Thursday, March 31, 2011

This week my I Phone Stopped Working!

Horrors of horrors.      I was in a panic!    I knew calls were coming in.  How would I retrieve them?     Would one of those calls be "the" Buyer for one of my beautiful listings?     Would I miss it?  

Well, thanks to the "Geeks" at the Apple store.   I didn't miss "that" Buyer.   But I did start thinking about the technology we have grown used to and how much we use it to sell your home or help you buy one!           

You all know I started selling real estate 24 years ago.....  Real estate even then was 24/7..( p.s. a term we had never heard of then) ...
we had what you called a "diverter"....

Sure enough, after the office was closed for the evening, the phone lines were call forwarded to one of the agents for the night.   It was that agents job to collect calls that came in after hours and help those clients out... or to take messages....  

Just imagine, no call waiting, (or caller ID for that matter!)
Your entire office depending on you in case someone was to call!    The last thing those agents wanted to hear was that their client got a busy signal or better yet, no answer because you went out for dinner!!    You know it wasn't easy to keep kids off phone...  or tell your Mom you couldn't chat that evening!   

In the past, we used a  Day Timer, basically a written data base and calendar... now, all that and more is stored in my smart phone...  My mobile security blanket!   It does everything, pictures, videos, surfs, conference calls, documents, sends reminders, plays music, games & movies...
Oh yea, and it's a phone too!     No wonder we don't know what to do when it blue screens!

Today, we think nothing of sending an offer by fax or email.     Technology, making it simple to get our offer in and maybe beat out another anxious buyer.     I remember the first fax machine at our office.   We weren't allowed to touch it as it might be used  frivolously!  (the paper was so very expensive!)    Couldn't live without it today and I daresay even that is becoming obsolete!   

But the best thing yet!   Remember Buyers driving around with the Sunday paper looking for open houses?    Today buyers can find your Home on the Internet in tons of different places.  They can even swoop down from space and view it from the road, take that little man, walk down the street and view the neighbor's homes!   Can I even imagine doing that in 1990?

Just this past weekend, I received an offer on one of my Franklin listings from a gentleman who lives in Japan!     He sure as heck didn't see it in the Sunday paper!   

And what about those Sunday or weekly papers?

Just one black and white photo of the home... that's if you were lucky!...   More likely a line ad with a few choice words like "cozy cape".    As a Buyer your information was sketchy.... as a Seller you longed to get the features of your home out there.  Today, color photos and lots of them.    Mapping devices that show the lot.    Tabs for community and school info....

If you bought or sold your home in 1990 you probably remember your Realtor belonging to  MLS, Multiple Listing Service..... She carried around a thick book.    The book was published every 2 weeks.      Now that was real timely! 
 Today your Realtor has over 50,000 properties available to her in Real Time!  

According to NAR (National Association of Realtors)

       Today, Nine in ten buyers used the Internet during the home search process!

And, why not!   You can look for homes, check out communities all without getting out of your PJs!   

So, We tweet, We text, We Blog, We search the Internet............. Technology today a huge part of how we do business.

With smart phone securely back in hand..
I realize the need and want for technology as it brings information to our fingertips lickity split....
... but really, the true factor in a successful real estate transaction is an agent with experience, market knowledge, communication skills and a little bit of match making ability.   

At the end of the day, Real Estate is about people. their families, lifestyle, communities, and their dreams.   

                                                    Care to comment?
         Can you live without your Mobile device? or some other technology?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Home Inspections....Will These Walls Talk?

You have worked hard finding your new home.   You've researched the market, spent hours upon hours peering at homes on line, and even more visiting those homes.  

But, now it's done!   You've found that home, and even better yet, have come to terms with the Seller on the property!

Inspection Contingency Clause.
This is fairly standard and expected.   In most cases your inspection contingency clause will give you the opportunity to investigate the property and back out of the transaction if you find any major structural, mechanical or other defects.  

  Facts for Consumers   

Be present for the inspection.

This way you can investigate the property along with the Inspector, listening, learning and asking questions about your new home.
The Inspector will give you helpful maintenance tips as well as point out any present or potential problems that he/she sees.     You should get a written report that details the aspects of the inspection, and it's easier to understand the report if you have been around the property with the guy/gal.

