give up your inspection contingency, do not give up your mortgage contingency if you don’t have either cash to pay for the house, or a lot more money to put down on a house if your appraisal comes in low.  Do not put your finances in jeopardy over a specific house, you will find a better house.

Get a Realtor who doesn’t mind working and can calculate a few numbers.  Get a Realtor who works for you.  DO NOT use the sellers agent because you think you get a better deal.  You don’t but the agent does!  The agent gets both sides of the transaction, the agent represents the seller and has a responsibility to get the highest and best price for the home.  You? you get nothing — except an over priced home.


Simplify Your next Move — Downsize, Upsize or Rightsize

Please join Amy Slotnick from Fairway Independent Mortgage and I to introduce Laurie Nordman from Next Stage AssociatesLaurie and her team offer the most comprehensive services I have encountered.  Next Stage can help with all aspects of  your move or your parents move.  Don’t let your stuff hold you back from moving on!

Amy Slotnick will speak about possible options to fund your move and I will speak briefly about the current local real estate market.

April 22 from 6:00 to 8:00

60 Wells Avenue Suite 101, Newton

easy parking





You’re Invited: Seminar to Simplify Your Next Move — Downsize, Upsize or Rightsize

Newton, MA.  Realtors and Real Estate

Amy Slotnick  from Fairway Independent Mortgage and I are delighted to introduce the amazing Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates.   Laurie’s services are the most comprehensive I have ever encountered.  Laurie and her team can help you or help you help your parents from the simplest tasks of sorting and packing to overseeing the entire move while you are on vacation!   Next Stage handles one bedroom apartments to estates.  Laurie can direct you to art dealers, antique dealers or junk collectors.   Laurie can also help navigate the emotional turmoil that can arise between siblings when selling the family home.  Laurie’s calm demeanor and her organizational skills are her best assets and your best friend.  Amy Slotnick will speak about financing options for your next  move.  I will also briefly speak about the current real estate climate and options that may be available for a smooth transition.





light dinner will be served…space is limited




What Your House Should Look Like When You Sell

Newton, Ma.

Not every house is going to look like the pictures below but it is important to make YOUR home look, smell and feel as fresh as possible.

You’re in the market for a new home, whether you need more space or less, you must first sell your present residence. One might think that the slow housing marking would potentially have buyers pounding at your door, but this is not necessarily the case. Prices are steady at the moment and seem not to be plummeting any further. This is good for a buyer and can be good for you, however, home buyers are smarter and leerier these days. They are less apt to make hasty decisions and less apt to buy out of their range, which is partially what contributed to the great housing market collapse. Houses are selling these days, but how quickly they sell is really up to you, the seller, and your agent. The houses that move are those that are priced well. Today’s buyer is savvy and has done his research. Buyers also want a turn-key home that is immediately ready for them to move in and unpack. What they don’t want are…

pinterest keep kitchens clean when selling your home 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

1. Bad Smells

Nothing is more of a turn-off than walking into a house that has a smell. Before you sell your home walk through with a friend, a Realtor, or someone you can rely on to give you an unbiased opinion. You will want to get rid of the source of any bad odor as soon as possible. Pets are big culprits, especially cats. If you have a cat, kitty litters need to be cleaned as often as possible and kept, if possible, in a remote or out of sight location. Wall to wall carpeting can harbor bad smells as well, especially if pets are present in the home. Clean all carpets professionally prior to listing your home. If you have a fan above your stove get in the habit of using it regularly to keep from cooking foods with particularly strong odors, such as fish, the evening before an open house or a showing. If your basement smells dank and musty consider purchasing a dehumidifier to clear the air of moisture and odors.  While some smells are offensive to home buyers, some are very inviting!

clean kitchens a must to sell your home yelp 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

2. Dirty house, especially bathrooms and kitchens

Having a house on the market is tough and hard work, especially when you have young children at home. If you don’t have time to clean your house daily, and really, nobody does, concentrate on your kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure floors are vacuumed and devoid of spills, crumbs and dirt. Make sure counters are wiped clean and that there are no dirty dishes in the sink. Don’t hide them in the oven for a quick remedy, house buyers are nosy and will look in your oven and any drawer or cabinet that can be opened! Keep a set of clean, dry towels on hand for the kitchen and bathroom for showing purposes.
pinterest living room tidy to sell home 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

3. Messy house

This is really an extension of the last point.  The average home buyer has a hard time looking past your clutter and mess. Simple, easy tasks, can make all the difference. If you have children you know that clutter happens. I am a huge fan of wicker baskets. They are inexpensive, efficient and look nice in your home. Invest in a few wicker baskets  as a quick way to stash toys when you don’t have time for an overhaul. Laundry is perhaps the hardest thing to keep on top of and is the most time consuming. If you don’t have time to wash, fold and put away your laundry on a daily basis, pick up a couple more wicker baskets to stow away clean, folded laundry so it doesn’t look like an eyesore. In the kitchen and in the bathroom clear away bottles and containers. Bowls of fresh fruit and vases or pitchers of fresh flowers not only look pretty but often make a room smell lovely.

