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Survive and Thrive in Tough Times - 02/26/09 10:59 PM
While thumbing through a copy of Good Housekeeping at my hairdresser's this afternoon, I came across an excellent and timely article. "Keeping Your Marriage Thick In Thin Times: Recession Proofing Your Marriage" is particularly pertinent for those of us who are self-employed. Kyran and Patrick Pittman's financial struggles began a couple of years after Patrick left his salaried job and opened his own design studio. While income from the new business was initially enough to pay the family bills, things slowed by year two and the couple soon found themselves on the rollercoaster of irregular and unpredictable income. Pittman's recounting of the family's struggle will ring bells for many who are (20 comments)
Dear Diary, My Passion Is Expressed On My Bookshelves - 02/23/09 11:55 AM
I've always loved to scan people's bookshelves to learn more about them. Our interests and enthusiams are revealed in the books on our shelves. My overloaded shelves are no exception. My passions are varied, my list of enthusiasms long, I've got hobbies and interests galore. The phases of my life can be traced in my book collection. There's no doubt, though, if you scan through the books that I'm a bit obsessed. I love the idea of HOME. I love architecture. I love houses in their infinite variety. From Cottages To Colonials. Bungalows To Victorians. I love Old Houses Newer (29 comments)
Make Your Dollars Count - 02/22/09 07:04 PM
An article in today's paper about several boutiques and shops in nearby towns going out of business got me thinking. It's the fun and funky small shops that make a neighborhood shopping district appealing. Local shops, cafes, bookstores, independent businesses of all types - all add up to make a shopping district a destination spot. Every local store that closes threatens to erode the unique character of the neighborhood. Every time another bank or cell phone store moves into the space vacated by a failed independent business, something is lost. And this should matter to all of us in the neighborhoods where we (18 comments)
Eat Local - Growing Grapes In The Backyard - 02/20/09 07:06 PM
Walk around Somerville, Medford or Cambridge in late August and you're likely to catch a whiff of grape juice. Concord grapes ripen at the end of summer and there's many a backyard arbor to be found in the city. More than once I've plucked grapes from the vine while showing a property and I have wonderful memories of sitting beneath dangling bunches of fragrant grapes at the Neighborhood Restaurant in Union Square, Somerville. Best of all - Concord grapes are like tasty vitamins - loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Though I grew up in Concord, home of the Concord Grape, I was a fan of (10 comments)
A Book For House Lovers - "Collecting Houses" - 02/19/09 10:14 PM
When I spotted this book at a used bookstore, I couldn't resist. Collecting houses was a childhood dream of mine. As it turned out, the dramatic rise in house prices while I was growing up nixed that idea. But I still dream... The author of Collecting Houses, Ann W. Baker, embarked on a career as a restoration contractor, architectural historian, and consultant after inheriting her grandmother's home, a Rhode Island house that dated in part to 1690. Over the next forty years, Baker, or "Pete" as she's called, worked to restore or salvage more than two hundred of New England's earliest (13 comments)
Inside The Meltdown - Frontline on the Banking Crisis - 02/17/09 07:49 PM
If you're home by the television this evening, the Frontline documentary on the financial crisis, Inside the Meltdown, is on PBS at 9pm EST. The Boston Globe gave it a rave review in this morning's paper. The Globe notes that the "program is blessed with a superb group of journalists and experts" including Paul Krugman and reporters from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. If you don't catch it this evening it will be available to watch online after it debuts. Here's a snippet of a preview of the show. A longer preview is on Frontline's site.
Tracking Urban Wildlife - 02/16/09 08:21 PM
Unlike some winters, the snow cover in my yard has been intact for weeks - but not untouched. In fact, my backyard appears to be a veritable crossroads - a busy intersection - for local animals. Well I'm betting that the tracks come from my neighbors' cats and from my squirrel neighbors, it's not completely unlikely that other sorts of beasts have crossed that snowy expanse. There have been coyote sightings in Medford and back on Labor Day weekend I came across a deer on Orchard Street in Cambridge, near Porter Square and just one block from Mass Ave., a busy (11 comments)
Houses Were Moving - 02/11/09 08:58 PM
... down the road that is. Years ago, when there were fewer overhead wires and overpasses, it was not unusual for houses to be moved about town. This is an image from the house moving photos I've collected. I started to pick them up to use in marketing pieces and before I knew it another collection grew. In earlier days house moving was surprisingly common. Houses were moved across town, from town to town, and even state to state often by barge over water. Some of the reasons houses were moved include efforts to save money during a time when building materials (22 comments)
A Cup Of Joe For Your Clients - 02/10/09 11:50 PM
This surprise came in the mail today and I can't tell you how tickled I was! That's my pumpkin, Champ, on the chair. After I opened the envelope I went desk to desk in my office - I just thought this was *so cool* I had to show it to everyone. It was so unexpected and with my pride and joy front and center all the better.
