Mortgage Broker vs. Big Bank: It’s Really Not a Fair Fight

There’s so much more to consider when buying a home besides hunting down the best rates from a big bank. While big banks may seem like the obvious choice, mortgage brokers offer distinct advantages that can make your home buying process smoother and more personalized — and can compete with or beat big bank rates. It’s really not a fair fight.

One of the key benefits of working with an independent mortgage broker is the access to a wide range of products and options. Unlike big banks that have a limited selection, brokers can tap into multiple lenders to find a mortgage tailored to your specific needs. This variety ensures that you get the best possible terms for your financial situation.

Mortgage brokers are also known for their unbiased advice and innovative thinking. They are not tied to any one lender, allowing them to provide objective recommendations and find solutions that a big bank might overlook. This can be especially helpful for individuals with unique financial circumstances or credit issues.

More important, the personalized service you receive from a mortgage broker is unmatched. You work with the same person throughout the entire process, ensuring consistency and a deep understanding of your concerns. This dedicated attention can speed up processing times and reduce the stress associated with buying a home.

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Happy Fourth of July

The 4th of July is less than a week away. Are you hosting a party for friends and family? Here are a few red, white and blue treats to wow your guests.

  1. Vodka Lemon Slush. (Or hold the vodka for a non-alcoholic treat to beat the heat!) Get Recipe
  2. Red, White and Blue Fruit Cups. A quick and easy patriotic dessert from Rachael Ray. Get Recipe
  3. Firecracker Cupcakes. No, that’s not a real firecracker, it’s a red marshmallow and licorice. Get Recipe
  4. Berry-studded Flag Cake. Cupcakes too big an assignment? Try this easy sheet cake that would impress the founding fathers. Get Recipe

Happy Independence Day!

Home Improver: Rabbit Problems? Bring in the Flowers — and the Coyote Urine!

Dealing with hungry garden visitors like rabbits can challenge even the most patient of homeowners. If you’re looking to keep these veggie-eating critters at bay, consider planting certain flowers that naturally deter them.

Marigolds are typically the go-to for many gardeners. Their strong scent is off-putting to rabbits, and they add a splash of color to any garden. Lavender may give off a soothing aroma to humans, but for rabbits its potency acts as a repellent. Another option is the snapdragon; its bitter taste and tall, thick stalk makes them less appealing to your furry interlopers.

Beyond planting deterrents, many gardeners consider the use of coyote urine. This method exploits the natural fear rabbits have of predators. Coyote urine can be effective in creating an invisible barrier that scares rabbits away. However, it needs frequent reapplication, especially after rain. Its use has been considered controversial by some, due to concerns about sourcing and animal welfare. If you’re curious about the process of collecting the urine (and who wouldn’t be?), here’s a short video.

So maybe just start with the flowers before choosing to turn your vegetable garden into a wicked pissah.

The New Era of Buying and Selling Real Estate — And How It Affects You

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has reached a historic settlement that could transform the home sales market in the U.S. This agreement, which includes $418 million in damages, does away with the standard 5%-6% real estate agent commission.

Here’s why this change is significant:

A Buyer’s and Seller’s Market for Commissions

In accordance with the settlement, sellers are not obligated to cover the buyer’s agent commission. This could lead to a change in contingencies for both buyers and sellers.

For example, the seller might want to make a commission offer to the buyer’s agent; or, the seller might ask the agent to lower their commission if the price is over a certain amount. So while this could be a good thing for buyers and sellers in the long run, the changes could leave more room for advanced negotiation tactics.

In addition, agents must inform their clients that commissions are negotiable. These changes go into effect on August 17, 2024.

Market Shift and Strategic Moves

This shift promises to be one of the most significant in recent housing market history. Lower commission rates could potentially lead to a decrease in home prices, further altering the buying and selling dynamics. For home sellers considering listing soon, waiting for the new commission models to become established might be a prudent strategy. Alternatively, aggressive negotiation with your real estate agent could lead to immediate savings.

Work with Your Real Estate Dream Team

In this evolving market, having a solid real estate team is more important than ever. Collaborate with your favorite mortgage broker and a trusted closing attorney to navigate the new market conditions effectively. We can offer essential guidance and support, ensuring a smoother, more cost-effective transaction process.

The NAR settlement signifies a new era for real estate, offering cost savings and a wider range of options for both buyers and sellers. As the market adjusts, remaining informed and consulting with your support team will be your key to real estate success.