selling your home neutral colors 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

4. Poorly lit rooms

No one wants to enter a dark house, especially someone who wants to buy your home. If a house is too poorly lit they may tend to wonder what you are trying to hide. Replace dim or burnt out light bulbs with high efficiency, bright bulbs to brighten up your space. If need be, pick up a few stylish lamps that will not only brighten your home but can add to your home decor. If you have big windows, take advantage of them. Make sure they are clean and make sure that drapes and curtains are not blocking the natural sunlight.  When it comes to selling your room, lighting really can be everything.
no wall paper when trying to sell home 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

5. Loud Walls and Busy Wallpaper

Shhhhhh!! Most likely the person who ends up buying your home will not have the same taste and style you do. They say one decorates their home for living, and one should re-decorate their home for selling. When you sell your home, you must remove yourself and your history from the overall picture. A home buyer wants to be able to envision him or herself in your home, not wonder about you, your lifestyle and your family. You don’t want to distract from the task at hand which is to sell your home. Tone down those bright and cheery colors and save them for your next home. Instead, use softer, more neutral tones like creams and off-whites that can make spaces like lighter, airier and brighter. If your home is covered in brightly patterned wallpaper you ought to give serious consideration to removing that as well. Potential buyers may be deterred by the paper knowing what a colossal  a nuisance it is to remove it.

well maintained outside of home pinterest 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

6. Unkempt yards, untrimmed bushes

Nothing is more unwelcoming than pulling up to a potentially Haunted House! Make sure your yard is well mowed, all bushes and hedges are trimmed. If you can add or fix up your landscaping with fresh or potted plants. The outside of your home is the first thing that will be seen. Let it be a great reflection of you and a great indication of what’s yet to be seen on the inside.

wall to wall carpeting 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

7. Wall to wall carpeting

If you can, please remove them. These days home buyers are looking for hardwood floors throughout. Even if they aren’t in the best of shape, hardwood floors are much more appealing than wall to wall carpeting. If you can’t rip out the wall to wall, please have it professionally steam cleaned.

entryways selling home 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

8. Neglected entryways

This is the first room everyone sees as soon as they pass through the front door. This is your greeting card. Let it be warm, friendly and welcoming. A simple bouquet of flowers, it need not necessarily be elaborate, makes a lovely statement. Clear out closets, and make sure that stray shoes and other items are neatly put away.

pet house 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

9. Your pets

May people are allergic. Many children are scared. Please keep your pets away from your home whenever possible.

via tumblr garage when showing your home leave 10 Things Home Buyers Hate About Your Home!

10. You!

I’m sure you are lovely and you know your home like no one else, but a potential home buyer simply does not want you there, or anywhere nearby. If you remain at home they won’t stay, they won’t linger and they won’t take their time to look around to get a proper look and feel. You will not be doing yourself any favors by remaining at home. Leave the selling to your Realtor, that’s why, after all, you’ve hired him (or her!)

Newton Real Estate Attorneys and Mortgage Brokers etc…

My Newton contractors I love post was a huge success so I have decided to delve into real estate professionals I love.  In this crazy market we have going on here in the Boston burbs, please speak with a mortgage broker before you even start to look at homes.  Mortgage brokers are now issuing pre-approvals where your credit has been checked, your bank statements have been looked at, your income has been verified.  If something shows up on your credit report you will be asked to document and re-document what the issue was.  The guidelines for self-employed borrowers have dramatically changed and not in a good way if you are trying to buy a house.

I am listing my tops in alphabetical order not in preference order.

Mortgage Brokers

Wayne Olson

Radius Mortgage

781-706-9571  cell

Amy Slotnick:  

Fairway Independent Mortgage

781-719-4670  office

617-513-4670  cell

Anastasia Tacewicz

GMH Mortgage

617-301-1332 cell

Craig Tanny

Mortgage Equity Partners

781-309-1805 office

781-956-7640  cell

I have complete confidence in all of them, they do an excellent job and they are all PLEASANT with a can do attitude!


Brian Brown

Brian Brown Law Offices

(781) 235-4024

Yitz Magence

Gilmarten Magence


Laurie Sullivan



Paul Cornell


Neil Desmond


Lisa Alajajian


Helping to Prepare for the Move

Laurie Nordman


Laurie’s services are so comprehensive that I attached her website.

I only recommend good people who can get the job done and they must possess a sense of humor.  There a lot of bumps in the road and it makes life so much less complicated if everyone is on the same page.  Everyone of the people I have referred here works on the weekend or they have coverage on weekends.

One last thing I would like to mention is giving up a mortgage contingency or an inspection contingency is NOT a good idea….if you do not have the cash to pay for your home or do not have more money to put down if the appraisal comes in low do not forego your mortgage contingency.  I feel as if we are heading into appraisal issues again since the prices have risen so dramatically in such a short period of time.  No inspection?  Not ok unless you plan to gut the entire house or you have an endless supply of money.  I know, I know, with bidding wars you feel like you will lose this next house (and you have already been outbid on the last 4) it is a decision you may later regret when you have 6 inches of water floating in your basement.  