Keeping it in Perspective. 

You're probably not buying a new home.    The home won't be perfect, none are.  The Inspector's job is to find all the imperfections.   You will want to remain as realistic and objective as possible.

*Are there items significant enough that they would make you not want to buy this home?
*Have they found a safety issue?  
*Or, Something that will become a large unexpected  expense now or in the near future? 

What if there is a Problem?

If you find something that really bothers you, you can back out of the home, ask the Seller to fix it or negotiate.       Either way, it's your decision, but don't forget why you got to this point.  You love the place or you wouldn't be looking to buy it!     Experience tells me that it's easy to get freaked out when an inspector is picking the place apart.    Remember his job it to find it all... no matter how big or small. 

What's Included in Your Home Inspection ?

Structural Components: Foundation, sills, joists, beams, supports, etc.
Exterior Components: Siding, windows, decks and porches, gutters and downspouts, driveways, general landscape condition.
Roofing: Flashings, and chimneys.
Mechanicals:  Plumbing, Electrical, Heating/AC, Water Heaters, Fuel
Interior: Ceilings, floors, railings, doors and windows, stairs, sometime appliances
Insulation and Ventilation: Attic, basement, insulation types, kitchen and bathroom fans, etc.
Garage Doors, openers, etc.

Finding a Great Inspector.

As with anything else, ask for referrals, and call around. You should be interested in finding someone that is thorough, experienced and can communicate with you in layman's terms.  Standards of Practice.

Other Inspections to Consider.

Pest, Radon, Mold, Septic, Well, Pool, Chinmey, Lead Paint

A Great Home Inspection will leave you feeling secure about your purchase!   But, You have to find that home first!   So, Call me!    508-494-9061    or email

                     Do you have any home inspection advice ?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catalog Homes (Assembly NOT included)

I think it happens to most of us.     You move into a neighborhood and it seems the neighbors know more about your home than you do!     

It happened to me.   

Along with my new purchase, came new neighbors.    Some came by with baked goods, some just waved hello, and some with a story.     

The "old" man down the street... my new neighbor,  a large man, with an intimidating stature, a gruff voice and a huge smile, said to me with a twinkle in his eye,
"You know, that home you bought came straight out of the Sears catalog!"   

               What?  My beautiful little house, a mail order home?    Really??


Apparently, as a child, he had seen it delivered! 

Between 1908 and 1940 Sears sold more than 70,000 Sears and Roebuck Homes right through their catalogs!   They were shipped by rail in kits to be assembled by the purchaser, his friends or a professional. Not only did they advertise that "a man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days",    but, they were quality homes that one could customize.  

What Could You Buy?

A Bungalow, an American Foursquare, a light Queen Anne or even a Farmhouse!
Imagine purchasing a home for as little as $700!

Have a Sears Home?

Over the years, I forgave that "new neighbor" and found that the homes I truly fall in love with are these Sears Homes.   Doesn't matter the style, for the most part, they seemed to be built rock solid,  filled with warmth and character!    I just love them!   Apparently so do others!    There is a following!

But, they don't make them anymore so,, the only way to get one is to buy a resale!   
                                     How To Recognize A Sears Home

           Click here for  More Info and A Facinating Slide Show on plans and advertisements!    

What is your favorite style home?

Need a home?     Search for Homes Here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sense or Sound? The 1st Public Library, Franklin MA

For the past 24 years, I have been recounting the "Story of Nation's First Public Library"  to all that have had the pleasure of being a captive audience in my car as I drove them from house to house in the beautiful town of Franklin, MA.

The Nation's First Public Library

Did you know that Franklin, once a part of Wrentham was all set to be named Exeter?    Well that was the plan anyway, until Jabez Fisher had the great idea of naming the town "Franklin" after, yes, you guessed it, Ben Franklin, all with the hopes of getting the man to give the town a meetinghouse bell for the honor!

Makes Sense to Me!                                                          

But, in return, Ben sent books!
I guess he thought that sense is better than sound!   The books he sent were available at the meetinghouse for all to share... voila!
The First Public Library!

What a Fun Story, Right?

