Agents

Paula Russo Sughrue's Run for Lovelane

One of the many common interests that our agents share is a desire to give back to our communities and to make a difference. And we've all certainly learned that when we do, we really end up receiving so much more! We'd like to thank Paula Russo Sughrue for sharing a recent experience she had with a truly life changing organization:

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of joining 500 other runners in the 9th annual Susan McDaniel Run for Lovelane. This professionally timed race is challenging enough for elite runners but welcoming and enjoyable for families, walkers, and even strollers. The 5K race starts at the Weston Town Green and makes its way along the beautiful neighborhoods in Weston, Massachusetts with friendly homeowners along the way providing much-needed water to the runners.

Paula Sughrue, her niece, Olivia, and Paula's daughter, Madeline.

Lovelane provides high-quality, therapeutic horseback riding to achieve therapeutic gains to children with special needs. This fun and supportive environment has been an integral part of my niece, Olivia's amazing progress over the past eight years. She thoroughly enjoys her weekly horseback rides with the special attention from the licensed therapeutic riding instructors. Some other activities present a physical challenge to Olivia, but with horseback riding she's on top of the world and so proud of herself!  It's heartwarming for her family to know that she's experiencing this much joy.

My children and I have been part of this wonderful fundraiser for the past 3 years. Olivia's team is named Team Trots and is pictured above. Her team grows each year. Her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins all come out to show their support for her and this important program. Let me know if you want to join Team Trots next year. All are welcome!  The atmosphere of young and old Lovelane supporters is so inspiring. 

Team Trots

To learn more about Lovelane visit www.lovelane.org

Gobble, Gobble!!

It's time for Turkey! 

It's that time of year again at Better Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group! Plans are being finalized now for the 5th annual Kids Turkey Trot. It's amazing that it's been five years and we couldn't be happier to organize this great event for such an amazing cause. 

Five summers ago, Nan and I were watching my sons taking a tennis lesson (thanks, WinRec!) and talking about fall plans for the office. We knew we wanted to host an event but not sure what or when. We got talking about having a fun run on Thanksgiving, like other towns have annually. Nan suggested we start one here. Well, after a little research, we quickly realized that might be too big a task to take on for the fall. So we scaled down a bit and kept it for the kids- particularly the little ones. Through our connections to FAN (I was the current membership chair and Paula Sughrue had previously filled that role), we had the perfect audience. Our colleague Lulu Coakley has been a huge supporter of the Bridget Brigade and we knew that they would be a perfect cause for our event. And so it was born! 

I remember standing there after the first Trot was finished and being amazed at our turnout (we really thought it might be the Sughrue, Garrett and Coakley kids that first year!). Even at the 2013 TT, when our pens stopped working and all of our balloons popped with the frigid temps, we had a huge crowd! 

We are honored to host the event again this year and always share lots of giggles and fun along the way. Thank you again to all of our partners and sponsors for helping us make the Turkey Trot come alive every year. On a day when we stop to give thanks for our blessings, we are happy to start the morning with our friends and neighbors, supporting a cause that helps families care for their sick children. 

Online registration is now open and... this year our Turkey is now on Twitter and Instagram #TurkeyTrot2015! Follow us to see how things come together and for race day pictures.  

Hope to see you this Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble!

Your 2015 Turkey Trot Committee:

Paula Sughrue

Lulu Coakley

Rebecca Brennan-Laird

Molly Byrne

Nic Gatto

Karen Garrett

Dara Singleton

Felicity Tuttle

Melissa Perrone

Buyer's Agent? Why do I need one? And is it a good time to buy?

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group presents this post from our own Nic Gatto. Buyer agency is a topic we talk about all the time at the office and Nic does a great job summarizing. Thanks, Nic! 

I speak with many people every day looking to purchase real estate, and I'm always surprised when they say "I don't need a Buyer's agent." Now, I understand that most people view Buyer's agents as basically keys with arms and legs. Merely the gatekeeper to view a property assuming that is about all they are good for, but a Buyer's agent is your advocate in the buying process!

