Welcome to Centers and Squares

As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

No More New York Times Home Section

I can't even take my NYT out of the bag since I'm so sad about the demise of the Home section

I can’t even take my NYT out of the bag since I’m so sad about the demise of the Home section

My mother called early this morning.

“Did you get your New York Times yet?”

I hadn’t.  My paper was still in its delivery bag unopened.

“There’s no Home section!”  My mother speculated that her delivery guy had left it out of the bag – perhaps annoyed about his overdue tip.

But a quick search online revealed the sad news.  The New York Times has discontinued our longtime favorite section, Thursday’s Home section.

The Home section has been one of the highlights of my week for years.  I like Tuesday’s Science section but it’s so meaty it can take days to wade through and I sometimes view it with exasperation rather than anticipation since I know it’s likely to remain in my to-be-read pile for too long.  Wednesday’s Food section is a bore – I just don’t care to read endless minutiae about food. And the huge two-part Arts section on Friday is usually tossed in the recycling bin after a glance at a review or two.

But Thursday?  Thursday was special.  I pored over every article in the Home section, as did my mother. Home often prompted phone calls between us with critiques or comments about photos and articles.  I woke up happy on Thursdays because I knew what awaited me in the bag outside my door.  And I know we’re not alone in our love of the NYT Home section – for any house enthusiast Thursday’s paper was a much anticipated treat.

Clearly the arts generate more advertising support than the home decor field. That’s too bad.  It’s stupid and shortsighted on the part of advertisers – advertisements and snippets about products in the Home section have motivated my purchases multiple times over the years.  But it’s also stupid and shortsighted on the NYT’s part.  Daily delivery of the New York Times is not inexpensive and if the best sections are eliminated the expense becomes much more difficult to justify.

Today’s a sad day for house enthusiasts and for newspapers.

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Online Gift Registry for Home Buyers

Hatch My House Gift Registry

Have friends and family help you buy a house with Hatch My House

Have you heard of Hatch My House?  It’s an online gift registry where you can have friends and family give monetary gifts to help you save for a house – or at least the down payment.

I have mixed feelings about online registries and asking for cash but Hatch My House totally won me over.  It’s a really cute design – you select a house and then assign values to its features – inside and out if you want.   Your loved ones “buy” a window, or a door, a microwave, even a toilet for cripes sake (I’d advise against including the toilet – nobody seems to “buy” them – not surprisingly) – however you want to set it up.  You choose the values for each feature you want to include and when a donor selects it they can opt to leave a message to you that shows up when someone clicks on the building element.  It really is fun and you can’t help clicking and clicking when you open up one of the registers.

Hatch My House is popular with couples who use it for their wedding registry. Many make a good point – they’ve been together for years and really don’t need the traditional wedding gifts since they’ve already outfitted their apartment. 

Saving for a down payment is no easy feat.  Hatch My House could get you on your way.

 

PS ~ I love the vintage postcards with egg houses so couldn’t resist using one here.

Categories: Buyer Info

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Days on Market Hangover Shortened

MLS lightens up

MLS Lightens the Days on Market Ball and Chain

A number of years ago our local MLS, MLSpin, changed their policy about days on market for properties listed for sale. The new rules meant that a property that had been taken off the market would retain the days on market number when it was relisted. While it was arguably good for buyers who often think that days on market or “DOM” is a reflection of the property’s value relative to price, it really wasn’t a good policy for sellers.  That days on market number was a ball and chain that you carried with you as a seller or listing agent.

The only way to clean the slate and set the DOM ticker back to zero was to keep the property off the market for more than 90 days.

MLSpin recently announced that their Board of Directors has voted to change the period for the DOM “cure” to just 60 days.  Hurrah!  Under the new rules a property that’s been off the market for 61 days or more will be relisted on the MLS with a DOM of zero.  No word yet when the change to MLS policy will be enacted.

As a seller you want to be sure when your property comes off the market to clarify its status with your agent.  The status must be either Expired or Cancelled.  If you agent changes the status to Withdrawn you won’t be able to escape the days on market hangover no matter how much time elapses. 

Buyers should be pleased with this change too since it means that more properties may be relisted earlier in the season – and we’re all anxious for new listing to come on the market.  Buyers would also be well served by worrying a bit less (a lot less?!) about days on market.  If the property is right for you that’s what counts most – despite the DOM tally.

Categories: Seller Info

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Address in the Boston Globe

Address in the Boston Globe

Don’t Miss Address in the Sunday Boston Globe

Do you get the Sunday Boston Globe?  There are plenty of reasons to get the Sunday Globe – news, community, coupons! – but since last spring one of the best reasons is the Globe’s Address section.   The Globe had been getting a bit skimpy but lately it seems that they’re adding new sections rather than eliminating portions of the paper.

Address debuted last March and is really a must-read for anyone interested in real estate and in houses.  It’s filled with articles and columns about real estate and home ownership and is subtitled “Your Real Estate Guide to Buying, Selling, Living”.  In years past the Boston Globe‘s real estate coverage struck many agents as “a day late and a dollar short” – the Globe always seemed to be reporting news and trends from several months back.  But their real estate articles have been noticeably better and more timely and Address reflects that improved coverage.  Regular features include:

  • An essay by guest columnists titled “My First Home”
  • A Massachusetts town profile that fills two full pages each week
  • Columns with questions and answers about home repairs, gardening and landscaping
  • The “Home of the Week” featured property for sale 
  • A decorating feature “Room to Love”

This Sunday’s Address section included

  • A two-page profile of Malden, MA – you’re bound to find out things you didn’t know about Malden
  • Info about sealing granite countertops
  • An article about decorating a Craftsman-style house on a budget
  • A wonderful “My First Home” essay written by a local minister

Just like the New York Times’ Home section on Thursday the Boston Globe‘s Address has become a must-read for me every Sunday – something I look forward to as soon as the newspaper hits the driveway.  Check it out!

