Massachusetts Real Estate News


Oct. 14, 2019

Inexpensive Bathroom Updates For a Home Sale



As the seasons change, it’s always nice to change up some things at home too. There are inexpensive ways to make your bathroom more beautiful even if you can't afford a full remodeling. These are some ideas for getting a new look on a small budget. They require little cash or home improvement skills, but will have a big impact on your bathroom.


Refresh Your Bathroom Tiles and Walls:


  • Give your old tiles back their shine. Even if your tiles look dingy, all they may need is a thorough cleaning and de-scaling to restore them to their original luster. If you're feeling creative, you could use tile paint and transfers to design some accents on the borders or a pattern in the center.
  • Paint the walls. Paint is always one of the cheapest options for major redecorating. Prepare the walls carefully and you can get great results with bargain brand paint.


Develop Attractive Storage Solutions:


  • Get rid of clutter. Your bathroom will look better instantly if you get rid of toiletries and accessories that have passed their prime. For the rest, develop attractive storage solutions.
  • Find alternatives to the towel rack. Show off your prettiest towels by rolling them up in a steel bucket or a wooden wine rack. You could also fold them up and display them on the rungs of a small ladder.
  • Fashion your own storage pieces. Skip the expensive ready-made storage systems and make your own from rummage sale finds and objects you already have around the house. An old nightstand or changing table can be moved into the bathroom. Hairdryers can be stored in fabric bags. 

Decorate Your Mirrors:


  • Add patterns to ordinary mirrors. Use stencils and enamel paint to sprinkle your mirror with flowers and hearts. Get the effects of etched glass with inexpensive paint kits.
  • Add tile around a boring square mirror. There are some great videos on YouTube and Pinterest on how to do this.


Update Your Lighting:


  • Replace your old fluorescent bulbs. The whole bathroom will look better if you trade your old fluorescent lights for more flattering incandescent bulbs. Always keep scented candles on hand for bath time and just a fresh scent when needed.
  •  Bring in some additional lighting. Add pretty wall sconces for extra lighting and decorations. Small table lamps with decorative shades look great on bathroom counters. 

Give Your Vanity and Cabinets a New Look:


  • Add a coat of paint. Shiny enamel paint can spruce up your old cabinets. It doesn't cost much, but give adequate time for disassembling the cabinets and putting them back together again, as well as sanding and cleaning.
  • Replace the knobs and hinges. New knobs and hinges are another easy way to get a new look. Shop for bargains among discontinued styles. If you're handy, you can craft your own knobs from all kinds of common items like spools or brooches or even rocks.

Give Your Plumbing an Update:


  • Replace your vanity faucet. The old 80’s brass is way outdated now. Pick up something trendy at the local hardware store and your vanity can look brand new.
  • Replace your bathtub/shower head. There are so many options and varieties of showerheads now from massaging to the Rainforest feature to double jets. Check them out and see what makes sense. 


Learn to Accessorize:


  • Replace your shower curtain. A new shower curtain can transform your bathroom. Pick up styles you like when they're on sale so you'll have replacements around when you feel like a change. Substitute colorful ribbons for plain old plastic curtain rings. 
  • Buy some plants. Plants are always a great value. They cleanse the air while they make your surroundings look peaceful. For a bathroom, select species that tolerate high humidity.
  • Pull up a chair. A simple chair can make your bathroom feel more gracious. Raid your own basement or look around at garage sales.


Having a beautiful bathroom doesn't have to cost a fortune. With the right accessories and minor home improvement projects, you can make your bathroom look fabulous on a low budget. And, remember, bathroom remodels, even on a budget, tend to bring in a great return on your investment when it comes to selling. AND, they can help your realtor to sell your home faster.


Any questions? Feel free to reach out. I’m always here to help with your real estate needs.



Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 16, 2019

Should You Pay Off Your Home Mortgage Early?

If you’re paying a mortgage, at one time or another you’ve probably thought about what it would be like to pay it off. You’ve likely dreamed about living the life you desire, unfettered by the ball and chain of having to pay your loan payment every month. 

Before you make a decision, however, take a close look at your financial options to determine if it really would be wise to pay off your loan early. In some situations, it’s better not to pay it off. Consider these reasons, both for and against, an early payoff in your situation.


