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archOver the last 250 years in and around Boston, we have seen the architectural styles of homes evolve. From simple to ornate you can see how these home designs were influenced by our society. Many homes have been renovated several times over. Each renovation undertaking a different architectural style. Home buyer’s especially first time home buyers, should be knowledgeable about the different styles that are available to them. This information will help your Realtor in your home search. Here is a quick guide to help buyers identify the different architectural styles.

 

CAPE – The cape cod style is a symmetrical box shape with a steep gable roof. Nowadays, capes have second floor dormers to expand the ceiling height to the upstairs rooms. Since this style is on the smaller side many capes have side additions as well.

COLONIAL – A colonial is a large two level home with a symmetrical style. It has four equal size rooms on the first floor. The second floor has four equal size rooms as well. All of the bedrooms are located upstairs. This home usually has one to two chimneys. This is one of the most popular styles today.

SALTBOX – Another interesting and distinctive roof is on a Saltbox. It’s a sharply sloping gable roof. It has two levels and the roof slopes down in the back to the first level.

TUDOR – The Tudor style has exposed framework on the exterior of the home. In between the framework it’s filled with white stucco or brickwork. The roof is sharply pitched with gables opening to the sides of the house. The window panes are in a diamond pattern. The front door is normally an arched wooden door with medieval looking hardware.

RANCH – A ranch style home is a one level of living. It has a basement that is normally the length of the house. Many people finish off this space to gain extra square footage. The width of the home is wider than the depth and it has a simple floor plan.

SPLIT LEVEL ­ A split level or split entry as it’s more commonly known is a two level home with a main entry located between the two levels on a landing. Once you walk through the door there is a small set of stairs leading up to the first level and another small set of stairs leading down to the basement. The first level is where the kitchen, dining and living room are located. Then there is a wing of three bedrooms and one full bathroom. The basement is mostly commonly used as a family room for extra living spaces. Some splits have a second bathroom downstairs and use the space as an inlaw apartment. Needless to say the floor plan possibilities are endless.

VICTORIAN ­ Last but certainly not least is a victorian style which refers to homes built during the era of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 ­ 1901). This home has an asymmetrical facade, a steeply pitched roof normally with a front facing gable and a porch that’s one story high and either half or full length of the house. Some victorian styles include Queen Anne, stick, shingle, romanesque and second empire.

There certainly are other architectural styles that we can add to this list like french provincial, contemporary and greek revival. Also some homes can have one style for example a cape cod with greek revival facade. So pay attention to the architecture styles when your out house hunting.

victorian

 

jennifer-scali-newAbout the author: Jenn Scali is a certified buyers agent and her dedication to finding her clients the right home is her top priority.  Call Jenn at (617) 905-7211 to schedule a buyer’s consult with her or visit her at www.JennScali.com


Cleaning gutters is an easy job to put off, but the longer you wait the worse it can get. Thoroughly cleaning your gutters every spring and fall will help keep them working like they’re supposed to. Debris can build up and cause damage to your downspouts and cause water damage to your roof.

FRED ice dam 2An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

 

FRED gutter photo 1Most people know that they need to have to the house gutters cleaned. We know that if leaves and debris block the flow of water it will freeze in the winter.  But for some reason this easy cleaning is overlooked.  Calling a gutter cleaning company is a quick and easy fix.  I recently had my gutters in Woburn cleaned out.  For years I didn’t think there would be much of anything in the gutters because there is not a tree near the front of the house and only a few in the back of the house.  I called American Gutters and set up an appointment, and for $80 they cleaned the front and back gutters on the house.  After American Gutters was at my house and cleaned the gutters, they left a trash bag full of leaves and dirt.  I could not believe the amount of leaves and debris that was in there.  Now I set up an appointment for them to come every year.  It is money well spent to not have to worry about clogged gutters or worse …damage to your home that ice dams can cause because of clogged gutters.

fred-damore-headshot-photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. In addition he is a local homeowner who pays attention to his annual home maintenance requirements.   Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@fairwaymc.com


Category: Home and Garden

fall-bostonAre you traveling to Boston this Fall or are you just looking to fill up your calendar with fun events?  Well, you’re in luck because Boston has something for everyone.  The changing leaves and the brisk cool air is the perfect time to get outside and see Boston in its glory.  I’ve created a list of what I think are the not-to-miss-out-on events this season.

