November 6, 2014
Have you ever gone to Home Depot looking for something unique and just can’t find it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessed with Home Depot just as much as the next DIY woman, but it’s generally all stock material and it can get boring if you’re looking for something different. I was lucky enough to ride along with a contractor the other day and discover and amazing hidden gem right here in MA that I wanted to share with you. Anderson McQuaid in Cambridge is a super cool local business that creates custom moldings, trim, lumber, flooring and what not. Which is basically like finding someone who can build you your own custom unicorn!! So cool. You can pretty much design any pattern you want and they can make it for you. Or if you travel somewhere and see some amazing trim that you want to recreate…Anderson McQuaid can do it (if you’re not on a Home Depot budget).
Moldings can really make a huge difference in setting your home apart from every other stock house, and working with a company like Anderson McQuaid it gives you the opportunity to really get creative. Plus, you can support a locally owned business which is really where it’s AT!
You can check out their website which is not that great (1997 called, they want your site updated) but they’re located at 170 Fawcett st. Cambridge, MA . Although, don’t be surprised if you get yelled at by the guys that work there. I was running around trying to snap pics and kept getting yelled at, which was obviously worth it so I could share a few photos!
Located in Cambridge
All kinds of lumber to choose from!
August 6, 2014
Ok this is really cool. It filters out all the saw dust from the wood being milled and designed/cut. Basically a massive dust collector.
Just returned from a quick weekend in San Francisco, CA for one of my lovely friends weddings. What an amazing city it is (I lived there for a short stint in 2007 and still have a major love for it). I spent the majority of Thursday walking the city and checking out the houses, which are AMAZING. I’m loving the Marina District – boasting GORGEOUS views of the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is known for having some of the most expensive real estate in the US, and I can certainly see why.
“The median price of homes currently listed in San Francisco is $895,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $930,500.” – Via Zillow
So basically; bring a million and prepare to be average if you want to buy in downtown.
June 25, 2014
If you’ve never bought a house then you probably aren’t accustomed to the stress associated with spending your entire life savings on one thing. One thing that may have some major issues attached with it, OR that could be your dream home for your Leave it to Beaver dream life.
Unless you’re rollin in cash, you’ll probably need financing. Financing is the MAKE OR BREAK of a deal. Right now I’m dealing with two financing extensions on two sales, and let me tell you if you think you’re closing Friday, and then you find out that You’re NOT, panic ensues.
I wanted to share some ways to avoid financing issues for buyers, I hope these tips help!
1. Research your lender, find out if other people you know have used them and have had good results. Good reviews, or friends with positive experiences are a good place to start.
2. Find a lender who is RESPONSIVE. If you send your potential lender 3 emails and 2 phone calls and they don’t get back to you quickly, find another lender. When crunch time comes, you want someone who can get back to you quickly so you don’t lay awake at night biting your finger nails.
3. Get the paperwork in early! This isn’t like studying for final exams in college, the day before = no bueno. EARLY, EARLY, EARLY, as soon as you know your lender needs something, SEND IT. Don’t procrastinate on getting papers into your lender. The sooner you have everything in, the sooner they can send it to underwriting. (The Underwriter controls the financing, and is basically the dream crusher or magical wizard of the deal).
4. Don’t spend up a storm while you’re trying to get financing, don’t quit your job, don’t get fired, don’t be an idiot! You heard it here first, when you’re trying to get a loan you need to keep all of your finances in order. The lender will need your final pay stubs, and account info right before closing, so just because you are pre-approved doesn’t mean they are going to give you the loan. Don’t mess it up by buying a new car, or going on a shopping spree, or being a dumb ass. You’re welcome in advance.
5. Construction Loans. If you’re getting a construction loan get your contractor lined up in advance. If your contractor is also a dumb ass, you’re screwed. Banks like paperwork, they like people who are legitimate and not your uncle’s friend Joe the handyman. There is paper work involved, they need licenses, estimates on paper, etc. etc. If your contractor isn’t good at that type of stuff, if he’s an illegal, if he doesn’t have an email, if he can’t put estimates on paper, find another one (trust me I love the inexpensive people as much as the next do it yourself-er, but the banks don’t). You need an organized contractor who can handle the paperwork, do it properly and not mess up your loan.
