3rd Quarter Market Statistics

The Greater Boston real estate market continues to remain hot, with sellers still being the ones in the driver’s seat. In the twelve markets that I follow, inventory levels are down in every one of them by with the exception of Needham, which is up slightly. Many towns are seeing drops of 40-50% over last year, with Medfield being down 81%, Wellesley down 75% and Sherborn down 73%. Hand-in-hand with low inventory levels, we are seeing increases in median selling prices (exceptions are Norfolk, Dover and Sherborn), sometimes significantly. Norwood leads the pack with a 14.6% increase in median selling price, while Wellesley, Holliston and Westwood are all up over 10%.

As noted at the end of the second quarter, the spring market was delayed due to Covid, but once things opened up, we saw multiple offer situations and over asking offers. In Middlesex County as a whole, the ratio of selling price to original asking price was 114%! This is crazy. I personally sold my home in Walpole, listing it in June. After two days of showings I had four offers, all over asking. I sold for almost 3% over asking, and I had felt I was being somewhat aggressive in my asking price.

Some large cities are seeing people leave due to Covid concerns. In Boston (Suffolk County) inventory levels are up by 37%, in sharp contrast to the suburbs. Sales are down almost 15%, although prices remain strong, with the median selling price up almost 7%. So there is flight from the city to the suburbs, further fueling the crazy suburban market.

Covid is real and is here to stay for awhile. Real estate has adapted by keeping the number of people in a property limited, and sometimes requiring a signed Covid form (indicating the party has not been sick or shown Covid symptoms in the last 14 days). With accompanied showings (my preference), the agent can wear gloves and be the one to open all doors, cabinets, etc. There are ways to safely buy and sell homes in our current environment. If you are thinking of selling, prices couldn’t be better. If you are thinking about selling, please reach out and we can discuss further. And if you are a buyer, don’t be discouraged by the sellers market…interest rates are definitely in your favor…I can still help you find a home. ūüôā

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Market Statistics for the First Half of 2020

The trends we saw in the first quarter of 2020 continue, with inventory levels way down, contributing to low overall sales. In fact, inventory levels in most towns featured were down 40-50% at June 30, with levels in Medfield down a whopping 73%! Median sales prices stayed strong, with prices 6% higher than a year ago for Middlesex County and up almost 3% for Norfolk County. The strong sellers’ market in the Greater Boston area continues.

There was a bit of a delayed spring market, which began when people began to feel more comfortable going out and things began to open up in Massachusetts. While normally the market begins to heat up in March, and continues through April and May, this year we saw that delayed by Covid-19. There was more activity later this spring, beginning later in May and into June. Average days on market in most areas continue to be low…agents are doing showings for a period of days, and offers are often expected within a week or less of listing date. Multiple offers are not uncommon.

Now is a great time to list your house for sale. In many cases open houses are done as scheduled blocks of times for showings by appointment, instead of the traditional open house where anyone and everyone is allowed to wander through a home. Agents are limiting the number of prospective buyers in a home at one time; masks are required, often gloves. If you have been thinking of selling, but are unsure about the current environment with Covid-19, give me a call and we can discuss.

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First Quarter Market Statistics, Greater Boston

While most of us are focused on keeping our sanity while staying at home, I did put together some first quarter market statistics for those who might be interested (I have a lot of extra time on my hands, so why not?). The reality is that most of the first quarter was “business as usual,” despite awareness of a growing threat of the coronavirus. At the time, no one could foresee the dramatic impact the virus would have on all aspects of our economy. The impact on real estate is most significantly reflected in the “on market” numbers as of March 31, 2020. As you can see below, we saw fairly dramatic drops in inventory levels, compared to March 31 of 2019. While this time of year usually sees a ratcheting up of listings for the spring market, we saw the opposite as sellers held off putting their homes on the market (myself included…more on that next week).

As of today, April 16, 2020, inventory levels for Middlesex County are down 29% with average days on market up 9% (from 79 days to 86 days), as compared to a year ago. For Norfolk County, inventory levels are down 30% and average days on market are up 4% (from 93 to 97 days). The relatively modest bump in average DOM reflects the fact that while there are fewer homes listed for sale, many are still selling quickly (in addition to the fact that it will take longer for that average number to tick upwards). A quick review of some of the towns listed below still show homes going under agreement/contingent within days of hitting the market (and this is after the stay-at-home order was issued). I will go into this in greater detail next week, where I will discuss the pros and cons for both buyers and sellers in our current market.

As always, if you have any questions about the stats, if you would like to see stats for a different town, or if you want to discuss your own buy/sell status, please reach out to me via email (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com) or phone/text (508-308-4436).

