Thursday, March 22, 2018

Enough Shoveling? The Solution is Easy...

Had Enough?

Four Nor'easters in as many weeks! Had enough snow-shoveling? And if cleaning up after the snow isn't enough, wait there's more... Then comes the continuous cycle of wood repairs, roof repairs, gutter cleaning, painting, yard work/all those fallen tree branches, lawn maintenance... Are you ready for an easier life-style where you can relax and enjoy the comfort, convenience, and all the amenities you deserve without all the work?

If the answer is yes, here are a couple of options for easy living where you can have all the amenities and conveniences without all the work!

Listed for $619,000: Single-family home at WestRidge in Hudson, a condominium development for active adults over 55. Click here for information about WestRidge and to see an interactive floor, photos and details for this beautiful home. Contact to schedule an appointment.
Cul-de-sac location; Beautiful Meadow View!
While a lot of communities are age restricted to people who are over 55, there are communities that welcome people of all ages and these communities can be a great option for first-time home buyers or really anyone who wants the benefits of homeownership but is too busy or not interested in doing a lot of maintenance.

Coming on the market in April!
All ages welcome at this Deer Hedge Run townhouse in Maynard, located near Acton, Concord, and Sudbury, has 3 finished levels, plus a full basement for storage, an open floor, parking for 2, and updated systems. Residents enjoy the heated pool, tennis court, clubhouse, and fitness room. Call 508-596-3501 for more information.
Townhouse at Deer Hedge Run
A condominium is a form of ownership and they include many styles - multi-family apartments, single-family, attached townhouses, converted 2/3 family houses, and duplex styles. If you would like to know more about options for condominium living in Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard and the towns west of Boston, please contact me anytime. As a condominium owner and resident, I have helped dozens of buyers and sellers in the area over the past 25 years and I would be happy to help you! You can also visit and click on the Condo tap.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Golden Rule for Home Buyers

Buying a home is an emotional experience that can bring out the best and sometimes the worst in people. Even people who are generally considerate sometimes forget how to behave when they are looking for a house. After-all it’s not something people do every day, it’s a big purchase and it’s at least a little scary for most people.

When there’s more than one person involved they may not agree, the kids are cranky from driving around, and everyone is concerned about making the right decision. All of these stress factors can cause people to act in ways they never would otherwise.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you through the process:

1. When you contact a real estate agent or call an office be prepared to give some basic information – name, address, phone number, and if you are pre-approved for a mortgage.

2. If you are not pre-approved for a mortgage, don’t be offended if an agent won’t show you a house. Instead, ask who you can contact to get pre-approved. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and agents have a responsibility to show homes only to qualified buyers. If you’re not ready to get pre-approved, then you’re not ready to look at houses!

3. If you go to an open house be prepared to sign-in and give correct information. If you are under contract with a buyer agent make sure you write that on the sign-in sheet. If you don’t want the agent at house to contact you just write please do not contact next to your information. Refusing to sign-in is rude and sets a tone of distrust – what if you really like the house? You’ve already gotten off on the wrong foot. Giving false information is never OK. Remember, you’re in someone’s home!

4. Houses are shown by appointment, so plan ahead. If someone is living there, they need some notice to pick up and get out – very few people can keep their house ready for visitors with a moment’s notice – can you? Even new construction is shown by appointment – there might be workers at the house, etc.

5. Real estate agents and home sellers have schedules. It is not realistic to call an agent or an office from in front of a house and expect an agent come right out to meet you.
Imagine calling your accountant, hair-dresser, plumber, mechanic, financial planner, or anyone else and expecting on the spot service!

6. Set up a meeting with an agent so you can talk about your needs and get to know each other. Buying a home is a big investment and can take several months – don’t you owe it to yourself to invest an house upfront?

7. Buying a home involves the whole family, so it’s OK to bring the kids (although, you will certainly be able to focus better without them…) If you bring them, make sure they understand that they are visiting someone’s home. Keep them by your side at all times, especially in new construction where things are unfinished and may be dangerous. It’s for their safety and for the safety of the homeowners’ possessions – wouldn’t you feel awful if they broke something? And please don’t let them play with the home-owners’ kids toys – they wouldn’t want anyone playing with their things.

