1/29/2013: Management oks kitchen renovation

For those of you that don’t already know, I’ve been lobbying with my wife (hereinafter referred to as Management) to renovate our kitchen since we bought the house in 2009.  I’ve approached Management several times regarding the renovation and been rebuffed each time.  Management’s position is that a renovation will make a huge mess and take too long.  It will cost too much money, Management says.

But being a husband and a poor listener, I kept hinting at the life we could be living with a new, bigger kitchen.  We could host the kids birthday parties.  Have Thanksgiving at our house.  I would learn to cook and make dinner every night.  Management just rolled her eyes.  Until last week…

We were out at my favorite place in the world, The Cherry Tree, having wings & beer when Management gave me the green light to renovate the kitchen.  Happiest day of my life!  (Besides the day I married Management and Ryan & Casey being born, obviously.)

So planning is underway.  All we know at this point is the yellow formica & linoleum floor need to go.  I’ll keep you guys updated on our progress.

142 kitchen
Bathroom was designed so you could sit and talk with the chef.

1/22/2013: Attic insulation

Temps are expected to plunge this week with arctic air headed our way.  While our homes have been around for 80-90 years and seen a lot of cold winters, they don’t have much insulation and aren’t very energy efficient.  Adding attic insulation can help keep your bedroom level warmer and energy bills down.

I know what you’re thinking: here he goes blogging about insulation again — what is this guy’s deal?  Does he need help?

Possibly.  I think about insulation a lot, but it’s not effecting my work or marriage.  Yet.

Adding insulation to your attic slows/prevents heat from escaping through your roof.  We had our attic insulated with open cell foam (7″ thick) through Mass Save in 2011.  Energytech Solutions completed the job in 1 day for $4,700.  The Mass Save rebate was $2,000 — so total cost to us was $2,700.

In 20 years, the EPA will probably decide this stuff is toxic and a danger to our children.
In 20 years, the EPA will probably decide this stuff is toxic and a danger to our children.

1/21/2013: Snow Throw Challenge – weather update

Watching this storm closely, you guys. Tomorrow could be the 1st Annual Snow Throw Challenge. Typically I work out of my office downtown, but today I’ve moved over to the WCVB studios and am working with Mike Wankum and the Storm Team. Tricky storm we have here.

The Storm Team is all over this though. Doppler updates on the quarter hour. Tracking high & low pressure systems. Wanks is talking a lot about the Norlun Trough. But I didn’t go to MIT so I don’t know what he’s talking about. Just nodding a lot.

What I do know is this: if we get 6″ of snow tonight/tomorrow — it’s on. If Wanks green lights the challenge for tomorrow, I will let you know tonight.  Stay tuned.

Wanks and another one of his home renovation projects.
Wanks and another one of his home renovation projects.

1/16/2013: 1st Annual Snow Throw Challenge

The next time it snows more than 6″, I will attempt to snow throw all the sidewalks on Randlett Park. That’s right — from Waltham to Watertown Streets. BOTH sides!

I know what you’re thinking: this can’t be done, it’s too dangerous. No one has ever attempted such a feat — not even Fire Chief Randlett. Well, just like Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to Antartica & Sir Edmund Hillary’s trek up Mt. Everest, I too shall attempt the impossible.

Here’s the tenantive plan: next time it snows more than 6″, I will start at the corner of Randlett & Waltham (even side of street) and work my way to Watertown. Then turnaround at Watertown and come up the odd side of the street. Go time will be 9am. Hopefully, I can finish the same day. If not, I may make an igloo in your yard to ride out the night.

Equipment & Provisions: I have a 6 speed, 8.5 horsepower thrower — plenty of power to get the job done.  Can get up to 3 MPH in 6th gear, if the job calls for it.  That hog drinks a lot gas though, so I may need to refuel a couple of times. As for me, I will not be packing any provisions. Unlike my trusty thrower, I run on cookies & beer. If you have either, and it looks like my tank is on empty, please come to my aid.

I’ll update the blog during the next storm and let everyone as zero hour approaches.

Randlett snow

1/15/2013: Randlett vs. Eliot & Fairway home values

Spent some time this afternoon looking at home sales data for Randlett Park, Eliot Ave. & Fairway Drive over the past 5 years.  Not suprisingly, Randlett has the highest average sale price during this time.  But what makes Randlett more valuable than our neighboring streets?  Is it our annual block party?  Joe Waters’ yard?  This blog?  Probably the blog — but let’s take a closer look at the data anyway.

Over the past 5 years, the average sale price on Randlett is $733k.  Eliot averaged $646k and Fairway $610k.  The reason why Randlett sales are higher is because our homes are bigger — by nearly 300 sq/ft on average.  5 homes sold on Randlett with more than 4 bedrooms — only 2 sold on Eliot & Fairway combined with more than 4 beds.

Suprisingly, Randlett does not have the largest lot size.  Fairway has the biggest yards, with .2 acres.  Randlett has .19 acres and Eliot has .15 acres.

#103 - One of the largest homes on Randlett.
#103 – One of the largest homes on Randlett.

1/8/2012: How to pay less mortgage interest without re-financing

With interest rates at historic lows, most of us have already re-financed our mortgages. Maybe even more than once in the past few years. Reducing your interest by even 1% can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Another effective way to reduce the amount of interest paid over the life of your loan is to increase the prinicpal payment each month.

This might seem like a no-brainer and it is. But you might be surprised by how quickly the savings add up. For example:

Your home on Randlett is worth $600k. You have a 30 year fixed mortgage of $480k. Your monthly payments, including principal, interest & taxes are $3,000. By paying only the required amount each month, you will pay $345k of interest over the life of the loan. Yikes.

By paying $100 more towards the principal each month, you will reduce the total interest by $30k. Pay $200 more each month and the total interest is reduced by $55k. You will also pay off the loan 2-3 years earlier than the 30 year term.

Something to consider next time you make a mortgage payment.

banker hearing
Don’t give your money to these guys.

1/2/2013: 2012 Home Sales Report for 02465

2012 was a strong year for home sales in the 02465 zip code, with more than 106 homes selling.  The average sale price was $1.060M and the average days on market was just 78.

The least expensive home sold was 4 Elm Court, which sold for $330k.  The home was described as “adorable and move-in condition.”  Not so sure about that.

4 Elm St

The most expensive home sold was 26 Dartmouth for $4.2M — which we’ve covered previously.  The value might be a bit lower now that the putting green is frozen.

26 dartmouth exterior