Benefits of Paying Off Your Mortgage

1. You’ll save big on interest. Depending on where you are time-wise in the term of the loan, you stand to save literally thousands of dollars that you would have paid in interest over the life of your loan.

2. You won’t have the monthly stress of a house payment. This can be a great relief!

3. As retirement approaches, paying your house off means you won’t have to struggle with house payments on a reduced income.

4. You’ll have hundreds of dollars to spend or save monthly. It’s empowering to know that whether you want to take a couple more trips a year or concentrate on saving for the kids’ educations, you’ll have money to put aside for it.

5. Your confidence about your financial situation will increase. After all, if you pay off your mortgage early, you’re likely doing something right with your budget. You have a lot to be proud of!


Why You Might Not Want To Pay Off Your Mortgage

Taking all of the above into account, sometimes you can still come out ahead without paying off your mortgage early. Here are some reasons why:

1. Paying interest has its advantages. With mortgage rates being so low now, you might be paying only 3 or 4% on your mortgage. Yet you might find an investment that pays you a 10% return. So you would make more money if you used your extra funds to make a higher rate of interest from an investment rather than pay down your mortgage.
Bear in mind that if you’re getting an income tax deduction on your mortgage interest, that interest is costing you even less overall.

2. Keeping your dollars in hand may be wiser. Paying off your mortgage in one lump sum might not work in your best interest. Doing so doesn’t increase your net worth because you’ll have less cash. Also, paying all your cash into your house means you have substantially fewer liquid dollars. You’d have to sell or refinance your house to get your cashback if you need it. It’s unwise to use all your cash to pay off your mortgage, especially if you could be earning interest on it.

3. Avoid taking cash out of your 401(k) to pay off your house, especially if you’re less than age 59-1/2 because of the extra penalty. Plus, all the money you take out is taxed at your ordinary-income rate.

4. Paying off loans with higher interest rates first makes more sense. It’s smarter to pay off a higher interest debt than your mortgage, if your mortgage has a lower interest rate.


Answering the question of whether to pay off your mortgage early takes some deliberation. Ensure you take into account your specific situation. Strive to determine how you can save or make the most money and you’ll be happy with your choice. Still have questions about whether paying off your mortgage early is beneficial or not? Feel free to contact me and let's talk about it. 


Watch my videos on YouTube for more tips and information.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 5, 2019

Fall Fun Around Sudbury

End of summer getting you down? 


Well, don’t let it, there are plenty of fun fall activities around Sudbury and Wayland to boost your spirits.  

And speaking of spirits, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury has got you covered throughout the season.  


 Friday, September 13th (6-9:30) is their 4th Annual Cider Festival

$65 will get you the pig roast bbq, live music, tours, hayrides, a handmade commemorative mug, and of course cider (both hard and soft) to fill it.  Tickets are available through Eventbrite

 Friday, September 27th (6-9:30) is Oktoberfest

$25 for authentic German food and live music and $3 beers.


The Wayside also has some family-friendly events planned.

 Saturday, September 28th (10-4) is the Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfes & Drums

$2 gets you a day’s worth of history.  Plus there will be plenty of vendors on hand selling refreshments and keepsakes.  


And if you want a quiet relaxing day off:


Monday, October 7th (1-3:30) you can enjoy An Afternoon Puzzle Tea Party. 

$18 will get you an afternoon of tea, scones, and pastries to enjoy while assembling a variety of British wooden puzzles.  


It wouldn’t be fall without some old-fashioned apple picking.  And, we’ve got plenty of great places to do just that whether it’s for candied apples, caramel apples or even a pie.


Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow is open daily from 9:30 to 5, with fresh apples and blueberries.

They also have hayrides on the weekends ($2/person), three fun hedge mazes (various prices), and cute farm animals to pet.  

 Shelburne Farm in Stow is open daily from 9-5.

They offer hayrides, farm animals, and the kid’s tractor playground every day.  With a 

few extra kids activities offered on weekends.  Also on the weekends the Applewood

Grill is open serving up tasty hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. 

 Bolton Orchards in Bolton is open every day from 8-6.  

With their Red Barn Coffee Cafe opening at 7.  

