Category Archives: Home Building

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.



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

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

Image result for buyer agent stock photoSure, you can search for your new home by yourself. But why, when working with a buyer’s agent is easier, faster and a lot more fun, and it is more likely to result in your finding a new home.   An experienced RE/MAX buyer agent can show you more suitable homes, offer you valuable advice and can easily navigate you through the entire process. This is also how you can save time.

As a buyer you need representation, and that is best accomplished with a buyer agent contract.

Locally there is only one Multiple Listing Service (MLSPIN). So regardless if you have two or three agents looking on your behalf, they still get their information from MLS.  Zillow and Trulia are good sites to be visiting as you look for your home, but their information is going to be delayed and not as timely as the information that your agent could provide.  Having several agents looking on your behalf seems like a smart idea, but does not work. As a buyer, select an agent for a short period of time, perhaps two weeks and sign with them. If you’ve chosen the right agent, you should experience a relationship that thrives on communication, knowledge and loyalty. By working exclusively with one agent you should improve the results.

The days of submitting your offer with the listing agent is a past practice and not the best approach today.  Do you really think that you will prevail without representation?  Or will you get a better deal by handing your offer to the listing agent?  The listing agent works for the seller. So if he or she is negotiating your offer chances are it will not be in your favor. Unless you are a Real Estate attorney, you need a strong buyer’s agent.

Think of it as dating compared to a relationship, where chemistry is important but so are credentials.

Patty 2About the author: Patty Lovett is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and part of the Alliance Home Team. She works with both Buyers and Sellers. You can contact her directly on her website at

Category: Home Building

“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if I’ve gone away from you.”

Pueblo Indian Prayer

thank youNow that the holidays are here, I take a break from all my routine emails to thank everyone in my business. I hope your holidays are joyful. My team and I would like to wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.



Thank you to all my sellers who have trusted me and listed and sold with me.

Thank you to all my buyers who have chosen me as their agent and purchased a home with me this year.

Thank you to all my landlords who keep giving me their listings.

Thank you to all my prospects that see the difference in me, and cherry pick me as their agent knowing they have the choice of working with another agent.

Thank you to all the home inspectors on my team who make the home inspection issues feel like an icing on a piece of cake. They help my buyers make a wise decision whether the house has good bones and needs some work or a money pit and need to move on to the next house.

Thank you to all the mortgage brokers, underwriters, and appraisers on my team who make the mortgage commitment letter an easy process although they have to go through 100 hoops to make money come to the closing table.

Thank you to all the attorneys and paralegals on my team for reviewing the purchase and sale, writing extensions, reviewing the mortgage commitment, preparing HUD statement and  getting all the parties to the closing table without any tears.

Thank you to my team at RE/MAX Legacy for all their support, my fellow Realtors that are on the other side of the transaction, the fire fighters for smoke inspections, the utility companies for the final readings, and everyone that plays a role in my team.

Thank you (last but not least) to my husband and my son who have to deal with a mom and spouse who has to juggle a crazy schedule, not be around at dinner time, absent at sports events and squeezing a pick up between two showings.

Thank you to my friends that trust that a business relationship does not affect a friendship but makes it stronger.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone who held my hand this year, thank you for your trust, your knowledge, your patience, your support and your commitment.

Thank you for making my year such a successful year and my job such a fun environment. Thanks for letting me know if I can help anyone of your friends or family members buy, sell or rent in 2015.


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


houses for linda blog


Do these houses look familiar?  We’ve all seen houses just like these in our neighborhood.  These four houses were constructed from prefabricated components ordered from Sears & Roebuck Co.

It is reported that more than 100,000 houses were sold between 1908 and 1940 through Sears’s Modern Homes program.  Entire homes would arrive by railroad, from precut lumber, to carved staircases, down to the nails and varnish.  Sears even offered the financing, for homeowners to build their own houses.  The official tally exists of the number of Sears’ mail-order houses that still survive today, which is in the thousands.