The Seller has hired a real estate professional to list and market their property. The listing agent has spent a lot of time researching the property understanding the area, and all of the features that make up the property. They have signed a contract with the owner of the property, and have many fiduciary responsibilities to them. They work to get the owner every penny that they can for said property.

As a Buyer you want a real estate professional on your side. Someone who is also familiar with the property, understands the process of negotiating and crafting an offer that protects your interests. A Buyer's agent has fiduciary responsibility to you the Buyer. The agent owes the buyer undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality, and accountability. The agent must put the buyer's interest first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the buyer.

Upon signing a Listing Contract an owner of a property agrees to pay a percentage of the sale price to the listing agent, and when they sign the contract they also agree to compensate the Buyer's agent. For example a Seller would agree to pay a 5% commission on the sale price, with 2.5% going to the listing agent, and 2.5% going to the buyer's agent. As a Buyer you can contact the listing agent without a Buyer's agent, in most cases this does not alter the contract, and will typically put you in what Massachusetts calls "Dual Agent" where the listing agent represents both the Buyer and the Seller, and is supposed to remain neutral in the transaction. Dual agency is like going to court and hiring the prosecutor to also act as you defense attorney.

At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, The Shanahan Group, where I am an agent, we do not practice Dual Agency where one agent is representing both the buyer and the seller. If a potential buyer approaches the listing agent, they will match them up with another agent in our office to represent them in a possible transaction. The idea is to make sure everyone has a qualified professional fighting to protect their interests in any transaction. 

If you are going to purchase real estate, make sure you find the right Buyer's agent for you. Don't settle for a real estate agent who only unlocks the door and asks you what you think. Find an agent that does their homework, and has the right connections to real estate attorneys, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and other professionals you may need along the way.

 

Now, is it a good time to buy?

When considering if it is a good time to purchase real estate, it's important to think about many factors.

1. Are home values increasing, or decreasing in the communities I am considering a purchase?

Here is a chart of communities, the median home value and the percentage they have increased in the past year.

Town

Median Home Value

12 month increase

Winchester

$813,300

5.7%

Lexington

$780,500

3.2%

Woburn

$375,700

5.1%

Stoneham

$407,500

3.8%

Melrose

$458,600

7.7%

Medford

$409,600

7.5%

Bedford

$583,400

3.5%

Sudbury

$669,700

2.2%

Concord

$775,100

4.8%

Arlington

$561,800

7.4%

Reading

$479,600

5.5%

***Numbers provided by Zillow.com***

 

2. How is the overall economy? How has an indicator such as The Dow Jones Industrial Average been performing?

The stock market is at an all-time high. Below is a chart showing the last 10 years of the Dow Jones Industrial average.

3. What kind of interest rates should I expect to get on a mortgage?

Interest rates are still low. Below are Bank of America's rates on 11/3/2014 for Massachusetts.

Mortgage type

Rate

APR

Points

 

30-year fixed

3.875%

4.036%

0.815

 

15-year fixed

3.000%

3.333%

1.238

 

 

4. How competitive is the market?

 The time of year favors buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors one time to find a good deal is between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, when other home buyers may be put off by the inclement weather and busy with the holidays. Generally, home prices are also at a 12-month low in December and the owner of a house on the market in the lead up to Christmas may be willing to negotiate on the price.

If you are able- buy now, you have a good chance of finding a home that you like for less than it would cost you another time of year. Additionally, during this period of low demand, mortgage lenders are sometimes willing to forego some of their fees in order to win customers, so you may be able to pick up a good deal on your mortgage.

In conclusion- home values are rising, the stock market is at an all-time high, and interest rates are still low. Right now, all is aligned for the best deal. Call or email me today and let me work as your Buyer's agent in finding you the best property specifically tailored for you! 

Smoke Alarms: A Serious Business

From the desk of Paula Sughrue from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group, below is an important reminder about smoke detectors and how to keep them working to keep you safe. 

Is your home protected with smoke alarms?

Smoke alarm safety should be taken seriously. You can save lives in your home by ensuring that you have enough smoke alarms and that they’re working correctly. 

How many times have you taken out the battery of a smoke alarm because it’s faulty or going off because of burnt toast?  Have you replaced those batteries?  Smoke alarms can save lives only if they’re working properly. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get you and your family outside to safety quickly.

