Category Archives: Family

This ifreds picss a true story about the water leak we had in our house in Woburn.  Around 10 AM I got a call from my Wife Ann.  She said I think we have visitors (mice) again.  She had heard tapping noises coming from the recessed ceiling in the basement.  At 11 AM she called in panic that mice are not in the house but we have a water leak somewhere.  The ceiling in the basement was expanding and about to burst and water was dripping down the wall and onto the couch.

I had her shut down the water and I drove home. I took ceiling tiles down to find the pipe.  There was no visible pipe that was leaking so I had to start searching for the problem.  First we checked all the toilets and under each sink.  Next we checked the dishwasher, washing machine and icemaker in the refrigerator.  Nothing!  Then my wife says check the attic, what if the AC unit is broken and it is leaking.  Nope, not that either.   Maybe there is an issue with the roof.  I checked the attic for any signs of water; everything looked good, no water there either.  Now the reality of this is setting in. If a welding broke on a pipe inside the walls, we are going to have to call a plumber to start ripping down sheet rock to find it.

Ann says I’m calling my friend that does plumbing. I tell her no, I’m not ready for someone to just come and start ripping through the place.  She calls anyway.  Tony comes over. He goes through everything we did, and can’t find a thing and starts to tell Ann what is next.  He said we may have to cut into walls to find the issue.  As he is talking to her, he notices a small amount of water on the floor.  He moved the water cooler and takes out the 5 gallon bottle (more than ½ of the bottle was gone) and bam there was a crack in the water bottle leaking at a slow rate. It was seeping through the hardwood floors without making a puddle.  Who would have known this is what was leaking?

I guess as a homeowner sometimes the SMALLEST thing can cause the BIGGEST problems.   Good thing that Tony is a longtime friend of the family. He and my wife had a good laugh over this.

 

Fred Damore headshot photo


About 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

 

 


Vacation Cabin (2)Have you ever thought about owning a second home?  Perhaps a cottage on a lake or a chalet near a ski area is a goal or dream of yours?  It might even be a boat, provided it meets the IRS criteria as a second home.  The question you need to ask is “am I ready and able to own a vacation home?”

I owned a vacation home once, and at that time in my life, it provided weekends of fun and relaxation on a lake in New Hampshire.  It sometimes caused stress and financial burden too.  For instance, once a tree fell on the roof and caused some significant damage.  This is not an easy situation to handle when you live 100 miles away.  And when you close it up in the fall, you never know what you will find when you reopen in the spring or “who” has been living there.

So let me share some of the benefits and pitfalls of owning a vacation home.  Then you can decide if it’s right for you.

The obvious benefit is that a vacation home provides an escape from the hectic pace of everyday life.  Pack up the car on Friday night and off you go for a fun filled weekend.

There are potential tax benefits and deductions that can be taken with a second home.  Follow the guidelines that the IRS offers regarding qualifying second homes.  When in doubt, check with your tax professional to get a better understanding of your deductions.

It is an investment, and like your principal residence, could result in increased value over the years.

There are always projects in the vacation home, and if you would like to become a qualified do-it-yourselfer, then it’s a great place to practice and learn how to do things you might eventually need to do at home.  Small carpentry projects, plumbing repairs, and the like, are commonplace in a vacation home.

On the downside is the potential for your vacation home to drain your finances with maintenance and repairs.  Just like at home, taxes and association cost can increase.   Even the cost of going there could increase with the cost of gasoline.

Just like in the movie “Field of Dreams”, if you build it they will come, well, with a vacation home, if you own it, you must go.  If it’s there, there is an expectation that you must use it.  So you will go to your vacation home and perhaps you didn’t handle a home project or attend a back home activity that was important to you.

When I owned my cottage, it was truly a place to relax, unwind, socialize with friends and neighbors, get a tan, and get in better shape through physical projects and recreational activities.  I owned it for 7+ years, and regretted selling it when I did for financial reasons.  My kids were disappointed at the time and still will comment over 25 years later “I wish we still had the cottage”.  At least they still have the memories of the fun times.

In making your decision, think about the things I’ve outlined above.   Weigh the plusses and minuses and hopefully you will have your answer.  Good luck and enjoy!