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day

New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day, observed on June 1st, serves as a reminder that the year is almost halfway through.

This day encourages us to revisit and recommit to the resolutions we set at the start of the year (if we did at all).

As the initial excitement of the New Year wanes, so does the momentum to maintain resolutions, whether they be related to fitness, personal development, or professional goals.

New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day is a perfect opportunity to evaluate progress, reassess goals, and perhaps redefine the strategies needed to achieve them.

This mid-year check-in can significantly boost your motivation, providing a 6-month sprint to achieve what was originally envisioned, making the second half of the year as productive, if not more, than the first.

Let’s have a productive second half of 2024, whether you make resolutions or not.

Home Improver: Do HEPA Filters Reduce Pollen Allergies?

Now that spring cleaning is over and it’s warming up outside you may have been hesitant to open your windows because of the high pollen counts that come at this time of year.

One way to enjoy a late spring/early summer breeze without sneezing and wheezing is to use a HEPA air purifier. According to WebMD: “HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter is a type of mechanical air filter; it works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.”

Choosing the right air purifier takes a little research. The prices range from portables under $100 to large-room units over $500, depending on the size of your space.

Check out this article from Wirecutter/NY Times to see which brands and models they recommend.

If Not Buying Now, Then When?

I get it. The journey toward homeownership can feel overwhelming. It’s a process led largely by the heart. Let’s be honest: Most times, 98% of the process is driven by emotion, and 2% by the math. The balance between feelings and financials is what turns waiting and dreaming into buying and living.

I know many of you have been cautiously waiting on the sidelines, watching market trends with the hope that housing prices will decline. That hasn’t happened except for a brief moment in 2008. History has shown us that these moments are not only rare but often fleeting. Since that brief dip over a decade ago, the market has shown resilience and strength. People invest in real estate for the appreciation.

Consider this: while waiting for the perfect moment, you might be missing out on the perfect home. For 16 years, the sidelines have been crowded with watchers waiting for signs and shifts that never materialize as expected. So I ask: when will you jump into the game?

Waiting for the right time (is there such a thing in a volatile market?) can often lead to missing the right home. As you think about stepping off the sidelines and heading into the action, remember: every moment is the right moment if you have all the facts and your ready to start your search for a great home.

Let’s turn your dreams into reality by taking those first steps together and discuss your mortgage and your plans your new home. I’m more than happy to have a phone or video chat to get the ball rolling.

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

National Teacher Appreciation Day

This year on May 7th, we celebrate National Teacher Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the incredible impact teachers have on our lives.

But how can we truly thank these amazing individuals? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Replenish Classroom Supplies: Teachers often purchase essential supplies out of their own pockets. A box of crayons or construction paper might seem small, but it’s a thoughtful gesture.
  2. The Power of Words: Write a heartfelt card or letter to your child’s teacher. Expressing your gratitude for their commitment and highlighting their positive influence can make a world of difference.
  3. Ask Them What They Need Most: You may be surprised at the answers. Some may need volunteer help. Others may need socks or coats for their students.

You’ve got more than a week to plan. What small gesture can you make to thank a teacher?

Home Improver: Homemade Chemical-Free Bug Spray

Earth Day was this past Monday and lately I’ve been focusing on becoming less dependent on chemicals at home. I know many of you have expressed this eco-conscious sentiment to me over the years.

To start, why not create a chemical-free bug spray by using safe ingredients you may have in house right now? Here’s a recipe that’s safe to use around kids and pets, assuming they aren’t allergic to these ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 tablespoons of mild liquid soap – helps the solution adhere to surfaces
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar – deters insects and acts as a disinfectant
  • 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil – known to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects
  • 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil – effective against many flying insects, including flies and mosquitoes
  • 1 lemon, juiced – unappealing to most flying insects


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large container.
  2. Mix thoroughly to ensure all components blend well.
  3. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray around windows, doors, and other entry or gathering points throughout your home.

Here’s to a year of fewer chemicals — and fewer bugs — in your home!

How a Realtor® Settlement Could Influence Housing Costs

A recent settlement between the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and home sellers could be a game-changer in lowering home costs. Here’s how it might influence housing prices once it’s made official.