By 1911, Modern Homes catalogs included illustrations of house interiors, which provided homeowners with blueprints for furnishing the houses with Sears’ appliances and fixtures.

It is difficult to appreciate just how important the Modern Homes program and others like it were to homebuyers in the first half of the twentieth century.  Cities were getting more crowded.  The United States was experiencing a great economic boom, and millions of immigrants were pouring into America’s big cities.

People and factories were moving from city to suburbs. Stately, expensive Victorian-style homes were not options for any but the upper class of homeowners. Affordable, mail-order homes proved to be just the answer to such dilemmas.

With Sears’ prebuilt components, construction hours were reduced by approximately 40%, a real savings to budget-conscious first-time homeowners

The Sears homes remaining today stand as testaments to the pride of homes built by more than 100,000 Sears’ customers.

Linda14About the author: Linda Dube is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and is excited to help you with your next move. You can contact her on her website:

realagentWhy not just be more direct with your potential buyers or sellers? Why add another layer to this already complicated process? In reality, a real estate agent actually makes this process less complicated. A real estate agent is your liaison. They work for you and have a wealth of experience and utilities to help you make the best decision possible. Here are several reasons why a real estate agent is a smart choice to save you time, money, and effort:

•Access to more houses. That dream house may not be listed on the market in the usual sense. A real estate agent can expose these houses to you, giving you more choices. They can also set you up on a website that automatically emails you listings that meet your criteria.

• Negotiation. Offers and counteroffers can be a tricky business. By having someone experienced in this environment, you can ensure that you’re getting the best deal. In addition, this is where your real estate agent can negotiate to have new appliances or fresh carpeting installed without the hassle of you doing it.

• Statistics. While it may not be the most charming word, your real estate agent can give you easy to digest information on the house you’re interested in. This information could be concerning resale value, the local community, the schools, the infrastructure, and other items of interest.

• Protection. A house is a huge investment. And while it’s important that you like how it looks on the outside, the inside also matters. Your real estate agent will advise you to hire a home inspector who will inspect the house thoroughly for any major problems such as foundation issues, water damage, heating, electrical and plumbing concerns.  Your agent may provide you with a list of competent home inspectors.

• Legal advice. Your real estate agent will point you in the right direction for legal advice.  Attorneys can handle all the paperwork in the real estate transactions, including reviewing offers, purchases, leases and inspection and appraisal reports. They also can resolve title and environmental issues.

I have just touched the surface on why you should use a real estate agent.  Buying  real estate is a very complicated endeavor.  If you were taking a road trip wouldn’t you consult a map? Think of your agent as a map to your future home.

Patty 2About the author: Patricia Lovett is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and is part of The Alliance Home Team.  You can learn more about Patricia by visiting her website

firsttimeAre you new to the home buying process and do not have a clue on where to start? Would you like to be educated on the process so you know what to expect? A first-time home buyer seminar might be a good place to start.

Usually these seminars provide information on how best to get pre-approved, why it is important to work with a Realtor, why you need an attorney, the role of a home inspector, and various other people who will cross your path during the process.  The process can become overwhelming at times so it is good to know what to expect.

With all these professionals together you have an opportunity to ask questions and also to benefit from the experiences of others.  Traditionally these seminars occur in the evening or on Saturday morning.  Getting up early could definitely work in your favor.

If you decide you would like to attend a buyer seminar, contact your local bank to see if they have any plans to do one soon.  For example Cathy Dyl , a mortgage broker at Stoneham Bank, does seminars periodically during the year.  Also you could contact our office. We would be very happy to point you in the right direction.

The spring market is going to be very competitive.  Educating yourself on the process will help alleviate stress along the way!

sharonAbout the Author: Sharon Potts is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy and looks forward to working with first time homebuyers. You can contact her directly through her website at




Should You Waive a Home Inspection?