 

  1. Salem Witch Museum – Take a look back into the Witch Trials of 1692. Through this stirring narration witness the dark times of the era when women were prosecuted unjustly.
  2. Museum of Fine Arts – On October 10th “Enjoy free admission and special events at the MFA’s annual Fall Open House and the Fenway Alliance’s 15th Annual Opening Our Doors Day.  Hear a medley of musical performances throughout the day including a concert by a 17-piece ensemble from the Boston Pops.  Enjoy a range of art-making activities and tours for families and adults.”
  3. Freedom Trail Walking Tour – “A 2.5 mile red-lined route that leads you through historically significant sites.”
  4. Head of the Charles Regatta – October 22nd & 23rd is the 52nd annual Head of the Charles Regatta. This is the biggest rowing event in New England.  For more info hocr.org
  5. Boston Children’s Museum – October 16th 4pm – 8pm Take the kids to the museum’s October Fall Festival! Your kids will have lots of fun pumpkin painting, operating a bicycle-powered cider press, visiting the veggie stand and listening to live music.  There will be other great activities too!
  6. Visit the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University – Take a free guided tour with a knowledgeable volunteer who will educate you on the different flowers and plants in the Arboretum as well as “highlight the Arboretum’s work as a research institution and living museum.” arboretum.harvard.edu
  7. Charles Riverboat Cruise – Get your tickets now through October 10th for a one hour sightseeing cruise along the Charles River. Enjoy all the historical and cultural sights as well as the beautiful Fall foliage. charlesriverboat.com
  8. Topsfield Fair – Running September 30th through October 9th. Visit America’s oldest agricultural fair filled with carnival rides, games, livestock exhibitions and don’t forget the giant pumpkin weigh-off!
  9. Plimoth Plantation – Explore Plimoth Plantation and see how the Wampanoag people and the Colonial English community lived or should I say survived in the 1600’s. Ticket information visit plimoth.org
  10. King Richard’s Fair – Open through mid-October in Carver, Massachusetts. Travel back to medieval times and experience a 16th century marketplace filled with “handmade crafts, foods, musicians, singers, dancers, minstrels, magicians, exotic animals and knights joisting on horseback.”
  11. Cape Cod Brew Fest 2016 – October 1st 3:30pm – 7:00pm Enjoy live music, food trucks and over 75 breweries to sample. And for designated drivers there is a special discounted rate! * This is a 21+ event.  capecodbrewfest.com
  12. Apple picking, pumpkin picking and corn mazes – During the Fall visit any of our local farms throughout Massachusetts pick up fresh fruit and veggies. Don’t forget to get yourself a candied apple too!
  13. The Public Gardens, Boston Commons and the Esplanade – Get the kids out in the fresh air and visit Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings; the inspiration for the popular children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey over at the Public Gardens. Take a swan ride and then walk over to the Commons and the kids will have a blast playing at the Tadpole Playground and riding the carousel.  Finish up by checking out one of the many events held by The Esplanade Association (TEA) at the park.

There’s no better place to be this Fall then taking in the sights of Boston.  Exploring is a great way to find out about neighborhoods and the community.  Maybe you might want to make Boston home!  Call me and we can explore together.
 About the author: jennifer-scali-newJenn Scali was born and raised in the Boston area.  Call her today and go out exploring! Jenn is an agent with RE/MAX Legacy and you can reach her at (617) 905-7211 or on her website at www.jennscali.com


miceIn Woburn we never had to deal with mice so I didn’t even imagine that when we purchased a house in Killington, Vermont that we would have unwelcome houseguests.

I heard that traps work best, but you need at least 6 or more.  The amount of traps is not the reason why I do not use them… Yes, I snapped my finger in one. I decided to use the electronic mousetraps.  They are simple to use because you just plug them into the wall outlet.  I’m not sure if they work or not, but I use them.  I have also tried d-CON.  I’m very careful using this product because I don’t want my dog to get at it and chew on the box.  The d-CON method attracts the mouse/mice to the trap and then it eats the poison, travels outside to get water and then dies somewhere outside the house. (Well, they sometimes die in the house, but we may not be in Vermont for weeks so there is an unpleasant smell. )

So, with that being said, I still have mice as unwelcome houseguests.  I am going to continue to use d-CON and the electronic mousetraps, but this fall I’m going to add mothballs.  Mice don’t like the strong smell of mothball so I’m going to see if that makes a difference.

Please, I need advice on this so please share your thoughts.