8. Treat the house with respect. Of course, you need to look in closets and cabinets, etc. but dresser drawers, medicine cabinets, personal belongings are off limits. Never sit on someone’s bed or use the master bath – sellers know they give up some privacy when their homes are on the market but again, put yourself in their shoes!'

9. Relationships are about trust and mutual respect - loyalty matters. If you are under contract with a real estate agent, always contact that agent when you need information. People can get impatient sometimes or they don’t want to “bother” their agent so they start calling offices or listing agents demanding information or pretending that they are going to be clients.

Call your agent – he/she will call you back. If your agent doesn’t return calls and give you the information you need then find another agent. If you can’t stop yourself from calling an office or listing agent directly, make sure that you disclose that you are working with an agent right away and that you would appreciate some information.

10. The Golden Rule – as with everything else, if you treat people (real estate agents) and property the way you want to be treated, the home-buying process will be efficient, and the transaction will be a lot easier. If you’re not sure what the protocol is, just ask – we’re here to help.


Marilyn Messenger, a Certified Residential Specialist and an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) and associated with Andrew Mitchell & Company, has been representing buyers and sellers in Sudbury, Maynard, Wayland, Stow, Acton, and west of Boston MA since 1993. See what clients say.

Homes for sale 
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Kitchen Renovations - Q&A With An Expert

Housing trends come and go but one thing remains constant: the kitchen is still the most important room in the house! It is the heart of the home where people still love to gather with family and friends. No matter how many rooms there are in a house, everyone still ends up in the kitchen. And of course, kitchens are what sell houses!

I recently enjoyed a visit the Encore Construction showroom in Sudbury to see what's new and met with Award Winning Designer Nance Marshall* who graciously answered lots of questions so I could share them on my blog. I found Nance's insight very interested and helpful and hope you will too!

What is the first question most people ask you about remodeling their kitchen?
People are very concerned with the cost.  A kitchen is the most expensive room in a home.

What new trends are you seeing?
White cabinets are still preferred.  I urge my clients to be creative and get what THEY want. There really aren’t many rules, the kitchen should suit your family’s needs.

Is granite still the most popular choice for counter-tops? What else are you seeing?
Quartz is being used as much as granite, but for me there’s no replacing a beautiful piece of stone.

I’m seeing lots of grey and white - what is the best way to add color without being too trendy? The trick is to keep the space “warm and inviting”. If you LOVE blue, find a way to use it. The backsplash is an easy way to bring in your color and personality to tie it all together.

What is the most popular cabinet choice – white, dark wood, or other? Most are choosing White.  Keep in mind there are MANY “whites” to choose from.  We do encourage mixing in another color or wood.  You can do the island in a complimentary color or wood, maybe a beverage area in another finish?  You can also use different countertops in a kitchen to separate areas.

How long should people plan for their kitchen reno to take – complete makeover? Updating a few items? A full-blown kitchen down to the studs will be at least 3 months.  But you’ll quickly forget the time when you’ve got a gorgeous new kitchen! It really is the most important part of any home.

What is the most stressful part about remodeling a kitchen? For a family, it’s hard to be without your kitchen. It might be stressful for clients to make decisions that they all agree on.

What is the biggest misconception people have about redoing their kitchen? Most can’t understand why it takes so long, but it does.  Keep in mind a kitchen involves plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tile installers, countertops, painters and a ton of coordination. 

What is the most important thing for people to consider when choosing a contractor to do the renovation? Choose someone you feel comfortable working with.  You’ll be spending a lot of time with them...
Renovation by Encore
Return on investment is a consideration for renovation projects and if you would like a copy of the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report for Home Improvements please email


*Nance Marshall, Award Winning Designer, Encore Construction, 359 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, MA 01776, Tel:  978.443.4700,,

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Gift of Home Saves Taxes!

Holiday time is when people get together with family and friends, to exchange gifts and talk about plans for future which often include buying or selling a house. It’s also year-end and a good time to think about estate planning and taxes. Did you know that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even friends can start to pass along/gifting their estates while reducing inheritance taxes and getting to see their family enjoy the benefits of their gifts? What could be a better gift than tax-free help with a down-payment on a home?