A recent Boston Globe article, Detecting Trouble cited that “more than half of fire-related fatalities occur between 10 PM and 7 AM, when many people are sleeping and not alert, meaning a smoke alarm is the best chance of survival.”

Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of your home including your basement. Smoke alarms should be placed outside each bedroom. Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to avoid false alarms. Smoke alarms should also be replaced when they are 10 years old. 

The units should be tested monthly. To ensure that your batteries are working properly, it’s a good idea to install new batteries once a year. It might make this chore easier if you replace the batteries when the clocks get turned for daylight savings time.

For more information on the correct locations of smoke alarms, contact your local fire department.

Thanks, Paula! 

Happy Fall!

BREAKING NEWS: National Recognition for The Shanahan Group!

...And the PAIGE award goes to...The Shanahan Group!

PAIGE_Logo

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group announced today that it has received the brands national PAIGE Award. The distinction is bestowed to a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brokerage for above and beyond demonstration of the national brands core values through their commitment to passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence. While these values are nothing new at The Shanahan Group, we are so honored to be recognized on a national level for our commitment to our business and our integrity to each other and our clients. Thank you to our amazing group of agents and staff that make our work fun and exciting. We especially thank our clients who expect the best from their real estate professionals and drive us to be better every day. No honor could be more important to us than one that recognizes our commitment to our values of passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence. A final thank you to our Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate national colleagues for this recognition and continuous support of our business. PAIGE photo For more news from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group, visit us here.

Tis the Season (for Eating well)

Today, Mary Price is sharing another Holiday Party favorite of ours because after all...Tis the season for eating! This is Mary's famous and delicious Easy Hot Cheese Dip. There is simply nothing about these four words together that sounds bad to us. And Mary is even kind enough to give a shout out to her friend and former neighbor. Mary Price's Cheese DipEASY HOT CHEESE DIP: Originally from Joyce Edwards (my former neighbor) 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese I use the block cheese grated in a food processor. I like Cabot brand: Seriously Sharp. Any sharp cheese will work. 1 small onion (also put in processor) Put into a mixing bowl and add: approx. 1/3 cup mayo Mix together usually, I add a few red pepper flakes Put in appropriate size baking dish Sprinkle paprika on top Bake ate 350 degrees for approx 25 minutes (until bubbling) 20-30 minutes. MOST TIMES, I DOUBLE THIS RECEIPE AND DO BAKE FOR A FULL 25 MINUTES. ALSO, BEFORE SERVING, I BLOT THE EXTRA MAYO OIL ON TOP. Serve with pita chips, vegetables, crackers, bread sticks...just about anything! Enjoy!