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Changes in Real Estate Due to Covid 19

As of this writing, most of us have been through at least a few weeks of “Shelter-in-Place” in order to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Everyone is adjusting to kids being at home (and the associated challenges of suddenly being a teacher), multiple people working from home, not being allowed to visit those in nursing homes, and for some, being out of work. Everyone is facing challenges, the reality is, we all have to do our part to help the country get through this.

In the real estate industry, there are unique challenges we are facing in the buying and selling of property. If you had been thinking of buying or selling a home, or you already had your home on the market, here are some things you should know about the changes in real estate in this Covid 19 world. Because things are changing on a daily basis, please be sure to consult with your attorney, lender and/or real estate agent for the most up-to-date information.

While initially real estate was deemed “non-essential,” Governor Baker later classified real estate as “essential” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The reality is, however, it is not “business as usual.” If you are thinking of buying or selling a home at this time, here are some important things to keep in mind:

‚ÄĘ Open houses, for obvious reasons, are not happening. Instead, agents are relying on “virtual open houses.” These are done via video, photo slideshows or virtual 3D walkthroughs. While admittedly not the same as physically being in a property, these options allow you to get an initial impression of a property; if you are still interested, you will need to reach out to a real estate agent to have an on-site visit.

‚ÄĘ We are seeing a lot of restrictions on home showings. Do not be surprised if showings are restricted to certain days and hours…remember, most people are at home now and making their home available for showings is a bit more challenging. Also do not be surprised if agents are limiting the number of people in the house for a showing…the fewer the better, generally. And be conscious of touching things in the home. The agent may ask that you allow them to be the one to open doors, cabinets, closets, etc. Be respectful of these requests as they are meant to keep everyone safe.

‚ÄĘ If you have an accepted offer on a property, make sure the Purchase and Sale agreement contains a “Covid 19 clause,” which will help account for delays due to lockdowns, ill parties, travel restrictions, etc…anything that could delay the closing related to events having to do with Covid 19. Please consult your attorney for more details.

‚ÄĘ Be aware that some home inspectors have suspended inspections or are restricting the presence of buyers and sellers. Generally speaking, we encourage buyers to be present at the home inspection, but some home inspectors are not allowing anyone to follow along with the inspector…so ask questions when hiring someone.

Contractor checking the fondation on a home.

‚ÄĘ Fire departments are not doing smoke inspections. Pre-Covid 19, in order to close, a seller needed to obtain a certificate from the local fire department that their home was in compliance with the rules governing smoke and CO detectors. Those rules have now been changed to allow a closing to happen without the certificate. However, both buyer and seller must agree to the lack of inspection (in writing). In addition, the buyer must agree to be responsible for obtaining an inspection within 90 days of the lifting of the state of emergency and to bring the home into compliance as necessary. Generally bringing the home into compliance has been the responsibility of the seller. If you are a buyer, you may want to consult your attorney about adding a holdback to cover the cost of any potential upgrades that become necessary once the inspection is able to be completed.

‚ÄĘ Pre-Covid 19, a good real estate agent would visit town hall and look through building, board of health and conservation files for things like open permits or other potentially relevant information pertaining to the property. With town halls closed, those activities cannot be performed. Again, if you find yourself purchasing a home, you may want to consult your attorney about adding some potential protections.

‚ÄĘ Attorneys vary in how they are handling closings. In the past closings have generally required the presence of the buyers to sign all paperwork on site. However, in response to Covid 19, more and more jurisdictions are allowing remote online notarization (RON), which allows electronic signing of documents. Please consult your attorney if you have concerns about the closing/signing process.

As with everything related to Covid 19 and this strange new world we find ourselves in, things are changing daily. While this post is meant as an overall “heads up” on some big changes we are currently seeing in real estate, things continue to evolve. Please consult your real estate agent, attorney and lender for the latest details. If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to reach out to me (Lvandore@Landmarkne.com or 508-308-4436)…I will do my best to help answer your question or direct you where to find an answer.

Please be safe and stay home as much as you possibly can!

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The What, Why & How of Home Staging


The What, Why & How of Home Staging-2

If you’ve ever watched a show on HGTV you are probably familiar with the term “staging.” On Flip or Flop, where they gut and redo a home, they always bring in stagers to add furniture and decorative accents. ¬†On Fixer Upper, Joanna always works well into the night (or so they have us believe), getting the home ready for the owners. ¬†She is the one with the “eye” and the decorative sense, and she really excels when it comes to the staging of the home at the end. ¬†Similarly, Hillary on Love It or List It and Drew & Jonathan Scott of Property Brothers, stage their properties after their respective makeovers. ¬†The staging is what really makes viewers “ooh and ah” over the transformation. ¬†But as we all know, HGTV isn’t real life, and staging, while essential for TV, costs money, sometimes lots of it. So, if you are a seller, should you consider having your home staged? ¬†Does it pay off? ¬†Are there different levels of staging? ¬†The answer to all of these questions, is yes! ¬†Yes, you should consider staging your home, because yes, it does pay off, but yes, there are different degrees of staging, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

While on the TV shows, roomfuls of furniture are brought in, for most home sellers my recommendations involve what I would call “editing” and “decorative staging.” ¬† In some cases, “room updates” might be warranted, where wallpaper is removed, bathroom fixtures are replaced, or kitchen updates are made. ¬†And on occasion we might redo a complete room. ¬†Let’s discuss what I mean by each of these.