Newton Real Estate Market is CRAZY!

OMG its crazy what is happening in the Newton/Brookline real estate market.  Brookline prices are now like swanky Boston condos, and Newton prices are now Brookline prices…I have a client who bought a condo at 45 Province in Boston a year ago for around $1,175 a square foot, condos in that building are now selling in the $1,600 a square foot range.  I am beginning to think a dog house will cost a 100 grand in Brookline and the insanity continues into Newton.

So what’s selling? pretty much anything priced under 1.4.  If it’s cute and staged — it’s sold.  Homes between 1.4 and 1.9 are slightly tougher to sell.  There are some great deals out there and honestly I don’t understand the rationale behind why a buyer would so over pay for a house that’s adorable but will never be anything  more than adorable.  Look at the stats I put up below!  I took these from MLS, there are 75 homes on the market and there are only 15 under 1 million dollars!

Sellers, the time is now!  This is a supply and demand business and there is no supply.   Buyers, get yourself a broker (ME) and try not to get caught up in this frenzy.  Run some numbers, check what you are paying on a price per square foot basis AND if you do not have the cash to pay for a house DO NOT give up your mortgage contingency.  I suspect we will some appraisal issues in the near future.  If you are not gutting a house DO NOT give up an inspection contingency.  There will ALWAYS be another house.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 3/14/2014 10:56:03 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 03/14/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000 - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 - - - -
$450,000 – $499,999 1 42
$500,000 – $599,999 1 2
$600,000 – $699,999 2 4
$700,000 – $799,999 3 8
$800,000 – $899,999 4 110
$900,000 – $999,999 4 69
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 18 61
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 15 156
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 13 137
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 3 199
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 8 47
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 2 153
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 1 2
Over $10,000,000 - - - -
Total Properties 75 Avg. 97  
Pending Statistics Print this page  /  E-mail this page  /  Make a PDF of this pagePDF this page
Report Run: 3/14/2014 11:00:21 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 12/14/2013
End Date: 3/14/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000 - - - - -
$50,000 – $99,999 - - - - -
$100,000 – $149,999 - - - - -
$150,000 – $199,999 - - - - -
$200,000 – $249,999 - - - - -
$250,000 – $299,999 - - - - -
$300,000 – $349,999 - - - - -
$350,000 – $399,999 - - - - -
$400,000 – $449,999 2 1 1 - -
$450,000 – $499,999 4 1 - 2 1
$500,000 – $599,999 9 6 2 1 -
$600,000 – $699,999 9 4 3 2 -
$700,000 – $799,999 15 10 2 3 -
$800,000 – $899,999 13 6 1 4 2
$900,000 – $999,999 13 7 2 3 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 21 11 7 3 -
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 13 8 3 1 1
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 3 1 - 1 1
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 4 2 - 2 -
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 2 2 - - -
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 1 - - - 1
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 - - - - -
Over $10,000,000 - - - - -
Total Properties 109 59 21 22 7
Lowest Price: $449,000 Median Price: $899,000
Highest Price: $4,200,000 Average Price: $1,224,298
Total Market Volume: $133,448,499

Massachusetts single-family home sales hit a 10-year high for February

Newton’s Top Realtors

BBJ Real Estate Daily


Massachusetts single-family home sales hit a 10-year high for February


Enlarge Photo

Local real estate professionals expect a busy spring season.

Thomas Grillo — Real Estate Editor-Boston Business Journal



The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday that pending sales of single-family homes hit a 10-year high for the month of February, the latest indicator yet that the market’s momentum is carrying over from 2013.

Pending sales figures, also called homes under agreement, are a leading indicator of actual housing sales in Massachusetts for the next 90 days.

MAR President Peter Ruffini and regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co. said poor weather failed to dampen buyer demand. He also said an improving economy and low interest rates fueled accepted offers last month.

The number of single-family homes put under agreement increased to 3,587 last month, a 20.4 percent increase compared to the year-earlier period when 2,980 homes went under agreement. February marked the 12th-straight month of year-over-year increases and the most homes put under agreement in February since 2004, when there were 3,612 homes placed under contract. On a month-to-month basis, single-family homes put under agreement rose 13.8 percent compared to the 3,151 homes put under agreement in January.

The median sales price of single-family homes put under agreement in February was $295,600, up 7.5 percent from $275,000 in February 2013. On a month-to-month basis, the median P&S price was down 7.7 percent from the $320,000 posted in January.

Condominiums placed under agreement also increased by double digits. The number of condos put under contract in February was 1,533, up 17 percent compared to February 2013 when purchase and sales agreement totaled 1,310. This is the most number of condos put under agreement in February since 2007 when 1,777 units were put under agreement. On a month-to-month basis, condos put under agreement were up 7.9 percent from 1,421 units in January.

