6/26/2013: Real estate prices for 02465 are up this year

Way up.  Look at the difference between January-June in 2012 vs 2013:

2012: 33 homes sold in 02465 with an average price of $888,000.  Highest sale price was $2.175M.

2013: 31 homes sold with an average of $1.103M.  Highest sale price was $3.6M.

The average market time is 37 days less than last year and sellers have gotten nearly 98% of their asking price so far in 2013.  This could only mean one thing — 02465 is en feugo.

Pics from the $3.6M home below.

50 Crestwood

50 Crestwood1

50 Crestwood2



6/24/2013: Basement humidity

Without humidity, your basement would be the coolest, most comfortable room in the house.  Instead, it feels like South Carolina down there.  You just want to get your laundry and get out.

Why do basements get so humid?  Pretty simple, you guys: when outdoor air is warmer than inside air, humidity increases.  Plus, we have high water table which means the soil surrounding the basement is always wet.  Look gang – I don’t wear a lab coat, don’t have a poster of the periodic elements in my room.  But I know humidity is a problem for basements.

When basement humidity rises above 80%, mold and mildew grow faster.  Dustmites, too.    An ideal humidity level for the basement during the summer is 50% or less.  Best way to manage humidity is with a dehumidifier.  God, that was anti-climactic.

Dehumidifiers can run you anywhere from 150-1,000 USDs.  My advice is get one with a large tank that’s capable of holding 50+ pints (you don’t want to be constantly emptying the tank.)  You can also drain the dehumidifier directly into a sump pit or french drain.  Spend a few extra USDs and get a quieter model — ideally less than 70dBs (loud as a vacuum cleaner).

Basement after
Protect the basement!

6/19/2013: Tree pruning & cabling

We have a large sugar maple in our backyard that’s about 60′ tall.  It’s a beautiful old tree that provides a lot of shade for the backyard.

Since moving in, Management has been telling me that tree is an insurance claim waiting to happen.  Relax, I said, that tree has been there forever.  Thing probably saw the redcoats before Paul Revere did.

A year later, I’m home alone on a breezy night.  Winds were about 20-25 knots out of the south/southeast (total bullshit I have no idea the wind speed or direction).  Then all of sudden SNAP!!  An enormous branch fell from high in the sugar maple.


Nearly crunched the patio furniture and part of the branch was resting against the kitchen window.  At least 25′ long.  Downside was being wrong about the tree.  Upside was I got to use the chainsaw!

The next day, Management called Phil Mastroianni to come and look at the tree.  Phil had his crew bring in a lift to prune and cable two large branches together.  Total cost about $1,100.  No problems since.

6/17/2013: Summer is the perfect time to order firewood

Trust me.  I learned this lesson the hard way.

Our first year on Randlett, I couldn’t wait for the fall so we could get the fireplace going on NFL Sundays.  We had just moved from a drafty condo with no fireplace, so the idea of a warm fire and Brady throwing for 500 yards every Sunday really appealed to me.  Then I made what will forever be known as “el tres mistakes.”

1.) I waited until September to order firewood.  Rookie move.  The wood had no time to dry   in the cool, wet air.  Wood takes about 3-4 months to dry, or less in the summer.

2.) I trusted the guy when he told me the wood was “seasoned.”  Big mistake.  The wood was cut like yesterday.  It’s very easy to tell fresh from seasoned firewood: fresh wood is lighter in color and is heavy.  (Newly cut wood can retain about 50% more water than seasoned wood.)  Good luck starting a fire with wet wood.  It’s smokey and hisses.

3.) I ordered an entire cord of firewood.  I must have been reading Game of Thrones and thought winter was coming.  A cord is A LOT of wood.  A 1/2 cord will get you through the winter — maybe two.

Here’s what I learned: order seasoned firewood in the summer.  It’s cheaper this time of year and if it shows up fresh, you still have a few months to dry it.  If the wood arrives fresh, call and ask for a refund. 1/2 cord of wood (oak, maple, ash) can be purchased for about $225.

Fresh wood in the middle, dry on the sides.
Fresh wood in the middle, seasoned on the sides.

6/10/2013: How many times are they going to rebuild that stone wall on Waltham St?

By my count, the stone wall around the new construction townhomes at the corner of Waltham & Webster has been rebuilt 4 times. What’s the deal? Every time they finish it I think “oh – that looks good.” Then the next day it’s a pile of rocks again.

Look you guys – I don’t know much about construction. (Occasionally I get to wear a hard hat at work, but they make me sign a waiver first.) But if you have to do something 4 times, you’re either not doing it right or love spending money on rock walls.

I’ll keep everyone posted on this. But as of today – rock wall count is at 4.


6/7/2013: How much will a new roof set you back?

About $7,500.

Not going to drag this blog out talking about getting estimates, pulling permits & architectural shingles.  You guys know the drill already.  If a contractor tells you more than $10k — tell him you’re no dummy.  You read RandlettPark.com and everything on the ‘net is true.

Look gang — all of our homes are approximately the same size, which means our roofs are too.  Replacing your roof is going to cost you about $7,500 and take 2-3 days.  The job will cost a bit more if 2 layers of shingles have to be ripped off or if you decide to replace the flashing around the chimney or do any re-pointing.  Make sure to pull a permit.

Also make sure the contractors clean up afterwards using a magnetic rake.  You don’t want to have shingles in the yard or gutters.  Or nails in the yard.  A nail gets caught in the mower and Boom! you wind up looking like Mr. Larson from Happy Gilmore.

mr larson


6/7/2013: The emergence of the million dollar townhome

Last year, the W. Newton townhome market didn’t exist.  Zero townhomes sold at or above $1M.  Buyers were still iffy on the real estate market and there was too much risk for developers to break ground.

This year is a different story.  Inventory is severely limited and developers cannot meet demand.  Since January, 7 townhomes in W. Newton have gone under agreement or sold above $995k.  See what you missed out on below:

37 Elm living room 37 Elm bedroom

2 townhomes are still available over $1M:

54 Elm

I know what you’re thinking — believe me, I’m thinking the same thing myself.  Last year, I didn’t write the blog and no townhomes sold over $1M.  This year, I’m blogging like crazy and 7 townhomes have sold.  Not like I’m trying to take credit or anything — just sayin there could be a correlation.

6/3/2013: 309 Waltham is under agreement

It only took a week to sell this Greek revival home on Waltham for $1.095M.  Goes to show your home doesn’t need to be atop the Acropolis to please the real estate gods — just needs to look like it.

At $1.095M, this would be the 3rd highest sale in the neighborhood over the past 5 years.  I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times you guys — big columns bring big prices.

309 Waltham