Month: February 2015

Sick of Ice Dams? It’s Time to Move

Sick of Ice Dams? It’s Time to Move

Call me to discuss getting your house ready for a sale.   617-921-6860

Newton, MA.  10:30 AM EST



Roof Protection

When it comes to snow and ice, most of us tend to look down — we don’t want to slip on a slick sidewalk, we want to keep our driveways and walkways free of snow, and we’re cautious about driving when the roads are icy. But it’s just as important to look up when snow is a risk — protecting your roof in the winter is just as important as keeping your driveway and sidewalks clear. Many of the roof-protecting recommendations below are best done before storm season even begins, but can be helpful at any point. Even taking precautions a few days before a predicted storm can prevent damage.

1. Keep gutters clear. Make sure your gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear of leaves and other debris before storm season begins. Blocked gutters can cause water to back up and freeze, potentially damaging the roof. Have professionals clear your gutters after most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, or consider installing gutter screens that will prevent blockage.

2. Trim overhanging tree branches. Storms that are accompanied by gusting winds or cause heavy snow or ice to coat trees can result in fallen branches that can damage your home. Before the season starts, trim any low or overhanging branches that look as if they’d be at risk of falling on your house (or cars and power lines). Always be sure to check with local ordinances first to ensure you’re allowed to remove branches from trees near your property.

3. Prevent ice dams. Ice dams form when the heat inside your home causes ice or snow in the middle of your roof to melt and run down to the edges. When the water refreezes there, it creates a blockage that can cause roof leaks, which can damage interior ceilings and walls. To prevent ice dams, keep your attic cool — ideally not more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Good insulation on the attic floor can prevent heat from escaping the house as it rises. Other good preventive steps include sealing vent pipes, exhaust fans, and light fixtures that may transport warm air upward.

4. Remove heavy ice and snow. Most roofs are designed to withstand “normal” amounts of ice and snow in the area where they stand. For instance, roofs in the northern part of the country tend to be sturdier and more steeply sloped, so that less snow or ice accumulates. Most sturdy roofs should be able to support about 20 pounds per square foot of snow before they become stressed. If the amount of snow or ice on the roof becomes worrisome, homeowners can purchase special roof rakes with long handles to remove snow on the roof from the ground. If you’re unable to do this from the ground, it’s a smart idea to hire a professional and avoid the dangers of both climbing onto an icy roof and damaging roof structures.

With a few smart precautions you and your home should get through this winter season safely.

How the Ultra Rich Live

How the Ultra Rich Live

Newton, MA.  11:30 AM EST


Did you know…79% of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals own two or more properties and just over half of them own three or more residences? Explore more like this in our report with Wealth-X:

'Did you know…79% of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals own two or more properties and just over half of them own three or more residences? Explore more like this in our report with Wealth-X:'

Sotheby’s Significant Sales

Just a little something to make you smile.


Sotheby’s Significant Sales

Newton Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap WE NEED INVENTORY

Newton Bi-Monthly Real Estate Recap WE NEED INVENTORY

Newton, MA.  11:00 AM EST

I am sure many of you are annoyed, irritable, cold and so are real estate brokers.  I am also sure MANY of you are coping with ice dams the likes you have never seen before.  I hope you’re tired of shoveling your walks, driveways and now your roof and you’re ready to sell because we need inventory!  In what is normally our busiest time of the year the market has stalled, not because of a lack of buyers but a lack of homes for sale.  Houses are going under agreement every day.

Currently there are only 65 houses for sale, down from 77 just 1 month ago!  44 homes have gone under agreement in the past 2 weeks across all price ranges!  Buyers ARE out there.  The hottest segment of the market is the 1 million to 1.5 million range with 11 going under agreement in the last 2 weeks.

Don’t wait any longer….call me to buy or sell.  I expect many homes to come on the market as soon as the snow clears — don’t wait.  This is a supply and demand business and there is activity.

