Ask a Realtor: Introducing RealVitalize

Introducing the RealVitalize program! Launching this month at BHGRE The Shanahan Group, this new service will support our seller clients in preparing their property to be on the market. We understand that one of the most stressful aspects of selling a house can be organizing and completing any work necessary to get it ready to show to prospective buyers. We also know that one of the biggest drivers of a home’s value today is condition - sometimes an even bigger factor than location! 


Enter RealVitalize! This program provides an established network of vetted, local contractors from Angi, formerly Angie’s List, to tackle home improvement projects and staging work to make the home sparkle. Working in partnership with a Shanahan Group agent, RealVitalize makes the process of home improvements, repairs, and staging as painless as possible.


The best part? RealVitalize covers the upfront costs of this work, without additional fees, charges, or markups. Sellers pay for the work when the home sells. Amazing!


We are always looking for ways to simplify real estate for our clients and RealVitalize is just one of the tools we can offer to seller clients to make life a little bit easier, in an already busy time.


For more information, check out this overview of the RealVitalize Program, or ask a Shanahan Group agent anytime for details about how it works. 


To hear more from Karen Garrett, click here


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    Ask a Realtor: A Day in the Life

    How many people get to find entertainment every day simply from sitting at his or her desk?  I do!  I work as the office administrator for The Shanahan Group, located on a cheerful street corner in downtown Winchester, where there is always something fun, interesting, or downright curious going on.  


    A typical day begins with the procurement of morning coffee, the location of which is largely dictated by which coffee shop is open, has staff, and also has coffee that day.  Another prerequisite for the day is to fill the dog water bowl outside, which invites pups of all shapes and sizes to stop for some refreshment, particularly on those blazing hot days.  So many people and pets pass by on a daily basis.  It’s fun to listen to the conversations between pet parent and fur baby, moms and dads pleading and cajoling their small children, and the happy meetings between friends that happen to spontaneously reunite right outside the window.   


    Then, on to handling the transactions for the day.  In real estate, you never can be sure how the day will go. In this ever-changing landscape, it is interesting to see what will be coming on the market each week, and even more exciting - what has sold! The intricate dance between buyers and sellers coming to a mutually beneficial agreement is fascinating! Most transactions go through without a hitch, but occasionally a small hiccup causes a delay of some kind.  However, it always works out in the end.  It has been such a pleasure getting to know the agents in the office, as they all bring fun and unique personalities and seem to genuinely enjoy what they do.  Every day is certainly a new adventure.


    As a relative newcomer to the state of Massachusetts (from what I’ve heard as the “flyover state” of Minnesota), working in this idyllic town has brought the opportunity to witness a community at work, a strong sense of history, and feeling of unity you don’t see every day.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.  Definitely stop in and say “Hi” if you’re ever outside the window!


    To hear more from our Office Administrator, Jen Musto, click here


    Ask a Realtor: What Tips do you Have for People Who are Relocating?

    Relocating can be very difficult for the entire family. Not only are you moving to a new home, but you are potentially finding new schools, doctors, babysitters, restaurants, friends and SO much more! Working with a relocation coordinator that is familiar with your destination and has knowledge and expertise in this area is key to making it a smoother transition for everyone. Through my own experiences, I have also found that it is helpful when the advisor has a personal relationship with relocation. They can truly understand the emotions and stress involved in the transition.  


    With every move, my family has made (and there have been a lot!), I confirmed that our relocation coordinator was very familiar with the area before our house hunting trip.  We extensively discussed what was important to us, not only about the home, but also what we hoped for in a community.  The more straightforward you are with your relocation coordinator, the better able they are to accommodate your needs and requests. 


    Lastly, before relocating...make sure to pack your patience and a good sense of humor!  


    For more information about our relocation, concierge, and referral services, please contact Clay Tappan, Manager of HOMECOMING Business Development, BHGRE The Shanahan Group 


    Ask a Realtor: What does a Contingency Mean in Real Estate?

    What Does a Contingency Mean in Real Estate? 

    When we talk about contingencies, we are most commonly talking about conditions of a contract to purchase a home. These conditions may be something that either the buyer, seller or both, must meet for the sale to be completed.  

    Typical Contingencies are Buyer Financing and Home Inspections. 

    A financing contingency would be included in an offer if the buyer requires financing in order to purchase the property. The contingency would state that the buyer must receive a mortgage commitment from its lender to proceed with the purchase.  If the buyer is not able to secure financing by an agreed-upon date, the buyer would not be able to complete the purchase of the property and would be entitled to the return of their deposit. 

