Sunday, February 12, 2017

Time for a Condo?

Enough plowing? How about a condo?
Time for a Condo?
Owning a home can be a lot of work especially when you live in Massachusetts! Anyone who lived here during the winter of 2015 remembers the seemingly never-ending snow storm after snow storm! With a foot in some places last week and blizzard warnings for the next two days, here we go again! After the snow is done, there's fixing the roof, repairing the siding, landscaping - there's always something...

First-time buyers at Oak Ridge, Maynard
Condominium living is exactly the right lifestyle for a lot of people. If you are a first time home buyer, you can generally get more living space for the same price as a single-family home, developments tend to be newer, and some offer amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers.

If you’re just too busy or not interested in working around the house, owning a condo may be for you; the exterior maintenance is taken care of by the homeowner association so you don’t have to be concerned about painting, landscaping, snow plowing, roof replacement, etc. – the benefits of home ownership without the work!

A lot of empty-nesters also like the idea of simplifying and having someone else take care of things. Wouldn’t it be nice to just lock the door and go somewhere warm next winter without having to worry about anything? Sounds perfect if you’re someone who wants easy living; doesn’t mind having close neighbors; is OK with letting other people make decisions for you or is willing to volunteer to be on the Homeowners Association Board. You won’t mind trading some personal freedoms in return for convenience, right?

“There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule.” Charles Osgood

Buyers know that condominiums/homeowner associations have rules that govern the community and offers to purchase a condominium should include a contingency that says the offer is subject to satisfactory review/acceptance of all documents… Most HOA (Home Owner association) rules are pretty standard, and your attorney can tell you which ones you can expect to find in most places, however, communities can and do amend the rules over the years so rules can vary. Parking and pets seem to be the biggest issues but there may also be rules holiday decorations, gardening, decks, facility usage; bicycle and baby carriage storage, any selling or rental restrictions – these days many developments will not allow investors … Some associations dictate what vendors you can use to replace the windows – yes, units owners are often responsible for windows, doors; know what you will be responsible for.

"Active Adults" at their detached townhouse in Hudson
The lender will review the budget and send a questionnaire asking about the overall well being of the development – i.e. number of owner occupied units, if there are any pending lawsuits, special assessments; but as the buyer, it is really important for YOU to read the rules. Only you can know if you’ll be comfortable living by the rules that govern the condo development you’ll be sharing; and the best time to do that is before you make an offer. Once you accept the condominium rules (or not) you can move forward and enjoy the lifestyle that’s right for you!

About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a licensed real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) associated with Andrew Mitchell in Concord, has sold dozens of condominiums and townhouses (new and resale units) in Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, Concord, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. As a condominium/townhouse owner and former Board of Trustees Member of a 155 unit complex, she knows how first-hand about buying and selling condominiums and about condo living. Ask Marilyn at 508-596-3501 or Search for homes at 

Single-Family Condominium Concord MA
Single-family condo at 9 Ingham Lane Concord - Sold for $895,100

Townhouse Condo in Maynard - 8 Deer Path Unit 2
Under Contract - Deer Hedge Run Townhouse Maynard



Sunday, January 08, 2017

Permits Save Time, Money, and Stress!

PermitsHappy New Year! You may have read my recent RealtyTimes post
"Pay Now or Pay Later..." about my New Year's Day water heater melt-down and how much more it costs to fix/replace appliances and systems after they break than it does to be proactive do things before you have to.

After the water was cleaned up and the new water-heater was installed, I realized that another issue with doing this without planning ahead is that the the contractor most likely did not have time to apply for a permit which is required whenever a gas appliance is installed, even when it is a replacement. So I called the contractor and was told "oh, we were going to do that." I'm not totally convinced that they really were but in any case I am waiting to hear from the plumbing inspector to schedule a time when he can check it out and issue the permit.

Having had this experience personally, it seemed like a good time to re-publish the post I wrote for RealtyTimes last Spring:

Whether you're doing some renovating or adding an addition or deck, replacing appliances or systems, make sure the contractor pulls a permit and that the inspector from the town signs off after the work is done. It's very easy to find out if one is needed; towns have the information about permits on their web sites or you can call the building inspector. Most people don't think about it. They assume that their contractor will take care of everything and especially because most include the cost of a permit in their quote.