Lower Transaction Costs. Traditionally, a 5%–6% commission (usually split between buyer’s and seller’s agents) is factored into the final home price. With the NAR settlement eliminating pre-set commission offerings on the MLS, sellers can now negotiate directly with buyer’s agents. This could lead to a decrease in overall transaction costs, potentially shaving a portion off the final sale price.

Increased Competition Among Agents. Without a standardized commission structure, competition among agents for client representation could intensify. This could lead to agents offering more competitive rates or bundled service packages to attract sellers. These cost savings could then be reflected in lower asking prices.

Shifting the Burden of Agent Fees. Previously, buyer’s agent commissions were often rolled into the overall home price. The settlement might mean buyers now pay their agents directly. This upfront cost might make some buyers more price-conscious, potentially leading to a downward pressure on prices, especially in high-demand areas.

More Listings, More Options. With sellers potentially saving on commission costs, they might be more incentivized to list their homes. An increase in available properties could create a more balanced market, giving buyers more negotiating power and potentially leading to lower prices.

Words of Caution. While the settlement has the potential to reduce home prices, it’s important to consider some critical factors:

  • Negotiation Expertise. Negotiating fees effectively requires knowledge and experience. Inexperienced buyers or sellers might end up paying the same or even more if they lack strong negotiation skills.
  • Impact on Agent Services. Lower commission rates could incentivize agents to offer fewer services or raise their base fees. You may also have less experienced agents working with you, who don’t mind a lower commission. This could impact the quality of representation for both buyers and sellers.
  • Market Dynamics Still Matter. While the settlement might influence pricing, overall market forces (like supply and demand) will still play a major role in determining home values.

The Bottom Line. The NAR settlement brings uncertainty into the real estate market. While the potential exists for lower prices, it’s too early to predict the full impact on housing costs. Stay informed about market trends and consult with your qualified mortgage professional (that’s me).

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s also tax time (coincidence? hmmm…) and then there’s inflation and it’s an election year and the world is in turmoil. It’s no wonder we’re feeling some pressure.

This month is a great reminder to prioritize your well-being. We’ve compiled 4 easy tips to help you minimize stress and feel more centered throughout the month.

  1. Get Outside. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever — and it doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Brisk outdoor walking, dancing, cycling, or a yoga class are all great stress relievers. Even short bursts of activity throughout the day can make a big difference.
  2. Tame the Tech Monster. Constant notifications and screen time can be major stressors. Set boundaries with your technology. Designate specific times to check email and social media, and silence notifications during work hours or relaxation time.
  3. Prioritize Sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re better equipped to handle stress. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night if you can.
  4. Connect with Loved Ones. Social support is crucial for managing stress. Spend time with the friends and family who make you feel good.

Following these simple tips can lead to a calmer and more balanced April. Take good care of yourself!

Home Improver: Organized Home, Organized Life

Feeling overwhelmed by your spring cleaning to-do list due to a messy home? Give yourself a break. You’re not alone. Clutter happens. It’s well known that a cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind. But there’s good news: creating an organized home can have a powerful impact on your overall well-being and efficiency.

Let’s take a look at how decluttering each room in your home can benefit your mental state and productivity:

  • Living Room. A living room filled with misplaced items can feel visually stimulating (not in a good way) and stressful. Dedicate specific storage solutions for remotes, magazines, and blankets. This allows you to unwind after a long day.
  • Kitchen. A cluttered kitchen counter can make meal prep seem daunting. Are you still using that Instant Pot? We didn’t think so. Sell or donate it and focus on what you actually use. Invest in organizers for utensils, spices, and pantry staples. Imagine your clear countertops having a sense of purpose that make cooking a more streamlined experience.
  • Bedrooms. Messy bedrooms can disrupt sleep, impacting your focus and energy levels. Put away clothes, clear surfaces, and ensure everything has a designated spot (not tossed in the back of your closet). A serene bedroom environment allows for restful night’s sleep and a clear head in the morning.
  • Home Office. A disorganized workspace can make it difficult to concentrate and find important documents. Use organizers for files, stationery, and office supplies. A clutter-free workspace fosters clear thinking and helps you tackle tasks efficiently.

Decluttering creates a space that supports your well-being and drives productivity. By eliminating visual clutter, you reduce stress and free up brainpower to focus on living well. An organized home brings a calm energy — and it’s the ideal environment for getting things done.

