Archive for December, 2008

Thousands of homeowners are having a tough time coming up with the mortgage.  Christmas or not, miss a few payments and you will start the foreclosure process.  And once that train has left the station, good luck stopping it (or even getting someone on the phone at the bank).  Before that train gets too far down the foreclosure track, check out this blog on the options of Loan Modification and Short Sale:

Real Estate Blog – Foreclosure Avoiding it Through a Short Sale or Loan Modification

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Ask anyone about “Home” and they are sure to quickly conjure up memories, feelings, names and faces.  It’s right below the surface –  that destination about which poets and lyricists have long written, the childhood spot we journey back to for holidays and on summer vacations.  Home is the screened-in porch where we sit at the end of the day, the back yard where we entertain friends, or front stoop where we chat with neighbors.  Families create years of memories at home.  We remember home when we look for our own place.

What about you?  What’s Home?  Perhaps a sleek condo in the city with views of the river, or a two-bedroom, one-bath, fixer-upper in the suburbs; how about a multi-family with room for mom and dad, or a sprawling farm house with woods and land?  Maybe all of these will be Home during your lifetime.

The wonderful thing about real estate is that there is a home out there for everyone at every stage of life.    

My mission in this blog is to provide you with knowledge, support and strategies to help you find or sell you and your family’s home.   I will share up to-date-information on the local market, home-buying and selling tips as well as my thoughts about Home and Home Life.

Thank you for reading.  I look forward to hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to earn your business.  

Katherine Waters-Clark, REALTOR ABR

















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It’s time.  I said IT’S TIME!!
It’s time to buy.  It’s time to buy your first home!
Not sure where to begin?  Read on for more information.
Better yet, contact me to schedule your Homebuyer’s Counseling Session.  Together, we’ll review your pre-approval, write your wish-list, develop a timeline, search towns.  
Did you know that there is NO FEE to work with a Buyer’s Agent?  The Seller has an agent, and that agent works for the Seller.  They will not help you price and write and present your offer, they will not negotiate for you, or help you navigate through home inspections.  They will not make sure your mortgage commitment is on track.  They work for the Seller.  Why shouldn’t YOU have an agent, too?  You should.  And it won’t cost you anything.  A Buyer’s Agent is paid a commission out of the proceeds of the sale.
I know…the news just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
It’s time.  Let’s go buy a house.  
Call me at 781-856-2728
Email me at kwatersclark@leadingedgeagents.com
Walk in to my office at 750 Main Street, Winchester, MA 

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I hate to be the one to tell you this.

Despite the epic “To Do” list that every parent north of Boston has written for the frantic “must-get-it-done-while-kids-are-in-school” Friday before Christmas, none of the tasks will get done.

Because Friday is going to be Half-Day Snow Day.  (Was that a scream I just heard?)

Which means of course that as soon as we drop off our children at school, we have time to race like a Santa-out-of-hell to get one item done on the “list” and before it’s time to pick them up again.  The little darlings will be hyped up beyond measure from doing nothing at school all morning but watch snow pile up.  Don’t forget: it’s not only Christmas, it’s not only snowing, but it’s a snowy-half-day-Friday-just-before-Christmas.  It just doesn’t get any better for a kid.  

For us parents, it’s not going to be pretty.

How to get through it?  Get on board that toboggan, parents, and ride it all the way down the hill.  If you can’t beat those snowflakes (and you know you can’t), then you are going to have to  join them.  (Really, I could swear I heard another scream.)

Deep breath, lists away, it’s showtime.  Or should I say “snowtime?”  

Here’s 5 Snow Day ideas to get you started:

1. Get out in the snow.  Bundle up and head outside.  (Now that scream I did hear.) Frosty air, flakes on your cheeks, and the muffled sounds of snowy streets will put you in the holiday spirit like nothing else (especially Christmas shopping the week before Christmas).  Throw a snowball, shovel the sidewalk, make an angel, get on a sled.  

2. Bake Something Yummy.  Food is love, and you probably need to bring something yummy to a weekend party, so dust off the cookbooks, get out the butter (I know you’ve got some), find the flour, eggs, vanilla.  Bake cookies, muffins, scones.  What the heck – bake a cake!  

3. Make Homemade Soup.  Again with the food. But while you’ve got the cookbooks out, find a recipe for soup, stew, chili –  perfect food for snowy, stormy day.

4 . Unplug.  Turn off the computer (what?!).  Turn off your cell phone (okay, now that’s just crazy).  Light candles.  Play Christmas songs on the piano. Wrap presents.   Make homemade cards.  