6. Have a good attorney. If you are buyer, some people think they don’t need an attorney. If you don’t have one, you should get one. Sometimes the banks will suggest an attorney to review the P&S for you, which is fine, as long as that attorney is responsive to your questions and needs. If you hire a separate attorney to represent you, a lot of times they are more willing to spend time making sure you understand what is going on. It really depends on the attorney, just like it really depends on the real estate agent (most are terrible some are REALLY good). Everyone hates lawyers until you need one to save your deposit, or fix your purchase agreement, and then you love them. Get a real estate attorney, not someone that does divorces and has never negotiated a P&S.
7. Financing contingency date – KNOW IT, LOVE IT, DON’T FORGET IT! This needs to be a more important date than your wedding date. Do not miss your mortgage contingency date. If you don’t have financing in place by this date, make sure your attorney or agent requests an extension. If you don’t request this extension in time…stab someone because you may lose your deposit.
Hopefully this was helpful. The most important thing is to have a good team behind you when buying. Get an agent that knows what they are doing, get a good real estate attorney, and research your lender and make sure they are responsive.
February 16, 2014
Trying to catch up with the blog and update you all to some of my recent sales! I love representing buyers and sellers and have had a very busy year so far. Here’s a recap of some of my recent work. If you know of anyone in need of an agent, let me know! (Hillary3a@gmail.com)
I represented the buyer of this fixer upper in Weymouth on Great Republic Rd. It was a “Homepath” property which you can look up by state. It’s somewhat of a unique purchase process in that you have to have your agent submit everything to homepath online and there isn’t much of a negotiation, you either are ‘Accepted’ or not. Also, you sign the Purchase and Sale agreement before you do your home inspection which is different than a usual transaction where you do your inspections before the purchase and sale. The buyer of this property plans to remodel everything! Sold for $250,000.00
I represented the buyer of this property on Rice Rd. In Quincy also a major fixer upper, but in a fantastic neighborhood! Sold: $280,000.00
I represented the seller of this property on Darrow Rd. in Quincy (Hough’s Neck) very up and coming area filled with families. This house had a great kitchen and was two blocks from the ocean. Sold: $334.000.00
I represented the buyers of this awesome single family in North Quincy on Warwick St. Cute, cozy and had amazing coffered ceilings in the living room. Sold: $310,000.00
I love my clients, this family was awesome to work wtih!
I represented the buyers of this fantastic colonial in Weymouth too. This house is in a great location and perfect for their work commutes. We looked around for a while in a very difficult market and was so happy when we found a house they loved!
I represented the seller of this great condo in Weymouth also at 73 Broad Reach. Amazing water views and a resort like amenities.
And the buyer of this condo on Quincy Shore Drive in North Quincy! This was sold to a first time buyer client of mine who I worked with for over a year to find her the right place! We looked at 30 plus condos until we found the one. It was certainly worth the wait and work!
How cute is this couple? I sold their two family for them and then sold them this amazing ocean side home in Quincy on Albatross Rd. This house is architecturally so unique and they made the inside look so chic (I wish I had pictures to show you). We hunted and hunted until I found them this house that wasn’t on the market and was able to organize a private sale with the seller.
The people who owned the house above on Albatross needed a house STAT once I sold their house before it was on the market. So we looked high and low with a serious crunch for time and managed to find them an amazing house in Hingham on Longmeadow Rd. It’s an ideal home for them and their new baby.
Last but not least I worked with the buyers of this brand new construction home on Belcher St. in Holbrook. Our office sold their house and we needed to find them a house too. We work well under pressure!
Phew!! That’s a lot to catch up on! I’ve been busy, busy, busy!! Hopefully this gives you a little window into what I’ve been up to and some of my residential property sales. As much as I love specializing in multi-family sales for investors, I get a lot of satisfaction helping wonderful families and people find a home they will love for years to come!
I’ve been working on a lot of other projects as well that I can’t wait to tell you about!
January 5, 2014
In keeping with his movie that is BLOWING UP right now t “The Wolf of Wall Street” which by the way my mother calls “a porn.” I decided it would be appropriate to share some photos of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Malibu house he just sold (last week). It was on the market for a bit and then he dropped the price. Also available for rent at $75,000.00 per month.