The median sale price of a condo put under agreement in February was $282,500 which was up 8.9 percent from $259,450 in February 2013. On a month-to-month basis, under agreement median prices were down 5.9 percent from $300,000 in January.

Real estate agents say the tracking of signed purchase and sales agreements or “pending sales” provide reliable information about where the real estate market is heading in the months ahead. A pending sale or a sale “under agreement” is when the buyer and seller agree on the terms of the sale of a home and have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to transfer a deed. MAR’s data only includes deals made through the MLS systems in Massachusetts and only includes sales involving a broker.

Newton School Rankings According to Boston Buisness Journal




Top Public School Districts in Mass.

Locally Researched by: Sean McFadden, Boston Business Journal

More Data

(Toggle up to 5 options)

  •  Rank
  •  MCAS, Average Cumulative Score
  •  MCAS Statewide Rank
  •  SAT, Average Cumulative Score
  •  SAT, Statewide Rank
  •  PSAT, Average Cumulative Score
  •  PSAT, Statewide Rank
  •  School Superintendent
  •  School Superintendent
MCAS, Average Cumulative Score
MCAS Statewide Rank
SAT, Average Cumulative Score
SAT, Statewide Rank
1 Lexington
146 Maple St.
Lexington, MA 02420
1 95.75 18 1903 2
2 Acton-Boxborough
16 Charter Road
Acton, MA 01720
2 95.85 17 1876 3
3 Dover-Sherborn
157 Farm St.
Dover, MA 02030
3 95.45 19 1843 6
4 Carlisle
83 School St.
Carlisle, MA 01741
4 96.35 13 1807 11
5 Newton
100 Walnut St.
Newton, MA 02460
5 93.6 42 1849 5

Selling a House With Personal Photos

I’ve been trying to put a classic family picture wall gallery in the hallway that leads to our master bedroom but the layout always stumped me.  I am a symmetrical orderly person which will surprise many of you who know me.  I can’t stand an angled bed or a couch angled in the corner of a room.  That’s says to me; it doesn’t fit.  I also don;t like to see a bed against the wall.  I would say 90% of the houses I sell the kids beds are against the wall.  The first thing I think of is what a pain in the ass to make that bed and changing the sheets…UGH!  Who cares if the kids fall out if the bed, mine did and they are fine::))  I’m clearly showing my neurotic side today because I don’t want to sleep in a bed with my head under a window and I definitely don’t want to sleep in a bed angled in the corner with that dead space behind it.

Which brings me back to the wall gallery.  I love the top presentation below, the bottom one — I’d rather stick needles in my eyes!  The top is orderly and symmetrical but it is also soothing, allowing your eye to calmly move from one picture to the next.  As a Realtor, I would NOT ask my client to remove these pictures.  I am a complete unabashed believer in de-cluttering and de-personalizing to some extent.  But I do not believe in removing every trace of life from a house.  Yes, get rid of that show off picture of you and Bill Clinton in the sterling silver frame on the mantle in the living room.  He is not your bestie but now people are wondering how you know Bill and not looking at the house.  Worse than that they hate Bill or W and can’t imagine themselves liking a house that one of “these” people liked.  Yes, it is amazing how many people in Newton have a framed picture of themselves with a “celebrity” prominently displayed in their home.

I want a house to look happy, if you have some wonderful photos of your children laughing or a cute moment captured on camera, by all means leave it there.  A grouping, a sentimental picture in a nice frame on the bedside table,  a gallery wall that is well done.  I don’t want to see three years of your kids artwork on the refrigerator.  For the most part I don’t want to see your kids art work all. If your kid is talented, then by all means frame a few pictures and hang them.  If not, get a plastic bin and put the budding Van Gogh’s work in there.  It will have to be done before you move anyway.

The key to photos is tasteful, happy, edited, soothing….


NO NO  NOOOO!  Everything about this wall makes me anxious…I want to straignten the frames, I want to rip down the blue and white peeling sayings.  Baby blue stick ons on baby poop colored walls is a NO.

Newton Contractors I Love!

Newton Realtor

Blogging or trying to blog every day is hard work.  I am not usually at a loss for words and I have NO problem expressing my opinion, however, I do find blogging everyday to be stressful.  I don’t want to post inane things and I’ve been told my personality doesn’t always shine through my posts which could be a good thing.  We did a major renovation on our house recently and people are always asking for good contractors etc, so my post today is about service people I REALLY liked….

I’ll start with our Architect; Kent Duckham from Duckham Architecture and Interiors, he’s awesome.  I should also point out that both he and his wife Alina are personal friends.  Kent is very talented….not just a little talented a lot talented.  Alina is also extremely accomplished.  With Kent and Alina you get the ying and the yang…Kent is a thoughtful, quiet, reserved listener and Alina is well — just the opposite!  Check out his website:   Amazing projects, don’t let the grandeur scare you away, he also does smaller projects and loves a challenge.