On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 2/23/2015
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 1/23/2015
Towns: Newton
 1/23/2015  2/23/2015
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 1 15
$500,000 – $599,999 2 132 2 163
$600,000 – $699,999 4 47 1 119
$700,000 – $799,999 2 148 3 96
$800,000 – $899,999 3 105 2 85
$900,000 – $999,999 2 79 2 109
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 15 102 12 96
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 17 153 12 178
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 13 201 14 215
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 8 139 6 178
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 8 192 9 230
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 2 61 2 92
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 77 Avg. 140 65 Avg. 165
Lowest Price: $499,000
Median Price: $1,750,000
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $1,968,851
Total Market Volume: $151,601,585
Lowest Price: $599,000
Median Price: $1,949,000
Highest Price: $4,300,000
Average Price: $2,084,102
Total Market Volume: $135,466,687


Pending Statistics
Report Run: 2/23/2015
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 02/09/2015
End Date: 02/23/2015
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
$600,000 – $699,999 1 1
$700,000 – $799,999 2 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999
$900,000 – $999,999 1 1
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 10 8 2
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 1 1
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 16 10 4 1 1
Lowest Price: $675,000 Median Price: $1,249,000
Highest Price: $3,295,000 Average Price: $1,363,112
Total Market Volume: $21,809,800


Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 2/23/2015 11:11:23 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 02/09/2015
End Date: 02/23/2015
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Avg. Days
to Offer
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$600,000 – $699,999 1 20 1 $671,000 $630,000 107 $630,000 107
$700,000 – $799,999 2 109 78 $745,500 $749,450 99 $749,450 99
$800,000 – $899,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$900,000 – $999,999 1 9 9 $966,500 $950,000 102 $950,000 102
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 2 129 107 $1,325,000 $1,372,000 97 $1,395,000 95
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 1 1 $1,537,500 $1,650,000 93 $1,650,000 93
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 115 100 $2,225,000 $2,383,000 93 $1,235,250 43064
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 9 Avg. 82 Avg. 64 $1,307,333 $1,359,878 98 $1,109,933 9646
Lowest Price: $671,000 Median Price: $1,200,000
Highest Price: $2,300,000 Average Price: $1,307,333
Total Market Volume: $11,766,000

Real Estate 101 — Supply and Demand


Two Graphs that Scream – List Your Home Today!

Real Estate 101 — It’s a supply and demand business.

Two Graphs that Scream - List Your Home Today | Keeping Current Matters

We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand. If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…


According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity last month (January) was three times greater than it was last January. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers.Buyer Demand | Keeping Current Matters


The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the months’ supply of housing inventory had fallen to 4.4 months which is the lowest it has been in over a year. Months Inventory of Homes for Sale | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property.

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Not a Member Yet? Click Here to learn more about KCM‘s newest feature, Personalized Posts.

Have You Set Up Personalized Posts Yet? | Keeping Current Matters



7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated

7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated


Prevent any “What was I thinking?” moments a few years from now with these fresh — not faddish — ideas from Elements of Style author Erin Gates.

By Candace Braun Davison

  • The Backsplash Accent That Cuts the Walls in Half
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    That once-popular stripe of tiny, sea-toned square glass tiles — or practical, 4-inch strip of granite — above the stove isn’t just out of vogue; the contrasting color cuts your walls in half, making the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. To open things up, choose stone mosaic tiles in a herringbone pattern, or rows of white subway tiles, and extend them all the way to the ceiling (even behind and around the hood), recommends Erin Gates, the interior designer and blogger, and author of the New York Times-bestselling book, Elements of Style.
  • The Throw Pillows That Set Pinterest on Fire
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If the social network created a time capsule to chronicle its meteoric rise to fame in 2011, you better believe it would’ve included a pair of turquoise-and-white throw pillows. While the zigzag itself is timeless, its use — and that particular color combination — has been overdone, Gates says, much like green Imperial Trellisfabric years earlier. The easiest way to freshen things up? “Find a more unexpected way to use it, like black-and-white tile in a chevron pattern on the floor, or an ikat-chevron fabric on curtains, which doesn’t have the same crisp lines you normally associate with the print,” she explains.
  • The Stylish Pouf That’s Better Off as an Ottoman
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Moroccan poufs have been touted as the entertainer’s standby for extra seating, but they’re typically too low to the ground to actually be comfortable to sit on, Gates says. Swap it out for a pair of X benches — you can tuck them under a console table when they’re not in use, and at 18 to 19 inches tall, they’re the same height as most chairs and sofas. For a truly timeless style, try a pair in leather.
  • The Cabinets Used in Almost Every Early 2000s Home Makeover Show
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Maple and oak wood-stained cabinets (especially those with ornate, French-ish carvings) instantly age a kitchen, but thankfully, it’s nothing a few coats of paint can’t fix. White is a no-fail choice– Gates swears by Decorator’s White and White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Navy or black paint makes carved details less noticeable, though Gates recommends painting only the lower cabinets and island in darker colors, if your ceilings are 8 feet tall or shorter.
  • The All-Caps Word
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Consider a more subtle alternative to those metal signs spelling out “eat,” “family” or “love” in 16-inch letters: In place of the “eat” sign in a kitchen, Gates suggests wrapping a corkboard in linen and framing it with molding to create wall art that doubles as a command center for your to-do lists, recipes and postcards. She recommends gallery wall of black-and-white photos of family members that you add to over time that telegraph the theme. “Just avoid those collage-frame kits or only using photos from one group photo shoot, or it will look too matchy-matchy,” Gates says.
  • The Pendant Light Fixture Installed in Every New Home
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If your house was built in the aughts, there’s a good chance you’ve got overhead lights that look like frosted wine glasses dangling from the ceiling. The real problem with these mini-pendants? They’re always too small, Gates says. For a better — and more timeless — source of light, try an orb shape with an antique brass finish, likeHinkley’s Congress light or a two-tone David Hicks pendant.
  • The Sleigh That Doesn’t Come with Eight Reindeer
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    As grand as a sleigh bed looks, it can really swallow up a bedroom, making the space seem cramped. Canopy beds have been making a huge comeback recently, Gates says, though the posts are thinner and less detailed than what you remember from late ’80s, and the top is kept bare. The tall posts draw your eye up, but they don’t take up as much space, making the room seem airier and more open than its predecessor. Plus, this streamlined style doesn’t require that you live in a Georgian manor: The thin frame doesn’t overwhelm standard 8-foot ceilings. Pair with an upholstered headboard to add a touch of plushness; otherwise the bed can look sterile.