The spacious beach retreat in the highly sough after Malibu waterfront (exact address: 23736 Malibu Colony Rd. Malibu, CA 90265) area sold for $17,350,000.00. Originally listed at $23,000,000.00 he dropped the price on the 7 bedroom 6 bath private retreat.
Check it out:
January 3, 2014
Ever wonder what Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s house looked like? Well thanks to google and my ability to search public record, and old MLS listings… I can show you.
He and his wife originally purchase the property in 1989 for $560,000.00. It’s currently assessed at $1,778,900.00. The house consists of 6 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and 9 (yes NINE) fireplaces. It’s just under 7,000 sqft. and sits on .76 Acres on Hinckley street in Milton, MA.
They were on the market for a year at $1,500,000.00 but didn’t sell. So if you want to buy it, give me a shout and I’ll track Deval down and get you in. Seriously, I will…
Check it out:
Is it me or is he kind of a BABE?
Interior stair case
A little holiday cheer in the Sun Room
I hate to be mean but the pastel pallet is killing me. Looks terrible. Change it up Deval!
Nice back patio
And there you have it! Needs some modernization but still is a beautiful home with classic lines and historic beauty.
January 1, 2014
I’ve been doing a lot of work on Multi- Families lately. It’s a type of property I have a lot of experience with because I started doing rentals when I first got into the Real estate industry. I’ve been in hundreds maybe over 1,000 multi-families in the last few years. One of the important things to consider when buying or selling a multi- family property is the rent roll (simply put, how much are your tenants paying you?).
A lot of experienced investors have “Cap Rates” that they have to meet in order to purchase a property. Cap Rate is short for Capitalization Rate which is a ratio between the net operating income (income after all expenses) and the purchase price of the property (or the market value of the property).
For example (And I’m terrible at math so don’t worry this is easy):
You buy a property for $1,000,000.00, after all the expenses to operate the property ( Heat, repairs, landscaping, etc.) you will make $100,000.00 per year (net income), so you take the net income and divide it by the purchase price and you get .10 or 10%.
Every investor has a different Cap Rate that they look for, some are high like 10 – 15% and won’t consider anything less while others are ok with 5% because they really like the property or the particular location and think the value of the investment will increase over time. It really depends on what your game plan is and if you want to hold the property as the value increases over a longer period of time, or if you want better immediate investment turn around like 10% which is better than keeping your money in a savings account etc. Also, you may be looking to buy a multi-family and move into one of the vacant units, which is a great way to have your other tenants decrease your cost of living. Just make sure you review current leases and verify that the other tenants are paying what you’ve been told they’re paying.
Being a landlord can be a total nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. You have to make sure you have the time it takes to manage your property or you can afford to hire someone to manage it for you. Also, make sure you either hire an agent to find you tenants, or pre-screen your tenants before you accept them as applicants. Also, when buying a are property consider the unit size and what type of tenants you might attract. You may prefer to have families that are more stable and long term tenants so you’re looking for 3+ bedrooms, while others may be next to a subway and perfect for professionals and all 1 bedrooms or studios. Consider your tenants and the location of the property before purchasing.
Selling multi families and larger buildings is my favorite type of property to sell, here are a few of my recent Multi Family Sales this summer:
I Listed and sold this AMAZING 2 family in Quincy for $490,000.00 - It's gorgeous inside!
I listed this series of 4 town homes for $1,275,000.00
I represented the buyer of this cute 2 family in Hull. Sold for $307,000.00
I've currently got this 2 family on the market for $425,000.00 - HUGE LOT, which is very rare.
I listed and sold this 4 family in Weymouth for $479,000.00
I listed this 4 family for $669,000.00 and sold it for $31,000.00 OVER asking at $700,000.00. ..So that was awesome.
Also represented the buyer of this amazing 4 family in Braintree. Sold for $534,000.00.
So it was a great summer for multi-family sales! If you have any questions regarding buying or selling a multi-unit building I’m certainly here to help (You can email me at Hillary3a@gmail.com).
Just remember…EVERY Property is different and has different items to address!
January 1, 2014
I sell any type of property that can be sold. Buildings, condos, single families, land, commercial spaces, whatever! If It can be sold, I’ll sell it, done and done. However, many of my clients really are specific about their desire for a condo. Condos are a slightly different type of property than your classic single family or one owner property, so there are some things to take into consideration.