Unless your home looks like it is ready for a photo shoot for a decorating magazine (from 2017, not 1979), I think every home can benefit from “editing.” ¬†This is where a good real estate agent can begin to bring you value. ¬†While most people have heard they should remove all personal photos (I think in moderation it is okay to leave them), removing furniture and decorative items can also go a long way, and be far more important than the personal photos. ¬†Removing furniture can make a room appear more spacious and removing decorative items can reduce some of the “noise.” ¬†Art can be a very personal thing, but unless it is neutral and complimentary to the room, it can be a distraction. ¬†And sometimes people just have too much “art.” ¬†You may be an avid reader, but bookshelves shouldn’t be cram-packed with dog-eared paperbacks. ¬†Live plants should be limited in scope and limited to those that are healthy and thriving. ¬†Kitchen and bathroom counters should be as clear as possible. ¬†I know it may be convenient to have your coffee maker, toaster oven, blender, paper towels, knife block, etc all on the kitchen counter, but when you are selling your home, less is definitely more. ¬†Be open to listening to your real estate agents suggestions ~ it’s not a personal affront to your decorating style, they are just trying to make your home show at it’s best. ¬†In the photos that follow, I will highlight some of the changes I have made to a recent listing of mine. ¬†I am fortunate in that my client has been very open to changes, and has been very happy with what I have done.

In an example of editing, this home has a beautiful front-to-back room with great light. This room started off with a piano, in addition to what you see in the before photo.  The seller had the piano removed, then I later removed some of the furniture and the large rug, which covered up the hardwood floors (which were in great condition).


Living room 2

And after:


In another example, I had a large cabinet and artificial plant removed that was in the kitchen area (to the left in the first photo), and replaced it with a small bench (which came from the living room…and you will see that light-colored rug in an upcoming photo, also moved to a different room).





Decorative Staging

Full-on staging is generally used for homes that are empty. ¬†Furniture in a space actually makes it appear bigger (although too much furniture can make it look smaller). ¬†But most homes don’t need a room to be emptied and completely redone. ¬†What can make a difference, is what I call “decorative staging.” ¬†This involves bringing in some decorative elements to help a space appear more cohesive or updated. ¬†Here is an example of a bedroom where we did both editing and some staging. ¬†We removed the black rug, the desk/chair the upholstered chair and the lamp (editing). ¬†We then moved a light-colored rug (from the photo above) and a lamp from another room of the house into this room. ¬†I replaced the decorative pillows with one from Home Goods, added a coordinating throw at the foot of the bed and a few decorative items on the nightstand (which the seller painted white). ¬†Very low-cost, and I think the room shows as more spacious and up-to-date.




Bedroom #2

In the master bathroom, I simply did some staging of the tub area, including the shelves.  While this bath may need a more extensive update, what I wanted to do was draw attention to the fact that it could be a very relaxing space.  Many homes in this particular area have small master baths with only a shower.  This bathroom actually has a shower (to the right, unseen in the photo) and a tub, so why not play it up?



And after:

Master bath

Room Updates

This step is a bit more involved, and often involves kitchen and bathrooms.  In this house, the shared bath had a very small vanity.  Not only was it not very wide, it was unusually low.  It generated a lot of comments, not in a good way.  So I had the vanity replaced.  As part of this redo, I also had the storage piece above the toilet removed to create a feeling of more space (thank you to my colleague, Ruth, for the suggestion).  I painted the walls (yes, really) a lighter, more neutral color, and then did some staging with decorative prints and new towels.



And after:

Full Bath

While in this house the kitchen was already beautifully updated, sometimes it can pay off to add stainless steel appliances to a kitchen (especially if the appliances are a mix of finishes) or even change out countertops.  In a recent listing in our office they took out a dated backsplash, changed out the countertops from Corian to a black honed granite, added some stainless appliances and had a butcher block island refinished.  The home sold instantly.

Full Room Makeover

While generally the desired improvements can be accomplished by editing and decorative staging, in some cases it may make sense to makeover an entire room.  In this house we had a small fourth bedroom that had big, heavy furniture in it.  I had all of the furniture removed, and brought in a cute bed, chair (not in the photo) and a neutral rug.  From our trusty Home Goods I sourced a nightstand, lamp and a couple of small prints.