    Another typical contingency is the home inspection contingency. Here, the buyer would be allowed to have a home inspection to understand the condition of the property and to complete their due diligence.  Should the inspection uncover problems, particularly those that impact the safety, operations, or value of the home, the buyer may decide not to move forward with the purchase or renegotiate the terms of the agreement with the sellers.

    Satisfying Contingencies 

    Contingencies typically include a date by which the conditions must be met. After all the contingencies have been met by both parties, the property is ready to be sold. If, however, either party is unable to meet their obligations in the given timeframe, both buyer and seller will negotiate new terms, extend the timing, or agree to void the contract. 

    It’s important to understand what contingencies are and how they protect you as the buyer or seller of real estate. Especially in our recent sellers’ market, buyers have been waiving contingencies in their offers, as a way to be more competitive. While this is attractive to sellers and has become a frequent occurrence, there is a risk to buyers with this strategy. As always, a strong, skilled, and local real estate professional is your best asset in buying and selling property.


    To hear more from Kathy Culkin, click here

    Ask a Realtor: What Should I Expect From an Inspection?

    A home inspection is an essential part of home purchasing. As a buyer, you may love the location, style, and décor of a home, but it’s also crucial to know what you are buying.  


    An inspection, especially in this market, shouldn’t be used as a way to re-negotiate your accepted offer price, but as the market becomes more buyer-friendly as we are beginning to see this shift, there could be concessions granted back from the seller – if warranted and documented. 


    What should we expect from a home inspection? You want to be aware of the ‘big-ticket' items.  How structurally sound is the home? What are the components? Is there adequate support? If there is sagging in a roof, find out why.  Inspectors examine the areas of the basement/attic etc. where buyers do not always go.  Yes, you can see part of the roof from the upstairs windows, but knowing the age, checking the vents, flashing, trim and skylights are important as well as gutters and downspouts.  (Water is generally not a friend to your home.  Anything you can do to make the water “run” away from your home, is in your best interest!)  Foundations and crawl spaces should be inspected for pests, water, cracking, etc. 


    Systems: What are the ages of the systems in the home you are looking to buy? Are they working well? Are they safe – do the doors shut so pets or children don’t get hurt? A good inspector will also inform you how your systems work, when and how HVAC filters should be changed, the location of your plumbing off/on switches in case of a flood.  If you have never owned a home – or your new home has a different heat source -oil, gas/propane, or electric- this is the time to ask questions!  Kitchen appliances will be tested and the water run (for a while) to confirm proper order and to test the temperature (to avoid burns) and check the pressure. 


    Often, a radon test is part of your home inspection. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that, at high levels, can be a carcinogen. Radon levels are detected through a few different types of tests, all of which stay in the basement of the property for 48 hours. If the radon level is above the level at which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises remediation, your home inspector or agent can recommend reputable radon remediation companies in our area. These companies will install simple systems in the home that reduce radon levels. Most companies guarantee their work and will re-test the property as part of their contract. 


    At BHGRE we know great inspectors. Additionally, if a problem is found, we have a whole network of great service contractors.  Please reach out if I or anyone on my team can be of service.


    To hear more from Lynne Russo, click here

    A Note from Nan and Karen

    This week, our family will celebrate the life of John Sullivan, Nan’s brother, and Karen’s uncle. While there are so many things to say and appreciate about John as a person, he also played a major role in who we are at The Shanahan Group today. 


    John was a born leader and had a deep appreciation for small businesses. He was a partner at Hall and Sullivan, practicing estate law locally. While this was a second career for John, it was a natural fit for him- advising friends and neighbors, all while being in Winchester Center every day. In 2007, Nan decided to start The Shanahan Group, and- as he always was- John was excited and proud to support Nan in her new venture. Karen joined the company shortly afterward, allowing all three to work together on an almost daily basis. 


    Since opening our doors on Thompson St and then on Main St, John was a constant presence at The Shanahan Group. He would often walk over and sit in our office, talking about what was happening in town, offering his advice, and of course, sharing a few stories! We miss those office visits, but John’s impact on our company is enduring. 


    Working with family (and enjoying it!) is a gift. We were lucky to work together and learn from John for so many years. We are forever grateful for John’s influence on our company and for his support of us as leaders. 


    Finally, thank you to our Shanahan Group colleagues, neighbors, and friends for your support and kind words. We are so very appreciative. 


