Sunday, March 26, 2017

Townhouse in Maynard MA - 11 Oak Ridge Drive Unit 6


Perfect for first-time home-buyers, down-sizers, or anyone looking for easy living in a great location! You'll love the private location and move-in ready condition of this 4-level townhouse at Oak Ridge. Open first-floor layout includes a maple/stainless kitchen and adjacent dining room with sliders to a deck where you'll enjoy beautiful wooded views, afternoon sun. The second floor has two spacious bedrooms with generous closets, a linen closet and a full bath with cherry cabinetry, double-sinks. The finished third floor loft with a wood-burning fireplace is perfect for an office, playroom, or private getaway space. Semi-finished lower-level walk-out is ready for your completion. Trane brand gas furnace and air-conditioning, replacement windows, 2015 roof.  MORE...

Bordered by Concord, Sudbury, Acton, and Stow, Maynard is located approx. 25 NW of Boston; an easy commuter location to Waltham, Cambridge, Boston, and west to Route 495. The variety of specialty shops and restaurants, the Fine Arts Place movie theater, library, Art Space, community theater, parks, walking track, farmer's market, Erickson's Ice Cream, golf club, the Assebet River Rail Trail, and the newly designated Maynard Cultural District make Maynard the place you'll want to call home. 

If you haven't been to Maynard, come see what you're missing! And, if you would like to live in Maynard, check out homes for sale at or contact me to arrange a time to talk

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Construction - Common Misconceptions

Everyone Loves New Construction!
Builder confidence is up! New single-family homes and condominiums are finally being built again and what’s better than having everything shiny and new, built with state-of-the art materials, energy efficient systems and appliances, and everything to fit the way you live, work, and play?

Given the choice, a lot of home buyers would prefer to purchase a new home than a house that someone else has lived in; especially buyers who don’t have the time, interest, or money for repairing or renovating a house that someone has lived in.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, moving-up, down-sizing/right-sizing, or someone who has bought and sold multiple times, if you have not purchased new construction before or you did it along time ago, you may have some misconceptions about buying new construction. Here are a few common misconceptions about new construction.

The biggest misconception about new construction is that because it’s new, it will be perfect! New houses are built by people and we all know that people are never perfect. A new house can have defects just like a resale. While home buyers expect and even look for things to be wrong with an older house that has been lived in, they don’t expect any issues in new house. Realistic expectations are important when buying any house so remember, there is no such thing as perfect!

Selections and Upgrades

One of the most fun things about buying a new home is that you get to pick out flooring, cabinets, counter-tops, appliances, tile, fixtures, etc. and have everything color-coordinated, up-to-date and just the way you want it. With so many choices it’s easy to get carried away with making selections that are so trendy that you may grow tired of them in a short-time. And, it’s also easy to pay for extra for upgrades that you may not need and that really don’t add value.

While it’s nice to have everything done at the same time by the builder, sometimes waiting and getting things done later on your own can be a better and more cost effective choice. If you decide to buy upgrades, buy for own enjoyment and don’t expect that you will get your money back when you sell. What you sell for will depend on the market at the time and as soon as you move-in, your new home becomes used! Buy what you like, don’t over-personalize and don’t do anything because you think it will be a money-maker later especially if you are buying in a large development of similar homes.

Home Inspections

A lot of people have the misconception that they don’t need to do a home inspection when buying new construction because everything is new, under warranty, and you’ll do a final walk-through and prepare a punch-list of items that the builder will fix.

Having a home inspection is just as important for a new house as for a resale. Remember, new is not perfect and there may be items that weren’t installed or not connected properly, etc. A walk-through is not the same as a thorough inspection by a professional home inspector. Buying a home is a big investment; don’t be “penny-wise and pound foolish.” Also, make sure you know exactly what items are under warranty and for how long!

That builders/developers don’t negotiate is another misconception about buying new construction. This is something that home buyers are led to believe by the on-site salesperson who represents the builder, and while most buyers would never accept that premise if they were buying a resale property, for some reason they believe it about new builds.

Builders are like every other seller and whether or not they will negotiate depends on a number of variables – the market, the size of the development, how far along the project is, how qualified you are, which items you want to negotiate about – price, terms, features, etc. Like every other seller, some builders are easier and friendlier and more financially stable than others; some are good business people and know when it pays to be flexible and others just dig in.

On-Site Sales

Another great thing about about buying new construction is that builders make it so easy to buy by building sales models and having an on-site agent/salesperson to help you.

The most important misconception that buyers have about new construction is that they cannot have or don't need a buyer agent/broker on their side. While the majority of home-buyers know that it makes sense to have their own buyer agent represent them and they want a professional whose fiduciary responsibility is to work on their behalf to get them the best deal, help them understand their options in the local market, help them do their due diligence, and negotiate on their behalf when they are buying a resale, many still think that when buying a new home it's OK to go directly to the on-site agent/salesperson and do whatever that seller's agent tells them to.

Unfortunately, too many buyers don't even think about getting their own representation until they've already been to the site, talked with the on-site seller's rep, given up a lot of personal and financial information, and decided to buy. And by then, it's too late!

Yes, you can have your own buyer agent and buying a new house does not take away your right to representation. The majority of new homes are listed on MLS (multiple listing service) just like resale listings, and the listings include an offer of cooperation and compensation to buyer agents. The builder will pay your agent's fee out of the proceeds of the sale, the same as any other seller!

BUT, some new construction seller agents will often include a note on the MLS that buyers do not see that stipulates "buyer agent MUST be present at the first showing." There's the catch! They know that buyers drive around and will often stop at a model home "just to look" and the next thing they decide to buy. On-site agents do not want buyers to have a buyer agent on their side; the seller's agent want to control the buying so they can maximize profits for the builder (and themselves!) I have had buyers tell me that they were told that they could not have a buyer agent because they came to the site without their agent.

Take away

If you already have an agreement with a buyer agent to represent you, make sure you do not go to any new construction sites without your agent.

If you are thinking about buying new construction and do not have a buyer agent, get one before you visit any new construction sites and before you talk with anyone on-site. That way when you decide to buy, you will have a agent on your side! By the way, make sure your agent knows the area and has experience as a buyer agent for new construction.

About the author: Marilyn Messenger is a licensed broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative, associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord MA. She has been representing new construction home-buyers in Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard, Stow, and the towns west of Boston since 1993. Her clients have purchased new single-family homes, luxury properties and condominiums from both local and national builders. Her experience experience on a local Planning Board, Zoning Board, and board member of an HOA has been especially helpful to her new construction clients. Visit for more.

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.

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