When it comes to getting your home ready for the market, a good real estate agent should make suggestions that will help maximize the selling price of your home.  Some of these tips cost nothing, and some may involve some level of investment (although some agents, myself included, have a stash of decorative items and furniture that can be used free-of-charge).  My suggestion to you is to listen and to be receptive.  It is not a critique of your home.  An agent is only trying to make your home appeal to the greatest number of buyers, which in the end, will help you to sell faster and at a higher price!

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, if you are interested in learning what your home is worth, or if you have any questions about real estate in general, please give me a call (508-308-4436), send me an email (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com) or send me a message via Facebook.  I would love to help you!

Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.


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What’s Happening in the Local Real Estate Market ~ February, 2017

Local Real Estate Market Stats

Generally we saw fewer homes sales in February as compared to January (click here for January reports). ¬†Much of this can be attributed to two factors, the first simply being that February is a shorter month (3 days can make a difference). ¬†The second (probably more significant) factor is due to the time it takes to close a real estate transaction (generally 45-60 days). ¬†Over the Christmas/ New Year’s holiday not much happens in real estate. ¬†Transactions that go under agreement before the holidays will generally close in January. ¬†But that 2-3 week period at the end of December/ beginning of January will impact the number of home closings we see in February. ¬†Think of February as a month where the slowness of the holidays comes to an end and we turn the corner and start to see the spring market.

With only a few exceptions, February saw an uptick in the number of homes listed for sale (as of month end).  Wellesley and Dover each saw a 19%+ increase in active listings compared to January, and Medfield saw an almost 35% increase.  Other towns saw more modest increases (Sherborn at 10.5% and Natick at 7%), while Walpole and Norfolk saw no change in the number of active listings.  Holliston was the only town in our sample that saw a decrease (6.7%) in listings over January, although Middlesex County also experienced a 3% decline in listings.  Norfolk County, on the other hand, saw a 5% increase in listings.  For more information about inventory levels, see my blog post from last week, Buyers Face Fewer Choices.

Certainly there are more indications that mortgage interest rates will rise, which should drive (even more) buyers into the market. ¬†Let’s hope we see more sellers realize what a great time it is to sell, and add their homes to the offerings!











If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, if you are interested in learning what your home is worth, or if you have any questions about real estate in general, please give me a call (508-308-4436), send me an email (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com) or send me a message via Facebook.  I would love to help you!

Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.


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Buyers Face Fewer Choices

Buyers Face Fewer Choices

An article from Realtor.com came out recently titled “New Reality? ¬†Buyers Face Fewer Choices.”¬† In the article they note that the US has seen an overall decline of 7% in homes listed for sale. ¬†Of course, not all markets are the same…looking at the US as a whole is a pretty big-picture view, and the article points out that some markets (such as Las Vegas, Houston and San Antonio) are actually seeing much greater inventory levels (as a real estate agent, I wish we had that problem).

I put together some stats for the local Boston real estate market, to see how it compares to what the country is seeing overall. ¬†In general we too are seeing fewer homes listed for sale, with many markets seeing double-digit percentage decreases in inventory over this time last year. ¬†Median prices are less consistent…generally as inventory levels fall, prices would go up, and while we are seeing that for Greater Boston overall, along with both Middlesex and Norfolk counties, this is not so consistent for the individual towns listed below. ¬†Here are some specific stats for your review.

Change in # of Listings Change in Median List Price
Greater Boston * 15.9% decrease 8.6% increase
Middlesex County 21.5% decrease 7.3% increase
    Holliston 14.6% decrease 11% increase
    Natick 18% decrease 8% decrease
    Sherborn 25.7% decrease 7.2% increase
Norfolk County 11.3% decrease 5.5% increase
    Dedham 20% decrease 4.2% decrease
    Dover 5.8% decrease 30% increase
    Medfield 24% decrease no change
    Needham 32.3% decrease 1% decrease
    Norfolk 2.6% decrease 3% decrease
    Walpole 28.6% decrease 16% increase
    Wellesley 12.6% increase 4% decrease
    Westwood 8% decrease 7.2% increase
* Greater Boston includes Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth & Suffolk counties
All stats are as of March 6, 2017 as compared to March 6, 2016, per MLS Pinergy.

Inventory levels are lower as compared to last year in every location in the chart above, with the exception of Wellesley, which has seen quite the opposite, with a 12.5% increase in inventory.  And while Greater Boston, Middlesex and Norfolk counties overall have seen healthy median price increases, more than half the towns listed saw a decrease in median listing price (with Medfield seeing no change).  Despite the low inventory levels, maybe there is only so much increase in listing price that the market can take.