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the author: Roland Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy.  Roland has experienced the fun and frustrations of owning a vacation home.  He can be contacted through his website at www.spadaforateam.com


Category: Family, Home Buying
2012-12-10 19.38.51
Years ago, when I purchased my home in Woburn, I didn’t think about the possibility of having dogs nor did I care about which veterinarian or medical facilities were available for them.
Fast forward 10 years later and my home has been taken over by two lovable and adventurous  dogs, Eddy and Louie.  As I’m sure my fellow pet lovers and owners can attest, your priorities change a bit when these furry creatures are a part of your life.

 

2013-03-28 07.43.01A few months ago, my youngest dog Louie collapsed without warning and lay lifeless on my kitchen floor.  As I rushed to his side, he regained consciousnesses most likely due to my high pitched scream :)    You can imagine how concerned and traumatic this was especially since it was late in the evening and my vet was closed.

 

Thankfully, I live near the 24 hour Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital which I was able to rush him to and be seen right away. In retrospect, I lucked out! I had no idea that I would need such a facility when I purchased my home.  Louie is fine and back to his usual antics around the home.

 

eddyBeing in real estate, my new challenge to all my home buyers is “Don’t forget your pet”!  Sure things like schools, neighborhoods and area amenities are important but if you have pets, make sure you have the necessary care for them as well.
You can be sure that the next home I buy a property, much thought and consideration will be given to what is available for my dogs.

 

Here are some helpful links for dog/pet owners:
Find an American Animal Hospital Association certified hospital at www.aaha.org
Find a VCA Animal Hospital at www.vcahospitals.com
Find a Local Veterinarian at www.vetstreet.com

 

ant5 (1)About the author: Anthony Giglio is one of the broker/owners of RE/MAX Legacy and enjoys working with pet owners to find the perfect place to live. You can learn more about him or contact him directly on his website www.myhomeMA.com

Kids and Cell Phones

DaMore blog Iphone skiingAt what age do you let your kids have a cell phone?

This past Spring I gave my son Dylan my old iPhone.  Dylan turned 10 in December of 2013.  My thoughts on it were  “he is becoming independent and I need to get in touch with him if there is a problem”.  The main reason for giving him my old cell phone was that we ski at Killington on the weekends and I wanted to be able to track him and call him if he is not back at a certain time. His ski group ends at 3:00 PM. This particular day it was 3:15 PM he was not back so I called and texted him on his phone.  I got no response.  At 3:30 PM he came skiing down, and I said to him “I have been calling you, why did you not come back with your group?” Dylan said, “I know you were calling and I didn’t want to pick it up because you would just tell me to come back.  So I just kept skiing.”  Now I’m thinking to myself then “Why did I give him this iPhone?”   I explained to him that I needed to know where he was so his Mom and I don’t worry.

The next few weeks he was better with the communication using the phone.  This past weekend he had a competition at Mt. Snow. He had his cell phone so that we could find him if we needed too.  At the end of the day I got a call from him crying, he gave me his location and I went to get him.  He was with a medic and was able to call me so I could get to him quickly.  He ended up with a fractured collarbone.  In this moment I was happy that I made the decision to give him a cell phone.  I got to him in minutes instead of hours, and that is a big deal to both of us.  He is fine now and I’m glad he had the phone with him.

What age would you get your kids a phone?

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the Author:  Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage. You can contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com


Category: Family

Path A BI’m sure the thought enters each of our minds “what if”…we took a different path at various points in our lives.  If we went to college B instead of college A, if we dated this person instead of another, if we took one job vs. another, what might our lives look like today?  The path we took has led us to where we are today.  Could things have been different?  Would we have wanted it to be different?

Every little thing we do and every decision we make affects our path and where we find ourselves today.  In my case, I wanted to go to West Point, and although I had the support of my congressman and had the test scores and grades to be selected, I was denied because of a physical problem I had that occurred accidentally during some horseplay.  I had dislocated my shoulder at the age of 15 and that ultimately prevented me from being appointed to West Point.  It also kept me out of the service.  As it turned out, if I had graduated from West Point, or was subsequently drafted in the mid 60’s as could have been the case, most likely I would have been sent to Vietnam, and we know how that could have ended.