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a Source of Conflict Over Home Prices

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices

February 12, 2015 Newton, MA.  2:45PM EST
Zillow execs follow housing data to surprising conclusions
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, shown in his downtown Seattle office, says Zestimates are “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%. (Ellen M. Banner / TNS)
By KENNETH R. HARNEY Real Estate Business

Home shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents as gauges of market value
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff says that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%
When “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the chief executive of Zillow recently about the accuracy of the website’s automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.

Millennials are finally entering home-buying market
Millennials are finally entering home-buying market
Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site, with 73 million unique visitors in December. Along with active listings of properties for sale, it also provides information on houses that are not on the market. You can enter the address or general location in a database of millions of homes and probably pull up key information — square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths, photos, taxes — plus a Zestimate.

Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents — and to one another — as gauges of market value. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers’ list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.


Disparities like these are daily occurrences and, in the words of one realty agent who posted on the industry blog ActiveRain, they are “the bane of my existence.” Consumers often take Zestimates “as gospel,” said Tim Freund, an agent with Dilbeck Real Estate in Westlake Village. If either the buyer or the seller won’t budge off Zillow’s estimated value, he told me, “that will kill a deal.”

Back to the question posed by O’Donnell: Are Zestimates accurate? And if they’re off the mark, how far off? Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff answered that they’re “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.

Homeowners underestimate their property values 1.6%, research says
Homeowners underestimate their property values 1.6%, research says
Whoa. That sounds high. On a $500,000 house, that would be a $40,000 disparity — a lot of money on the table — and could create problems. But here’s something Rascoff was not asked about: Localized median error rates on Zestimates sometimes far exceed the national median, which raises the odds that sellers and buyers will have conflicts over pricing. Though it’s not prominently featured on the website, at the bottom of Zillow’s home page in small type is the word “Zestimates.” This section provides helpful background information along with valuation error rates by state and county — some of which are stunners.


For example, in New York County — Manhattan — the median valuation error rate is 19.9%. In Brooklyn, it’s 12.9%. In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it’s 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093.

Some real estate agents have done their own studies of accuracy levels of Zillow in their local markets.

Last July, Robert Earl, an agent with Choice Homes Team in the Charlottesville, Va., area, examined selling prices and Zestimates of all 21 homes sold that month in the nearby community of Lake Monticello. On 17 sales Zillow overestimated values, including two houses that sold for 61% below the Zestimate.
In Carlsbad, Calif., Jeff Dowler, an agent with Solutions Real Estate, did a similar analysis on sales in two ZIP Codes. He found that Zestimates came in below the selling price 70% of the time, with disparities ranging as high as $70,000. In 25% of the sales, Zestimates were higher than the contract price. In 95% of the cases, he said, “Zestimates were wrong. That does not inspire a lot of confidence, at least not for me.” In a second ZIP Code, Dowler found that 100% of Zestimates were inaccurate and that disparities were as large as $190,000.

So what do you do now that you’ve got the scoop on Zestimate accuracy? Most important, take Rascoff’s advice: Look at them as no more than starting points in pricing discussions with the real authorities on local real estate values — experienced agents and appraisers. Zestimates are hardly gospel — often far from it.