My contractor was another friend Bruno Visco.  Bruno is brilliant!  Bruno can figure out any problem, talk to the architect and structural engineer and explain it to me so I could understand.  I cannot say enough good things about him, he’s ethical,  meticulous, treats every house like it is his own and last but not least, he’s adorable!

I am not going to mention my structural engineer because I HATED him…he was slow, changed his pricing, unresponsive…the list goes on.   Same problem with the civil engineer.  Between the two I would say the job was held up for at least a month to 6 weeks.

Bruno chose Serge Nasta as the Master electrician for the job.  Serge is a character, while also being capable, he is hilarious and also a little loud 781-393-9815.

The plumber we used was Powderly and Sons.  I will say that this was not a contractor that Bruno worked with before but was open to using them especially since the pricing was so much better than his guy.  Jeff and his brother took over the business from his dad and we really thought they did a good job.  Let’s put it this way, we have plenty of heat and haven’t taken a cold shower.  We did have a leak but my lovely daughter overran her bathtub and it leaked into the powder room.  A story for another day!

Our HVAC contractor Jeff Lawson.   Jeff had great pricing was very knowledgable and the air conditioning is great!  He also did the bathroom exhaust fans.  I think every Realtor in Newton has used Jeff to install their central air.  781-443-4270.

Greg Sousa from Dornan and Sousa Roofing did the roof.  We’ve known Greg for years and again the job was done on time and on budget.  (978) 454-1840.  Gutters and downspouts…New England Gutter King 888-KING-348.

I sort of liked the tile guy and sort of didn’t so he doesn’t make the list!  I cannot say enough about the guy who put in the glass shower doors.  Have you ever dealt with these shower door people?  What a bunch of asses filled with self-importance — quoting $4500.00 for one shower door and acting like they are doing you a favor with a 10-12 week lead time.  Call Tom at Boston Glass Group, you will not be disappointed!   (617) 505-6091

If you need a painter call Kieran Ridge 617) 312-793  Let’s face it when all the contractors leave the painter is the last guy there.  You will probably be spending time with your painter, too much time with your painter!  So make sure your painter is honest and pleasant.  You will just want your house back, you will just want to be there with no noise, no fumes, no yelling.  Renovating sucks no matter how you slice it but it is infinitely better if you have the right people.

Many people say to me I would never hire my friend…that is the most ignorant and irrational thought process.  If you can’t trust your friends, maybe you should get some new ones!

29 Things You Need To Know Before You Move To Newton

29 Things You Need To Know Before You Move To Newton

Newton is more than just a Beantown ‘burb. As this list will demonstrate, it’s also the home to a famous composer, a New World religion, and the namesake of a very famous cookie.
Very cute and informative at the same time.  Special shout out to Dave at Buff’s Pub!

Existing Home Sales Fall 5.1% In January 2014

Existing Home Sales Fall 5.1% In January 2014, To Lowest Level Since July 2012

Existing home sales dropped 5.1% in January, hitting their lowest levels since July 2012, according to data released Friday by the National Association of Realtors. In addition to the winter weather, the NAR blamed rising home prices and mortgage rates, as well as the ongoing inventory shortage.

In January, existing home sales dropped to an annualized rate of 4.62 million (seasonally adjusted), down from 4.87 million (seasonally adjusted) in December 2013. January’s rate is 5.1% below December’s, and also 5.1% below the rate one year earlier. Sales have not been so slow since July 2012, when the annualized rate (seasonally adjusted) was 4.59 million.

The NAR’s Existing home sales data tallies of the number of sales of previously-owned single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops that close during a given month. Since resales account for a greater share of the housing market than new homes, the measure is considered a market bellwether.

Friday’s news is not exactly surprising, given this winter’s horrific weather. “Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a release.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors in Dayton, Ohio, pointed out an additional weather-related problem contributing to the weak numbers: higher flood insurance rates in flood zones, which account for about 8 to 9% of sales. “Thirty percent of transactions in flood zones were cancelled or delayed in January as a result of sharply higher flood insurance rates,” Brown said.

Of course, weather isn’t the only factor. Prices are going up, inventory is low, and mortgage rates rising. The median existing-home price in January was $188,900, up 10.7% from one year earlier. The median price for an existing condo was $188,700 in January, a 13% year-over-year jump.

Although inventory rose 2.2% in January from the prior month, the 1.9 million existing homes available for sale represent only a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace. An inventory level of about six-months is considered healthy. Mortgage interest rates (30-year conventional, fixed-rate) were slightly down in January, falling to 4.43% from December’s 4.46% level. However, that’s still significantly above the 3.41% rate offered to buyers in January 2013.

“These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact,” Yun noted.

The confluence of factors seems to be keeping first-time home-buyers out of the market. January 2014 marks the lowest market share for this group since NAR began tracking the measure in October 2008. In January first-time buyers comprised 26% of existing-home purchases, down from 27% in December and 30% one year earlier. Normally, they should be closer to 40% of the overall market.