 

fred-damore-headshot-photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@fairwaymc.com


Category: DIY, Home and Garden

monopoluChoosing which neighborhood to live in has to be one of the most important decisions for a new home buyer.  It’s the one item on your list that can’t be changed after you sign on the dotted line.  There is more to a neighborhood than living on a cul-de-sac or having beautiful city or water views.  Agents highly recommend that buyer’s drive through the potential area multiple times during the day and evening, as well as weekends.  Evening traffic may come to a standstill in front of your home or the local fire department may travel down your street multiple times during the day.  If it’s not something that you’re comfortable with then you may need to continue with the home search.

There are other external factors that could affect your property value either positively or negatively.  However, these may not take place in the foreseeable future.

Foreclosures in the neighborhood will definitely drive down the average price of the property value by as much as 1% according to studies.  So if you are within 250 feet of a foreclosed property and you decide to sell shortly after a foreclosure your selling price may be affected.

Public transportation expansion may occur.  Public transit is a must have for some home owners.  Being within walking distance to public transportation is a necessity for them to get to work.  According to the American Public Transportation Association “residential property values for areas near public transit facilities are higher than for residential areas far away from such facilities.”

Future developments such as commercial and governmental developments are additional factors that can change your property value for better or worse.  Government plans for hospitals, schools, and traffic patterns will have as much influence on land values as commercial amenities such as cell phone towers.  Additional commercial amenities such as coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores such as Whole Foods could increase property values on average up to 20% according to studies.

So drive through your neighborhood, check in with the town hall and Google to research the area you want to live in.  Knowledge is power.

 

Jennifer ScaliJenn Scali is an agent with RE/MAX Legacy and she works closely with buyers to make sure they get their homework done. You can reach her at (617) 905-7211 or on her website at www.jennscali.com


Category: Home Buying

things to do in may photo galeMay is a good month to finish your Spring To Do List, and start thinking about tackling your Summer To Do List.

 

 

  • Turn on your outdoor spigots and check your garden hoses for leaks.
  • Take a look at your deck or patio. Does your deck need to be repainted or refinished? Does your patio need new bricks or stones?
  • Wash and set out your outdoor furniture.
  • Inspect your pool after the long winter. Start getting it ready for the upcoming summer months.
  • We use our outdoor grill year round, but it’s a good idea in the spring to clean it and make sure you have enough propane or charcoal.
  • Mulch your shrubbery bed, and till and prepare your vegetable garden.
  • Memorial Day Weekend is a popular time in New England to buy your tomato plants for your home garden.
  • Take the cover off your outdoor air conditioning unit and open up your vents in your house. Test the central air conditioning system well before the first hot day of summer, or you may be surprised! Start thinking about putting your window air conditioners back in the windows.
  • Wash your windows, inside and out.
  • Buy sunscreen products and bug spray so you are ready for the summer months.
  • Go through your winter wool clothes and decide what is headed for the dry cleaners and what is headed to Goodwill.
  • In New England, May is a great month to start up your walking regimen.

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – When Gale is not working at home on her “To Do List”, she enjoys working with both Sellers and Buyers. Gale Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com.


Jenn HGTVToday people can’t get enough of HGTV’s hottest shows like Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper or Love it or List it just to name a few.  So what is keeping people glued to their TV for hours on end binge watching their favorite HGTV show?  I have a couple of reasons why it’s ranked #8 on the list of top 10 cable networks according to The Futon Critic with 2015 finishing with its highest ratings ever.

Let’s start with the formula of HGTV’s programming.  It’s a procedural show which is a genre of programming in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode.  It makes it easier for viewers to tune in for one episode without feeling lost.  We get to see the home improvement shows make things better.  We watch on the edge of our seat the tough issues of unexpected water damage that leads the contractor to go over budget or the worry of not meeting the scheduled deadline.  Miraculously, at the end of the each episode it’s wrapped up with a nice bow on top.  That’s what viewers want and need to see happen. 

Another key factor is the host’s personalities drive the show.  We get to see Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper come out looking like heroes at the same time we get a peek into their family life too.  Joanna has clients meet her at home to discuss the new floor plan she’s implementing for their fixer upper.  Toward the end of the show Chip pops by with their four children to bring Momma some cupcakes to get her though endless hours of staging.  The same thing happens with Property Brothers.  We see both brothers struggling to get their jobs done all the while their larger than life personas entertain us.  As they say “we take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves.”

Lastly, have you actually thought about why people want the open concept living spaces, master “suite”, high end cabinetry, granite counter tops, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances?  Besides the fact that it looks gorgeous it also offers us a different lifestyle.  Open concept means more room to socialize and host parties.  The high end finishings represent luxury and comfort.  The master suite is where you can hide from your children to get your sanity back and relax in your soaker tub.  I think most of us would love to live this lifestyle even if it’s for a 30 minute block at a time.