The spring market is starting to heat up.  A relatively mild winter (lack of snow on the ground) encourages  more people to get out looking (and hopefully more people ready to list their homes).  In the past week alone, of the eleven towns listed above, seven saw net increases in inventory levels (the exceptions being Medfield, which was unchanged, and Walpole, Norfolk and Dedham, which saw a net decrease).  Sherborn saw 7 net new listings (from 19 to 26), Holliston saw 6 net new listings (from 29 to 35) and Wellesley saw 9 new listings (from 98 to 107).  This is good news for buyers.

abode-987096__340If you are thinking of selling, it really could not be a better time to list. ¬†With interest rates beginning to creep up, more buyers are entering the market, ready to pull the trigger. ¬†Couple that with low inventory levels, and sellers are in the driver’s seat. ¬†Read my post, 7 Tips for Home Sellers to help make sure you are ready. ¬†For buyers, I recommend that you get your pre-approval in hand and read my post, 6 Tips for Home Buyers. ¬†If I can be of service to any one in the sale of their home or in their search for a new home, please¬†give me a call (508-308-4436), send me an email (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com) or send me a message via¬†Facebook. ¬†I would love to help you!

Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.

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7 Tips For Home Sellers


In many parts of the country it is a seller’s market…certainly in the greater Boston area we are seeing more buyers than there is inventory.  Some towns are particularly frenzied with multiple offers, properties selling before hitting MLS and homes selling above asking price.  But no matter what kind of market you are facing, if you are a seller, you always want your home to show at it’s best and spend as little time on the market as possible.  To that end, here are seven tips if you are thinking of putting your house up for sale.


living-room-457793__340You are going to be moving, hopefully sooner rather than later…you might as well start the weeding out and packing up before you put your house up for sale.  When I sold my house several years ago I had been living there for 11 years…it is amazing the amount of stuff I had accumulated in the basement, attics & closets (bikes with training wheels despite one child in college and one in high school).  

  • Take the time to clean out before listing your house‚Ķbuyers will open closets‚Ķif they are crammed with your stuff, buyers will not think ‚Äúwow, look how much stuff I can pack in here!‚ÄĚ but instead will see the closet as small and an indication of the house lacking in storage space. ¬†¬†To the extent possible, try to remove half of the contents of your closets. ¬†
  • Don‚Äôt forget to clean out attics, basements & garages. ¬†People want to know if they can fit both of their cars in the garage, and even if the basement is unfinished, buyers need to be able to move around freely in it. ¬†
  • As you go through your house think about what you are going to take with you and what you plan to get rid of‚Ķanything in the latter category should be removed from the house before listing it (if you are in the general area of Walpole, MA, consider donating any household items in good condition to New Life HR…they will come pick up your furniture and take it away…click here to see what they take and don’t take). ¬†Pack up some of the things going with you that you will not have an immediate need of‚Ķremove these things to a storage locker if possible. ¬†Alternatively, store neatly in a basement or attic space (preferably boxed up). ¬†
  • Decluttering also means removing unnecessary knickknacks, reducing or eliminating personal photos and clearing off countertops…ideally I like to see nothing on kitchen and bathroom counters (you aren‚Äôt selling reality here). ¬†¬†

2. ¬†Clean, Clean…and then Clean Again!

Before listing your house it needs a thorough cleaning…this goes beyond the everyday cleaning.  Wipe down baseboards & window sills, wipe down switch plates, and clean grout in kitchens and bathrooms.  

  • Cleaning includes cleaning carpets…it is amazing how much better an old worn out carpet can look with a good professional cleaning. ¬†In my previous home the living room and guest bedroom had carpet that had been in the home when I purchased it 11 years ago (and it wasn‚Äôt new then). ¬†I had it professionally cleaned, and it really made a difference. ¬†¬†washing-windows-394158_960_720
  • Have windows professionally cleaned inside and out.¬† Another one I have personal experience with‚Ķwhen I sold my house my real estate agent wanted me to have the windows cleaned‚Ķthey didn‚Äôt look that bad to me and I resisted her a bit. ¬†Finally I gave in‚Ķand could not believe the difference‚Ķthe windows literally sparkled and the house seemed brighter‚Ķspend the money and have them cleaned! ¬†[Note…I now work for that agent!]
  • To the extent possible, erase evidence of pets. ¬†You love your pets (I LOVE my dog), but people looking to buy your house don‚Äôt. ¬†Keep the home free of pet hair and place litter boxes in inconspicuous places (keep them clean and make sure your yard is clear of pet waste). ¬†

3.  Make Small Repairs and Updates

If there are small things that you are aware of that need repair, take care of them now, before listing your house.  