1. Condo Fees: Condo fees cover an assortment of things that pertain to the condo association (Landscaping, Maintenance, Pool etc.) . Depending on whether the association consists of many units (15 +) or a smaller association (let’s say a triple Decker converted into condos, 3 Units) can make a difference on how the association is handled and how much the condo fees are. Make sure you factor in the condo fees before even looking at a unit. A really high condo fee can either make or break your ability to afford a condo. Considering if the condo fee includes utilities (heat, hot water etc.) is important as well.
2. Condo rules, regulations, financials: Make sure to read these before purchasing a condo. The condo rules and regulations can give you an idea as to how the association is handled and how it is doing. Reviewing their reserves etc. will help give you and idea if something needs to be done to the building the reserves can handle it or if the owners will have a large assessment (bill they have to pay regardless as to if they agree with it or not). Requesting meeting minutes to review and asking if there are any pending or planned assessments is also a good idea.
3. Legal Action: Make sure before you fall in love with a unit to have your lender send their “condo questionnaire.” It’s a standard form that they have on hand that asks an assortment of things, one of the most important items on this list; ” is there any pending legal action against the association?” If someone is suing the association, you will have a much harder time getting financed and it could effect your property value. I’ve tried to sell multiple condos in this one particular building where one of the owners is suing the association for $400,000.00 because a light fixture fell on her. Every time I try and sell a condo there the lender won’t let it go through. I feel terrible for the other owners because nobody can sell their unit the legal action is resolved. Which leads me to tip 4 …
4. When buying a condo you need to understand that the other owners in the building can potentially effect the value of your unit. If your next door neighbor forecloses on their unit, it effects the value of your unit. If there’s a giant pit bull that barks all day in the unit next to yours it makes it hard to sell your unit. Conversely, a lot of people find comfort with the condo lifestyle. There is a maintenance team, the grounds are cared for, someone removes the trash and snow, you live without most of the hassle of a single family.
- Just a few tips to consider as you try to make the decision on Condo Vs. Single family.
Either way, make sure you do your home work! And if you have any questions, email me and I can help!
October 21, 2013
I had just opened my office when I got referred by a local attorney to help a client of his. His clients sister had sadly passed away suddenly and he was handling the estate which his client had now inherited. Since his client was out of state and unfamiliar with the area, he suggested she use me as her agent to get the property sold, knowing I’d go above and beyond to get the job done.
Being the bright eyed new entrepreneur that I was I jumped at the idea of getting a new listing in the highly desirable area of Arlington MA, just outside of Cambridge and Boston. This area is not only highly sought after, it’s super close to downtown, filled with architecturally unique properties, rich people, and a lot of buyers on the hunt. The only down side was that with traffic it could take me an hour and a half from my office on the South side of the city to get all the way North. But when you’re young, hungry, trying to build a reputation of doing a good job, and in need of money, one tends to put themselves out there on the corner for the taking, and I did just that.
I had set to meet the seller at the property when she was up visiting and was prepared with area comps, recent sales, price per sq.ft, the listing documentation, a cute outfit and an attitude that I was going to sell the sh*t out of this house. So when I arrived in the area and saw the amazing houses on the street, I thought, pfttt I GOT THIS. Much to my dismay I pulled up to my potential listing and saw that the house was a little, well let’s just say it had “deferred maintenance.” Shrubs were overgrown, window shades were down, grass hadn’t been cut in months, abandoned BMW in the driveway, front door was half falling off, gutters were rotted, and the list goes on. I however am a BELIEVER, I do not give up at first, second, or even fifth glance.
I burned every "before" photo in hopes of selling the place, so here is one after a little touch up.
So I walked up to the front door with my can-do attitude and rang the bell, no answer. I rang again, nothing. I knocked, nothing. Waited, then pounded the door, and heard footsteps slowly approaching. Expecting to see an I love Lucy esq mother in pearls answer I smiled my real estate agent - please like me – smile. As the door opened an older woman smoking a cigarette answered. “Hillary, come in” she said, and I happily did.