For a detailed account of this historic event and more on Ben Franklin, read the Johnson article.   It's terrific!                    
                James Johnston, Milford Daily on Ben Franklin

Worth A Visit
The Ben Franklin Books are still on display!
Franklin Library Info, Hours, Location, Etc.

Don't forget!   Send me a comment to be entered to win -  

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breaking Legal News - 3/1/11

Everyone loves to learn about the law.

I am thrilled to have  Jon Rockwood, Esq.
as guest blogger!. (508-668-0059)    

Jon has a general practice in Walpole, MA, where he specializes in, Business, Real Estate, Construction, Condo, Zoning/Land Use, environmental and employment law.

My hope is that he will be joining us from time to time to discuss matters of law that pertain to real estate.

Attorney Rockwood has provided the following information:

MA Supreme Judicial Court Decision Today 3/1/11

The Decision  Affects Commercial Landlords   
           Bishop v. TES Realty Trust

(Commercial Landlords = anything other than owner-occupied two- or three-family dwelling)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an important decision today (March 1, 2011) that affects Massachusetts commercial landlords. In Bishop v. TES Realty Trust, the Court answered the question whether MA G.L. 186, 19 applies to commercial landlords, a ruling the Court hadn’t been asked to make in the 40 year history of the law. The statute does apply to commercial landlords, as of today!

Commercial Landlords Need  Be Aware 

A landlord who receives notice from a tenant of an unsafe condition that was not caused by the tenant, in a portion of the leased premises controlled by the tenant, a commercial landlord has a statutory duty to “exercise reasonable care to remedy the unsafe condition.” If the commercial landlord does not exercise such reasonable care and someone is injured as a result, the injured party can sue the landlord for damages.

The Facts of the Case

Mary Bishop, the operator of a tanning salon in a single-story building in Swampscott she leased from the defendants, TES Realty Trust. On June 5, 2000,  Mary sent a certified letter to the Trust, complaining about leaks in the roof and in two skylights near the tanning beds. Eventually the husband of one of the trustees got around to doing some roof repairs, but he did nothing to repair the skylights. On May 14, 2002, rain water fell from a leak around one of the skylights, and Mary placed a bucket beneath the leak to catch the water. When she looked up to the skylight, plaster fell from the roof into her eye, causing Mary to fall backward and then to trip over the bucket, seriously injuring her shoulder.

Mary sued the Trust, alleging that her injuries were caused by the Trust’s negligence in failing to repair the roof.

The Conclusion

The trial judge concluded that, under the commercial lease, Bishop was responsible for making all necessary repairs to the leased premises, which included the roof. The judge also concluded that the Trust owed no statutory duty to repair the unsafe condition, because MA G.L. 186/19, did not apply to commercial leases. Today, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the trial judge was wrong about the statute, and has ordered a new trial.

What Does This Mean?

Today’s ruling doesn’t expand a commercial landlord’s legal obligations to its tenants, but it does clarify the extent of its liability under the circumstances that arise under the statute. The law states that after receiving the required notice of an unsafe condition, not caused by the tenant, in a portion of the premises controlled by the tenant, a commercial landlord owes a duty to exercise reasonable care to remedy the unsafe condition. If a tenant or any person lawfully on the premises is injured as a result of the failure to correct the unsafe condition within a reasonable time, the injured party has a right of action in tort against the landlord for damages. The word “landlord” as used in the statute thus applies to a commercial, as well as residential, landlord.


The lessons from the Bishop case for the commercial landlord are clear: if you are notified by your tenant of an unsafe condition within the tenant’s leased premises that was not caused by the tenant, make sure to take reasonable measures to fix it within a reasonable amount of time.

Given all the snow this winter, leaky roofs will probably be the major culprit of such conditions, as it was in today’s case.

Don’t Try to Get Too Clever

and write this obligation out of the lease: the Court also ruled that you may not obtain a waiver of this duty in any lease or other rental agreement, because any such waiver "shall be void and unenforceable.”

For additional legal info or assistance, contact Jon Rockwood  or 508-668-0059

Questions or comments?    Please let me know what you think!    Ideas or requests for future topics appreciated!
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This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. No actions should be taken solely upon the information provided in this article.