What to Expect When Youre Moving

Well, boys here we are: less than two weeks from MOVING DAY!! Of course youve noted that 90% of the house is boxed up and that the answer to most of your Mom, wheres my? questions is either packed or I dont know. Weve talked a lot about new schools, new friends, and the emotional side of moving. As we move closer to D-Day (M-Day?), I thought Id focus on a few logistical items as well. Laundry: Im trying to keep up with the laundry as best I can in between packing and planning. If I do say so myself, Ive done a pretty good job of washing and drying. The folding-and-putting-away portion of this task leaves something to be desired. For the time being, Ive introduced a secondary system: Clothing has been divided into heaps by wearer and currently resides on the playroom couch. If you need something, look there. If you cant find it, its packed. Find something else. Clothing: I dont care what the thermometer reads, its shorts season. You have an ample supply of shorts and shirts. Ive also left out one or two sweatshirts for chilly mornings/evenings. If the temperature goes below freezing, Ill dig through to find you a light jacket. Short of that, youre strong and tough; Im sure a little light calisthenics will warm you right up. I would also like to take a minute to congratulate both you on being the same size right now. Excellent timing! Interchangeable clothing really does make things simpler. Linens: The sheets currently on your beds are there for the duration. Use them responsibly. I do have an emergency pillowcase tucked away. Dont make me use it. Most of our towels are wrapped around something expensive and/or breakable. Try to conserve what Ive left out for us (the threadbare, shredded remains). Drip dry whenever possible. Food: Grocery shopping as we know it has been suspended. I want to move as little food from house to house as possible. As we make our way through the remaining items, expect combinations to become increasingly (bizarre) eclectic, or as I like to call it, Fusion. Dad and I will try to keep the essentials in the house. For our purposes, consider essentials to be caffeine, milk, and more caffeine. Also, two words: Paper plates. Use them, love them, throw them away. Screen Time: I know that your home life recently has taken on a kind of a Lord of the Flies with take-out pizza and wifi vibe. Fun as it might have been at the beginning, Im sure we can all agree its gotten a little old. It will not continue much longer. Plan on stepping out of the basement and away from the computer/iPad/Xbox! There is life beyond Minecraft! We are moving to a bigger house, with a bigger yard, on a bigger street, with more kids. Were even going to be able to locate your bikes and sports equipment! Embrace and enjoy! All joking aside, I have to thank you both for rolling with all of the changes and interruptions that weve gone through in the last few months with preparing, showing, selling, and packing. Dad and I truly feel it will all be worth it. Only when you have kids of your own, will you understand that everything we do, we do with your best interest at heart. We so look forward to returning to our normal family life in our wonderful new home. No matter where we live, we are our family. Home Sign This week's blog post written by Realtor Associate, Christine Curtin. Christine is currently up to her eyeballs in bubble wrap and packing tape and she, her husband, and two sons prepare to move "in less than two weeks". Contact Christine at: christine.curtin@shanahanre.com

Getting to Know your REALTOR

Welcome to Part 2 of our ongoing series, Getting to Know Your REALTOR, a chance for members of our team to stand up and blog a little about ourselves and our lives in and out of Real Estate. We're happy to introduce, Rebecca Brennan-Laird. If asked to describe Rebecca, we'd use "kind, knowledgeable, and ENERGETIC." But we'll let you hear it straight from her... About Me Rebecca I like to help people. It is in my nature and one of the reasons I love being a Realtor. And I have the best clients! I get to know them and their families and be a part of a major event in their lives. The reasons for moving are many - buying a first home, getting married, job relocation, having a baby, having another baby, empty nesting, moving to a warmer climate, losing a parent or spouse. And moving can be stressful (even the happy events can be stressful!). It is my job to make this transition as painless and stress free as possible. I am the current President of the Rotary Club of Winchester. The Rotary Motto is Service Above Self (did I mention I like to help people?) The Rotary Club just had its annual Golf Tournament at the Winchester Country Club and its annual Pancake Breakfast at the McCall Middle School. We raise money to help our community, our country and our world. I am very proud of what we accomplish as an organization and look forward to many more years of Rotary Service. Inducting three new Rotarians: Rotary Rebecca I am also a long distance runner. My most recent race was the Cape Cod Ragnar. Over 300 relay teams ran the 36 hour 192 mile race that started in Hull, MA and ended in Provincetown, MA. My team consisted of twelve runaway brides and a whole lotta fun! My Runaway Bride Relay Team: Running Rebecca I live in Winchester, MA with my wonderful husband, two handsome teenage boys, and two lovable Labrador retrievers. Rebecca's Dogs

Getting to Know Your REALTOR

There has been a lot written and said about choosing the right Realtor. Whether you're buying or selling it's vitally important that your REALTOR is someone with whom you can work effectively. Intelligence, ethics, strong communication and negotiation skills, and local knowledge are just a few traits to look for when getting to know your REALTOR. At a conference a while back, a speaker was discussing ours is one of the few professions where potential clients decide to work with us based on whether or not we're someone they'd like to hang around with. That got us thinking; we're pretty great! We're intelligent, funny, strategic, self-effacing, and knowledgeable. We are good listeners and strong speakers. Above all we advocate, advocate, advocate. We actually do have lives away from Real Estate that shape our opinions and guide our advocacy. We champion causes and belong to the PTO. We're wives, husbands, sons, daughters, and parents. We thought it would be helpful for you to get to know us. And maybe hang around with us?