In the early 70’s while working at a large local manufacturing company as an engineer, my best friend and I decided to get our real estate license.  We both began working part-time at a local office owned by a mutual friend.  Within a few years we decided to open our own office and we attempted to purchase a suitable building to house our office.  Zoning, financing and a deteriorating stock market (think Watergate and oil embargo), and our dreams went down the tubes.  So did our investment funds as we had it “working for us” in the stock market.   My friend eventually opened a real estate office with his brother-in-law and became very successful.  I stayed at my full-time job and didn’t get back into real estate until I took an early retirement in 1997.  In 2012 my wife Gale and I along with Anthony Giglio were able to purchase the Woburn RE/MAX franchise.  It only took 36 years, but now I’m an owner!

Looking back, there were all sorts of critical points in my life and my work career that could have affected where I am today.  Are there things I wish I had done?  Absolutely…..but I am happy where I am and after all…it was my path to today!

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the author: Roland Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy.  His path to today has brought him to the place he is happy to be. He can be contacted through his website at www.spadaforateam.com


Category: Family

bucheIt is the holiday time of the year once again, and traditions are what make those holidays joyful and memorable. For me Christmas is a religious holiday but also a tradition where our family gathers around the manger and the Christmas tree, exchanges presents, has dinner and finishes with “Bûche de Noel”. If I change any one of these traditions my son comes to me and objects. So this year he has decided to take the reins of my old traditions and he won’t let me change them…

My favorite tradition or I should say the one I have been always known for is my “Bûche de Noel”. In 9th grade one of our activities was making a “Bûche de Noel”.  I used to bake 10 to 15 Yule logs and give them out as presents. For this occasion I will share my favorite recipe with you.

If you have a favorite dessert or a tradition please share it with us. Let us make a great Christmas Recipe book from great homes.

Bûche de Noel

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

1. Separate egg white from egg yolk in 2 bowls.

2. Beat egg whites with 4 tbsp. of sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff.

3. Beat egg yolks, vanilla and the remaining sugar until they are pale yellow.

4. Pour Egg whites over egg yolks.

5. Mix egg yolks batter to the egg whites. (Do not use mixer).

6. Add flour and baking powder and mix lightly to blend in.

7. Heat oven at 350.

8. Pour the dough in jelly roll lined with parchment paper.

9. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

10. Now you will need a humid towel.  Flip your cake over the towel, remove the paper and roll with the towel. This is done when the cake is hot.

11. When you are ready to decorate unroll your cake, put your cream, roll again and decorate with the rest of the cream.

Cream

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup of semisweet chocolate chip or bites (4 to 5 ounces)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Rum

1.  Separate egg yolk from egg white.

2. Beat egg yolks, vanilla, rum and sugar in a double boiler until the sugar melts and it is fluffy.

3. Let the egg yolks cool off.

4. Add the butter and beat until you have a smooth consistency.

5. Melt chocolate, let it cool off and mix in the batter.

6. Beat 1 egg white and mix in.

7. Unfold your “Bûche de Noel” put half the cream.

8. Roll and decorate with the rest of the cream.

Good Luck

Happy Holidays to all of you and hope you keep at least one tradition with your family. Don’t forget to share your favorite recipes.

 

JanineAbout the Author: Janine Elkhoury is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and enjoys making her Bûche de Noel around the holidays.  You can learn more about her on her website www.mahomesonline.com


Photo Oct 31, 9 07 50 AMWell, It’s Halloween. Which for me means spending an absurd amount of money to make sure my 2 year old daughter is comparably cute to the other little 2 year old girls out there. It also means rushing to the store and digging through opened packages and “left overs” because my 12 year old son who was “too old” to go trick or treating decides two days before Halloween he has changed his mind. I would love to be a “good mom” and make their costumes, but I’m not going to even attempt to find the time. If I do find a few moments of spare time to myself I would rather do more productive things… like take a shower or pee with the door closed.

Halloween begins it all. The chaos of the Holiday season. Finding holiday outfits for the kids (because if they are not dressed “cute enough” my mother will make sure I know), either preparing to host Thanksgiving or figuring out what you’re going to bring to the family member that is hosting, and telling yourself everyday that you need to start shopping for gifts (but not). You will be reminded every time you walk into a store that you need to begin shopping because stores start playing Christmas music the day after Halloween now… which is great for the first week or two and then you want to take a bat to every store music system (I can’t be the only one).  If you’re married there’s figuring out which holidays you spend with whose family. If either set of parents are divorced that just adds to the fun of it. No matter what… someone ends up insulted and ticked off. Isn’t this fun?!