Jennifer ScaliJenn Scali is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy who would love to help you find your “new lifestyle.”  You can reach her at (617) 905-7211 or on her website at www.jennscali.com


Fred well water photo 1We have a second home in Killington VT.  Our home in Woburn has city water and sewer lines.  Last December, we were in Killington and I had to use the bathroom.  I attempted to flush the toilet and nothing; it didn’t work.  We had no water.  I yelled, “Ann the toilet is not working”.  She said “great, this is what happens when you don’t have city water and sewer lines.”  We went to the basement to check the utility room and discovered that there was no water pressure in the pump tank.  We told everyone who was in the house not to use the bathrooms and we all went skiing.  We thought that in about 5 hours the water would regain pressure and we would be fine.

At about 1:00pm that afternoon, my friend Jeff (who is an electrician) came over to make sure there were not any electrical issues.  What we found was that the pump in the system was working fine and we could hear the pump spinning, but no water was coming up the well.  Jeff suggested getting our hose and tapping into the neighbor’s outside faucet to fill the well with water to see how long it would last.. We filled the well for 4 hours and it worked fine.

Fred well water photo 2The next day we spoke to the plumber that put in the well and he came by and tested it.  The pipe had 50 feet of water in it, so we were ok.   But we still did not know why we had this issue.  Days went by, no problems, the water worked fine.  Then the same week we were in the basement (there is a bathroom down there) and heard the toilet running.  Finally we figured out what happened. The basement toilet was running all week when we were not at the house and the system could not recover, causing no water to be in the well.  I changed all the stoppers in each toilet in the bathrooms and so far so good 2 months and no well issues.

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com

 


Local Real Estate Value Trends North of Boston 128/93 Area

2015 was another great year!  A year ago, we were talking about the strong year we had in 2014 and here we are a year later and the experience has been pretty much the same.  We continue to show higher than historical volume, and values have increased as well.   Now, as we proceed along into 2016, I wanted to look at how much the market has changed in the past year as well as how we compare to the values of 2005 at the previous market high.

In Woburn, the single family market average sales price finished higher than the previous year.  Sales volume was higher too.  The higher volume occurred in spite of the low inventory levels throughout the year.    On a relative basis, Woburn is more affordable than the other local towns, but maintains a similar growth in home value.  Interest rates remained low and this contributed to first time buyers being able to afford homes even as prices increased.  Interest rates in 2016 are expected to rise slightly.

Looking back over 2015, in the north of Boston area, we saw market time decrease, bidding wars with multiple offers, fewer distressed homes, and continued overall positive feeling about the market.

Statistics and trends are a favorite tool for me.  I can get a sense of where the market is going by looking at the indicators.  Although I have created charts for many individual towns, my favorite chart, which is included with this blog, is of the local 128/93 towns compared to each other.  These include Reading, Burlington, Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington and Woburn.

Here is a table for these local towns that captures the trend data:

Town Average Sale Price

2015

% Change

2014 to 2015

% Change

from 2005 High

Reading $553,508 +6.47% +15.19%
Burlington $547,275 +6.82% +24.01%
Melrose $528,488 +6.50% +16.56%
Stoneham $494,653 +7.16% +9.19%
Wakefield $492,971 +4.90% +9.50%
Wilmington $461,574 +9.08% +1.71%
Woburn $438,681 +8.47% +8.47%

 

Interestingly, all of the local towns have shown strong gains over the previous year.  A year ago, not all of the towns had exceeded the highs of 2005, but at the end of 2015, all have surpassed the highs of 2005.   Looking ahead, let’s hope for continued growth in local real estate values, and a continued strong real estate market.

Mulittown

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the Author: Roland Spadafora is one of the broker owners of RE/MAX Legacy and is known around the office as the expert in market trends and stats. You can learn more about him on his website www.spadaforateam.com

 


As a taxpayer, I am always looking for tax deductions or credits to help me pay less taxes.  Did you know that as a home owner you could get a tax credit of up to $500 for making energy saving improvements to your home?! Some of these improvements include energy efficient windows, insulation, central air conditioning, roofing furnaces and so much more.  To learn who and what qualifies go to irs.gov and search for form 5695


antnew1

About the author: Anthony Giglio is one of the broker/owner’s of RE/MAX Legacy and is an passionate about getting all the tax deductions and credits he can. You can learn more about him and contact him directly by visiting his website www.myhomeMA.com