Finally, what autumn weekend would be complete without getting out to see the changing colors of the seasons.  There are plenty of great viewing locations throughout the state if you want to make a weekend of it, but if you want to stay local the Wayside Inn’s Grist Mill is a favorite location for this activity.  


Summer will be back before you know it, in the meantime enjoy all the fun flavors and sights that fall has to offer.


Posted in News
Aug. 25, 2019

9 Steps to Take Before Buying Your First Home


Are you planning the purchase of your first Northwest Metro home? Buying a house is a major decision because the house will soon become one of your main financial assets. Plus, you’ll be making mortgage payments for at least ten years. (Most likely 15-30)

Take these steps before you buy:

Ask yourself if you’re financially stable. Have you had your job for at least five years? Do you have a reliable income?

Are you ready to make monthly mortgage payments for at least ten years? Are there any other major expenses in the near future that would make keeping up with your mortgage payments difficult?

Do you plan to stay in this house for at least five years? The first five years of mortgage payments usually only cover fees and interest. Are you ready to settle down in one spot?

Raise your credit score. You can qualify for a mortgage with a credit score of 580, but you’ll have to spend more on fees, interest, and your down payment. You’ll get a much better deal if you wait until you have a credit score of 700 or above.

Look at your debt to income ratio. This is a good way to tell if you’re earning enough to afford a home. Ideally, the expenses linked to buying a home shouldn’t exceed a third of your income. Add up your mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, and expected repairs.

Save money for your down payment. You can buy a home with a down payment of anywhere between 3% and 20% of the value of the home. The more you can afford to pay, the lower your mortgage payment will be. Look into getting an FHA loan to help with the down payment.

Plan for expenses for maintaining your home. You should count on spending at least 3% of the value of the home on maintenance each year. Create a saving fund to cover these costs.

Document your income and assets. Start gathering all the documents you’re going to need while you compare mortgage options.

Look for the right house for you. It’s best to wait until you can afford something better if you don’t find anything you like. Take the neighborhood and its development into consideration when buying a house, since these aspects will influence the future value of the house.


Buying a house is a very important decision. Becoming a homeowner means that you’re taking a big step on the path of financial stability, and you’ll want to be prepared for this step. Your home will likely become your main asset as it appreciates in value and you build up further equity in it by paying down your mortgage.

Buying a home requires careful planning. Ask yourself how much you can afford to borrow, what kind of mortgage would be best, and what kind of home would be adapted to the unique needs of your family. Take the time to go over your income, boost your credit score, and make a list of what to look for in your ideal home before you start your search.

When you've done all of that and are ready to make the move, give me a call and I can help you find the perfect Sudbury, Wayland or nearby home.

Posted in News
Aug. 3, 2019

How Does the Inspection Phase Of Home Sales/Purchase Work?

The inspection phase of a home will vary but in general, all Metro West inspections will involve evaluating certain aspects of the home before a seller can sell their home to a prospective buyer.

Health and safety are important considerations. Basic amenities expected of a modern building should also be in place and functioning properly.

Inspections are crucial to help arrive at a final sale price as well. If there are any serious issues, the bank may determine the seller needs to fix them before the sale can go ahead. In some cases, the prospective buyer might agree to make the repairs, but would also expect to get the house for a lower price in consideration for the work and money they will be putting in.

The Areas of Inspection

The usual areas of inspection are:

  • Structure
  • Exterior
  • Roofing system
  • Plumbing system
  • Electrical system
  • Heating system
  • Air conditioning system
  • Interior
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Fireplaces  

They will also look for problems like radon gas, carbon monoxide, asbestos, termites and more.

Inspection Standards

The American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI, has "Standards of Practice" which stipulate what must be inspected, and how far home inspectors need to go to report those findings. If you’d like to see what a home inspection might be like, check out the ASHI virtual home inspection on their website HERE

Sellers who want to get a clear idea of the state of their home and what needs to be attended to urgently can hire their own inspector, who will then give them an evaluation of all that needs to be done. Inspections usually take 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the house.

Hiring an inspector will cost money, but it can also prevent your sale from falling through further down the road because "deal breakers" have been discovered.