Kids already start talking about what they want for gifts. I am lucky enough that my son still believes in Santa. However, the Santa he believes in does not have a budget. So, for year number 2 his list is going into the THOUSANDS. Which just means for the second year in a row he will be utterly disappointed (This Santa does not deliver a trip to a Sox vs Yankee game in New York via private jet… seriously).

I had already started to stress weeks ago when my thoughts lead me to this decision… I’m not doing it again this year. By that I mean letting the stress and chaos of it all ruin it. Kids are only small once, and everyday they are a little older. Our parents will not be around forever. Money comes and goes… I’ll be broke in January but it will come back (RIGHT?). I think we all just need to slow down and enjoy it…. Instead of praying for it all to be over. One day, one holiday at a time.

So, It’s Halloween. Whether you’re taking your kids out trick or treating or just handing out candy… take a deep breath, be safe, and enjoy.

LizAbout the Author: Liz Pedrini is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and enjoys the holiday chaos with her family. You can learn more about her on her website www.lizpedrini.com


Fred Door 1

Learn what to do and not do when putting in a new front screen door.

So our screen door in the front of the house was getting old.  It would not stay open when we had groceries to bring in and one of the handles would fall off from time to time.  Also, we did not have a screen for it, just the glass piece which would make a heat box in the front of the house in the summer.

 

 

These are the steps to follow

1.  Go to Lowes and bring wife to pick out color, glass and handles  (Cost $300)

2.  Take out old door  (it will just unscrew)

3.  Put the old door out for trash  (Woburn will take it)

4.  Fill in all holes and any gaps with white paintable caulk

5.  Paint all trim  (in my case -gloss white)

6.  Take door out of box

7.  Put top header metal door piece up  (screws right in)

8.  Slide door in place and screw in

9.  Almost done, put handles on and door opens and closes no problems

My steps taken

1. Took wife to Lowes, we picked out a brown/rust door (20 minutes)

2.  I took out old door  (20 minutes)

3.  Put old door out on curb (1 minute)

4.  Filled in all holes and caulked (10 minutes)

5.  Painted trim (20 minutes)

6.  Decided to give another coat of paint (10 minutes)

7.  Took door out of box and put in place. Come to find out – colors look a lot different at the store than they do at home. Wife sent me back to return door (1 hour)

8.  I was to buy a white door, if not white get black  (I looked and bought poplar white)

9.  Got home, took door out of box and then found out poplar white is Tan  (why doesn’t it just say Tan.  White is White, Tan is Tan) Back to store. (1 hour)Fred Door 2

10.  New door, now we have black, put header up  (5 minutes)

11.  Screwed door in and put handles on  (1 hour)

12.  80% done and wife says maybe we should have special ordered a glossy white.

13.  I blocked my ears and said I’m almost done, let me just finish and we can see how it looks.

14.  After review, the door is still in place, but I had to paint front railings with new coat of glossy black  (1 hour)

15.  After a week the Wife says, its ok, don’t love it but ok, but we now need new outside lights!

 

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is.  But, you can put a front door in yourself for $300 and give the front of your house a new look.  Maybe you should make sure you rip open boxes at the store to see what you are buying so you don’t have to go there 3 times. Is the moral that some projects turn into many small projects.  Or last, just do what your wife says when she says it.


About 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


lifeisshort                       Life is too short!!
Mark your calendars with valuable days.

July 28th is national parent’s day.  Honor your parents; also give yourself and your husband a tap on the back for being great parents.

Celebrate family structure and values. July 28th is not a gift day; keep the gifts for mother’s and father’s day. The best way to mark this day is spending time together. It is important to let your parents know how much you care.

Life is too short, let us express our love to our family. Don’t let a day go by not expressing the love you have to your family and relatives. Mark your calendar and celebrate each one of these special days.

  • Brothers and Sisters Day Always on May 2nd.
  • Mother’s day when: Second Sunday in May.
  • Father’s day when: Third Sunday in June.
  • National Parents day when: Fourth Sunday in July
  • Aunt and Uncles day when: July 26th.
  • Father-In-Law day when: Always July 30th.
  • Sister’s day celebrates First Sunday in August (day varies depending on websites but still tell your sister you care.
  • Son and Daughter Day when: Always August 11th.

JanineAbout the Author: Janine Elkhoury is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy. You can learn more about her on her website www.mahomesonline.com 


Category: Events, Family, Holidays