5. Take in a Christmas Matinee.   When you’re done shoveling, sledding, baking and wrapping, pile onto the couch in your pj’s with popcorn and hot cocoa and fire up a Christmas classic.  (Yes, you can plug back in for this.)  Some personal favorites are “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Elf,” “A Christmas Story,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and  “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

After the movie, sip bowls of homemade soup, gobble cookies, and get into bed early.  You’ve got a hell of a lot of shopping to do tomorrow.

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It snowed today north of Boston.  Then it rained, turning everything slushy, then icy, as it got colder late in the afternoon.  As I shoveled and then tossed some sort of ice melting salt “product” (read: chemical-filled) all over the sidewalk, I started to wonder if there wasn’t a more eco-friendly (and pet-friendly) product I could be using.

Here are a few that are on the market.  I’d love to hear about others you’ve tried:

 IceClear, according to its website,  is a “100% organic product made up of potassium carboxaylates, carbo-hydrates and a corrosive inhibitor.”  The site says that this product  is “one of the safest, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly deicing/anti-icing agents on the market.”  It “prevents ice formation and accumulation in the first place and stops ice from bonding to walkway and driveway surfaces.”  Apparently this stuff “biodegrades readily, and contains no toxic materials or corrosive salts. It contains no VOCs, HAPs, heavy metals, or SARA Title III reportable materials, and is low in phosphorus and nitrogen.”

Further (again lifted right from the site) “it will not harm metals, concrete or paving and it will not damage lawns, shrubs, or vegetation.”

Icenator is a liquid de-icer that, according to its website, when compared to salt, “has advantages of working in lower temperatures, being more environmentally friendly, is less caustic, is safer for landscaping, is safer for people, animals and equipment, is less messy and easier to apply.”

Sand and Kitty Litter  These old stand-bys,  while messy and not de-icers, are cheap, eco-friendly, and will give you the traction you’re looking for so you don’t wipe out.  

I’d love to hear about more eco-friendly de-icers.  And hurry, before it snows-slushes-ices again.

Slip, slidin’ away for now.

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 Homebuyers and sellers seem to be waiting and wondering and worrying and wringing their hands.  “Will the prices go even lower?”  “Should we wait longer – just in case?”  “Can we get a mortgage?”  “Will I get enough if I sell now?”  

In some ways, it’s a stunning market.  In other ways, it’s not really any different.

So for all you Buyers and Sellers out there, here’s a little Christmas present for you all.  Please listen to me, a professional Realtor, and NOT the national media – they feed on gloom and doom!

Sellers: If you do not have to move right now, if you have crunched the numbers and you’d lose your shirt if you sold now, then hang tight and wait for the market to bounce back – it always does.  However, if you MUST move, if you NEED to move, there is no reason to wait – do it now!  The buyers that are looking now are looking to BUY – why else would they not be shopping for Christmas?!  So do yourself a favor and hire an real estate agent who understands your current local (I said LOCAL) market, who understands people as well as the Internet, is tech-savvy but can also pick up the phone and make a simple phone call, someone who has a website, a blog, and a PDA, someonw who wants your business and will market the heck out of your house, someone who is well connected and well respected in your town, who will think out of the box, and who will TELL YOU THE TRUTH about the current value of your home.  Hire her (she’ll be worth every penny) and then LISTEN to her – she is the expert – not your parents, or your neighbors, or your best friend’s mom-who-is-a-realtor-in-another-market.  

Okay, just hire ME and you’ll be all set! (sorry – shameless plug)

Buyers: BUY!  NOW IS THE TIME!  Don’t wait any longer! The rates are low, the selections are vast, the sellers are ready and willing to make a deal.  For all you first-time buyers:  why pay rent when you can own your own home?  And, you can take advantage of the tax credit!  And, you no longer have to PAY SOMEONE ELSE’S MORTGAGE – you can start paying your own! 

Okay, YOU can hire me, too!  (yes, another shameless plug).

Listen, not even Donald Trump knows where the bottom of the market is or when we’ll get there.  Do you know WHEN we’ll know?   That’s right, when it starts to go up.  Then you’ve missed it.

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Looking for affordable, eco-friendly decorations this Christmas? Find a basket. Bundle up the kids. Head to the woods. Grab pine cones, fir branches, winterberries and acorns. Back at home, fill window boxes with pinecones, berries and branches. Head inside and put on the cocoa for the kids. While you’re in the kitchen, turn on the oven to 200 degrees, slice oranges and apples and bake on cookie sheet until dried. Have kids thread red ribbon into each slice. Fill a tall vase with some small branches and hang apple and orange slices from branch “tree.” Now, find some cream pillar candles and plop them into some large clear glass hurricaines or bowls. Place some small pine branches around the base of each candle. Add a few fresh cranberries. Now light the candles and sip some cocoa.

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