In one bright spot, distressed sales continue to fall. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 15% of January’s sales, compared with 14% in December but 24% in January 2013. Of the total distressed sales last month, 11% were foreclosures and 4% short sales. A full 33% of existing home sales transactions in January were purchased with all cash.

The pace of home sales dipped from December in every region of the country in January. Year-over-year, only the South saw higher sales, with a 1.6% increase from January 2013. The median price for January sales in the Northeast was $241,100, up 6.6% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $140,300, 7.6% percent higher than in January 2013. In the South, the median price was $161,500, up 9.4 percent from a year ago. And in the West, where inventory is particularly tight, the median price jumped 14.6% from one year earlier, to $273,500.

Real Estate Marketing to the Milllennials — I Think I Have it in Me…

Andy Fulton–Thanks for sharing

How to Buy a House – As Told by Memes

Andy Fulton

by  on February 11, 2014

Having trouble connecting with Millennial homebuyers? This graphic may be just the thing you need to get your marketing efforts on their level.

“I Can Haz Real Estate” gives Millennials and other aspiring homebuyers who are Internet-savvy a highly simplified version of the home-buying process. The vehicle this infographic uses to explain this frequently convoluted process is a “meme.” If you’re wondering what exactly memes are, they have been described as “virally-transmitted cultural symbols or social ideas” or cultural elements like jokes and turns of phrase that are created and disseminated by individuals.

The memes contained in this infographic are simple images with text imposed over them. This type of meme uses standardized images with defined voices and contexts in which they should be used. (For example, the fist-pumping baby near the top of the graphic is known as “Success Kid” and is used to express happiness about a victory or success.) As most Millennials and Internet-savvy people can tell you, memes are commonly shared on social networks like Facebook and websites like Reddit.



Newton, MA. January Real Estate Recap

Newton, MA – Single Family Properties

  • Unit sales are up 75.0% to 35.
  • Median price in January was $1,000,500. This is up 28.9% from $776,250 in January of 2013.
  • 3-month price per square foot is up by 12.6%.
  • More Headlines …
Headlines are based on comparisons between this month and the same month last year unless otherwise stated.
Changes Favoring Buyers
January, 2014 % Chg From Jan, 2013
Listings Under Contract 23 -11.5%
Changes Favoring Sellers
January, 2014 % Chg From Jan, 2013
Unit Sales 35 75.0%
Median Sale Price $1,000,500 28.9%
Sales to List Price Ratio 97.6% 0.9%
Inventory 92 -17.1%
Months of Supply 1.7 -19.6%
Market Time (Days) 73 -14.1%
Price per Sq Ft for Sold $368 15.0%
New Listings 46 -4.2%
Monthly changes may not accurately reflect long-term trends. Click here to see longer-term averages

There were 35 unit sales in January. This is up 75.0% from 20 in January of 2013. Sales/list price ratio in January moved down to 97.6% from 98.1% in December.
Median price in January was $1,000,500. This is up 28.9% from $776,250 in January of 2013. 3-month median price of $1,000,250 in January was up slightly from $926,000 in December and up considerably from $760,000 in January of 2013.
Inventory of 92 in January was up 24.3% from 74 in December but down 17.1% from 111 in January of 2013. New listings of 46 in January were up considerably from 20 in December but down just slightly from 48 in January of 2013. Months of supply of 1.7 in January was up somewhat from 1.4 in December but down a little from 2.1 in January of 2013.
Market Time
Days on market of 73 in January was up substantially from 46 in December but down slightly from 85 in January of 2013. This is the highest days on market has been since February, 2013.



William Raveis

Real Estate and the Weather

Ugh- New England weather!  Try showing houses in this weather.

So what is the trick for getting many people to view a home on a freezing cold wet day?  Ah—the PRICE!  Nothing will warm a heart more than a perception of a deal.  Now it would help if the Realtor had a nice fire burning in the fireplace and maybe some coffee or hot chocolate and some delicious chocolate chip cookies to help warm the heart as well as the bones.  Of course, that leads to the truly mindless (rude) people who will walk around someone else’s home obliviously dropping crumbs all over the floor so the other open house attendees can grind those crumbs into the rugs.

This leads me to clueless (lazy-stupid) sellers.    If there is snow on the ground, PLEASE shovel your walk, throw down some ice melt and keep it clear.  If you have to get out there with a toothbrush to accomplish this, do it!  AND every day your house is on the market not just Sunday.  Nothing  panics a Realtor more than standing at the door of an open house cautioning people to; “watch the ice, hold on to the railing, hold your kids hand.”  We would rather be engaging the prospective buyers at your open house  pointing out how lovely the family room looks– helping them to imagine watching the next the Super Bowl in this very room with their friends and family.