Buyer Inspections

Once a buyer makes an offer on your home, they will come with an inspector to assess the property. This is bound to make most sellers nervous, but again, if you’ve hired your own inspector and done all the chores on your to-do list, you should get a good evaluation.

The prospective buyer will usually walk through with the inspector. This can be very nerve-wracking, so it is probably best to leave the house while they are doing the walk-through. However, do make yourself available by mobile phone if they have any questions. 

The Report

When the home inspection is complete, the inspector will write a report and give a copy to the prospective buyer detailing everything that has been found. If there are major causes for concern, they will usually require immediate attention before the sale can go through. 

They might also report on potential future issues, such as the boiler only having another three years under warranty. You probably won’t be required to buy a new boiler, but you will most likely be asked to lower the price of the house.

You will have time to fix the issues, and there will be a follow-up inspection. Once all the parties are satisfied that the house is in good condition, the sale can proceed.


If you’d like to learn more about home inspections in the Sudbury and Wayland areas, give me a call and let’s talk about it. 

Posted in News
July 5, 2019

Put Your Toes In The Sand in Massachusetts


Last week I listed a few summer fun activities to help fill out the calendar.  But, let’s face it, sometimes the best part of summer is grabbing a towel, a chair, the cooler, and heading toward the beach to put your toes in the sand. You can stretch out under the sun and spend the day doing absolutely nothing.  And here in eastern Massachusetts, we’ve got so many beaches to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to name the best.


Nearly, but not totally impossible.  At least not according to Best of Boston, which has named Crane Beach in Ipswich the best beach for the last three years.  The four miles of white sand include lifeguards, outside showers, and bathhouses (with toilets and changing areas).  There’s also the Crane Beach Store where you can purchase refreshments. Crane Beach is a recognized conservation area with over five miles of trails that move through the dunes and along the coast on both sides of the Castle Neck peninsula.  


Another consistent winner is Coast Guard Beach, which is always at the top of the list for best family beaches in the country.  Coast Guard Beach is one of several within Cape Cod National Seashore.  Keep in mind, during the summer season there is no parking at Coast Guard Beach but there is a shuttle from the Little Creek Parking area.


The best surfing is found at Long Beach or Good Harbor in Gloucester.  Both offer restrooms, showers, and food vendors.  Parking can be expensive and crowded so plan your arrival early.  And, if you’re making the trip to surf, there is no surfing from 9-5, so you can get in and out early before the crowds descend.  


Want to include a little camping with your sunbathing? Head over to Horseneck Beach State Reservation, at the western end of Buzzards Bay in Westport.  The park includes picnic areas, showers, a dishwashing station, a playground, and trailer/RV dumping.  During the summer the beach has public restrooms and lifeguards on duty. 


Don’t feel like heading all the way over to the coast?  Check out Cochituate State Park.  The park has swimming, fishing, some light hiking, and boating (with rentals).     


There are places to go and plenty to do in Massachusetts this summer, so don’t get to September and lament that summer passed you by.


Posted in News
June 27, 2019

Summer Fun in MetroWest, MA


Summertime….and the living is easy.


What’s not easy?  Finding things to do in summer.  We all start out with big goals and plans, but by September we’re wondering what we did all summer.


Here are a few suggestions around Sudbury, Wayland, and beyond, to help you skip the fall regret.


This summer there’s always something happening at the Wayside Inn978-443-1776


Strawberry Concert--every Tuesday at 7:00.  Featuring different local bands, dinner, and of course strawberry shortcake for dessert.  $45 or only $15 if you just want to enjoy the music.


Annual Craft Beer Tasting--July 26, 6-9:30.  Food and live music for $25.  Each beer is $3. Also, cigars will be available from Victory Cigar.


Country Fest--August 9, 6-9:30.  Food and live music for $35, plus a cash bar.


Cigar Dinner--August 22, 5:30-9:30.  Food and cigars (from Victory Cigar) for $60, plus a cash bar.  


There is something for everyone in Ogunquit


This summer the Hackmatack Playhouse will be showcasing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, running from July 3rd-20th. Mama Mia running from July 24-August 10th.  And, Peter and the Starcatcher, running from August 14th-29th.


Every Friday and Saturday night Mainestreet Ogunquit has Dueling Drag Divas, live music from famous female impersonators.  