  • Replace broken or missing outlet covers, replace burnt out light bulbs, make sure all closet doors are on track, have leaky faucets fixed, and replace any broken or cracked windows. ¬†Buyers tend to overestimate the cost of repairs by 2-4 times the actual cost, so it is worth spending the money upfront to fix things. ¬†¬†
  • Have old wallpaper removed and give the walls a good coat of a neutral paint color wallpaper-416046__340(one of my favorites is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore). ¬†While wallpaper is making a bit of a comeback, your wallpaper from 1990 isn‚Äôt really going to cut it. ¬†Consider fresh paint in any room with an unusual color or if the room just looks tired…honestly, fresh paint can transform a room and it is something you can tackle yourself in a weekend. ¬†If you have wood trim, you may¬†want to¬†paint it white...this is a bigger project, and I would hire a painter to do this one…but it is what buyers want today, and it can make a house look fresh and updated (there are a few exceptions to this, depending on the style of your home…consult with your real estate agent). ¬†
  • Undertake small projects that have little cost but can update the house‚Ķeasy things include replacing outdated light fixtures and changing cabinet hardware in kitchens and baths, projects that most people can tackle as DIY. ¬†

4.  Make a Strong First Impression

Potential buyers will begin forming an impression of your house from the moment they pull up to the curb.  


  • If bushes are overgrown, the yard isn‚Äôt neat and the house looks tired or unwelcoming they may not even come inside. ¬†Make sure the grass is mowed, bushes are trimmed (bushes should not be blocking windows), beds are mulched and the yard is picked up and neat. ¬†
  • Consider adding some flower pots in front, a seasonal wreath to the door and putting out a fresh welcome mat. Consider painting the front door a fresh new color to give the house some pop.
  • In winter, make sure driveways and sidewalks are clear and free of ice. ¬†
  • Consider giving the house a power wash if it appears dirty.

5.  Accept Staging Advice

Staging doesn’t have to mean bringing in all new furniture and making your home look like it stepped out of a magazine…generally it is much more simple (and cheaper) than that.  A good real estate agent can either help you with this, or may provide a third party who can come in and assist in making your home show it’s best.

  • A lot of what staging is about is removal...removal of too much furniture, removal of carpets and rugs that hide beautiful floors, and removal of heavy window treatments. ¬†I know those were custom window coverings that cost you an arm and a leg…but they are often specific to your decor, may be outdated and definitely block sunlight. ¬†the-white-house-81469__340Staging is also about making your home less personal. ¬†You do not need to remove all of your family photographs, but you may need to remove some. ¬†Artwork or other decor that isn‚Äôt neutral in style may best be removed. ¬†Some things are very personal in taste, and you don‚Äôt want buyers responding negatively to your home because they cannot see past the decor. ¬†
  • Staging can involve rearranging furniture and bringing in some accent pieces…don‚Äôt take it personally. ¬†The purpose is to make your home appeal to the greatest number of buyers, it is not a critique of your decorating style. ¬†

6.  Work With a Real Estate Agent


Yes, I am biased, but working with an agent gives you many benefits.  

  • 90% of home buyers start their search on the internet. ¬†A good agent will have professional photos taken of your house (which look much better than anything you can take with your iPhone), may add video and drone photography and may even set up a website specifically for your home. ¬†
  • Your home will be listed on MLS (multiple listing service) which will give you access to the greatest number of buyers (MLS feeds to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, etc). ¬†
  • An agent will walk you through the entire home-selling process, making sure you understand things like radon and lead paint testing, passing Title V (for private septic in Massachusetts), and what you are required to disclose to buyers.
  • Having an agent show your home removes you from the showings, which is a good thing. ¬†It allows a buyer to feel comfortable opening closets and asking questions. ¬†A good agent will be able to meet a potential buyer‚Äôs schedule to see the house, whatever time of day or day of the week. ¬†
  • Most importantly, a good agent will help you price the house accurately. ¬†Sellers often overestimate the value of their home‚Ķpricing too high will discourage potential buyers in those critical first weeks when your home attracts the most attention. ¬† A real estate agent will also work on your behalf to negotiate the best price and help you sort out multiple offers if you are so fortunate (the highest price may not always be the best offer).

7.  Have an Exit Strategy

Having your house on the market is not fun.  You will need to keep it picked up at all times, as you never know when a potential buyer is going to want to see it.  While you will often have a day’s notice, you can just as likely get a call that a buyer would like to see your home in a half hour.  You DO NOT want to turn away showing requests.  

  • One strategy that can help is to take a laundry basket and walk through the house throwing everything into it that needs picking up/putting away‚Ķkid and pet toys, clothing, mail and piles of paper on the counter top, etc. ¬†Throw the laundry basket in the back of your car, along with the kids and any pets, and leave the house during the showing. ¬†laundry-basket-282426_960_720
  • Before leaving also turn on all lights ~ your agent can also do this if they are doing accompanied showings (as opposed to a lockbox). ¬†¬†Open up all shades and drapes (unless, of course, you removed those drape, like recommended above!)‚Ķyou want your house to look as light as possible.