2024 Housing Predictions in an Election Year

We don’t need a crystal ball to know the Massachusetts housing market is very much a seller’s market these days, thanks to high demand, low inventory, and rising prices. A report from The Warren Group confirms this trend, with both single-family and condo prices reaching new highs in January 2024. While this may seem daunting, it’s important to keep in mind that the housing market is cyclical, and these trends will eventually shift.

Election Year Factors and Potential Shifts

In an election year like 2024, external factors could influence the housing market. While elections rarely have a direct impact on the housing market, we do know that economic directives by elected officials could potentially influence interest rates, as we have seen in 2023. The economy has been a hot topic among virtually all candidates at all levels of government, so it’s natural to expect campaign promises from the candidates as we inch toward November 5th.

Predicting the Future

Predicting the exact trajectory of the market can be challenging, but let’s break out the tarot cards and tea leaves and give it a try. While 2024 might see continued price growth, the rate of increase is projected to slow down compared to last year.

With our glasses half full, we’ll cautiously predict a gradual increase in available inventory, which should ease some of the current pressure on buyers and keep bidding wars in check.

Expert Guidance

Navigating a competitive market requires thoughtful strategies and expert guidance. I am dedicated to helping you achieve your goal of owning a home. I can also connect you with experienced real estate professionals who understand the local market and can help you find the right home. Let’s talk!

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Leap Year

Happy Leap Day! 2024 is a leap year, which adds an extra day, February 29, to the calendar every four years.

This adjustment is necessary to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions. It takes about 365.24 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. By adding an extra day every four years, we compensate for this discrepancy.

Leap Year Trivia:

  1. Every year divisible by 4 is typically a leap year unless it is a century year (ending in 00). Century years must be divisible by 400 to be leap years. Therefore, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not.
  2. The chance of being born on February 29 is 1 in 1,461.
  3. The Summer Olympics and U.S. presidential elections are held in leap years.
  4. The concept of leap years dates back to the time of Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, with the introduction of the Julian calendar.

Home Improver: Pre-Spring-Cleaning Checklist

We are in for a warmup starting this weekend. Spring is only a few short weeks away. But before you begin your annual Spring Cleaning ritual, here’s a checklist of things to prepare in your home before the big scrub.

Indoor Refresh

  • HVAC Tune-up: Schedule a check-up for your heating and air conditioning system. Improve efficiency and prevent breakdowns as the weather turns warmer.
  • Change Air Filters: Replace those dusty filters for cleaner air and better airflow.
  • Inspect Your Roof and Gutters: Look for missing shingles, damaged chimney flashing, and gutter clogs left behind from winter storms.
  • Check for Foundation Issues: Take a walk around your home and look for any developing cracks.

Yard and Garden Revival

  • Tend to the Lawn: Aerate and reseed if needed; start applying pre-emergent weed control.
  • Prune and Prep: Cut back dead branches on shrubs and trees, and prep your garden beds for planting.
  • Choose Your Blooms: Decide on spring flowers and start mapping out your garden design.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re in good working order.

Massachusetts Out-Migration: What It Means for 2024 Housing

According to the 2023 National Movers Study by United Van Lines, Massachusetts ranked seventh on the list of the “Most Moved-From States” last year. This is called “out-migration,” when a significant number of people leave a geographic area within a country. The reverse is “in-migration” (not “immigration,” which refers to moving to a new country.)

The Exodus Isn’t New

The study found that 7% of customer moves in Massachusetts were outbound. This figure is consistent with the previous year’s data, indicating a continuing trend.

Why Are They Leaving?

The reasons for departing Massachusetts are varied. According to the survey:

  • 28% moved out because they found new jobs in other states.
  • Just over 19% left for family reasons.
  • 18% said they were retiring elsewhere.
  • 16% departed due to “lifestyle changes.”

Here’s a surprise: Massachusetts, and especially the Boston area, are known for a high cost of living. Yet only 2% of those surveyed said they were moving due to rising costs.

Where Are They Going?

While Massachusetts saw a high percentage of outbound moves, other New England states are attracting new residents. Vermont was the top “inbound” state for the third-straight year, with over 65% of all moves being inbound. Those headed to Vermont cited family, lifestyle, and job reasons for their move.

Rhode Island was fifth on the inbound state list, with 45% surveyed saying a new job attracted them to the state. The other states seeing the most inbound moves for 2023 were Arkansas (4th), South Carolina (3rd), and Washington, D.C. (2nd).