    All the best, 

    Nan and Karen

    On the Move: American Moving Patterns since Pandemic

    For so many reasons, homeowners are rethinking where they need to live and what spaces they need in a home. Whether it’s down the street, across the country, or somewhere in between, people are on the move. So where are they going, and why? This article from Bloomberg gives us insight into the migration patterns that have occurred over the past year. 

    A map of the united states showing migration paterns during the global pandemic

    Back at home, we are seeing a unique spring market unlike any other in recent history. Low inventory levels coupled with sky-high demand have driven our median sale prices to historic levels in our core markets. The demand is coming from typical sources (buyers moving from city to suburbs) but also from homeowners who have re-thought where and how they live since the beginning of the pandemic. We also continue to see homeowners that would like to downsize and sell their larger homes, but struggle to find options for that move as well. Our group has been working hard this spring to help both buyer and seller clients navigate this challenging market- no easy task, for sure! 

    No matter where or when you may be planning a move, The Shanahan Group can help. By expanding our reach beyond our core communities with our HOMECOMING program, we have been able to cultivate strong relationships with real estate colleagues across the country to help us understand these trends and to be a resource for our clients moving out of our area. 

    Reach out anytime to understand what today’s market means for your family’s needs and plans for the future. 



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    February is Fair Housing Month

    We believe in communities. 

    We believe in building communities. 

    We believe that everyone deserves a community where they feel safe, supported and respected. 

    It's why we are in the business of residential real estate. We understand that we have a role to play. 

    We are committed to Fair Housing policies and beyond them, we also strive to foster a warm and welcoming community, which recognizes and values diversity and inclusion. This February, our office will focus on Fair Housing as a topic for agent training and consumer awareness, to ensure that we all work together towards this goal.

    Things To Do On The Cape in February

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    Thinking of heading to Cape Cod in February? There are so many wonderful ways to check it out! Take a look at this list of ideas from Realtor Kate Aikman.

    • Kennedy Legacy Trail (Hyannis): Take a 1.6 mile walk through history! Visit 10 sites in any order along this self guided walking trail and uncover stories and history about the Kennedys on Cape Cod. Take a tour in person or explore virtually. Visit for more information.



    • Cape Hikes: Hike Brewster Punkhorn Parklands, Fort Hill in Eastham, Nickerson State Park, Great Island Beach in Wellfleet (check high tide times prior as beach parking area can flood so do not park your car there) and check out the dunes in Provincetown or stroll the streets - its beautiful anytime of year.


    • The Frost Bar @ Ocean Edge Resort (Brewster): Enjoy traditional a la carte dining or reserve an igloo experience by calling 774-323-6013! Their wintry cocktail menu is not to be missed!


    • Scargo Cafe (Dennis): They have greenhouses available for outside dining and they fill up quickly! Call (508) 385-8200 to make a reservation.


    • Chatham Bars Inn (Chatham): Visit for more information as you do not need to be a guest in order to enjoy many of their offerings at the Inn. However, they do have a variety of special offers to choose from should you wish to stay! Currently, the Spa at the Inn is featuring "Season of Joy" specials at their Spa now through March 28th. (2/16-2/19 Blackout dates). Thursday nights at the Inn are Tacos and Trivia Night from 6-8 p.m. and Friday nights the STARS Mixology Lounge offers Flights & Bites from 3-9 p.m. 


    • Cape Wellness Collaborative: CWC provides nutritious meals and integrative wellness therapies to people on Cape Cod facing cancer. This year they have taken their annual Dancing with The Docs fundraiser online. Save the date for February 27th at 7 p.m.! The event is free to watch. However, you can register and purchase a LIMITED EDITION VIP package for $100 by February 13th. Go VIP for all the details at The event includes a look back at the amazing dance teams that have performed since 2017, fabulous online auction, fund a need and catch special guest appearances and celebrity cameos! Check out the event on Facebook to stay up to date with announcements: Dancing with the Docs: Season 5 All Stars!


    Click here for more info about finding your next perfect spot on the Cape and reach out if we can help! 



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      January is Home Maintenance Month!

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      The New Year is a time to refresh and reset - especially in your home. Whether buying, selling, or just re-organizing, we could all use some reminders and inspiration for home maintenance tips. It's important to know how to take care of your home now and all throughout the year. Take a look at these home maintenance blog posts with advice from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - there's something for every home owners' New Year's resolution. Resolving to declutter? Try out DIY projects? Add storage for all those 2020 impulse purchases? Find some ideas here:

      If you're looking for any professional help, our team has a long list of local trusted resources who we've worked with over the years, including cleaners, painters, home-organizers, etc. Ask us! 


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