My final piece of advice is this…when your house is on the market, you need to think like a seller, not a homeowner.  To the degree possible you need to detach yourself from the house and do whatever is needed to make it appeal to as many buyers as possible.  Do not take comments and criticisms personally.  Discuss every offer with your agent and don’t dismiss any reasonable offer.  If you are motivated to sell, your house can sell quickly.  Good luck!  (If you are a buyer, see my post 6 Tips For Home Buyers.)

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, if you are interested in learning what your home is worth, or if you have any questions about real estate in general, please give me a call (508-308-4436), send me an email (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com) or send me a message via Facebook.  I would love to help you!

Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.


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Local Market Stats, January, 2017

January is typically a slow month for real estate. ¬† People are coming up for air after the holidays, and the early part of the month generally sees low activity. ¬†By late January, in a market such as ours (with low inventory), things start to pick up. ¬† In February and March we typically see more homes come on the market, with April and May being peak “spring market.”

Locally we are seeing very low inventory levels. ¬†Despite strong prices, sellers are not flocking to list their homes (note the selling price compared to listing price ratio…especially Holliston!). ¬†This has been going on for several years. ¬†As you look at the reports below, notice the number of homes on the market, compared to the number of homes sold and pending. ¬†In many markets (not all, Dover & Wellesley being the exceptions…we are seeing a lot of the very high end homes sitting on the market in these towns) we see inventory levels that represent about a month’s worth of ¬†activity (sales + pending). ¬†Anything under 5-6 months of inventory is considered a seller’s market…so right now there is no question, the market is in the seller’s favor!

Here are the relevant market statistics for January, 2017 for Dover, Medfield, Norfolk, Walpole, Wellesley and Norfolk Country, along with Holliston, Natick, Sherborn and Middlesex County (scroll down, in order listed above). ¬†Note that this represents only one month’s worth of data, so for a town like Sherborn, with only 2 sales in January, it is less relevant than towns with more transactions. ¬†Each month these reports will be cumulative (YTD or quarterly reports) and the data will become more useful. ¬†If you have any questions about the data, questions about the market in general, or if you are interested in discussing buying or selling a home, email me (Lvandore@LandmarkNE.com), call me (508-308-4436) or send me a message via Facebook messenger. ¬†I am always happy to talk to you!











Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.

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My Favorite Places to Walk My Dog in Walpole & Medfield

fullsizeoutput_5a5One of the things I always used to like to do when my kids were little was to go to a park. ¬†From the tiny neighborhood park we visited before they could even walk (in the greater Chicago area), to several favorites in London, East Grand Rapids, Michigan and later Sherborn, we have hit many a playground. ¬†Nowadays my kids are both in college and don’t seem all that interested in the playground. ¬†ūüôā ¬†But now I have a dog. ¬†We get out every single day, with rare exception (e.g. torrential rain all day). ¬†I don’t always love it, especially when it is cold and windy, but I know it is the highlight of my dog’s day (well, maybe the highlight after breakfast and dinner). ¬†When I am rushed for time, we will just walk in the neighborhood, but most days we ¬†hit a local park or reservation. ¬†My dog is part beagle, and his nose needs a workout…I think he enjoys being on the trails as much as I do. ¬†We have some favorites, which I thought I would share in today’s post. ¬†We continue to discover new places to walk (in fact, once this snow melts, we have another one on our radar)…I think we both enjoy the variety! ¬†Here are some of our local favorites.


Adams Farm, Walpole

For the last few years, since moving to Walpole, this is our “go to” place to walk. ¬†Very popular with dog walkers, it is rare that we don’t get to say hello to at least a few “dog friends.” ¬†You will also see runners and mountain bikers there, so heads up. ¬†There is a main loop that most people seem to use that is partly in the woods, and partly in some open fields. ¬†It takes us about 40-45 minutes (including stops to sniff) to complete. ¬†Adams Farm is located on North Street in Northeast Walpole, almost on the Westwood Line (I have been known to make a quick stop at Bubbling Brook after a walk in the summer). ¬†Per their website, the park contains almost 700 acres of land (owned by various entities). ¬†There is ample parking, and the park is free to use. ¬†The non-profit Friends of Adams Farm helps oversee and maintain the park (along with participation from the Town of Walpole, who owns about half of the land). ¬†Donations are gratefully accepted. ¬†In addition to the trails, there is a butterfly garden and a community garden with 64 plots that can be rented…in the summer there is always someone working in the gardens. ¬†My only criticism of the park is that the trail map isn’t the most intuitive to follow (at least that’s my experience). ¬†We have learned the trails mostly through trial and error (and following others!). ¬†Aside from that, I find this to be a real treasure. ¬†My dog Ollie and I are there probably 4 or 5 times a week…check out our video from our Valentine’s Day walk.