 It doesn’t matter if you’re buying new construction, an old home, condo or something in between.  It is extremely important to have a home inspection by a licensed home inspector.  It could be the best money you can spend in the home buying process.

The inspection is important for the buyer as it becomes a learning process and an opportunity to learn about the home or condo that you’re buying.  In addition, the issues identified become a potential negotiating point or a reason to walk from the sale.

I’ve personally found that experienced buyers/investors tend to feel that they know homes well, and as a result, will waive a home inspection.  Sometimes waiving a home inspection may give a buyer an advantage in multiple offer scenarios.  In my opinion, waiving the home inspection is like playing Russian roulette.   Unless you’re a contractor with a full understanding of what you’re buying, this is not recommended.

As a buyer’s agent, I will never advise my buyer to waive the inspection.  Over the years I’ve had buyers waive the home inspection.  They have felt confident that their cursory walk-through has provided enough information that they can move forward, only to find issues that were overlooked when they own the home.  Some of the most common overlooked issues are:

Pests:  Presence of termites, carpenter ants, or powder post beetles is sometimes not obvious.  Current or past damage from these insects could result in the need for extensive repair/replacement of the damaged areas and perhaps even treatment to prevent future reoccurrences.

Structure:  Structure issues can be a result of damage from pests, settling of the home, or improper construction.  Failure to repair structural damage could cause further impact on the home over time.

Electrical:  Having the electrical system checked is a must.  I am seeing more instances of improper wiring in the electrical panel, moisture gaining access from the outside causing rust and potential shock and short out dangers, overloading and doubling up on breakers.

Mold:  This can be caused by excessive moisture (another problem in and of itself), and mold can come in different forms and levels of danger.  Proper removal can be at a significant cost.  A home inspector is not allowed to identify it as mold, but by raising a red flag and calling attention to “it”, you can bring in an expert to further assess.

If you are a seller, perhaps a proactive approach for you would be to have an inspection before placing your home on the market.  This will identify potential issues and give you the opportunity to correct the issues before they become part of the negotiation.

To summarize…have a home inspection!  It will be the best money you will spend.  And while you’re at it, check for radon too.  That will be a subject for another day!

About the author:   Roland Spadafora is a Broker Owner of RE/MAX Legacy, and is active as a listing and selling agent.  Over the years, he has been present on numerous home inspections and “has seen it all”.  You can visit his website at


I have had the personal experience not once, but twice, to subcontract and build my own home.  The first time I did it I was in my early 30’s and it was a very painful experience.  I got through it.  I made many mistakes, but I learned a lot.  The second time was 19 years later and although it had its frustrations, it was a totally different and more positive experience.

Subcontracting is not for everyone.  It requires a knowledge of the building process, the ability to choose the right person for each job (not always the cheapest), and the time to be involved.  My first time, I was working the 3 PM – 11 PM shift at my full time job, so I could be at the site from early morning until about 2 PM.  My second time, I had traditional hours, so I was at the site early in the morning, at lunch time and then at the end of the day.  My supervisor at work was very understanding and needless to say, that was a blessing.

I had a better group of subcontractors for the second home and it made a big difference.  Not only were they there to do the work properly and timely, they also were willing to share advice and ideas.  That was a real benefit!

No matter what, plan as you may, you’ll always think of something you missed or something you should have done differently.  With the second home, there were fewer of those “I should have’s”.

Part of saving money by not hiring a contractor means doing a lot of work yourself.  It became a family effort and everybody pitched in – cleaning, painting, buying supplies etc.

Another major learning experience that you must factor into your plans – you will never come in on budget!  So make sure there is money tucked away for the overage that is destined to occur.

In the end, you will have your “dream” home and you can truly say to friends and neighbors – “I built this!”  It’s a great feeling!

About the Author: Roland Spadafora is one of the owners of RE/MAX Legacy and has personal experience in building homes through subcontracting.  Read more about him or contact him through his website