How Are Home Sales Affected?

It would appear that with more people leaving the state than entering it, there would be more available inventory in 2024. This is not necessarily the case when you consider that many of those heading to new states are renters. In addition, homeowners are hesitant to sell now after having bought or refinanced at historic lows during the pandemic years.

No one knows how the market will play out in the coming months, but last Friday, Massachusetts lawmakers committed to working on solutions to this growing concern.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Groundhog Day

On Friday, will the groundhog see his shadow? I hope not! It would be nice to have an early spring for a change!

But wait. How accurately has Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog, fared in his predictions?

Records dating back to the 1880s show that Phil and his predecessors aren’t the most reliable. In fact, all the groundhogs who have played Phil over the years have combined for a 39% accuracy rate.

So have fun with the tradition, but know that the groundhog has a worse chance of being correct than having you flip a coin. He is very cute, though.

Home Improver: Regulating Humidity Levels in Winter

Ah, the dreaded dead of winter. It’s freezing outside, you threw your back out shoveling heavy snow, and your skin is so dry it’s cracking. We can’t do much about the first two winter-related issues, but let’s talk about that dry skin. You house may be too dry and needs to be humidified to add moisture to the air. Investing in a humidifier may be your best bet, but here are some DIY alternatives.

  1. Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial, especially in areas like the kitchen and bathroom where moisture levels can rise quickly. Use exhaust fans to help remove excess humidity.
  2. Air Leaks: Seal air leaks around doors, windows, and other openings to prevent cold, dry air from entering and warm, moist air from escaping.
  3. Indoor Plants: Some indoor plants can naturally increase humidity levels through a process known as transpiration.
  4. Use of Water Basins: Placing water basins near heating sources can help evaporate water into the air, slightly increasing humidity levels.
  5. Monitor Humidity Levels: Use a hygrometer to keep track of your home’s humidity levels. This will help you adjust your methods as needed to maintain the ideal range of 40%-60%. In this range, you’re safe from dry skin but also safe from mold and bacteria, which form when a house is too humid.
  6. Air Drying Laundry: Hanging laundry to dry indoors can increase humidity levels. This is a natural and energy-efficient method, though it should be used sparingly in smaller spaces to avoid excessive moisture.

Good luck, stay warm, and grab some hand lotion and lip balm at your local drug store!

Why Now Is the Time to Buy a Home

The 2023 housing market was a whirlwind, with interest rates soaring before taking a breather. This shift, brought about by the Federal Reserve’s pause on further rate hikes after a year of tightening the reins, has created new opportunities for both established homeowners and prospective buyers to navigate the landscape with renewed optimism.

For Homeowners:

  • A Bit of Stability: As the dust settles on the rate rollercoaster, you might consider refinancing in the future to capitalize on potentially lower rates and strengthen your financial standing.
  • Recommend Your Favorite Mortgage Broker: With a more balanced market, your experience could be invaluable for family or friends considering homeownership. Help them assess the new landscape and share your insights from navigating the recent fluctuations. Then have them give me a call to begin their homebuying journey.

For Homebuyers:

  • Off-Season Advantage: Don’t let the quieter market dash your dreams. While the competition might be less intense than the spring stampede, it also offers the potential for better deals and less pressured negotiations. Imagine finding your dream home without feeling like you’re locked in a desperate high-stakes bidding war. Now is the time to shop for homes.
  • Manifest Your Destiny: With fewer competing buyers, you have the luxury of conducting thorough property inspections and visualizing cozy evenings spent within your new walls. Imagine sitting by the fire in your spacious living room or building snowmen with the kids in your new backyard.

The winter months hold unique advantages for buyers. Less competition, potentially better deals, and a more relaxed environment can all contribute to a smoother and more rewarding homebuying experience. Bundle up, gather your resources, and prepare to explore the exciting possibilities of entering the housing market.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Happy New Year 2024

Welcome, 2024!

Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a look back at some actual good news that may have been lost in the turmoil of 2023. Here are seemingly random articles with one thing in common: it’s all good news!