Unfortunately, contractors often do not follow through with applying for the permit(s) and scheduling the inspection after. Whether it's a lack of time, or someone just forgets to do their job, the bottom line is that permits are important for your protection, protection of the town, and the protection of future owners. 

When you sell your house, if a home inspector sees a problem and there is no permit on file, even though it's not your fault, it raises suspicion that will ultimately cost you; buyers will question what else is wrong or missing and start looking for reasons to reduce the price! This has happened to many of my clients who paid top dollar to reputable contractors who never followed through on the permit.
Advice to homeowners and sellers: ask the contractor when the inspector from the town will be coming by to sign off on the work done. If they can't answer, make sure you follow up with the contractor. Or, you can call the inspector yourself then you know it will be done. It will save you money and stress. Enjoy your new home improvements!
About the author: Marilyn Messenger, CRS has been representing buyers and sellers west of Boston for 23 years. Having attended 100s of home inspections, she knows first-hand how important building permits are to the home buying and selling process. You can reach Marilyn at 508-596-3501 or visit for
buyer and seller information, free home searches, and market conditions reports for Wayland, Sudbury, and the towns west of Boston.

Friday, November 04, 2016

How's the Market?

The first question people always ask me is "how's the market?

The answer, in a recently published article by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors is "the market remained essentially flat in September compared with last year." Click here to see the full article.

While state-wide data is interesting, all real estate is local so here is a link to my latest market reports for Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Stow, and Maynard. Given all of the media hype last spring about fewer homes for sale, rising prices, etc., you may be surprised.

Contact me if you would like information about other towns or specific properties.
About the author: Marilyn Messenger is a licensed broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company, Concord. She has been representing home buyers and sellers in Wayland, Sudbury, Maynard, and the beautiful towns west of Boston since 1993. Click here to what her clients say.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Concord MA Mid-Year Housing Report

There were 91 single-family properties sold in Concord during the first half of 2016; a 12.5% increase over the same period in 2015 and the median sale price of $979,000 was 1.6% higher.

 There were 25 condominiums (including garden-apartment, attached and detached town-homes) sold between January 1 and June 30, 2016; exactly the same number as in 2015. However, the 2016 median sale price of $473,000 was 24.3% less than for the same period in 2015.

See the full market report for Concord.
Click to see all of the homes for sale in Concord.

About the author: Marilyn Messenger is a licensed real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord. She has been representing home sellers and buyers in Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. Her clients appreciate her responsiveness, attention to detail, follow-through, area knowledge, and her marketing and negotiating skills. MORE....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Condominium Market in Maynard Getting Stronger

18-5 Deer Path - Under Agreement

After many years of slow sales, the market for condominiums, and especially townhouses in Maynard has improved substantially this year! Year-to-date, there have been 14 condos, including 2 apartment style and 12 townhouses, sold compared with 9 for the same period in 2015. Sale prices for townhouses in Maynard YTD range from $145,000 for apartment style condominiums to $399,900 for new construction townhouses.

Current listings: There are currently 10 condominiums for sale in Maynard; five are higher priced new construction townhouses. The other five are in the established townhouse communities of Deer Hedge Run, Oak Ridge, and Apple Ridge. See condominiums for sale in Maynard and nearby towns.

Under Contract (Accepted Offers and Sales Pending): There are 7 condominiums with offers accepted waiting for contingencies and 9 sales pending. Several of the townhouses that are under contract had accepted offers within just a few days. Demand is strong from first time buyers and down-sizers. Condominiums can be a great way to own a home without having to be concerned about exterior maintenance and townhouses often have more space and amenities than single family homes for the same price.

Coming Soon: Deer Hedge Run townhouse with 2100+ square feet of living space spread over 4 finished levels that include a finished loft with fireplace, and a full finished walkout lower-level with a slider, laundry room, and full bath with a stall shower. The open floor offers flexibility for entertaining and everyday living. Beautiful yard and private wooded views. And, just a few steps to the pool, tennis courts, fitness room, and community guest parking. Call 508-596-3501 for details.
About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord,  has been selling townhouses in Maynard, Sudbury, Concord, Wayland, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. As a townhouse owner and resident and former board of trustees member, she knows first-hand about condominium living. Contact Marilyn if you are thinking about buying or selling a condominium.

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