This also brings me to my next pet peeve—removing shoes.  I know the floors are buffed and shiny and they look oh so beautiful but they can also be as slippery as an ice skating rink.  Now if the foyer is drop dead gorgeous and is the most beautiful room in the house, by all means, keep people there as long as possible.  If not, a Realtor should supply as large as mat as possible to provide a place to seriously wipe feet or place some construction booties over shoes.  It also isn’t a great experience when someone falls on those slippery floors or down the basement stairs.  Kind of puts a damper on the open house as a whole!  If your foyer is small, tight or just average, buyers will be thinking hmm… this foyer does not seem very welcoming.

Selling a house in the snow is not glamorous but it doesn’t have to be a chore either.  I truly believe that a serious buyer will come out in any weather to look at a home that meets their needs.  However, it is the Realtor’s job to make the experience as positive as possible.  A warm smile, well-lit rooms, to be engaging but not pushy and most importantly have a real knowledge of the house.  Know the answers to how many AMPs of electricity, how many zones of heat and A/C,   what is being built in the huge crater at the end of the street; can you walk to the schools, how far is it to the T or bus?  Basic knowledge and courtesy, that’s what buyers want and deserve.

A Flood of Listings Coming to the Market?

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Boston Top 20

I can only hope….I’m hoping for less than a flood and more than a trickle.

A Flood of Listings Coming to the Market?

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 04:00 AM PST

We have previously talked about the diminishing supply of housing inventory and how it is impacting the real estate market. The situation might be about to change dramatically according to a recent survey by Lending Tree.

The survey revealed three interesting findings. Of those surveyed:

  1. 63% have a positive outlook on the economy this year
  2. 69% have a positive outlook on housing this year
  3. 71% said they are considering selling their home this year

While the first two findings are good news, the third was rather amazing.

71% of homeowners are considering selling their home in the next 12 months!  (I don’t foresee this happening nor would it be a good thing.)

While we realize that 70% of the housing inventory in this country could never be turned over in a year, it is interesting that people are again thinking about moving. There has been a pent-up selling demand over the last few years because families lost both equity in their homes and confidence in the economy. Rising prices have returned equity to many and an improving economy is again rebuilding consumer confidence.

Bottom Line

Only time will tell. However, even if a small portion of that 71% actually decide to sell, this year’s real estate market could be very interesting as we move forward.


Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Newton, MA.  Top Brokers So I have a question home buyers…..If you were looking for a renovated house in the 1.7 – 2 million range would you rather have a luxurious shower or a small shower and a bathtub in the master bathroom?  There is a bathtub in another bathroom on the same.  Let me know your thoughts….



Or This?

Newton Home Sellers—-WE NEED YOU!

Home Sellers —- WE NEED YOU! Sellers now is the time!  All the cards are stacked in your favor– low-interest rates, low inventory, many buyers, stable lending– it doesn’t get any better.  There is only one condition–your property must be priced accordingly.  The neighborhood, the street, the condition of the home, the competition are all factors in a successful sale, and they all must line up.  This is not a time to be greedy but a time to be optimistic. The Spring market starts in late January or early February here in Newton.  If you are considering selling your home this Spring, don’t wait any longer , call or e-mail me today so we can be sure your home is in top condition.  I have the tools, the resources and the know how to help you achieve your goal for a successful home sale.  I work with a variety of trades people to help you eliminate clutter, touch up paint, fix a few broken items, and most importantly a thorough cleaning to help your home sparkle.  I also work closely with Laurie Nordman from Next Stage Associates if you just don’t know where to begin.  Laurie and her team can handle any size job.  Next Stage also does a superior job with Seniors, so if you or your parents are considering a move they are the exactly the people you should call. Margaret Szerlip  617-921-6860

Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone

Top Realtors, Newton, MA.  Sotheby’s Newton, MA.


Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT Another great topic from my friends at  KCM CREW

Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone | Keeping Current Matters

Last week, Discover Home Loans released an interesting survey which revealed how prepared home buyers are for the actual mortgage process. The survey reported that 94 percent of prospective buyers believe they are making a good investment decision if they buy a home. The survey also explained that 66 percent of buyers reach out to real estate agents to help determine whether buying a certain home would be a good investment. However, there is less certainty regarding the mortgage process.

Most buyers overwhelmed

The majority of potential buyers are actually overwhelmed with the plethora of information available about the home financing process.  Here are some interesting highlights from the report:

  • Nearly 66% feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available
  • 76% of those under the age of 30 feel overwhelmed
  • 76% of first time buyers feel the same way
  • 54% of those buyers who have previously owned also were overwhelmed
  • 59% of buyers turn to mortgage bankers to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers
  • 49% of buyers turn to real estate agents to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

There is help available…use it!

Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans, gives great advice:

“The industry is becoming more transparent in an effort to help homebuyers become informed about changes that may affect their process. The sheer amount of information can lead to confusion and stress. Those looking to purchase should work closely with their lender and realtor to make sure they are comfortable with mortgage terms and understand the impact a loan will have on their finances.”

Bottom Line

The purchasing of a home can put great pressure on a family. Reach out to the qualified mortgage and real estate professionals in your market for assistance throughout the process.