This week, we're launching Getting to Know Your Realtor, a chance for members of our team to stand up and blog a little about ourselves and our lives in and out of Real Estate. Today, we'd like you to meet Jacqui Curtin.

Jacqui On May 3rd of this year, The Winchester Friends of VNA Hospice Care celebrated its 19th year of fundraising by generating over $100,000 in at the annual Dine Around event held this year that the Winchester Country Club. The Dine Around is known for its auction hosted by radio & TV host Billy Costa featuring spectacular items, services, and destinations contributed by our generous community of local businesses and residents. Mr. Costa entertained over 250 guests facilitating the auction off featured items including a trip to Paris & a pair of diamond earrings! Net proceeds of Dine Around will help to provide Open Access to our neighbors in need of End-of-Life care. VNA Hospice Care has been providing care, comfort and support to patients and families since 1979. VNA Hospice Care provides patients with the opportunity to live their life to the last moment with dignity and free of pain. Family members and friends VNA Hospice Care provides comfort and guidance to accompany their loved one on this ultimate journey. Along with comfort and care, they provide expert Pain & Symptom Management and specific programs for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Alzheimers/Dementia, Cardio & Pulmonary diseases, and Cancer. As a REALTOR, we often highlight the tangible features of Winchester, such as our charming downtown, proximity to Boston with convenient commuter rail options, and of course the great performance of our schools. While these features are an integral part of Winchester, it is the intangible attributes of our community that make us great. But thats not what makes Winchester great. It is the intangible traits of our community that make us want to raise our family, establish roots for generations, and make us so proud to say Im from Winchester. Events like Dine Around give us the opportunity to highlight these intangibles. When youre buying a home, youre really buying into a community. The Winchester Friends of VNA Hospice Care is just one of many organizations that make Winchester the unique town that it is.. A small town with a big heart. As co-chair of the Dine Around event, I am thrilled to know that this annual event will make a real difference in helping a person without insurance to be able to receive a $1,000 chemo treatment, or a $170 basic in-home daily care service. Blog Post by REALTOR Associate, Jacqueline Burke Curtin Contact Jacqui at: jacqui.curtin@shanahanre.com

Better Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group - We're Better

When you first pass the Real Estate Licensing Exam in Massachusetts, your name is circulated throughout the different Real Estate Boards. As a result, you receive a lot of letters, phone calls, and emails from various offices, welcoming you to the industry and inviting you to meet with them. Then you start interviewing. You think about whats important to you as you embark on this career, your reasons for choosing to become a Realtor, and you hear a lot about what each of these organizations can offer you. So I went on the interviews. I talked about my background and experience, my expectations and aspirations.And I listened to some spiels. Being a (control freak) detail oriented person, I made my spreadsheet, my list of pros and cons, and I contacted my friend, June for some advice. June has been with Shanahan Real Estate Group in Winchester, as a broker associate and trainer since its inception. And she insisted I come in to speak with Nan Shanahan and the rest of her team. I encountered a workplace filled with passion, humor, teamwork, ideals, authenticity, expertise, and experience. Being with an independent firm was not the direction I had envisioned but after speaking with a few of the bigger names, then speaking with Shanahan, I couldnt envision myself anywhere else. I needed to be valued, to add my own talents and signature, to work as part of a team and grow something worthwhile. I needed to continue to learn and to be challenged. I wanted to work with the best. I signed on with Nan the next day. Fast forward to November of 2012. We were asked to become the first Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate office in Massachusetts. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (wisely) recognized the intrinsic value of our organization and Nan and our team (wisely) recognized the benefit of affiliating with such a dynamic, highly recognizable, tech-savvy brand. PAIGE As realtors, hundreds of times, weve seen that look when a buyer takes their first steps into a house and they just know this is their home. For us, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is that home. They had us at hello. Its been a pretty wild ride these past few months with training, trips, and technology, technology, technology! Like any fulfilling relationship, they filled in gaps that we were missing and weve added our own distinctiveness to a company that truly values it. Shanahan Real Estate Group was so very good before. Partnered with this brand, Better Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group is Better!

Being Better

Blog Post By: Realtor Associate, Christine Curtin Contact Christine at christine.curtin@shanahanre.com