Rocky Woods, Medfield

Rocky Woods is a Trustees of Reservations property. ¬†Located on Hartford St. in the northeast corner of Medfield, Rocky Woods is comprised of 490 wooded acres with many trail options. ¬†Unlike Adams Farm, there is a good color-coded trail map, and trails are well-marked. ¬†There are two ponds, one of which is being overrun by beavers. ¬†It’s actually kind of sad, as Echo Pond used to be a beautiful little treasure…now the beavers have blocked one end and continue to destroy more trees rimming the pond’s banks. ¬†But if you have kids, you can see the work of the beavers and it is easy to spy their huge beaver den, so maybe some educational value there. ¬†Like Adams Farm, you can contribute to the ongoing maintenance of the reservation by becoming ¬†a Trustees member. ¬†Membership encompasses all of the Trustees properties, approximately 100 parcels covering 25,000 acres. ¬†Parking at Rocky Woods is ample, but if you aren’t a Trustees member it will cost you $5 (become a member).


William Francis Bird Park, Walpole

This park, located in east Walpole is fast becoming a favorite of mine. ¬†Like Rocky Woods, Bird Park is a Trustees property. ¬†Much smaller than Adams Farm or Rocky Woods, at only 89 acres, this park is mainly comprised of paved walkways rather than trails. ¬†You will see a lot of walkers, many with dogs, but unlike other parks, dogs are typically on-leash here. ¬†Bird Park was created in 1925 and has many small ponds and beautiful stone bridges. ¬†The only negative is that the geese have fallen in love with the ponds, and as we all know, they can be a bit messy. ¬†What this park offers, that the others don’t, are tennis courts, basketball courts, a large enclosed playground and a large paved (enclosed) area with all kinds of small riding toys for kids. ¬†In the warmer months, this is a popular place. ¬†Benches throughout the park provide places to sit and watch all that is going on. ¬†There is ample (free) parking on Polley Lane. ¬†Parking here you enter the park through the “All√©e,” an open area lined with huge hemlocks, quite impressive (see photo above).


Medfield State Hospital, Medfield

Located on Hospital Road in the northwest corner of Medfield, this is the site of a former state psychiatric facility. ¬†Originally opened in 1897 as the Medfield Insane Asylum, operations ceased in 2003 and in 2014 it was sold to the Town of Medfield (for more history, see here). ¬†I love walking here. ¬†All the original buildings still stand, in varying states of disrepair. ¬†Windows are, for the most part, boarded up, and entry to any of the buildings is strictly prohibited (not that you would want to go in), but there is much to see and appreciate in the brickwork and architecture. ¬†The public is welcome to wander theSONY DSC grounds, which has a kind of quiet stillness to it…some might think eerie, but based on the number of people walking their dogs there, it doesn’t seem to bother many. ¬†Entry is on the end closest to Rt 27, and there is ample parking. ¬†If you continue to follow the road in, there is a new parking lot down near the Charles River. ¬†The parking is close to miles of trails that border the former hospital (some of the trails end up at Dover-Sherborn High School…for a map, see here). ¬†There is also a big open field for dogs (or kids) to run around in, located behind the buildings along the back of the property. ¬†There is a group studying the long-term use of the property; for more information, see Medfield State Hospital Vision and Master Plan.

Wheelock Conservation Land, Medfield

Located on Elm St in Medfield, parking is available at the back of Wheelock School (enter at the most eastern entrance and drive straight back). ¬†You will know you are in the right place when you see other dog walkers. ¬†A very popular place, there are paved walkways from Wheelock south to Rt 27 (see maps here, here and¬†here). ¬†There are also some large open fields for dogs that like to run. ¬†You can also access wooded trails, part of the Bay Circuit Trail. ¬†The paved walkway is more of an “out and back” kind of path, but you can go out on the pavement, and head back by cutting across the fields (or vice-versa) to add some variety. ¬†Best to avoid on weekends in the spring and fall as there are fields that host kids’ sporting events and tournaments and the parking area is often full.

Those are just a few of my favorite places to take the dog (and to clear my own head…I do some of my best thinking when walking the dog). ¬†At almost 10 years old, a 45 minute walk will tire him out for the rest of the day. ¬†Ollie and I are always looking for new places to walk, so if you have a favorite spot or two, please leave a comment below.


Looking to relocate to Walpole or Medfield (or any surrounding towns)?  I represent both buyers and sellers in Walpole, Medfield, Dover, Sherborn, Holliston, Natick, Wellesley and Norfolk.  If you have any questions about the area, or if you are interested in discussing buying or selling a home, please call (508-308-4436), email (Lvandore@Landmarkne.com) or message me via my Facebook business page.

Interested in real estate and the local real estate market?  Click HERE to sign up for my monthly real estate newsletter, a round-up of relevant real estate news and current local market analysis.  Unsubscribe at any time, and rest assured that I will never share your email information.


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