Jonathan’s Ogunquit has plenty of entertainment to choose from- as does Vinegar Hill.  


And, don’t forget the 4th of July fireworks on Ogunquit Beach.  


And, of course, there’s always Boston for entertaining options.


From free Shakespeare on the Common to cruises around Boston Harbor to the summer discounts on CityPASS you’re sure to find the perfect entertainment.  


For more events here are the calendars for  July and August. 


And, if your ideal summer plan simply includes lounging on the beach, check back next week when I’ll list the top 5 area beaches. 


Posted in News
June 20, 2019

The Hard Facts About Fixed and Variable Rate Mortgages

My buyers in the Sudbury and Wayland areas are always asking me about mortgages. It's important to make sure you get a mortgage that you are comfortable with.


In the realm of mortgages, a fixed rate mortgage is considered to be the perfect little princess. And, a variable rate mortgage is often thought of as the wicked stepsister. While variable mortgages can be detrimental to some, they can provide the most benefit for many others. The same logic applies to fixed-rate mortgages.  


Below, we'll cover the good, bad, and ugly on both sides of the fence.  


Variable Rate Mortgage


Due to its nature, variable rate mortgages start out at a substantially lower interest rate than fixed-rate mortgages and then increase incrementally over time. This practice that is only associated with variable rate mortgages is often referred to as a teaser rate because the introductory rate is so alluring.  


The incremental increases, which are most often seen in 6-month or 12-month intervals, are set according to the current fluctuations of the average mortgage interest rates. Therefore, if you sign on with a reputable lender, your interest rate should be set according to the local average. Your interest rate will both increase and decrease according to the natural ebbs and flows of the market.  


Below, we'll cover which buyers would benefit most from opting for a variable rate mortgage.


Variable rate mortgages are ideal for the following buyers:  


  • Newlyweds who want to own a smaller home now and move on to a larger home once they're ready to start a family  
  • Real estate investors who plan to flip a home (renovate for profit) over the course of several years and then sell at or before the five-year mark  
  • Homeowners who are "testing out" a new area and want the leniency of being able to move within a few years with little penalty
  • Homebuyers who have a limited income at the moment, but foresee a large increase in income within the next five years (new college graduates, owners of a startup business)  
  • Homeowners who are hoping to get into a certain market while it's hot at the lowest possible price, and refinance into fixed rate mortgage within a few years

Fixed Rate Mortgages


Fixed rate mortgages are the most popular mortgage selection among homebuyers. In fact, this type of mortgage is so popular that over 75% of homebuyers nationwide choose this option.  


A fixed rate mortgage is self-explanatory; the interest rate you sign on with today is the same amount you'll be paying in 5, 10, or 15 years, according to the terms of your mortgage - no surprises.  


Though the security of a fixed rate mortgage may have you giddy to sign on the dotted line, there is one very important fact that you must be aware of before you make your decision. The interest rate applied to a fixed-rate mortgage is inflated.


This is because lenders must anticipate fluctuations, particularly increases in interest rate averages, long before they occur. Therefore, if the lender anticipates that over the course of your mortgage, interest rates will spike to 8%, you'll likely be quoted an interest rate of 7%, even if the lender only needs to charge you 6%.  


Interest rates are more inflated with 30-year fixed rate mortgages than they are with 15-year fixed. This is a logical move to lenders because they assume a far lower risk of exorbitantly spiked interest rates over the course of 180 months as opposed to 360 months.


A fixed rate mortgage is ideal for the following homebuyers:  


  • Those who plan to reside in their home throughout the duration of their mortgage and are purchasing a home with adequate space to accommodate the needs of their growing family
  • Buyers who operate a small business locally and plan on staying in their home for an indefinite period of time
  • Homebuyers who are uncomfortable with the uncertainty of variable rate mortgages and prefer to pay a set amount each month for the duration of their mortgage, even if the interest rate is a bit inflated  
  • Buyers who have a general idea of what their foreseeable income will be over the next 15 to 30 years


When choosing your type of mortgage, base your decision on the foreseeable needs of your family.  


It can be tempting to either go for the no-fuss fixed rate mortgage or the low introductory rates of a variable rate mortgage. But, if the decision isn't practical for your specific needs in 5, 15 or 30 years, you’ll only be hurting yourself from a financial standpoint.