Everyone wanted to know who gave it to me. It's a treat to be on the receiving end of marketing material because it's such a good test of how our clients might respond if we sent (24 comments)
Whaddya Mean There Are Other Offers? I Thought This Was A Buyers' Market! - 02/09/09 06:58 PM
Given the unrelenting doom and gloom in the media, it's no wonder you feel like you've got the upper hand when you're looking for a new home. Visions of lowball offers, grateful sellers, and bargain basement prices dance in your head. But real estate is local and even today you may find yourself in a competive market where houses sell quickly and still get multiple offers. There have been a number of multiple offers in my market recently and it can take newcomers by surprise. Some houses, clearly well priced, get half a dozen or more offers the first weekend on the market. (103 comments)
Buying A House For The Dog - 02/09/09 08:22 AM
It's common today to work with buyers who are looking for a house for their dog. No - not a dog house but a house that works well for their pet. I first noticed this trend on the home buying shows on HGTV and then realized I was hearing the same from my buyers. Nowadays it seems that pets are an ever more important part of the family. Pets' needs often loom large in home buying decisions. Some features that pop up on many a buyer's wish list include: A good yard for play. In the city our definition of (17 comments)
In Memoriam: The Demise of Home Decorating Magazines - 02/06/09 11:07 PM
No - it's not the end of the home decor magazine - but it's starting to feel like it might be soon. I've been a decorating magazine junkie for years. I bought hundreds of them - stacks each month when the new issues arrived on the newsstand. For awhile I tried to trim my collection and kept just five years of issues for each title. Somehow I fell off the wagon and the magazines started to pile up again. Piled in the basement, the attic, the ell - stacks of old issues tied with string have yet to make it to (16 comments)
Elizabeth Warren and The Middle Class Squeeze - 02/05/09 08:26 PM
Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School is one of my favorite writers and analysts. She's a specialist in bankruptcy law, author of several books, and currently chair of the committee overseeing the economic stabilization act. Catch her this evening on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC - it's on twice tonight. She's absolutely great to listen to and has a very interesting take on the financial burdens facing most of America's families. In the book she wrote with her daughter, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke, Warren writes about the increasing economic fragility of American families who need two (7 comments)
Boston Homebuyer Fair - Short Sales and Foreclosures - 02/04/09 10:27 PM
The City of Boston is sponsoring a homebuyers fair to match buyers with short sale and foreclosed properties available for sale in Boston, Massachusetts. Buyers will be able to: Meet with lenders, real estate agents, and homebuying counselors Attend a Learn How To Buy A Foreclosed Property seminar Get information on bank-owned (REO) properties in Boston Find out about downpayment and closing cost assistance for qualified first time homebuyers Meet with a lender to get pre-qualified for a mortgage Learn about money available for purchase / rehab of bank-owned properties The homebuyer fair will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2009 from 10 (4 comments)
Living And Working In A College Town - 02/03/09 08:50 PM
I live and work in a hotbed of colleges and universities: Harvard, MIT, Cambridge College, and Lesley in Cambridge, Tufts in Medford, and Boston University, Simmons, Berklee College, Northeastern, and Emerson in Boston to name just some of them. Colleges and universities are certainly good for business - newly hired professors, graduate students, and parents buying a place for their child to live in while attending school - all help to keep the real estate business moving and property values strong. The schools also have a huge impact on quality of life. There's a liveliness to the streets and there are plenty of (9 comments)
How Do You Play In The Rain? - 02/02/09 07:55 AM
I've been spending a *lot* of time on Active Rain since first finding the site at the beginning of this year. It seems that I'm only seeing a slice of the enormous content being generated here. And I starting to get the idea that there are probably other ways to spend time on the site. I've joined groups and signed up for blogs. However I spend almost all my time in what I *think* is called the "blog roll". I click on Blogs, and start at the beginning in the Professional category. Thirty or so pages later the hours (19 comments)
The Somerville & Cambridge Real Estate Market is Picking Up - 02/01/09 02:05 PM
The real estate market in our area has been a mixed bag over the last year. On the one hand, we had low inventory and properties in some Somerville and Cambridge neighborhoods would sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers. Other properties, a bit off the beaten track or priced a bit too high, might sit and sit. Today I heard a very encouraging story that makes me think that the 2009 real estate market is going to be a lot better than we might think. The property was listed in the summer of 2008. There were NO cobroke showings. Nada. Zip. For months and months. (1 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.