The Tear Down Conundrum

The Tear Down Conundrum

Newton, MA.  Realtor  Sotheby’s Newton, MA  July 28, 2014

for sale sign



Last week I had the unfortunate experience of attending a Newton Historic meeting.  A client purchased a house on the south side of Newton.  The house is an average home built in 1959 in a modern style.  By today’s standard the house doesn’t really work.  The bedrooms and baths are very small and closet space is lacking.  The kitchen is a small box with the original appliances.  The oven is sooo cute but has the capacity of an easy bake oven.  The yard is very large and flat and the lot size is well above average for Newton.  The client brought her contractor to the house and the contractor said it would actually cost more money to renovate and expand than tear the house down and build new.  The couple was undecided if they wanted to tackle a new house design and build but decided we should start the process in case that was the route they wanted to take.

We asked the seller to apply for a demolition permit to speed the process along.  Any structure that is more than 50 years old requires a historic review.  Often times this is just a formality.  The staff member pulls the building jacket and digs around to find the history of the house and the neighborhood.  The applicant must bring pictures of the exterior of the house from all angles and the surrounding properties.  After reviewing the pictures, considering the findings presented and listening to the neighbors object to every request, someone on the commission makes a motion, someone else seconds and the commission votes.  The choices are Preferably NOT Preserved or Preferably Preserved.  Not preferably preserved gives the owner the green light to proceed with demolition.  Preferably preserved comes with a one year delay in tearing the home down or in special cases an 18 month delay.  After one year, the owner can tear the house down at will!  As far as I can tell most people in the audience were not aware that once the owner waited out the year they could build ANYTHING as long as it met with zoning guidelines.

Personally, I am not advocating for more or less leniency regarding teardowns.  I was appalled at the rudeness and lack of respect 2 members of the commission displayed.  I did get the sense that these two members had little regard for what was brought forth and had already made up their minds.  What I do know is that every neighborhood changes and evolves.  I am sickened by some of the ugly cookie cutter homes that builders put up with no thought to the lot or neighborhood.  Nevertheless, people do buy these homes and I do not think we should be legislating taste.

I am in complete agreement with the zoning changes implemented in 2011 to prevent monstrosities from being built on tiny lots.  I am perplexed why some permits are granted and some are not.  I get the feeling neighbors get upset that their neighborhood is changing and go to these meeting to fight for the status quo.  I understand they are afraid that the new owner will build a hideous house and cause a disruption on their street.  What I would like to see more of, is neighbors working with neighbors to create a home that brings a 21st century vibe while the new construction improves the whole neighborhood instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.

There was one particular case at last week’s meeting.  A home was purchased in April and some serious problems came to light, the owners thought it was more prudent to build new than fix the many structural problems they encountered.  The owners hired an architect who designed a more current larger version of the old house but still worked beautifully with the neighborhood.  The neighbors loved the house and were supportive of the demolition.  In another case I was taken aback by neighbors’ objections to a  house being taken down because the foliage was so special.  I kid you not – the discussion dragged on about his “beautiful” foliage which consisted of rose bushes hanging over a chain link fence.  Many neighbors concerns revolved around the fact that there are too many development projects and the feel of their neighborhood is changing.  My answer to that is time does not stand still.  This is the perfect opportunity for the developer/owner to work with the neighbors to design a house that works with the surroundings.  It can be done and has been done…attend a special permitting hearing and you’ll be flabbergasted about your own neighbors’ behavior.  You’ll want to lock up your kids and dog and pray they don’t own a gun!



I am torn between property rights and neighborhood concerns.  Newton is becoming a town that is unaffordable to most people.  Single-family homes under 500,000 no longer exist here.  Areas that were once inhabited by working class immigrant families are being scooped up by upwardly mobile yuppies and new immigrants.  Will this change the fabric of Newton?  It already has, in ways good and not so good.  Like it or not developers are paying more money for homes than end users.  Is it right to deny seniors the opportunity to make the most amount of money possible to supplement their retirement?  Is it right to say yes to one tear down and no to another simply because too many teardowns are occurring and the feel of the neighborhood is changing?  Remember after waiting one year the owner has the right to tear down his home and build the ugliest house possible if it meets zoning and set back guidelines.  I have to believe that we can do more to promote good will among neighbors.  I think the Historic Commission has a responsibility to promote harmony not discord.   Humans don’t like change but we can’t stop progress simply because change is hard.  I’m sure it was incredibly hard when the Mass Pike tore Newton in half.  However, can we deny that the convenience the Mass Pike offers is part of the appeal of Newton?   I look at my neighborhood and I witness incredible change, some I like and some I don’t.  The most valuable thing I have learned in the past 19 years is not to pass judgment until the project is completed.  Most often, once the house is landscaped it fits in.  Maybe we should require a landscaping plan to go along with architectural plans.  There is certainly more we can do to keep moving forward in a thoughtful way without creating so much tension between neighbors.



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