  1. The James Webb telescope returned stunning images from space.
  2. Daughter surprises dad by being his kidney donor.
  3. Nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup removes 40,000 pounds of plastic and trash from the Pacific.
  4. New drug slows Alzheimer’s Progression.
  5. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has released its list of winning photos.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Home Improver: Achievable New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home

Let’s face it, most New Year’s resolutions don’t last more than. a few weeks. But what if we set goals for something smaller in scope? Ditch the lofty, guilt-inducing promises and embrace these 5 achievable home improvers that will leave you feeling organized, calm, and ready to conquer 2024.

  1. Master the Mini-Declutter: Forget Marie Kondo-ing your entire house in a weekend. Instead, pick one hot spot (a drawer, a shelf, a corner) each week and give it a quick declutter. Sort, toss, donate, and relish the newfound spaciousness.
  2. Tame the Fridge Beast: Fear not, the back of your fridge can be conquered. It’s mostly just expired condiments and mystery Tupperware. Dedicate one afternoon to a fridge exorcism. Toss the expired, organize the edible, and label those mystery containers (bonus points for adding a date). You’ll feel lighter, cleaner, and ready to whip up some healthy New Year’s feasts.
  3. Embrace the “One-in, One-Out” Rule: Tired of overflowing cabinets? Implement the “one-in, one-out” rule. For every new item that enters your home, an old one must leave. This can be clothes, books, toys and shoes. Less clutter, less stress, more room for joy (and that fancy new air fryer you’ve had your eye on).
  4. Transform Your Home Office: Is your workspace more dungeon than den? Time for a makeover! Add a pop of color, bring in some natural light, and invest in a comfy chair. A few small changes can make your home office a haven of productivity (and less of a cluttered room of doom).
  5. Create a Cozy Reading Nook: Give those neglected books the spotlight they deserve! Carve out a cozy corner dedicated to reading and relaxation. A comfy chair, a soft blanket, a warm lamp, and a stack of your favorite books – that’s all you need to create your personal literary escape.

Remember, these are just springboards! Tailor these resolutions to your own home and lifestyle. Focus on consistency over perfection, and have fun! Let your home be a reflection of your happy, healthy 2024 self. Now go forth and declutter, organize, and celebrate your way to a happier home!

Top 5 Most Pressing Housing Concerns

This year, potential homebuyers have faced a multitude of concerns that can make the process of purchasing a home challenging, though not impossible. These concerns range from financial aspects to uncertainties about the property itself.

Let’s explore the top five concerns that buyers commonly encounter in today’s housing market.

1. Affordability. A primary concern for many buyers is the affordability of homes in their area, especially given the rising mortgage rates.

2. Mortgage Rates. The fluctuations in mortgage rates are a critical concern for buyers. Changes in these rates can significantly affect monthly payments, leading to apprehension about long-term financial commitments and the overall cost of a mortgage over time. Can you afford to wait if rates continue to rise?

3. Inventory Shortages. A limited supply of available housing leads to stiff competition among buyers. This scarcity often drives up prices, making it even more challenging for buyers to find affordable homes in their preferred locations.

4. Economic Uncertainty. The broader economic environment plays a crucial role in the decision-making process for homebuyers. Factors such as job stability, the health of the economy, inflation, world events, and the state of the economy can greatly influence a buyer’s confidence and willingness to invest in a property.

5. Home Inspection and Repairs. Prospective buyers often worry about hidden issues that might be uncovered during a home inspection. The possibility of unanticipated repair costs after purchase adds another layer of concern, as buyers must assess the potential risks and expenses that could arise.

Understanding these concerns is crucial for both buyers and real estate professionals, as they navigate their homebuying journey. By addressing these issues head-on, you can make more informed decisions and find solutions that align with your needs and finances.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Black Friday

Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But when did this frenzied shopping tradition start

Originating in the 1960s in Philadelphia, the term initially described the disruptive traffic post-Thanksgiving. It later evolved into a retail term, indicating the period when retailers would start earning profits —moving from being “in the red” to “in the black.

The phenomenon of Black Friday has grown beyond its American roots, becoming a global event where retailers offer steep discounts on a vast range of products. The advent of online shopping has further expanded its reach, allowing consumers to access deals both in physical stores and digitally. This has led to the emergence of Cyber Monday, a day dedicated to online shopping deals

While Black Friday significantly boosts the economy by increasing consumer spending, it is often criticized for promoting excessive consumerism and materialism. The frenzied pursuit of discounts has led to concerns over shopper aggression.

In response, there’s been a growing emphasis on safer shopping practices and support for local businesses.