NOTE: The following information was provided by a loan officer, however you should always talk

with a tax expert and financial adviser about your specific goals and financial situation.

Gifts are involved in approximately 25% of all of the mortgage loans that are transacted. Gifts from family members and relatives are allowed under IRS and lending guidelines but lenders do not report the parties involved to the IRS.

Under current IRS guidelines (please consult your accountant for tax advice and ramifications) each parent or relative can give up to $14,000 to each child or relative every year. That would mean that a mother and father can each give $14,000 a year to each son, daughter, and/or grandchild that would amount to $28,000 a year in total. If both sets of parents want to help with the down-payment on a house; each of the parents can give each borrower a gift of $14,000 per year. That would add up to $56,000 for both of you! That is a significant amount of tax-free money to help you buy a home for your family! Of course, a gift can also be less than $14,000, so give what you can.

That amount is per calendar year and not based on every twelve months. That would mean that they could give $56,000 (or more) in December 2017 and an additional $56,000 (or more) in January 2018. With only on month left in 2017, this is the time to bring up the subject with your family. What could make them happier than helping you buy a house and saving money on taxes?

For most types of mortgage loans, you will need to have 5% of the amount of the down-payment on your own, however, there are exceptions. To find out the exceptions and details about how gift money can be applied to your down-payment contact a reputable mortgage broker.

Visit to see homes for sale, get the latest real estate market reports, and learn about having your own buyer agent on your side. 

About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a licensed real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer Representative associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord has been representing home buyers and sellers in Wayland, Sudbury, Maynard, Stow, and Concord MA since 1993. for more. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

7984 Reasons to Sell Your House Over the Holidays

Holiday Season is a Great Time to Sell!
The holiday season is such a hectic time for people. Getting together with family and friends, traveling, shopping, decorating, company parties, charity events... So why would a home-seller keep their house on the market and even more, why would anyone list their house for sale during this busy time? A lot of real estate agents (who don't work over the holidays) will tell you that no one buys houses over the holidays anyway and you'll get more money if you wait until Spring like everyone else does, right?

Well actually, there are 7984 reasons why! That is the number of single-family and condominium home sellers in Middlesex County who accepted offers on their houses last year between November 15 and January 15. That includes 22 in Sudbury, 12 in Wayland, 17 in Concord, and 18 in Maynard. In Weston, there were 16, 22 in Hudson, and in Acton there were 30!

Sale prices for the properties that accepted offers during the holidays ranged from $108,000 for a condominium in Acton to $5,500,000 for a luxury estate in Weston; and all prices ranges in between. 

So why do houses sell over the holidays? Because:
  • Buyers have time to look; unused vacation days; companies give their employees extra time for shopping.
  • Holiday/year-end bonuses.
  • Pay-raises.
  • Motivated buyers who missed out or were out-bid in the Spring, Summer and Fall markets.
  • New jobs - companies hire for the new year. Relocating buyers need to make decisions soon.
  • People get engaged, married, combine households and need more space.
  • Visiting family brings out the nesting instinct.
  • Down-payment holiday gifts - click here to out how your family can give money tax-free.
  • Good deals; buyers are seeing price reductions from sellers who are ready to move.
  • People are in the mood to shop and there's nothing better than buying a house!
As for selling for more money in the Spring, if you are selling your house you are most likely going to buy another place to live. If prices are higher in the Spring, then you will also pay more for your next house. You may sell for less at this time of year but you will also pay less. If your end-goal is to buy another house, then understand that selling is just a step n the process toward buying. You will be ready to act as soon as houses come on the market while other buyers are waiting to sell.

So if your house is currently on the market, hang in there; the inconvenience can be worth it. If you are planning to sell, do it now. You'll be ahead of the competition and be ready to move forward.
If you are ready to buy or sell in Concord, Wayland, Sudbury, or any of the towns west of Boston - call Marilyn at 508-596-3501 or visit to see homes for sale in Massachusetts.

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