From the moment I stepped I wanted to turn and run, I started gagging, but had to hide my gagging as to not offend my potential new client. It smelled like dead people, urine, trash, dust, and years of not opening the window molded into one scent and multiplied by 134. I was about to barf on the seller when she started to explain that she hadn’t visited her sister in 20 years and during that time she had become a cat breeder. Apparently, she kept hundreds of cats in the house that were very “special” and high end, and were the kind of cats that were on the Fancy Feast commercials. On a side note; why does cat food so closely resemble vomit? Like really? Is that necessary? Anyways, my potential client was a wreck because she didn’t realize her sister was living in such a terrible state, the house was covered in things, pictures, furniture, dust, dust, dust, wall paper was falling off, the ceiling was coming down, the floors were stained, nothing in the kitchen worked, and to top it all off, the place smelled as if these cats had taken over the house, peed on everything and then died on the floor and were left there for 10 years. Disgusting doesn’t even describe. It was as if I stepped into an episode of Animal Hoarders and Hoarders and Property Nightmares all mixed into one. I felt myself leaning in closer to my client so I could inhale her second hand cigarette smoke in hopes of masking my need to sprint outside and breath any air that wasn’t laced with cat urine and death. Fortunately, my potential client was so sweet, and as she smoked she pushed her oxygen tank along side her and described her health ailments and how she needed this house sold ASAP to help pay for her medical bills. Never one to leave a person in a lurch I sucked up my disgust and took a tour of the house. As I reached the second floor I was started to accept that despite the smell and cosmetic ailments, the house had good bones, a nice lay out, and potential. This wasn’t a project for the faint of heart, but it could be done, and done well.
The Stairs going up
Dining room after being emptied
And then I had to do it, I had to open THE ROOM. (I often think back on this moment and remind myself that money will get me to do a lot, but I don’t think I could go in that room again for anything less than $100K, also, why did I not take any pictures of this atrocity?). This room was wall-to-wall covered in cat cages, I mean like filled with cages, covered in cat hair, cat rags, cat urine, food, all kinds of nasty. My eyes started watering and I was getting dizzy from lack of oxygen, no joke, I had stopped inhaling and was living off my final breath. As I pushed the seller to show me the back yard I got to thinking, what is my plan? How will I get this sold immediately? This certainly isn’t for Suzie home maker and her first baby, I had to find a contractor or flipper that would look past the disgust and see that this house could be turned around.
About a week later I found him! It was half luck, half he knew the area and knew what he wanted. He walked through the property and in 15 minutes said, “i’ll have an offer to you tomorrow” and he did, and came through the whole time. My client was happy, the buyer was happy because he was in the business of taking drab to fab, and I was happy because despite multiple trips to dead cat world, I had gotten my job done and made my client very happy.
One afternoon just before closing, while waiting at the property for my client to swing by I took it upon myself to look in the freezer which was still functioning. Hoping to find a stray Choco Taco I rashly opened the freezer. And there sitting patiently and kindly wrapped in plastic, were 8 dead cats, frozen for later genetic use… or perhaps dinner.
Pictures of the AMAZING, JAW DROPPING, New house, courtesy of Olde New England Properties. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Arlington area, I can not recommend Jonathan of Old New England Properties enough! This man is a miracle maker, check out his after shots:
Adorable, added garage, redid exterior
Added a second Bath
Pocket door to living area
You have no idea what a transformation this is!
Love, Love, LOVE!
Refinished the attic and also made some rooms high ceilings
Hello New world!
I am so happy that this home had new life breathed into it! It’s amazing what some ingenuity and hard work can do to make something totally DRAB go to totally FAB.
October 18, 2013
I’m representing a first time buyer in the purchase of her first condo and wanted to share some of the pictures. This is a 1 bed/1 bath condo located in a converted school house. Boston has so many historic buildings and many developers have purchased older buildings and converted them to condos. When done properly this type of conversion gives owners a fabulous mix of historic modernity. Personally I LOVE old buildings when converted, if these walls could talk!
This long time elementary school was was built in 1906 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In the 80′s city cut backs forced the school to close down and it was later sold to developers for the condo conversion.
The Quincy School 1919
Cute Galley kitchen, perfect for a first time buyer!
Kitchen that's easy to manage
One of the many benefits of buying an older building that was converted is that a lot of these older buildings in New England were built very strong. Granite blocks were a popular building material here in Quincy and you can see the longevity of these materials in comparison to field stone.