Despite these criticisms, Black Friday continues to be a major shopping event.

Shop safely!

Home Improver: Rid Your Rooms of Drafts

If you’re feeling a chill from drafty areas in your home, here are four solutions to reduce the amount of heat escaping your home.

  1. Weatherstripping and Caulking: Identify gaps around doors and windows where drafts commonly occur. Apply weatherstripping to the edges of windows and doors to seal these gaps. Use caulk to seal cracks or gaps in the window frame or the area where the frame meets the wall. This is a cost-effective and straightforward solution that can significantly reduce drafts.
  2. Door Sweeps and Draft Stoppers: Install door sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors to block drafts from entering underneath. For a quick fix, use draft stoppers (also known as draft snakes) which can be placed at the base of a door or window. These are often fabric tubes filled with insulating material and can be a decorative way to prevent cold air from seeping in.
  3. Insulate Attics and Basements: Proper insulation in your home, particularly in attics and basements, can significantly reduce drafts. These areas are common sources of cold air infiltration. Adding insulation helps to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the home and reduces the chances of drafts forming.
  4. Window Treatments: Heavy curtains or thermal-insulated drapes can provide an additional barrier against drafts. These window treatments help trap air between the fabric and the window, acting as insulation and reducing the chill from cold windows.

Scary Housing Prices: Get Creative With Financing

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re probably feeling a little spooked. The housing market is competitive, and prices are high. But don’t scream! There are still ways to afford a mortgage, even in this scary market.

One way is to get creative with your financing. Here are five ideas:

  1. Buy with a cosigner. If you have a friend or family member with good credit and a stable income, they may be willing to cosign on a mortgage with you. This can help you qualify for a loan and get a better interest rate.
  2. Consider a fixer-upper. Fixer-uppers are often less expensive than move-in ready homes, and you may be able to get a loan that allows you to finance the cost of repairs. This can be a good option for buyers who are willing to put in some work to get the home they want.
  3. Buy with friends or family. If you have friends or family members who are also looking to buy a home, consider pooling your resources. This can help you afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. Just be sure to set clear expectations about how you’ll manage the property and make decisions.
  4. Consider a two-family home. If you’re open to it, buying a two-family home could be a great option. You can live in one unit and rent out the other, which can help offset your mortgage costs.

No matter what your financial situation is, there’s a creative financing solution that can help you afford a mortgage in today’s market. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a highly creative mortgage broker — like me! I have years of experience helping clients and friends buy homes, even in the most challenging markets. Let’s explore your options and find the best financing solution for your needs.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Happy Halloween!

Ever wonder what the best scary movies by decade are? Here’s the list courtesy of

Pop some corn and break out the leftover Halloween candy. It’s time for a scary movie or two tonight!

  • 1930s: Dracula
  • 1940s: Cat People
  • 1950s: Creature From the Black Lagoon
  • 1960s: Psycho
  • 1970s: The Exorcist
  • 1980s: The Evil Dead
  • 1990s: The Silence of the Lambs
  • 2000s: Paranormal Activity
  • 2010s: Get Out
  • 2020s (so far): X

Home Improver: Last-Minute Creepy and Fun Halloween Party Foods

  • Spider Guacamole: Serve guacamole with tortilla chips and decorate it with black olive spiders
  • Mummy Hot Dogs: Cut hot dogs in half and wrap them in crescent roll dough. Bake until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  • Deviled Egg Spiders: Fill hard-boiled eggs with deviled egg filling. Top with black olive spiders and pimento webs.
  • Witch’s Fingers: Slice bread into finger shapes. Spread with pesto or another green sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  • Candy Corn Popcorn Balls: Mix together popcorn, marshmallows, butter, and candy corn. Press into balls and let cool.
  • Apple Monsters: Cut apples into halves or quarters. Spread with peanut butter or another nut butter. Add your favorite toppings, such as chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts.

No matter what food you choose, make sure it’s fast, fun and festive for your Halloween party!

What’s Your Homebuying Tipping Point?

Is there ever a “perfect time” to buy?

One of my favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. In it, Gladwell describes a tipping point as the moment in time when a small change can lead to a large and rapid change in behavior.

We are at a tipping point in the housing market. Mortgage rates have been rising steadily for months, and they are now at their highest level in years. Inflation is also at a 40-year high, and there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the economy.

