11/27/2012: Mass Save & Home Energy Saving Programs

Most of you have already heard of Mass Save, which is an initiative sponsored by local utility providers to help make your home more energy efficient.  Mass Save offers residents significant rebates when installing or replacing a wide variety of home systems, including: insulation, hot water heaters, heating systems, central air, appliances, thermostats — even lightbulbs.  Annual rebates range from $20 for air cleaners up to $2,000 for insulation.

The proccess starts by contacting Mass Save (800 632-8300 or www.masssave.com) to schedule a home energy audit.  The audit is typically scheduled within 30 days and takes about 2 hours with the technician.  Results are available shortly after the audit, but you will have a good idea of what improvements you’re eligible for after speaking with the technician.  Having gone through 2 audits myself, I can tell you — our old homes qualify for a lot of improvements!

Once you determine the improvments you’d like done, Mass Save will provide you with a list of aprroved contractors.  All pricing is controlled by Mass Save, so you will need to select a contractor based on availability and their experience — not price.  Once you’ve chosen a contractor and they have met with you to review the work, you’ll sign a contract and send a deposit to Mass Save.  Then have the work done and pay the balance.

11/19/2012: Yard Waste Collection

The last day for yard waste pick-up this year is Friday, December 21st.  Usually yard waste is picked up around 7am on Fridays — however, I’ve seen trucks picking up late on Thursdays as well.

FYI: Christmas tree pick-up is the first 2 weeks in January only.  The city will not pick up trees with decorations or trees in bags.  If you miss that, you’ll have to wait until yard waste pick-ups resume in April.  Or toss it into a dumpster like this guy did.

11/15/2012: Financing Home Improvements

If you’ve been considering taking a small mortgage or HELOC (home equity line of credit), now might not be a bad time to do it.  Interest rates are at historic lows and banks are more willing to lend as the housing downturn is over.  With the last 4 home sales on Randlett Park averaging $812,000, home appraisals are likely to have higher values as well.

With an FHA-203k consultant loan, you can borrow up to $523,750 to purchase, refinance or renovate your home in Middlesex County.  For example: if your home on Randlett is worth $600,000 and you owe $425,000 — you could borrow an additional $98,750 for renovations.

I know what most of you are thinking – Dave, if this is so easy, why don’t you do it and renovate your kitchen?  It really needs it!  It’s the worst looking kitchen on the street!  All I can say is I’ll do it when the time is right.  And by the time is right, I mean when my wife tells me to.

#37 Renovation

11/14/2012: #37 Randlett Renovation

Andrew & Michele just finished a major renovation in which they added a 2 car garage, new kitchen, bathroom & porch.  See what Michele has to say below about their general contractor, Pete Ekdahl:

“We highly recommend him – he’s reasonably priced, at least as much as one can be for all of this, thoughtful, and gets the job done. And he definitely does a good job of keeping to his schedule – we started work at the end of June and are pretty much done except for a few little things – right on schedule.”


Home Sales, French Drain and Basement Renovation

11/8/2012 – Under Agreement – #19 Randlett:

Helen Fitzgerald has her home at #19 under agreement and is scheduled to close on November 30th.  The cape style home has 3 beds, 1.5 baths and 1,740 sq/ft.  It also has one the largest backyards on Randlett with almost 1/4 acre.  The home is listed for $649,000.


11/1/2012 – French Drains: With the recent Nor’Easter and scare from Hurricane Sandy,  might be a good time to consider French drains, sump pumps and other water-proofing solutions to keep your basement dry.  As some of us have learned the hard way, Randlett Park has a high water table — causing water to come up through and around our foundations during heavy rains.

Drycrete installed our French drain last fall for a cost of $6,500.  Installation involved jackhammering the perimeter of the interior foundation, creating a trench 18-24″ deep that drains to a sump pit in the corner.  PVC piping is laid in the trench, then covered with crushed rock and cement.  When water collects, it’s siphoned to the pit, then pumped up and out by a sump pump.

While the job only took 5 days, it made a huge mess — covering everything in the basement with dust.  Dust was coming up through the basement ceiling to the 1st floor.  Pretty sure I was covered with dust too.  Drycrete also had to remove the lower portion of all walls & studs around the perimter to dig the trench.  (see pic below)

Is anyone considering a French drain?  Anyone install something else to keep their basement dry?

11/1/2012: Goodbye Hank & Patti Weslowski, Hello Christina & Leah Daly!  As some you may already know, Hank & Patti sold their home at #115 and have moved to Florida.  Hank & Patti lived on Randlett Park for nearly 30 years.  Christina & Leah are moving from Austin,Texas with their twin daughters.  Leah works for Tapestry Networks and Christina will be working at Harvard (molecular biology).

10/31/2012: Basement Renovation

You might be looking at the 1st pic below and thinking “what the hell is that?!”  That was our basement – BEFORE we remodeled it.  Complete with 1970’s wood-paneling and the Israeli flag tiled into the floor.  A good look for any basement — but not so useful when you have 2 young kids.  We decided to renovate and turn the space into a play room and add a full bath.  Job took about 45 days and cost approx. $30,000 — not including the French drain.  Biggest issues we ran into were bathroom plumbing and adding headroom for a new set of stairs.  Turned out well and the kids are not totally creeped out to go down there anymore!

10/31/2012: Sold – 27 Eliot Ave. for $985,000!

Thought it was worth noting that 27 Eliot sold on Halloween for $985,000.  This 5 bed, 3.5 bath home has 3,436 sq/ft and was completely renovated in 2006.  This is by far the most expensive home ever sold on Eliot.  Over the past 10 years, 14 homes have sold on Eliot with an average sale price of $575,000.

RandlettPark.com is written by Dave Costello, who lives at #142 with his wife, Mo, and two children.  Dave is a Senior Vice President at CL Waterfront Properties — a residential real estate brokerage in Boston.  Dave can be reached at dcostello@wpboston.com