Have more questions about Metrowest real estate or mortgages? Looking for a mortgage lender? Hook up with me. I’m happy to assist.


Posted in News
May 11, 2019

Research Prevents Home Buyer’s Remorse


You can change a house—location is tougher.


According to new research by Trulia, 36 percent of Americans have “neighborhood regret,” or would have moved to another neighborhood than the one they reside in today.

I am here to give you a few tips on avoiding making the mistake of moving to a neighborhood in the Metrowest that isn’t right for you!

When looking at what makes a neighborhood suitable, 48% of those surveyed were motivated by the “vibe,” 37 percent were affected by crime rates, and another 37 percent were attracted to easier travel to work. Attributes that led to regret for many were lack of public transportation, noise and traffic.

How should you be sure BEFORE you move that you don’t make the “neighborhood regret” mistake?

#1 Prepare through research. Look up neighborhood photos—something just 38 percent of those surveyed did

#2 Plan a visit to explore. Only 37 percent explored the neighborhood’s popular spots. Drive around, go to the supermarket and see how the “vibe” is there.  If public transportation is important to you, make sure you know where to find it whether it be in the town you are looking to move to or another town hopefully close by.

Last but not least #3 Go there at night. According to the Trulia survey 47% did not see what their neighborhood felt like at night.  Is there a lot going on? Do things close early? Is it safe to go out for a run? Think of what is important to you and get your answers prior to buying your home.

We all know that buying a home is a big decision and therefore make sure you not only find a home that you love but check out the neighborhood and what it has to offer prior to buying so you don’t become one of the 36% of people with Neighborhood regret!

If you would like help finding your next home I would be happy to assist. Call or text 978-505-1466 and let’s talk!

Prefer to get your news via video? Here’s a video on this topic. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more great tips and information.



Posted in News
May 3, 2019

Around Town This Spring



Around Town This Spring

Things to do this spring in Boston’s Metrowest Area

Get outside!   


Really, is there anything else you want to do now that winter is over?  Of course not, especially not with all the great options for getting out and about.


Marlborough-Sudbury State Forest and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge offer hiking trails and bird watching.  You can dip your toes where literary history happened at the Walden Pond State Reservation.  Want to take it up a notch, you can bike the trails at either Hopkinton or Callahan State Parks.  Or relax on the waters of Hopkinton or Cochituate State Parks (though boat rentals won’t start until Memorial Day).   These are just of few of the options available for shaking off the winter doldrums.


Get outside and work.   


If you want to be more productive in your outside activities you can visit one of the many Farmer’s Markets in the area to find the perfect plants for spring planting.  


Get outside and eat.  


Spring offers many activities to mark on the calendar.  


May 8, 4:30PM-7:30PM.  The 1st Food Truck Festival at the Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

*A portion of the proceeds goes to Jamaica Jammin’--the HS Senior Safe Night

*Food trucks--Say Cheese Food Truck, the Travelin’ Bones BBQ Truck, the 3rd

          Alarm Pizza Truck, the Cupcake City Truck, and VeeBop’s Ice Cream   



June 8, 9:30AM-3:30PM.  33rd Annual Hudson Fest.  Downtown Hudson

*Free family entertainment, children’s activities (some free and some with small fees),

and dozens of different vendors.  And of course, the Rotary Club’s Annual Duck Race.


June 15, 11AM-4PM.  Metrofest.  Bowditch Field Athletic and Cultural Complex in Framingham

*Food trucks, live music, beer and wine tasting, games for kids and adults, and over 125

              vendor booths.


June 23, 12PM-3PM.  Food and Brew Festival.  Avidia Bank in Shrewsbury.  

*Live music, a children’s play area, and sampling of food and drink from area restaurants

              and breweries.



And for the adventurous women out there...Get outside and get muddy.


June 15, 7AM-4PM.  Muddy Princess.  Kalon Farm in Lancaster.

**5k obstacle mud run for women only

**Tickets range from $50-$99.



As you can see from the mild to the wild, there’s plenty of fun activities to take part in around the area. And, if you see something you especially love, tell us about it in the comments.


Posted in News