This is causing many homebuyers to hesitate. But now more than ever, it’s important to get advice from your financial team (your mortgage broker, real estate agent, and financial advisor). They can help you assess your financial situation, understand your housing needs, and develop a plan to buy a home in these uncertain financial times.

So, what’s YOUR tipping point? What will it take for you to decide the time is right to buy a home?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Can you afford to buy a home at current rates?
  • Do you have a down payment saved up?
  • Can you qualify for a mortgage?
  • How much risk are you comfortable with?

If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to give me a call. I can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your financial situation.

There are both pros and cons to buying a home in a volatile market. On the one hand, homes are still selling, and there are still buyers who are willing to pay top dollar. This means that if you’re selling your home, you may be able to get a good price.

On the other hand, the current environment can make it more difficult to buy a home. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you may find that it could become more expensive to borrow money.


  • Homes are still selling.
  • You may be able to get a good price for your home if you’re selling.
  • Interest rates are still relatively low compared to historical standards.


  • Low inventory can make it more difficult to buy a home.
  • You may find that it’s more expensive to borrow money if you’re taking out a mortgage.
  • There is a risk that home prices could decline if the economy worsens.

If you’re not sure if now is the time to buy a home, keep in mind:

  • Your financial situation. Make sure you can afford to buy a home at current rates and that you have a down payment saved up. Consult with your financial team.
  • Your housing needs. Do you need to buy a home now, or can you wait? If you can wait, you may want to do so until there is more certainty in the financial markets.
  • Your risk tolerance. How much risk are you comfortable with? If you’re worried about the economy worsening, you may want to wait to buy a home.

Ultimately, your homebuying tipping point is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer. But by carefully considering your financial situation, housing needs, and risk tolerance, you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your family.

Let’s Talk

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.

Autumn Is in the Air

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, and the pumpkins are starting to appear. It’s time for all things spooky, from Spirit Halloween stores and haunted houses to scary movies and pumpkin spice lattes.

Here are a few ideas for things to do during spooky season:

  1. Visit a haunted house or corn maze.
  2. Watch a classic horror movie, such as “Halloween,” “The Shining,” or “Hocus Pocus.”
  3. Carve a pumpkin or decorate your home for Halloween.
  4. Attend a Halloween costume party or festival.
  5. Bake or buy Halloween-themed treats, such as pumpkin pie, candy corn, and chocolate bats.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope you have a safe and spooky October!

Home Improver: Humidifiers for Fall and Winter

There are many benefits to using a humidifier in the fall and winter to add moisture to the air.

  • Reduced risk of respiratory illness: Dry air can irritate the airways and make people more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as the common cold, flu, and bronchitis. Humidifiers can help to reduce the risk of these infections by keeping the airways moist.
  • Reduced allergies: Dry air can also aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Humidifiers can help to relieve these symptoms by making it easier to breathe.
  • Improved skin: Dry air can dry out the skin, leading to itching, cracking, and flaking. Humidifiers can help to improve skin health by keeping the skin hydrated.
  • Improved sleep quality: Dry air can also dry out the nose and throat, which can lead to snoring and difficulty sleeping. Humidifiers can help to improve sleep quality by keeping the nose and throat moist throughout the night.

There are two main types of humidifiers: central and portable. Central humidifiers are installed into the home’s HVAC system and humidify the air throughout the entire house. Portable humidifiers are smaller and can be placed in individual rooms.

Central humidifiers are more expensive to purchase and install than portable humidifiers, but they are also more effective at humidifying your entire house.

Which one should I choose? When choosing a humidifier, it is important to consider the size of your home, the amount of moisture you need to add to the air, and your budget. If you have a large home, you may need a central humidifier. If you have a smaller home or are on a budget, a portable humidifier like the one pictured above may be a good option.

Use it safely. Choose a humidifier that is easy to clean and maintain. Humidifiers can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold if they are not cleaned properly. To use a humidifier safely and effectively, follow these tips:

  • Use distilled water to prevent mineral buildup in the humidifier.
  • Clean the humidifier regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place the humidifier in a central location in the room, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Set the humidifier to maintain a humidity level of 40-60%.

Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Do not use a humidifier if you have a mold allergy.
  • Do not use a humidifier in a room with a baby, as high humidity levels can increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not add essential oils or other fragrances to the humidifier, as this can irritate the airways.