 

 

Categories: Living Here

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Time Capsules in Medford and Watertown

Watertown time capsule

Watertown MA Time Capsule

Time capsules have been in the local news recently as two time capsules were unearthed in Boston.  First, a 113-year old time capsule was removed from the head of the lion statue at the Old State House. Then in December an even older time capsule saw the light of day at the State House.  This one was first secreted away in 1795 though it was rehoused and reburied in 1855.  First deposited by Paul Revere, William Scollay and Samuel Adams, the capsule’s contents should be fascinating since so much time has elapsed and its creators played such a large role in our history.

Franklin School Medford time capsule

Time Capsule in Medford MA

Sometimes I think that time capsule creators don’t do that good a job of gathering evidence of their time.  It’s difficult to decide what sums up an era – what will give people 100 or 200 years from now a real feel for our world.  As a lover of old paper I’ve given this topic some thought over the years.  Plenty of old paper I’ve got socked away brings back earlier times when I comb through the piles. For a time capsule perhaps a collection of essays in which people describe what they do in the course of a day would give a better sense of our lives.  It’s the minutia of the day to day that will likely catch the fancy of people living in very different times. 

I’ve come across a couple of time capsules in Centers and Squares territory.  The one pictured above is in Watertown Square.  It’s due to be opened in 2030, when Watertown celebrates its 400th birthday.  I’m not sure how old the time capsule will be at that point – we’ll just have to be surprised!  And I’m destined to forever wonder what’s in the time capsule outside the Franklin School condos in Medford on Central Ave, pictured at right, since it’s scheduled to be opened in 2075.

 

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Merry Christmas

Santa Real Estate Christmas Ornament

My Favorite Christmas Ornament – Santa is a Realtor

 

 

Tis a rainy, rainy Christmas. 

Best wishes for the happiest of holidays for you and yours.

 

Liz @ Centers and Squares

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Your HO-6 Condo Insurance Policy Questions Answered

HO-6 Insurance Coverage
HO6 Insurance May Be Required for Your Condo

If you’ve purchased a condo recently you may have been required to purchase HO-6 insurance coverage.  HO-6 insurance is required if your condo association’s master insurance policy isn’t “all-in” coverage.  Wondering what it’s all about?  Today’s guest post by Maria Lampros of Guard Insurance should answer all your questions.

What is an HO-6 insurance policy?

An HO-6 policy is like a home insurance policy, but instead is for condominium unit owners. Lenders have started requiring HO-6 insurance policies for new condo unit purchases. This is commonly known as “studs-in” or “walls-in” coverage.

Why do I need a condo insurance policy, when I already pay into my condo association master insurance policy?

When purchasing HO-6 condo insurance, it is important to take into consider the master condo insurance policy, if there is one. Many master insurance policies cover only the property, common areas and physical structure of your building. But there is a lot more to your condo than that.

Your condo is your home, and your home is filled with items that are unique to you and your lifestyle, like your furnishings, your computer equipment and any upgrades you may have installed. HO-6 Condo Insurance can provide coverage from damages that occur within your unit. Beyond insuring your personal belongings, your HO-6 policy can also help you control deductibles as well as provide comprehensive liability coverage.

What can an HO-6 condo insurance coverage policy include?

The basic categories of an HO-6 policy are:

  • Dwelling
  • Personal Property
  • Loss of Use
  • Additional Property Coverage
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Payments to Others
  • Additional Liability Coverage

DWELLING

Since insurance coverage on your condominium or apartment building is normally purchased by your condo association, your dwelling coverage focuses on your real property within your condo. Up to a specified limit, an HO-6 policy provides coverage on a replacement cost basis to insure the items in the following four categories:

Alterations and improvements – Your built-in cabinets, kitchen appliances and interior partitions are examples.

Common areas – In the event that your condo association by-laws require you to insure property which is outside your condo, for example a portion of your hallway or stairs, entrance or walkway, coverage can be provided by your dwelling coverage.

Property exclusive to your condominium – Your real property that pertains fully to your condominium, for example, upgraded doors and safety locks.

Structures which you own that are located off premises – Dwelling coverage can also provide coverage for a private garage or storage shed which you own that is located in another part of your building complex. Read the rest of this entry »

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ReMax Destiny In the News

ReMax Destiny wins local honors

ReMax Destiny In the News

 

ReMax Destiny has been in the news lately

I’m delighted to report that the Boston Globe, for the second year, has named ReMax Destiny one of its “Top Places to Work“.  ReMax offers real estate services in 80 countries but Remax offices are independently owned and operated so our two offices – in Cambridge and JP – landed us on the Small Employers list.  We’re #6 on the list.

ReMax Destiny is a great place to work and I’m very happy I made the decision to move my business here two years ago.  We’ve got a super group of agents, a hard working and enthusiastic staff, and a broker, Paul Turcotte, who’s committed to staying ahead of the curve and ensuring we have all the tools necessary to provide top notch service to our clients. 

Employees chime in for the Top Places to Work honors but our other recent award was voted on by the community.

In the Fall issue of Scout Cambridge that featured the “Best Of” award winners ReMax Destiny won for Best Real Estate Agent or Agency. Thanks to all who voted for us!  We were in good company with many of my favorite Cambridge institutions garnering Best Of awards including the S & S, Pemberton Farms, Formaggios, and Porter Square Books.  Congratulations to all.

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